Wednesday, February 23, 2011

It's TWINS.....

It's Christmas at EVTV. We've received a couple of long awaited shipments.

The most exciting is of course from Jim Husted - our Siamese Twin Netgain Warp 11 motors - assembled onto a single 100mm shaft. This motor has beefed up brush connections, beefed up field windings, and the new Helwig split brush redtop brushes. THESE brushes have been thoroughly preseated to the commutator. To save length, we have had the fans removed, making external blowers mandatory for cooling.

The result is stunning, a shiny black jewel of some 32 inches in length with brushed metal appointments that absolutely shines. It is a work of art in metal and destined to be the "Iron Man heart power pack" for our 2008 Cadillac Escalade EXT which ALSO sports a shiny black with shiny chrome motif.

The device weighs 512 lbs with the test stand it is on. It's a monstah. Ballinz.

Congratulations Mr. Jim Husted on a job well done. I don't even care if it works. We can get it to work. What I can't get is this kind of artistry in metal.

Total cost? Right at $20,000 including the dual Soliton1 controllers which we also got from Mr. Husted.

We're continuing to scratch our heads (and other extremeties) over the transmission issue. We've discovered a number of pretty basic items on the vehicle that are tied into the existing 6L80E transmission electronics, including our status indicator, backup camera and collision avoidance radar, our backup lights, and I'm frankly not sure what all else.

As a result, I've talked Mr. Hauber into at least trying a trial mating of the Husted Siamese Twins to our existing 6L80E transmission.





All motors and drivetrains make claims as to power and current and voltage and torque and horsepower and kilwatts and all manner of things. We really have not had a good way to test all that. I talked with a company about a dynomometer but it started at $80K and quickly got expensive so we never did pursue it.

Mr. Hauber had a Siemens 1FV5139-6WS28-Z generator that he inherited from a company that had received it damaged in shipping. He offered it to me at an attractive price, and we negotiated down from there. I bought it for $1000 plus shipping and he had it shipped out and it arrived on the same day.

The concept is to build a test bench for electric vehicle drive trains. This really involves EVERYTHING in an EV, batteries, charger, controller, 5k pot, motor, transmission, DC-DC converter PLUS some sort of load to keep from over revving the electric motor. Pretty obviously, a generator would do that.

Not only would it do it, but our case is a bit peculiar. We could of course measure the output of the generator, correct for RPM and generator efficiency, and with enough badly written software calculate the power input to the generator shaft in Horsepower, Torque, and Killowatts. So we'll do that.

But unlike a standard dynomometer, we can take the output of the generator and put it BACK in the batteries. My own version of perpetual motion. Of course, we'll get out less than we put in, but it will still be useful energy instead of heat that has to be washed away with massive amounts of cooling water - which is how they mostly do this with dynomometers.

And so before ever doing the Cadillac, we're going to lay out all the pieces and get THEM working well on the bench. After we move the controllers and motors to the vehicle, we will still be left with a working test bench that we can use with OTHER motor/controller combinations, or DC-DC converters, or whatever.

I'm pretty jazzed about it.
I'm also pretty jazzed about our newest sponsors. First, Masterflux has signed on as an advertiser and is providing a unit of their Sierra series for our electric vehicle contest. We talk a good bit about this device, an air conditioning compressor with a wide input voltage AND a wide BTU output that we used on the Mini Cooper to get our air conditioner going - and quite successfully so.


Not mentioned in this video, because it has just been finalized, is our selection of a battery pack and a new major sponsor of EVTV - the Winston Battery Company. We tried to get their newest LIthium Sulphur batteries for this project, but simply failed by virtue of the fact that there won't be any until the first half of next year, according to Mr. Winston Chung, head of Winston Battery Company (previously THundersky).



But we did work out a bit of an exciting deal - 70 of their existing Lithium Yttrium cells of size 400AH to power the Cadillac EXT. We'll build the vehicle, and of course test its range, power output, acceleration, etc with the Yttrium pack. Next year, when the Sulphur cells are available, we'll swap them out with the Yttrium's and do the same tests. This should be a fantastic opportunity to compare the newer LSP cells to the existing already excellent LYP cells to learn first hand the differences.

And of course, on exactly the same vehicle. Our many thanks to Ms. Amanda Cheung, who helped us communicate directly with Mr. Chung.

Of course, we'll be dealing with Winston Battery Company's new North American agent, Balqon Corporation of Harbor City California. This company was previously a large customer of Winston Battery Company. Mr. Chung has basically acquired a large holding in publicly traded Balqon, and indeed has ordered $15 million in drive trains from Balqon to install in electric busses in China. In the process, he has turned over all sales in North America of Winston Battery Company cells to Balqon.

The Thundersky group forum online has erupted into a total mess as a result of one extremely bizarre and apparently disturbed man who is posting 30 messages a day again with dire warnings of all that will befall you if you fail to employ a proper BMS and top balance your cells.

I was going to respond to all this when it occurred to me that I already had. So this morning I went and reviewed our show from November 13, 2009 - has it been 15 months ago? It really walks you through the entire thing with really quite unassailable clarity on the topic of top balancing and cell drift. There's very little added since then of any import. So instead of responding ad nauseum to the newbies reigniting this debate with all the energy of those who think they have discovered something, I'll simply link to the show again. I can't add much to what I said then. It's conclusive. It's clear. ANd in the intervening 15 months no one has come up with anything cogent refuting it beyond the admonition that in their opinion, they don't agree???? No data, no test results, no reports of inability to duplicate. As such, I have no further interest in the discussion unless someone somewhere can come up with something more arftful than "is not, is so, is not, is so".




