October, 2007

Corn Belt Mayor Plugs In

Plugs and Cars

GreenOptions blog reports that Mayor RT Rybak of Minneapolis is now driving a plug-in hybrid. His daily drive, a Prius, has been converted. He's also moving the Minnesota city along a solar fast track. He recognizes that plug-in cars, already cleaner than hybrids or ethanol vehicles and cheaper to fuel, can get even cleaner as the electricity gets greener. It's great to find a progressive Midwestern Democrat who gets it.

2007 100

Hair Dryers Installed

Porsche 914 EV Conversion

I took a few hours today to get the small hairdryers installed. In order to have a convenient switch to activate the hairdryers, I hijacked the defroster knob switch. I was lucky enough to have this option on my car. The wires from the defroster knob sit in their own plastic tube, so it was easy to find the yellow/red wire going towards the center wiring column of the car under the clutch pedal. This wire provides 12V when activated, just the thing I need to fire up the 12V DC relay.

2007 100
Insiders

Sign Up for our Newsletter

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Trending Sources

The Cash Back Hybrid

Plug In Partners

N ot that long ago, the idea that the transportation sector might actually provide energy back into the stationary generation sector was pretty much on the outside of the bell curve of acceptable thinking. Today the VtoG concept is a respectable topic in respectable circles. Here's an example from Spectrum Online : Can plug-in hybrid electric vehicles keep the electric grid stable?

2007 100

The Chinese are Coming!

Plugs and Cars

Got2BeGreen reports BYD, a large Chinese firm that is jumping into cars, will be showing a plug-in hybrid, the F6DM, at the Detroit Auto Show. According to this report, it will begin selling next year in China for about $20,000. It is said to be using an iron-based battery, which none of the major world auto-makers is considering. The Chinese have nothing to lose breaking new ground in the US market. The PHEV and EV market is wide open. Bring it on!!

2007 100

Mitsubishi Sees 2009 launch for iMiEV EV

Plugs and Cars

Thomson Financial is reporting that Mitsubishi aims to launch its i-MiEV city electric car one year earlier than expected. Techon blog from Japan gives more details. 16kWh of Lithium betteries. 160 kilometer range. Mitsubishi Motors President Osamu Mashiko clearly stated "We will commercialize a small electric vehicle in 2009.".

2007 100

Soot and Spin: Two Plug-in Paradoxes

Plugs and Cars

Required reading: Bill Moore's EVWorld review and Martin Zimmerman's LA Times piece about their test drives of the Toyota Plug-in Prius and the hydrogen fuel cell Highlander FCHV. Paradox 1 - Soot: There's an apparent emissions paradox with plug-in hybrids (PHEV): Driving longer distances on battery power means more cold starts as the internal combustion engine (ICE) stops and starts up again after the batteries deplete. Cold starts mean more pollution.

2007 100

$92.22

Plugs and Cars

NY Times reports: Oil Prices Continue to Rise $91.86 per barrel at Friday's close. A little context: oil at its lowest this year? 50.48 a barrel on January 18, 2007.

2007 100

More Trending

WSJ on Electric Possibilities

Plugs and Cars

Joseph White, Wall St Journal Detroit bureau chief, is writing about electric cars again , this time about the majors. He's in Tokyo reporting from the big Japanese Motor Show. Hybrid or All-Electric? Car Makers Take Sides Nissan-Renault continue talking up small all-electric cars. Toyota and GM are continuing down their differing hybrid paths. Honda, the quintessential internal combustion company, is lobbing criticism at hybrids, a market Toyota exploited better than Honda.

2007 100

Toyota Plugging in with Nickel Metal Hydride

Plugs and Cars

Popular Mechanics got a look and briefing on Toyota's own plug-in Prius. And they said it couldn't or wouldn't be done. Or it would take Lithium to make it worthwhile. Well, surprise, surprise: "Toyota has the knowledge and experience with nickel metal hydride. And we have to use the battery we know best, in terms of overall performance," said [Yoshitaka] Asakura [Project General Manager of Toyota's Hybrid Vehicle System Engineering Development Division.]

