December, 2008

New Karma in Detroit!

Electric Cars are for Girls

Fisker's Karma is a production-ready plug-in hybrid, - meaning TODAY, not 2010 - and it's coming to the North American International Auto Show in Detroit on January 15th

2008 182

Inside The Green Task Force

Creative Greenius

For more than a year now in this blog I’ve been researching and reporting on climate change, energy and transportation issues and related environmental stories covering them on both a personal and a global perspective. I haven’t been breaking any hard news, I’ve just been spreading the news that doesn’t get enough attention and adding my take on top of it for the majority of my readers who don’t have the time to dig as deep as I do.

2008 150
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Filming Tesla - 2

Revenge of the Electric Car

Our co-producer continues her account of shooting behind the scenes at Tesla. As we captured key meetings with department heads, Elon stressed his commitment to ramping Tesla up - and the fact that his role was hands-on. He reminded person after person that no problem or detail was too small. The buck stopped with Elon. Elon Musk (left) inspects a Roadster. We pulled a marathon day, and our cameraman, Adam, worked valiantly to keep up. Filming meetings is actually difficult to do well.

2008 116

Battery Woes

Porsche 914 EV Conversion

I think my battery pack is dead after 8600 miles and 1.5 years. My Zivan charger alarm has gone off for the past week and I finally looked into it. Apparently the alarm is indicating a timeout that the charge cycle is taking too long for the capacity of batteries that I have. If I charge overnight, I wake up in 40 degree weather and the pack is very warm, around 80 degrees with vigorous "boiling."

2008 100

Christmas Presents

Open Source Civic EV Kit

Santa was good to me this year. I received a Link-10 battery monitor from my parents. I don't think they understand what it does and why it costs so much, but okay, they got it for me anyway. The items on the right came from Belktronix. The wires on the upper left are the Link-10 voltage prescaler. The module on the upper right is the DC-DC to supply an isolated 12V to the link-10.

2008 100

Snow falls, Tango plows in Spokane

Plugs and Cars

It's one thing to read about a Prius powering a home during a blackout. Check out this video showing an unexpected benefit to the torc, power and design of the Tango electric car.

Tango 100

Winterize your Electric Car

Electric Cars are for Girls

What does it take to winterize your electric car, and keep it running well (and far) in the cold

2008 147

More Trending

Filming Tesla - 1

Revenge of the Electric Car

Tesla Roadsters awaiting final prep and delivery to first owners. Let me just give it away now….the the first day we filmed this fall at Tesla, we got to see not one, not two, not three, but, and I counted—over 40 production Roadsters in the Menlo Park buildings. There is something about the sight of more than four million dollars of incredibly sleek, fast (they do look fast - even standing still) car flesh under one roof that really makes you tingle.

2008 116

Featured EV Video: Living with an EV part 4

DIY Electric Car

Gav's EV Conversion - Living with an EV - IV from Gav on Vimeo. If you aren't familiar with Gav, he's been a long time contributing member of DIYElectricCar under the name of "kiwiev." Gav converted a 1987 Mitsubishi Tredia last year and has been since making films about his conversion, his lifestyle and other EV conversions. This video is the fourth in the series of lifestyle videos. Gav shows a few changes around the house and gets some live status updates from 3 different active conversions.

2008 100

Frustrations with Zolox sensor mount

Open Source Civic EV Kit

I tried installing the Zolox sensor mounting ring for the Warp9 motor from EVsource today. It looks like the holes on the mounting ring don't line up properly. The holes for the Warp9 casing don't match, so I had to drill them a bit larger so the bolts would go in. Here I've placed the spinning magnet onto the end of the tailshaft with a short 1/4 bolt to properly center it. If you look closely, the spacing is off so that the shaft isn't properly centered in the mounting ring.

2008 100

Clean coal

Plugs and Cars

Just a the coal companies go on the air with ads that could be Obama campaign commercials, down to the Yes We Can (make coal clean,) the real world intrudes.

2008 100

How to Connect the Electric Car Motor to the Transmission

Electric Cars are for Girls

How do you connect the electric motor to the engine transmission? Is it welded? Do I need to have an adapter or an engineered

2008 105

The Further Adventures of The Solangelist

Creative Greenius

As we move into the final month of the year 2008 I keep looking up at my rooftop longingly.

2008 150

Guest blogger: Andrew Grin - From Kansas to LA

Revenge of the Electric Car

This week we welcome Andrew Grin, a 16 year old sophomore from Kansas City who spent the day with us filming during the LA Auto Show. Andrew owns a converted pure EV Hyundai. My first sighting of smog-filled Los Angeles brought a sad thought to my mind. A few weeks back, I read a study which found that dirty air in Southern California’s coastal basin and the San Joaquin Valley kills more people than car accidents. But I came to LA to glimpse the future, not dwell on the past.

