October, 2008

GM Detroit Shoot (2 of 2)

Revenge of the Electric Car

Early wakeup calls in Detroit continued as our grand tour picked up speed. We shoot at the Tech Center campus where engineers ran tests on Volt battery packs. To our surprise, some of the industrial battery testing equipment came from Aerovironment, the company who had built the SunRaycer and Impact EV prototypes back in the early 1990s. GM Tech Center, Designed by Eero Saairnen 1949. GM Vice-chairman, Bob Lutz invited us to their private test track about an hour outside of Detroit.

2008 109

Making the Battery Hold-Downs

Open Source Civic EV Kit

I cut several pieces of metal for the battery hold-downs. The construction details are as follows: All angle iron and barstock is 1/8" thick and 3/4" wide.

2008 100
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The Hummer Club

Plugs and Cars

Tags: steven colbert the hummer club energy.

2008 100

Fixing the Aux Battery Killer

Porsche 914 EV Conversion

I took the time today to research the 914 wiring diagrams and find the annoying connection that leaves my tail light on after I turn off the ignition switch. If you remove the front dashboard cover and look under the steering column, you should see two connectors. Remove the right one as shown above. On the rear of the connector should be three wires colored grey, grey/red and grey/black. Snip the grey one and seal BOTH ends with heat-shrink tubing or end-wire crimp.

2008 100

Goal!

Plug In Partners

W hen we started the Plug In Partner initiative, our primary objective was to create a nationwide campaign to urge automakers to accelerate development of plug-in hybrid vehicles. But our goal was to see them manufacturered and in the show rooms.

2008 100

12 volt test

Honda S2000 EV Conversion

I started off by removing the bolt that holds the coupler and putting a drop of loctite to make sure it doesn't come out. Even if it did the coupler had to be pressed on and I can't imagine it will ever move again, at least not without using a puller. Then I attached the spacers and adapter plate to the motor. Again using some loctite and torqued these bolts to 40 ft lbs.

2008 40

Welcome to Revenge of the Electric Car!

Revenge of the Electric Car

Welcome to our blog and Chris Paine’s new film, “Revenge of the Electric Car.&# (slated for Spring, 2010)! Every week, we’ll be posting production stories, insider information, and late breaking news from the world of plug-in vehicles. We’ll be covering stories from around the world — from the auto giants to the converters to indy startups.

2008 109

More Trending

60 Minutes to do electric car story Sunday

Plugs and Cars

Sunday October 5th on CBS. Watch CBS Videos Online

2008 100

Quirky Porsche Features Killed my 12V Battery

Porsche 914 EV Conversion

The Porsche 914 has a bunch of "distinctive" features that make it different from many other cars. One is the hand-brake being on the left side of the driver's seat (enabling a "racing start"). Another quirk is that if you leave the turn signal on after removing the ignition key, your tail light on that side stays on. This has the unfortunate side effect of draining your 12V battery.

2008 100

BMW MINI electric car gets boost from AC Propulsion in San Dimas

Revenge of the Electric Car

The web was buzzing last week with stories about BMW’s MINI E. To recap, BMW will be leasing 500 MINI Es from dealers in New York, New Jersey and Southern California starting some time early in 2009. To be considered for one of these cars, you have to go to [link] and sign up, but remember, they are only going to consider you if you live in one of the regions cited above. Those of us familiar with powerful EVs were curious where the drive train for the MINI E originated.

2008 100

Killacycle World Record

Revenge of the Electric Car

KillaCycle Pilot Scotty Pollacheck "lights 'em up" alongside Team Leader Bill Dube. One of our favorite guests from our shoot in Iceland, Bill Dube and his KillaCycle Team, made headlines this past week in Colorado with a new EV world speed record. On Thursday October 23rd, 2008, Team KillaCycle set their latest drag racing world record at Bandimere Raceway.

2008 100

BMW MINI E Powered by AC Propulsion?

Revenge of the Electric Car

The automotive and green electric vehicle blogosphere has been abuzz with talk of the BMW MINI E ever since July 9th, 2008, when AutoblogGreen published the rumor that 500 of the intriguing new electric cars would be released later this year in California. Chris Paine’s docudrama “ Who Killed the Electric Car &# has raised awareness that plug-in electric vehicles are possible, and the demand for plug-in electric vehicles has never been higher.

2008 100

Swapping out the Front Springs

Open Source Civic EV Kit

After unsuccessfully trying to use this tool to replace the springs on the front strut assemblies, I ended up going to Les Schwab Tire Center and they swapped out the springs for $30. Much less time and much less hassle than trying to do it myself. One word of caution: Make sure to keep the correct orientation between the bottom of the strut and the bolts that go into the shock tower. After the spring comes out, the whole thing rotates easily.

2008 100

Cutting the Battery Hold-downs for the Rear Rack

Open Source Civic EV Kit

The upper edge of the LifeLine batteries has some protrusions that the battery hold downs must fit around. I'm using 3/4" angle iron to hold down the batteries in the rear trunk. To make the hold-downs work for the life-line batteries, I used the metal cutoff grinding blade to make several adjacent cuts, thereby making a much wider unified cut. In order to notch out the 3/4" angle iron, I made one cut on the right and several vertical cuts (1/8" wide each) on the left side of the notch.