BMW H2 BS

Plugs and Cars

Terry Tamminen, Arnold's green guru, showed up at the Santa Monica AltCar Show in a BMW Hydrogen 7. Mr. "Lives Per Gallon" ought to be ashamed to lend his name to BMW's greenwashing. But of course he's been hydrogen's biggest booster, despite its inefficiencies and impracticalities. You can't beat a free car and free fuel. Especially a super luxury car that switches to gasoline with the flick of a finger.

2007 100

Serial Port and Hood Pin

Porsche 914 EV Conversion

Today was a bit slow. I received some AMP pins in the mail that fit the special connectors on the DMOC445 controller. To make the serial port more robust, I crimped the pins onto the ends of the 16-gauge wires and inserted them into the 8-position connector that came with the DMOC. Here's the finished connector. It's far more reliable than the simple sockets I had soldered to the end of the cable. See this post for the prior implementation.

2007 100

Nothing to See Here - Oil Prices Retreat.from $90.07

Plugs and Cars

Forbes 12:43pm ET: Oil retreats from today's record highs around 90 usd as traders lock profits Bloomberg Crude Oil Falls From Record on Signs U.S. Supplies Are Adequate Associated Press Oil Futures Retreat From $90 Record CNN Money Oil retreats from $90, but gas keeps climbing.

2007 100

Dedicated Charging Outlet and Hairdryer Coupling

Porsche 914 EV Conversion

After sleeping for 14 hours last night, I think I'm somewhat recovered from that nasty cold. I dropped by Parkrose hardware after work and picked up some stuff to install in the EV. Since I have a gas range, I replaced the 240V breaker for the non-existant electric range with a 20-amp 120V breaker dedicated to charging the 914 EV.

2007 100

Tesla Battery Biz Put on Back Burner, Th!nk To Get Energy Elsewhere

Plugs and Cars

Back in May Tesla announced it would be selling batteries to Th!nk nk Global for its revived City electric car. Seemed a great synergy at the time. Now CNet is reporting that Tesla won't be supplying Th!nk nk with batteries after all. Tesla Energy Group is on hold, while TeslaMotors concentrates on getting the delayed Roadster produced. nk Global has therefore had to to look elsewhere for batteries.

2007 100

Oil Hits New High - Nears $90 per Barrel

Plugs and Cars

NY Times reports Record Price of Oil Raises New Fears

2007 100

Running the AC24 at High RPM - maybe not

Porsche 914 EV Conversion

I'm still big-time sick today, but recovering quickly. In my efforts to understand the torque of the AC24 motor a bit more, I looked at the datasheet online at Azure Dynamics: [link] Hmm, it looks like the optimal operating point is really around 4500 RPM and torque drops off quite a bit at higher revs than that. In my frenzy to go on the freeway in first gear, I didn't really look at the operating characteristics of the motor.

2007 100

WSJ Online on TeslaMotors

Plugs and Cars

Joseph B White, Wall Street Journal's Detroit bureau chief, takes Tesla seriously and respectfully. His column in Monday's WSJ Online explains what's going on with the Silicon Valley automotive startup so many hope will push electric to the fore. Other than one stupid paragraph about the EV1 and RAV4 EV that repeats the conventional received wisdom on why we have no plug-in choices - "GM EV1 and the electric Toyota RAV4 struck mainstream customers as geeky, slow and impractical" (really?