2008 116

Building the heater

Honda S2000 EV Conversion

Money has been tight after ordering the batteries and the holidays so progress has been rather slow lately. This is technically the second heater but I will only fully document the final design. I first built a water heater utilizing the existing heater core. It used a 1500 watt engine block heater and pump to circulate the water. I decided not to use this setup for a few reasons. First and least important was the noise I could hear from the pump circulating the water.

2008 40

Mounting the Zolox Sensor

Open Source Civic EV Kit

After futzing around awhile, I was able to get the spacer ring for the Zolox tachometer sensor to line up. Here's the bottom of the mounting ring. The screws that came with the mounting kit stripped out the plastic, so I sunk some depressions in the backside of the ring where the bolt holes were and put in 8-32 x 1" bolts from the backside. Notice that the large holes in the upper left and lower right are somewhat warped.

2008 100

Toyota on concept EV: Just for show

Plugs and Cars

A bit more information today on Toyota's small EV. The message, from spokeswoman Jana Hartline, is don't expect more information. There will be no press conference devoted to the vehicle at the Detroit Auto Show, where it will simply be displayed. “It’s It’s a concept we are bringing to the show basically to confirm our interest in electric vehicles,” Hartline told the Detroit Free Press.

2008 100

AC Motors, NiMH batteries, and Wheel Motors

Electric Cars are for Girls

AC motor question: I'm looking for a less expensive, probably US-made AC motor. I'm aiming my design at 1400 lbs maximum. Ideas?

2008 105

Add the Splash Guard

Open Source Civic EV Kit

I'd like to get the car off the jack-stands and back into a position where I can drive it while still adding things like the guages. After installing the speed sensor, the last thing needed under the car is the splash guard to protect water and grit from getting into the Warp9. After playing around a bit, I found that a piece of ABS plastic 15" x 18" and 3/16" thick will probably work.

2008 100

Toyota To Show EV Concept Car At Detroit Auto Show

Revenge of the Electric Car

“Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. said today that it will show a small electric concept vehicle at the Detroit auto show next month.&# - Toyota Division Communications. Considering the implication of those two short lines, they were barely whispered to the press.

2008 100

U.S. Battery Makers Power Up

Revenge of the Electric Car

I wrote a few months ago about the Japanese and European carmakers teaming up with Asian and Euro battery manufacturers with $200-$400 million deals to build large production facilities that will soon be cranking out high volumes of LiIon batteries for plug-in cars. Since achieving cost parity with internal combustion requires batteries to cost less than $500 per kWh, this is a welcome sign that we’ll be seeing those prices in short order.

2008 100

Toyota to display a concept EV

Plugs and Cars

The press release couldn't be shorter. TORRANCE, Calif., 22 -- Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., will display a battery electric vehicle concept at the 2009 North American International Auto Show. This display marks the world debut of this concept vehicle. It's hard not to be snarky. Toyota will display a concept EV! My six year old Toyota RAV4 EV electric car continues to perform flawlessly and gaslessly. Toyota could provide global leadership today with plug-in cars.

2008 100

Tach Mount, Splash Guard and POR-15

Open Source Civic EV Kit

It's still pretty cold in the garage, but I motivated myself to get out to TAP plastics (10 blocks away) and pick up some ABS plastic for the improved splash guard. Here's the 3/16" thick piece of ABS lying on top of the existing splash guard. I got a piece 36" x 18" which is way too big, but I didn't know what would be needed. In the final directions, I'll probably list a smaller piece to acquire. This one cost me $22.25.

2008 100

Tachometer is Here!

Open Source Civic EV Kit

This is a cool day(And not just because it's freezing outside). The package with the custom tachometer from SpeedHut arrived. Although I received the 2-hole pillar pod last Friday, I wanted to show it here since I ordered both items from Speedhut. The wiring harness is nice and long. The small module in the lower left of the photo is the dash light interface which allows a variable dash light brightness to control the tach brightness as well. This is just too awesome for words.

2008 100

Biofuels surge under Obama?

Plugs and Cars

Obama's choice for Secretary of Energy, Steven Chu, apparently can't be faulted for his dedication to dealing with climate change. Praise for the nomination ranges from Greenpeace to the Union of Concerned Scientists. But in a cabinet filled with ethanol boosters, his coziness with corporate sponsors of biofuels research makes me wonder what solutions to the climate crisis will get top priority, and top dollar after January 20th.

2008 100

Obama's cabinet drunk on ethanol?

Plugs and Cars

Obama's cabinet is looking very friendly toward ethanol, The Hill reports. Vilsack from Iowa at Agriculture, Salazar from Colorado at Interior, Daschle from South Dakota at HHS and likely Transportation nominee Ray LaHood are all big ethanol boosters. Chu at Energy, while critical of corn ethanol, has been an advocate for cellulosic. I can't help but wonder who will be sitting at the table who understands and believes in transportation electrification.

