Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Quick Charge Battery Charger

The Quick Charge battery charger recently arrived. With lithium ion batteries it is critical that great care is taken during the recharge cycle. If done incorrectly, the battery life can be significantly compromised. Hence, a multiple stage approach to the charge profile is recommended. We'll see how the Quick Charger fits the bill. It may be necessary to get a more sophisticated charger but this is a decent jumping off point.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Arizona Startup Plans to Electrify National Transportation Grid

Arizona based company, GoE3 says it plans to build a network of Level 2 and Level 3 charging stations along U.S. interstates, with the first stations to open as part of an unnamed rally and reality show being filmed this summer. The company says the stations will be installed at 50 to 75 mile intervals along I-10, I-20, I-40 and I-70, with 50 planned by next month and another 450 slated to be opened within the next three years.

ReVOLT is also an AZ startup that converts gasoline cars to all electric drive. Arizona has an abundant supply of solar power which can be leveraged to sustain the electric drive infrastructure once more people convert to electric and a photovoltaic sustained infrastructure begins to look more appealing to drivers looking to unplug from the grid. In the mean time, having companies like GoE3 supply charging options along major transportation routes will help to get this party kick-started.

New Graphene Supercapacitors Outstrip Power Density of Lithium Ion Batteries

The biggest problem right now with battery technology (besides the limited power density) is its lengthy charging time and its instability when charged incorrectly. Supercapacitors, on the other hand, charge very rapidly (in under a minute). The hang-up with supercapacitors or ultracapacitors is that their power density (around 20 watt-hours per kilogram) is only 1/7th of the energy per kilogram of lithium-ion batteries.

A team of UCLA researchers have recently developed a new supercapacitor electrode with a graphene monolayer that have a power density of over 600 watt-hours per kilogram or 4 times that of lithium-ion batteries. Granted, this has only been validated in a laboratory environment, but the evidence remains that the technology is out there that allows supercapacitors to rival the performance of our current, best battery technology that is commercially available. This bodes very well for the future of the electric transportation infrastructure.

EVTV Motor Verks

Jack Rickard & Brian Noto have begun publishing weekly videos for custom electric car builders and conversions. Each week they review components and techniques that can be used to convert any car to clean, quiet, powerful electric drive. EVTV has become THE weekly TV show for conversion shops, university build teams, design engineers, and custom electric car builders worldwide with viewers in 160 countries.

Hit up the link and check out the Motor Verks video archives for additional instructions in converting your own car to electric drive.

EVTV Motor Verks >>

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Unveiling

Readers have been clamoring for images of the vehicle we plan to convert, so here it is ... the unveiling.
The car is an '85 Mazda Rx7. David, reVOLT cofounder, has built 8 or 9 of these cars and had several ready and available for refurbishing. So, we thought, why not convert one to electric. I think most people I tell about this project assume we will be building an electric golf cart. Perhaps when they see these pics they will think differently.
Whoever had this car before went a little overboard with cutting out the front bumper to make room for an oversized intercooler. They also stripped out much of the interior for weight reduction and added an internal roll bar. It seems they intended for it to be a track car, or at least a street racer. The weight reductions will have a welcome impact on the range of the EV once all is said and done.
As mean as the intercooler looks, it's all coming off. We have, however, discussed putting a heat exchanger with cooling jackets to keep the batteries cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Stable battery temperatures could greatly enhance the lifetime of the lithium ion battery pack.
This flat black mustang is one possibility for the Rx7 paint job. Flat black is certainly a great look. The accent lighting is not bad either as it gives the impression of an electrified vehicle. What do you think? Take the poll in the sidebar and let us know.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Build Your Own Electric Vehicle — Seth Leitman & Bob Brant

I just finished reading this book this morning at 5AM and I'm not sure it was such a good idea because now I'm literally gnawing through my arm in anticipation. The straightforward message of the book is just how easy an electric conversion really is. Seth and Bob also drive home the message about what a good idea electric conversions are for your pocket book, the ecosystem or environment, the security of the United States as a nation, and the longevity of humanity and the planet. I would have to agree with the authors on all accounts.

Unfortunately, if you're anywhere near as obsessive as I am about building your own electric car, after reading this book you will be ready to take out a third and a fourth mortgage on your home and sell several of your kids into slavery in order to accomplish the task at hand. Simply put, it's like crack for a crack addict :| I dare you to read it.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The First Shipment of Many

The time has finally arrived for the unveiling of our first electric vehicle conversion ... hopefully the first of many.
The motor peeking out of the box is a 9" AC motor. This should give some decent pickup off the line.
Here it is in all its glory. Seeing it like this for the first time makes me anxious to get it mounted inside the vehicle. But first things first.
Here is the Curtis AC motor controller to squeeze all that lovely torque from the cold, hard casing and motor windings.
Last but not least is some documentation, wire harness and other parts that arrived in the first shipment. We are still waiting on the rest of the parts such as the mounting bracket, 40' of heavy gauge wire, voltage and current gauges, fuses, clamps, etc. So, more excitement to come soon ... stay posted.