2007 100

Initial Fuel Gauge Driver Schematic

Porsche 914 EV Conversion

Since I'm stuck indoors today to recover from a sore throat, I put together the following schematic to drive the fuel gauge based on the pack voltage. Click to enlarge the image) With the exception of the 4N25 opto-isolator, which I salvaged from a dead UPS, all parts are available at Radio Shack. I hope to implement this soon. Comments and feedback are welcome

2007 100

Finishing the Rain Gutter for the Engine Compartment

Porsche 914 EV Conversion

The major project of the day was finishing the rain gutter under the engine compartment lid. The original gutter was too deep and interfered with the rear battery box. As described in a previous post, I purchased a piece of ABS plastic from TAP plastics and bent the edges to make a rain catch. Here's the plastic that I bent a few weeks ago.

2007 100

Finishing the Serial Cable and Testing the Fuel Gauge

Porsche 914 EV Conversion

I had a bit more time today to work on some other small projects. Here's the 914 patiently waiting for its rebuilt transmission from Rennsport Systems. It'll be awhile since Rennsport won't start on the rebuild until November. Up until this point, the serial cable from the DMOC445 AC controller to the passenger seat was routed along the outside of the car.

2007 100

Chinese Electric Car in 2008?

Plugs and Cars

I've long heard rumors of Chinese auto makers developing an electric car. It makes lots of sense, given Chinese battery production. Now Autobloggreen has a report out of China involving BYD. I recalled hearing in 2005 that BYD acquired a license from Ovonics to manufacture NiMH batteries.

2007 100

Giving up the Tranny to a Higher Mechanic

Porsche 914 EV Conversion

After receiving admonishment from two mechanics about driving around with a resonant frequency, I dropped the transmission out of the 914 and gave it to the experts at Rennsport Systems this morning for a precision overhaul. This is the fourth time dropping the motor/tranny, so I was able to do the whole process in less than an hour. Giving up the tranny was an ego battle for me because I had spent so much time rebuilding the transmission in the first place.

2007 100

Subaru to Show EV in Tokyo

Plugs and Cars

Another auto maker is suggesting the future is with electric cars. CNet is reporting Subaru will be showing an electric car prototype at the Tokyo Auto Show later this month. Unlike many electric prototypes - Nissan's Pivo comes to mind - the G4e looks like it could appear in showrooms today. Story includes a photo and gives some stats: Lithium batteries, 125 mile range, but no word on whether it's actually to go into production. Cnet's story raises two important questions.

2007 100

Charging Cars in England, Fast Charging in Norway

Plugs and Cars

Business Green Blog in the UK reports on a plan to install 250 EV charging stations in England. Elektromotive is making a sleek charge point with a tiny footprint. CNNMoney reports on a cooperative effort of Aerovironment , AltairNano and two European partners demonstrating fast charging on a converted full size 5 passenger Fiat Doblo in Norway. It's no coincidence these reports are out of England and Norway. Both are seeing serious electric vehicle activity.

2007 100

On the Road Again

Porsche 914 EV Conversion

I started commuting to work again today. I think the transmission is making slightly more noise than before but otherwise the car is fine. The RPMs are limited to 5300 RPM, so I won't have any resonant activity. I'm really happy that the tachometer is hooked up. It really helps me keep tabs on what happens to the motor/transmission at different speeds under different driving loads. It's also much easier to watch than the speedometer hidden behind the right edge of the steering wheel.

2007 100

Ford, VW Ante Up

Plug In Partners

M omentum for a Plug in Future continues. First, there is this story from Volkswagon. Apparently, VW is set to unveil an Up!-based based minivan in Tokyo, followed by a plug-in hybrid sedan at Los Angeles. Since the goal of the Up ! concept unveiled in Frankfurt is to give VW a low-cost, rear engine, affordable vehicle, both the minivan and plug-in hybrid should carry a meager price tag if they come to production.

2007 100

Getting the Tachometer and Lights Working

Porsche 914 EV Conversion

After receiving an updated.css file (ccShell config file) from Azure Dynamics for the DMOC445, I was able to access the EE1SpeedoDiv variable. After setting this to a non-zero value, I attached a scope to pin 25 of the main DMOC connector and (yay!) got a pulse train corresponding to the RPM of the motor. Here's the pulse train on the oscilloscope. It has a 50% duty cycle and swings the full 12V range. This makes it ideal to drive the 914 tachometer.

