November, 2008

EV selection worldwide

Electric Cars are for Girls

This is the most comprehensive list of electric cars for sale I've seen yet! It's international, and covers past, present, future, American, European.awesome. Thank you, Jeroen

2008 182

First week with a Tesla

Revenge of the Electric Car

Even I was surprised. In my rear view mirror I watched a Los Angeles Sheriff’s car pull out of the Chevron and turn on both its blue and red flashing lights to pursue me down Ventura Boulevard. It had only been hours since I eased out of the Tesla dealership in West Los Angeles and already I had a date with the police. This was not the Burbank police who arrested Alexandra and Colette in 2005 for trying to stop EVs from being crushed.

2008 144
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Trending Sources

It's Alive! Updates coming.

Open Source Civic EV Kit

Okay, the cat is out of the bag. I've been working many hours a day over this four-day weekend to try and get the Civic running. As luck would have it, my internet connection went down Thursday morning and is still not back up (I'm typing this from work). I'll post all the progress and pictures when my connection comes back. Suffice it to say, I'm exhausted, but the wheels are spinning as of 12:15pm yesterday(Saturday).

2008 100

Bailouts and Beemers

Plugs and Cars

The deck of cards, some might say house of cards, that is the American economy is being shuffled. A generation of deregulation has culminated with free-market ideologues and corporate chieftains begging for salvation from the federal government once-despised as mettlesome. Billions to bailout financial giants has been followed by a plea from the one-time Big Three.

2008 100

200AH LiFePo4 Battery Test Results

DIY Electric Car

A DIY Electric Car Member, david85, has been testing a 200 Amp-Hour LiFePo4 Battery for a few weeks now and has been keeping a public journal of the results. If you're not familiar with LifePo4, it's a fairly new battery technology that promises greater safety than Lithium Ion or Lithium Polymer while still holding a good energy density and a decent discharge rate.

2008 100

PIP Declares Victory

Plug In Partners

I t's pretty rare when you get to declare victory and bring the troops home. And those of us at Plug in Partners are grateful to our partners and friends who have made this announcement not just possible, but in a very real sense, a reality.

2008 100

Installing the motor

Honda S2000 EV Conversion

After taking a nice vacation to Oregon for some quad riding in the dunes and getting over a nasty cold I was finally able to get back to the project. First I needed to hoist the motor and transmission down into the car so I could start measuring things and figuring out how to build the motor mount. I knew this would be a two man job even with the hoist so I grabbed my neighbor again for some help.

2008 43

More Trending

Arranging the Electronics

Open Source Civic EV Kit

The next step was to figure out where to put all the control electronics under the front hood to minimize wiring. The Belktronix system comes with velcro attached to the underside of most of its components. I was able to fit the Integrator and Charge Controller in the passenger-side nook, next to the main charging unit. I attached the IsoBatMon circuit to the top of the closest AGM battery (right side of photo) to minimize cable runs.

2008 100

Bailout?

Plugs and Cars

Boy, these guys don't make it easy to feel the slightest sympathy for the plight of US automakers. The lineup of CEOs at the Congressional hearings yesterday reminded me of tobacco execs not so long ago denying cigarettes cause cancer. Rick Waggoner had the chutzpah to say their problems are rooted in the credit crisis. A little contrition for bad product and management might have gone some way toward greasing the money chute.

2008 100

Electric Powered.Jerry Asher's Spirit of DC travels promote vehicles of the future

Spirit of DC - PHEV3A

Electric Powered Jerry Asher's Spirit of DC travels promote vehicles of the future By Gary Dickson -- Record-Bee Publisher LAKEPORT - Jerry Asher drove into Lakeport on Thursday, November 20. It’s doubtful anyone heard him pull into town, though. His car doesn’t make any noise. It’s electric. He is touring America with the Spirit of DC, a plug-in hybrid electric Toyota Prius. Asher said the DC on the car can be as in Washington, D.C.,

2008 36

Bring Back the EV1 Press Conference

Revenge of the Electric Car

Friday November 14th, 2008 - GM Training Center - Burbank, CA. The Honorable Nate Holden, former California State Senator and L.A. City Council Member, held a press conference demanding General Motors apologize to the American people for destroying the automaker’s EV1 plug-in electric vehicle. Mr. Holden demanded the EV1’s immediate re-introduction before, or in exchange for, any Government bailout of GM.