2008 100

Build My Dreams, BYD

Plugs and Cars

The announcement that BYD, the Chinese battery giant turned automaker, has actually begun selling its plug-in hybrid, is pretty big news. Shares rose about 15% on the Hong Kong stock exchange Monday. Earlier this year Warren Buffet invested over $200 million in the company (10% share). As most automakers plan for lower sales in 2009, BYD plans to double its sales to 350,000 units, including 10,000 plug-in hybrids. BYD intends to have cars on the road in the US within two years.

2008 100

Hybrid batteries doing fine

Plugs and Cars

There's good news in Jim Motavalli's Greentech report in the NY Times about NiMH batteries in hybrids. The batteries have gotten cheaper, and they have proven robust and long-lived. Toyota reports a tiny percentage of replacements - 350 packs out of hundreds of thousands of 2nd generation Priuses. Yellow Cab in Vancouver has about 100 hybrids, some having racked up as many as 300,000 miles. Yet only 3 or 4 have been replaced, according to the company's general manager.

2008 100

Beyond Detroit: Think halts production; appeals for govt help

Plugs and Cars

Think Global, the Norwegian electric car maker, has halted production of its electric City car, generating fears of a possible bankruptcy. As reported by Reuters , "Like many other car companies, privately-held Think said it had difficulties in obtaining working capital and that automotive suppliers offered tougher terms on parts." It has asked the Norwegian government for $100-200 million to see it through the crisis

2008 100

Charging parts back and more miles

Open Source Civic EV Kit

I received the fixed charger parts back from Belktronix on Friday and installed them with no problems. After going through a full charge cycle, I did find another Batmon board that was activating the shunt resistor at 13.5 volts instead of the expected 14.6 volts. I'll look into that early this week or send it back for repairs. After fixing up the charging system, I took a quick test drive with my friend Jonathan for about 7 miles and the car behaved well.

2008 100

Plastic Boxes and Speed Sensor

Open Source Civic EV Kit

I got some fun stuff today. The plastic boxes for the BatMons and the Zolox speed sensor with Warp9 mounting hardware came in. Here's a pile of 2x2" plastic boxes 1/2" high that fit the BatMon boards quite well. If I cut off one side, I should have at least some protection from splash and other grit that enters the engine compartment. Here's the Zolox speed sensor from EVSource. I don't know if it will work correctly with the SpeedHut tachometer that's coming, but I hope so.

2008 100

Musk v. Fisker

Plugs and Cars

The Wall St Journal's new glossy mag, WSJ, reports on the rivalry between Tesla's Elon Musk, and Henrik Fisker. A bit of scratching and clawing.

2008 100

And Ford makes three

Plugs and Cars

In Congressional testimony last week, Alan Mullaly, head of Ford, committed the company to developing plug-in cars. Next month at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, we will discuss in detail Ford’s accelerated vehicle electrification plan, which includes bringing a family of hybrids, plug-in hybrids and battery electric vehicles to market by 2012.

2008 100

Director on CNN - Purchase Orders, Not Bailouts

Revenge of the Electric Car

From December 3, 2008 broadcast of “Issues With Jane Velez-Mitchell&# on Headline News. Topic: Are Bailouts the Answer to Economic Woes? Chris Paine (director of “Who Killed the Electric Car?&# ) – …what the government should be doing is writing purchase orders and saying, “Hey, we want something for our money. So we’ll write you a purchase order for, you know, X billion worth of plug-in cars and hybrid trucks.&#

2008 100

AC Propulsion: Making Gas Cars Electric

Revenge of the Electric Car

The talented Kristen Reeves produced this wonderful video segment on AC Propulsion and their world class electric vehicle drive technology. For the past 3 years AC Propulsion has been converting gasoline Scion xBs to 100% electric drive with their phenomenal AC150gen2 electric drive system. In her video, Kristen interviews AC Propulsion President & CEO Tom Gage, and legendary actor/director and longtime EV enthusiast Tom Hanks.

2008 100

Ordering Gauges

Open Source Civic EV Kit

While I wait for the charging components to get fixed, I did some research on gauges to monitor the state of the system. My goal is to use as much of the existing dashboard as possible and then add low-cost gauges in order to prevent any motor problems and detect faults.

2008 100

A Different Tachometer

Open Source Civic EV Kit

After a suggestion I received from Bryan Belk (of Belktronix), I decided to go with a different tachometer than the cheap Shucks one: [link] This tach is only $96 and comes with a customizable face. I was even able to add the text "Civic EV" for free! The other cool thing is that it has an LED driver on the back for a particular shift point. This could easily be set and tied into the LVP (low-voltage-protection) circuit on the controller to prevent over-revving the motor.

2008 100