2007 100

Replacing the Pilot Bearing

Porsche 914 EV Conversion

I purchased a new pilot bearing for the flywheel to see if replacing it would help with the rattles. Flywheel - it's what's for dinner! I've found during my transmission rebuild that heating up components in the oven (200 F) sometimes helps with removing the bearings, so I heated up the flywheel prior to replacing the pilot bearing. I also put the new pilot bearing in the freezer to make it smaller. Here's the heated flywheel, clutch side up.

2007 100

Thoughts at the End of the Day

Porsche 914 EV Conversion

Well, the car is all back together again. I really can't say it's any better than before; however, I've learned a tremendous amount in the process. After balancing the flywheel twice, adding rubber grommets, replacing the transmission mounts and putting in a new pilot bearing in, I still can't get the vibrations to go away or diminish much.

2007 100

Toyota, too, Says No

Plugs and Cars

"Automakers get it this time, calling for up to a 40% increase to 35 mpg by 2022, the first increase since 1985. In a business where product plans are set six, eight and even 10 years in advance, 2022 is closer than it would appear." - Irv Miller, V.P., Toyota, in Open Road Blog , the official Blog of Toyota responding to NY Times Columnist Thomas Friedman's Et Tu, Toyota? This quotation tells us all we need to know about what the auto industry would like the future to look like.

2007 100

Trying a Different Transmission

Porsche 914 EV Conversion

Last week Craig at Camp914 offered to lend me another transmission to see if I had vibrational issues. I drove out to Camp914 this morning. I wish to express much gratitude to Craig for letting me borrow this spare tranny. Since it's an older tail-shifter and many of the external pieces are missing, he even gave it to me. Here's my test setup again. The working transmission is tied to the motor at left and resonates at 5400 RPM. Here's the alternate transmission.

2007 100

Ghosn Suggests Renault City EV

Plugs and Cars

Puregreencars.com reports Renault's (and Nissan's) Carlos Ghosn sees electric city cars in their future. Three to four years away, apparently. Seems like further confirmation of my previous Nissan post (cnet), and the rumors of a renewed interest by European automakers in electric city cars. The question for us in the USA is whether plans will include cars that meet the peculiar and unique legal requirements which limit the availability of many more fuel-efficient, interesting vehicles.

2007 100

VW Coming Up PHEV? Why Not UP EV?

Plugs and Cars

VW's announced "Up Concept" city cars could have a Plug-in Hybrid version. Autoblog and Left Lane News are reporting VW will be showing a PHEV UP at the LA Auto Show. Small enough to be labeled "tiny" in DailyTech.com 's headline. Only 18 inches longer and one inch wider than my beloved 53 mile range Th!nk nk City that Ford confiscated in 2004. Sure would make a sweet all-electric city car! I say 75 mile range sub-$25K and they've got an urban green dream machine.

2007 100

Getting Expert Advice on Resonance

Porsche 914 EV Conversion

After spending most of yesterday researching machine resonance, I chatted with one of the mechanical engineers at work today about the resonance problem. After drawing a picture of the motor/transmission assembly, it became rather obvious to both of us that we have the equivalent of a vibrating violin string. The motor/transmission is attached to the car somewhat rigidly at both ends.

2007 100

Does Nissan Get It?

Plugs and Cars

Cnet rep orts "Nissan bets on electric cars, not biofuels." Minoru Shinohara, senior vice president and general manager of the Technology Development Division at Nissan says making a car run on biofuels is, of course, easy, but the benefit of easily available, affordable electric fuel, will trump ethanol or biodiesel, at least for city cars. The most important thing is availability of fuel," Shinohara said. Interestingly, he says Nissan is not so excited about plug-in hybrids.

2007 100