2008 126

We interrupt this blog for a musical number…

Revenge of the Electric Car

Electric Car’s Sing-a-long Musical Blog. We received this link and our first singalong musical blog posting from Bo Brown and the gang at Hogmolly. Hi folks, Heard you were gearing up for another documentary on the electric car. I saw the first one, it had enough impact on me that I wrote a song on the subject. The song came to me almost complete in a dream, (got up at 4 am to record it) my band Hogmolly recorded it in a live studio performance the day after we learned it.

2008 116

Voltageville, USA

Revenge of the Electric Car

Sacramento’s News 10 reports on the electric cars of Vacaville, CA. In 2003 Vacaville, also known as Voltageville , was miles ahead of other cities with over 100 electric cars on the road in both GM EV1 s and Toyota RAV4-EV s. The California Air Resources Board’s 1990 Zero Emissions Vehicle mandate would have required 10% of all vehicles sold in California to be zero emissions. But the CARB ZEV mandate was rescinded in 2003 due to pressure from the automakers.

2008 100

Recharging the Dream

Revenge of the Electric Car

Electric car and renewable energy enthusiast Gerry Gaydos shares his thoughts during a recent trip to California in the nicely narrated video short below. Gerry’s pursuit of renewable energy and electric drive began in the summer of 1997 when he spent time with some engineering students preparing a solar electric race car for the World Solar Challenge.

2008 100

Chris Paine on the Ron Reagan Show

Revenge of the Electric Car

Air America’s “The Ron Reagan Show&# aired an episode on November 24th, 2008 about what to do about “The Big Three&# automakers. Chris Paine joined Ron live with his views on the bailout for “The Big Three&# , along with thoughts on future innovations in the industry. You can listen to the entire half hour show below. Chris’s interview begins at minute 10.

2008 100

CNN namechecks ‘Revenge of the Electric Car’

Revenge of the Electric Car

Check out this CNN segment from Nov 20th 2008. What next for GM, the Volt, and the director of ‘Who Killed the Electric Car’ … Tags: EV News Inside Track Who Killed the Electric Car GM Chevy Volt Detroit

2008 100

Buying Heavy Battery Cable

Open Source Civic EV Kit

I spent last night visualizing how I could most effectively connect all the traction batteries with the least amount of welding cable and the shortest distance to the controller and motor. This morning I took some thick rope to serve as a fake battery cable and used it to measure the long cable lengths needed to connect the front and rear batteries. Measuring this is important because welding cable is expensive and you need to get enough but not too much.

2008 100

Solartaxi visits AeroVironment

Revenge of the Electric Car

Stefano readies for a Solartaxi test drive. This summer Swiss visionary Louis Palmer and his friendly team made several stops in Southern California on their global whirlwind tour with their spectacular Solartaxi Electric Vehicle. One of the stops was at AeroVironment in Simi Valley. Solartaxi parked at AeroVironment - Simi Valley, CA. The Solartaxi is a realization of one of Louis’ childhood dreams : to drive a zero emissions solar powered electric car around the world.

2008 100

Hacking the Final Hold-downs

Open Source Civic EV Kit

I installed the remaining hold-downs for the 12V auxiliary battery and the extra battery in the rear trunk this evening. I hadn't designed these hold-downs before I sent all the pieces off to powder-coat, so I'll have to paint them with POR-15 protectant before I finish. Here's a picture of the 12V aux battery hold-down. The battery is a smaller motorcycle battery.

2008 100

Charger, Controller and Contactor Mounting

Open Source Civic EV Kit

Today involved trying to mount the major electrical components to the car. Before covering up the transmission, I thought it would be a good idea to fill it with transmission fluid. The Honda Civic specifies 10w-30 oil for the transmission. Since the fill hole is really hard to access, I used a funnel attached to a plastic hose to get the oil in. Before mounting the plastic panel to mount the EV components on, I drilled two 3/16" holes, 6 3/4" apart on the passenger side battery support.

