January, 2008

Toyota Snags a RAV4 EV

Plugs and Cars

The storyline is meant to be changing. From Who Killed the Electric Car? to Who Revived the Electric Car? Now that automakers seem to be reevaluating plug-in cars, you'd think the era of automakers taking extraordinary steps to keep electric cars from private ownership would be over. You'd be wrong. As GM talks up the Volt, it ensures EV1s at museums and universities not be returned to the road as electric cars.

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Opinions and Rants

Porsche 914 EV Conversion

I lost much sleep last night obsessing about how I could fix the DC-DC converter and, as a result, I was very tired and had an irritable day. For those of you who have read my blog entries in the past, you know I've blown up the internal FETs of the DC-DC over five times and spent countless hours reverse-engineering the circuit with experts at work to see just what could possibly be wrong with the system.

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PHEV Energy Bill

Plug In Partners

W e've had the people in our shop go over the new energy bill with an eye for Plug Ins and electric transportation in general. Here is the outline of what the bill intends to do: SECTION 131 TRANSPORTATION ELECTRIFICATION SEC 131 Transportation Electrification DOE to establish competitive grants for electric vehicles and PHEVs to encourage early widespread use and advance production of electric (And PHEV) vehicles in USA. $90 90 million per year authorized (2008-2012).

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DC-DC Overcurrent Malfunction

Porsche 914 EV Conversion

It's good to get the extra transmissions out of my garage. I guess it's poetic justice that the guy who bought my side shifter from the original car is going to give it to Jeff at Rothsport systems for a rebuild, the same guy who didn't work on it for 2 1/2 months when I gave it to him. The buyer of the tail shifter transmission is also in the process of doing an electric vehicle conversion, so he asked a bunch of questions about my project.

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Watt-Hour/Mile ratings and Selling the Trannies

Porsche 914 EV Conversion

I dropped off the 914 with Alan at A&P today to upgrade the brake cylinder and do a front end alignment. Brett, a local guy, is going to purchase my two leftover transmissions and Curt from Salem is visiting today to see the car (hopefully back from the shop). In the meantime, I took some approximate readings from my ammeter and voltmeter as I drove on flat roads this past week. Overall driving at 20mph tends to pull 30 amps at 140 volts.

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First Production Tesla Roadster on its Way to US

Plugs and Cars

Tesla has sent a letter to those who have ordered one of its Roadsters with some good news. The first Roadster is on its way. All necessary EPA, DOT and NHTSA approvals have been received. And series production begins in March, beginning at the rate of one per week. The much discussed problems with the original 2 speed transmission will be resolved with an interim one speed so as not to delay early production. Initial acceleration will slow from 0 to 60 in 4 seconds to 5.7.

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First Day Commuting with the New Tranny

Porsche 914 EV Conversion

Today was the first day on the freeway with the new transmission. Other than watching my amperage, I didn't have any issues and the car drove just fine. Many thanks to all the people who have offered their support during this long wait to get a working transmission. I'm happy to see all the other 914 EVs out there. On Friday I'll be re-aligning the front end for better steering and replacing the brake cylinder.

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More Trending

Up and Running Again!

Porsche 914 EV Conversion

My friend Rick and his girlfriend Holly were gracious enough to come over and help me finish putting the transmission back into the car. We worked from 7pm-10:30pm and finished the job. Here's Rick and I under the car re-attaching the CV joints and getting covered with grease. Here's Rick and Holly in the working vehicle. We drove the vehicle around the block and the transmission was very smooth. I'm very grateful to Greg Robbins for shipping a transmission in such good shape.

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Yay! Less Vibration!

Porsche 914 EV Conversion

Rather serendipitously, my friend Jonathan dropped by this evening and we joined the transmission to the electric motor and spun it up. I was quite relieved that spinning up the new transmission to 5400 RPM produced little, if no vibration. We were a bit nervous when we heard a minor squeal inside the transmission case. We then put the transmission into first gear, allowing the fresh transmission fluid to flow from the bottom shaft onto the gears on the top shaft.

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New Tranny Here - Salvaging Cracked Parts

Porsche 914 EV Conversion

The newly rebuilt transmission from Greg Robbins showed up via UPS today at 95 pounds. Here is the plastic tub that it was shipped in. The tub doesn't look like UPS treated it very well. Another view of the tub. The fiberglass straps are broken, the lid is totally cracked in pieces and most of the corners are dented in. Here's the transmission removed from the plastic tub in my front hallway with plastic peanuts everywhere. At first glance, everything looks to be in order.

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Rebuilt Transmission Coming Tuesday

Porsche 914 EV Conversion

I just received an e-mail from Greg Robbins that he shipped a rebuilt transmission to me via UPS and it should arrive next Tuesday! The UPS tracking number concurs with this. This will be a good time to get back into the swing of things since my girlfriend Krista is starting classes next week and the holidays are winding down. Working in the garage is a bit slow since it's cold and rainy, but I should be able to get things put together.

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China Plucky Plug In

Plug In Partners

E ven as the President of Honda says he doesn't think that Plug-ins make sense, a new car company in China announces their plans to build one and Hyundai says it is considering developing a plug-in hybrid car. China's Plucky Plug-In Hybrid BYD's car hits the stage at the Detroit auto show—but will it really be ready to roll this summer? by David Welch In recent years, China's upstart carmakers have flocked to major auto expos with low-priced offerings aimed at global markets.

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CARB Races to Rescue Faltering Hydrogen Highway

Plugs and Cars

In meetings reminiscent of Dick Cheney's energy confabs, California Air Resources Board Chair Mary Nichols convened energy companies and auto makers to try to save California's buckling Hydrogen Highway. As reported in the San Jose Mercury News today , Friday, January 11, "We are getting strong expressions of support from them to increase their level of commitments, including financially," said Mary Nichols, who chairs the Air Resources Board, talking about the energy companies. "We

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Hydrogen Implosion in California

Plugs and Cars

The San Jose Mercury News reports on roadblocks appearing on Schwarzenegger's much ballyhooed Hydrogen Highway. Planned stations aren't opening and existing stations are closing. California utility giant PG&E has turned down $1.5 million in state funds to open a retail hydrogen station in San Carlos. PG&E officials said they've shifted hydrogen to the back stage and now consider it a distant technology, with electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids moving to the front of the line.

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GM CEO Waggoner Sows Doubt about Volt Debut Date; Volt Ads Continue Unabated

Plugs and Cars

CNNMoney.com reports on an online chat with GM CEO Rick Waggoner. General Motors might not be able to hit its target to have its breakthrough electric-powered car the Chevrolet Volt in production by 2010. GM has already started to build advertising campaigns around the Volt, even though in the best-case scenario it is years away from production. It is seen as a way of trying to change public perceptions about the fuel efficiency and environmental responsibility of the U.S.

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And now, Toyota's turn

Plugs and Cars

An anonymous commenter on my previous blogpost asks, "GM has alway said that the battery might not be ready. GM never lied about it but like always lots of people like to knock GM. Why not pick on Toyota for a while." I've got no problem picking on Toyota, too. Toyota continues to use the Prius to cover a multitude of sins.

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Oil Hits $100 a Barrel

Plugs and Cars

NY Times reporting: Oil prices reached the symbolic level of $100 a barrel for the first time on Wednesday, a long-awaited milestone in an era of rapidly escalating energy demand. Crude oil futures for February delivery hit $100 on the New York Mercantile Exchange shortly after noon New York time, before falling back slightly. Oil prices, which had fallen to a low of $50 a barrel at the beginning of 2007, have quadrupled since 2003. Shortly after 2:30 p.m.,

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