2008 100

Redesigning the Firewall Rack

Open Source Civic EV Kit

After redesigning the firewall battery rack with rotated batteries, I wrote down some installation instructions. For the past two days, I've been following my own instructions to see how well they work out. Here are the four 1" x 3/16" x 5.5" bars that will be mounted to the shock towers With the bars mounted to the shock towers, I cut the left and right angle iron supports.

2008 100

GM taps LG for Volt Battery

Revenge of the Electric Car

Lots going on with batteries now, as John O’Dell’s piece below illustrates. GM has been saying for a while now that they had picked their supplier for the LiIon battery in the Volt, but they weren’t prepared to announce who it was. MIT spinoff A123 was a personal favorite, also Germany’s Continental was in the running, but it was LG Chem subsidiary and Detroit based Compact Power, Inc. that got the nod. I’m sure the stocks of all three will be volatile for a while.

2008 100

Drafting the Firewall Rack

Open Source Civic EV Kit

I drafted up a somewhat "exploded" model of the firewall rack. There were too many pieces to dimension everything, but I hope people get the idea of what I'm trying to accomplish. click on the image for a larger view) All the Google Sketchup files for these racks can be downloaded from the Files area of the Civic-EV Google Group. Let's hope this works

2008 100

Documenting the Racks

Open Source Civic EV Kit

Last Saturday, my buddy Ian and I spent the day re-working the firewall battery rack. I wasn't sure on clearance to the hood with the LifeLine batteries and things just didn't seem to fit. Ian and I re-attached the hood and put white masking tape on the underside to more easily see where the batteries would interfere. After much staring with a headlamp at the masking tape with the hood closed, Ian suggested that we rotate the firewall batteries 90 degrees.

2008 100

Drafting up the Front and Rear Racks

Open Source Civic EV Kit

I spent this evening trying to use Sketchup to capture the design intent of the instructions. Click on the images below to get a larger version. Here's the current design for the front rack just behind the radiator grille. Here's the simpler battery rack for the rear trunk. The firewall rack is a bit more complex; I'll try to draft that up tomorrow morning. Good night

2008 100

Postcard From Iceland (1 of 2)

Revenge of the Electric Car

Bathers in the foreground, geo-thermal power plant in the distance. The rumors are true. Iceland is beautiful. Sitting on the continental plates between Europe and North America, this volcanic island is home to a mere 300,000 people. I came as a guest for Driving Sustainability , Iceland’s conference for the future of cars. They lined up an international and terrific schedule.

2008 100

Cutting the Tail Shaft

Open Source Civic EV Kit

Back in this post , I discovered that the tail shaft on the Warp9 motor was interfering with the driver-side chassis. I had to decide whether to cut the tail shaft or cut the car chassis. Since I don't have welding skills and I prefer not to weaken the chassis, I decided to cut off the tail shaft of the motor. Here's my cut line on the tail shaft of the Warp9. I'm leaving half an inch so I can attach an RPM sensor later. I taped up the bearing to prevent metal shavings from getting in. It's done!

2008 100

Bolting Together the Rear Motor Mount

Open Source Civic EV Kit

Back in this post , I had cut a 1/4" steel plate for the rear motor mount and drilled appropriate bolt holes. Here is that steel plate bolted to the rear of the Warp9 motor. I'm planning on using a piece of 2" angle iron (1/4" thick) to attach the rear plate with the driver-side Civic engine mount. In order to get the angle-iron to fit, I had to hacksaw part of the driver-side engine mount flat to accommodate the angle-iron. This is rather ad-hoc, but it worked rather well.

2008 100

Testing Clearance on the Front Battery Racks

Open Source Civic EV Kit

With the motor and transmission in, I started to re-install the firewall battery rack to see if there were any clearance issues. The space between the passenger-side shock tower and the brake fluid reservoir is rather tight. There is also very little clearance between the top of the batteries and the underside of the hood. see the dent I made in this post ).

2008 100

GM Detroit Shoot (1 of 2)

Revenge of the Electric Car

Interviewing GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz at GM's test track in Detroit. General Motors invited me to Detroit to speak on a panel at its 100th anniversary along with a small group of other “outside voices&#. Since GM’s Vice Chairman, Bob Lutz planned to unveil the Chevy Volt production prototype, we decided to take our film crew.

2008 100

Adapter plate and coupler complete

Honda S2000 EV Conversion

I finally got some time from my uncle to machine the parts and it took longer than we anticipated. Engineering as you go and a lot of measuring twice before you cut really added to the time but I think we'll end up with a reliable setup. I loaded up the truck with everything I could think I needed and headed to my Uncle's house. First was to create the coupler. The coupler needed to be 3.125" OD with a 1.125" ID with a.25" key. Here is a picture of the raw metal before we began to work with it.

2008 40