2008 100

Dodge EV bests Dodge Challenger

Plugs and Cars

We first heard about Chrylser's plug-in car plans at the end of September. Less than two months later Chrysler's EV guy Lou Rhodes held an impromptu drag race against his own best gasoline sports car. It doesn't surprise that the electric car outpaced the competition. That such a car was ready to show so quickly does. How about tying the billions of bailout dollars to EVs on the road by the end of 2009? No one doubts that a base of early adopters is chomping at the bit for plug-in cars.

2008 100

Re-Using Computer Wires

Open Source Civic EV Kit

The Belktronix system instructions call for attaching all the Batmon boards with twisted pairs of wires. I couldn't find a spool of twisted wires at the hardware store, but it dawned on me that most desktop computers use twisted wires to connect the motherboard with the switches/LEDs on the front panel. So, I went over to my friend non-profit computer recycler FreeGeek and picked up a handful of twisted wires out of their wire recycling bin for $1.

2008 100

Charger/DC-DC Arrives

Open Source Civic EV Kit

The last piece of equipment from Belktronix arrived today. Here's the charging system from Belktronix. The 1200 watt charger is combined with the DC-DC converter on the right. The small black box on the left is the charge controller box which interfaces with all the Batmon units that monitor the voltage on each battery. I'm psyched that I finally have all the critical pieces and nothing left is holding me back. Last week, I also dropped by my favorite overpriced EV parts store: West Marine.

2008 100

Starter Blockoff Plate Template

Open Source Civic EV Kit

I took some time this morning to finish all the vacuum pump connections and installing the wiring harness discussed a few posts back. Before installing the batteries in the firewall rack, I needed to measure the starter block-off hole to make a cover for where the starter motor used to be. Here's the engine compartment with the engine wiring harness plugged in and tie-wrapped to several locations.

2008 100

Component Placement on Plastic Control Board

Open Source Civic EV Kit

With all the components under the firewall rack installed, I put the four remaining batteries in the rack and started figuring out the placement of parts on the control board. Here is the tentative placement of charger and controller. The contactor is off to the far right. I purchased a piece of black "UHMW" plastic (28" long x 8 1/2" wide by 1/2" thick) to mount the components on. My EV cohort Ron used this plastic in his VW Jetta EV at Shorepower Technologies and it seems to work well.

2008 100

Two More Teslas Delivered

Plugs and Cars

Chris Paine, director of Who Killed the Electric Car? and Linda Nicholes, President of Plug In America , took delivery on Wednesday of their Tesla Roadsters. Chris directed filming of the long-awaited event at Tesla's Santa Monica showroom. And, Chris blogs about it at on his Revenge of the Electric Car site. Thanks to Paul Scott for the photo

2008 100

My Tesla arrives in Los Angeles!

Revenge of the Electric Car

It’s alive! It’s alive! It’s alive! My brand new silver all-electric Tesla Roadster sportscar (#23) arrived by truck in Los Angeles yesterday. Shrouded in plastic and tucked into the back of a semi with three other Tesla’s, it waited to be rolled onto the streets of Los Angeles. My nervousness turned to pure joy as it eased down and I got to drive it into the showroom for its final set of checks. What a beauty.

2008 100

Installing the Vacuum Pump

Open Source Civic EV Kit

I installed the Gast vacuum pump and pressure tank next. First, I installed rubber motor mounts underneath the Gast vacuum pump. Since I'm mounting this on uneven pieces of metal, I needed to add two 1/16" thick 1"dia. fender washers to the two feet on the front. The rubber feet serve two purposes: keep the motor vibration from rattling the chassis and raising the pump to clear the supporting angle iron. The rubber feet are 1" in diameter, 3/4" tall (rubber portion) with 1/4" threaded ends.

2008 100

Preparing the Engine Wiring Harness

Open Source Civic EV Kit

Before I can put in the firewall batteries and start hooking things up, I need to finish cleaning up the engine wiring harness. Here's what's left of the wiring harness after I removed all the things I didn't need. In the middle of the harness on the right is a nine-foot long loop of 4-in-1 automotive wire (16 gauge) that I'm going to attach to several wires as an extension so that I can easily route everything to the EV controller board in front of the firewall batteries.

2008 100

Partying with Plug In America

Revenge of the Electric Car

Saturday September 27th, 2008 : Immediately after the Santa Monica 2008 AltCarExpo , “ Who Killed the Electric Car? &# Director Chris Paine graciously hosted Plug In America ’s very first fundraiser at his PV+EV residence in Culver City, CA. GM's amazing Chevy Volt - A 100% electric drive (range extending) plug-in hybrid. Mmmmm.Tesla. pure EV).

2008 100

Installing the Powdercoated Racks

Open Source Civic EV Kit

The past two days have been productive. I went to Class Act to pick up the powder-coated angle-iron and installed most of it. Here are the powder-coated pieces all nicely wrapped up to prevent damage. Here are the pieces unwrapped. Yep, all 39 pieces are there and in good condition. I started by installing the rear battery rack. The two cross pieces of angle-iron sit on top of the two square tubes. The bolt going down through the angle iron sits several inches away from the end.

2008 100

Installing the Potbox

Open Source Civic EV Kit

The Belktronix system tries to make installing the potbox a no-brainer by allowing the user to put it right under the accelerator pedal. For the Civic, this works out quite well. Here are the heavy-duty Velcro pieces that come with the Belktronix kit. The intent is to put the "hook" side of the Velcro on the rear side of the potbox and simply stick it to the rug under the pedal. I found that the rug moved around quite a bit, so I wasn't comfortable sticking the potbox directly to the rug.

2008 100

Installing the Circuit Breaker

Open Source Civic EV Kit

Remember that huge Airpax circuit breaker that I got in the mail? Well, it's time to install it. I learned how to remove the center console cover by reading the Civic shop manual. Here I've removed the cover and am holding back the driver's seat to show a better view. In hindsight, I had to remove the driver's seat and it would have been a good idea to do it right at the start. Things were really gross under here with spare change, coffee spills and lots of garbage.

2008 100

GM on the brink…

Revenge of the Electric Car

Suffice to say, all of GM’s development programs including the Volt are threatened. For all of GM’s industrial successes and environmental failures, many elements of the American economy including the advertising-dependent entertainment industry — rise and fall with its fortunes. Says U.S. Cash Is Its Best Hope. By Bill Vlasic and Nick Bunkley for the NY Times. The government faces a difficult choice. If it provides G.M.

2008 100

Kick Gas 2008

Revenge of the Electric Car

“It’s gonna be Earth Day on STEROIDS !&# That’s how EV fan Paul Thomas lured us to the sun-scorched Barona Drag Strip to film this year’s Kick Gas Festival. Barona has seen many grudge matches over the years, but this was one we couldn’t miss; the first head to head between electric dragsters and old school gas guzzlers. Would Michael Kadie’s electric blue coupe kick gas in more ways than one?

2008 100

We Love Electric Bikes

Revenge of the Electric Car

0 to 20 in seconds, pedaling optional. Three weeks ago we spent the day shooting at the Kick Gas Festival in San Diego. One of our favorite diversions was testing the electric bikes. I’ve always been skeptical about e-bikes. Why waste electricity when you can just pedal? Well, that day changed our minds. Electric bikes could well be the secret weapon of the EV revolution. Electric Bikes are less expensive then electric cars. They are available today. They make everyday bike riding easier.

2008 100

Battery Monitoring Parts

Open Source Civic EV Kit

I received several more critical items in the mail this past week. Here are several components from the Belktronix battery monitoring system. In the upper left is the "batmon" unit (one for each battery) that monitors each battery. The black/white wire coming out of the top is a temperature sensor which adjusts the final shunt voltage based on the environment. The green LED turns on when the resistive shunt (lower left in the photo) kicks in to balance out the batteries.

2008 100