52 comments:

  1. Jack,
    1000 cycles on the Lithium-Sulfur cells should be plenty, if Mr. Chung can achieve it. A conservative 300 miles per cycle would give around 300,000 miles out of the pack. I think I might be ready for a new car by then, anyway. :) Thanks for bringing this new development to our attention.

    Billy D.

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  2. Since you said Lithium Sulfur cells had a shuttle effect would the batteries need a BMS to keep the cells balanced? Or would you still go BMS free?

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  3. "is not, is so, is not, is so"

    Man, you had me rolling on the floor with that. How true. I can just see the faces of the little brats in the back seat now. :)

    Sweet motor and I really like the idea of the generator dyno for testing and showing. Nice for show and tell.

    Pete :)

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  4. It became worse than that. If anyone said anything to blow someone's theoretical universe out of the water with proof and links you were simply ignored!

    Twice I gave a full and comprehensive list of failings of ALL BMS "systems" and what ought to be done to make them viable... No response.

    Nothings changed on there. Its been totally hijacked by one man who has proved in writing he is clueless on many basic electronic/electrical issues, asking for dud boards, thanking people, making up tales and not learning from the mistakes by himself and especially others.

    Sadly, the dictionary definition of bigot.
    I'm done with it. Only one reference to importation and a couple of nice links. There is nothing for me there.
    ==================================
    Oh yes, "Shuttle Effect" means definitely no BMS is required. Quite the opposite. Correct me if I'm wrong:
    http://www.osti.gov/bridge/servlets/purl/764356-L8GBN7/native/764356.pdf

    Those LiS cells seem to have a large voltage range. A mixed blessing?

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  5. Those motors look sweet!

    I have been wondering when you would come up with a "test bench" for everything you have gotten into. It will be great. What better way to test AND demonstrate for the camera.

    I can fee more Chalk-Talks coming on!

    Half-step to the rescue.

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  6. Interesting paper.

    Yes, I have a bare grasp of this, and your forum engineers none. But I would say that the reason the cells don't drift and the reason that you cannot overcharge the cells appears to be the same 0 no shuttle mechanism.

    We have pretty much destroyed the line of reasoning of the BMS crowd. But they scurry from one topic to another in a desperate attempt to find a reason for living this BMS fantasy. The final refuge appears to be a mystical "cell drift" that really doesn't cause a problem until the "end of pack life" and THEN BOY WILL YOU BE SORRY.

    PB cells DO drift. LiFePo4 cells do not. Now you CAN MAKE THEM DRIFT. Parasitic loads from well intentioned attempts to "monitor" cells can lead to imbalances caused by powering the measurement equipment from some cells and not others. We have LOST cells in the Mini Cooper from leaving Cell Log 8S devices plugged in for months, and from leaving TBS Expert Pro powered from the first 10 cells only - again for months.

    If you are not going to BALANCE cells, you have a cocommittant obligation to not UNBALANCE them with such parasitic loads. Please check your packs for this. If you are powering a device, no matter HOW SMALL the current load, from some cells and NOT others, you are imbalancing your pack over time and it IS cummulative.

    Beyond that, we recently lost FOUR TS 160AH cells on the GEM. No BMS could have helped. We left it in a corner for six months with the pack connected. A stereo on the unit apparently was drawing a very tiny amount of current from the pack. But in six months it was all zero. Most of the cells came back up. But four of them, I think, did not.

    I would LOVE a magic device to install on my car and make all battery management issues go away. I don't want to spend $2000 on it and I don't really want it to burn my facility to the ground.

    As to LSP, how would I know? I have not examined the cells yet. BUt yes, it is quite likely their care and use will by quite different from LiFePo4 cells, they have a different chemistry.

    And we'll probably have to go through the same learning process again. Unfortunately, we cannot learn these things by typing at each other. We will have to charge them, discharge them, measure, observe, and yes, destroy a few in the process.

    That IS the process....

    Jack Rickard

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  7. Hi Jack,

    One thing against the LiS would be the larger numbers that would be required due to the lower cell voltage.

    It would be nice if they came as a battery (6 cells would make 13.8V nominal).

    Martin.

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  8. Jack, that was another great show!

    How thick is the adapter plate? I assume it is steel?

    I have concerns about bolting the dyno to a table top. The two 11 inch motors could collectively make ~1000 ft*lbs of torque. The tranny will multiply that torque by about a factor of 3 or 4. So now you have thousands of ft*lbs of torque between your tranny and your generator. I predict that breaks the table and drops the whole affair to the ground. My humble suggestion would be to make a steel structure (similar in strength to a truck frame) to handle the torque, or better yet strongly bolt it to the concrete floor.

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  9. "As to LSP, how would I know? I have not examined the cells yet. BUt yes, it is quite likely their care and use will by quite different from LiFePo4 cells, they have a different chemistry."

    And if people could get past the fact that just because a device can charge and be discharged doesn't make their care or characteristics the same progress will happen at a faster rate. There are so many who don't understand that LiFePO4 cells are DIFFERENT than other cells. I think your description of the basic differences was quite clear, BTW.

    David D. Nelson

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  10. What a great idea...

    Actually, it makes a lot of sense to just go get a standard bare pick-up chassis and start with that for the World's Slowest EV. Leave it on the wheels and tires and it would sure be easier to move around, what with a ton of lead hanging from it. You could mount a small motor to the rear axle, chain driving a big sprocket on the diff yoke. That, and a hand crank on the steering box, and you could easily move it around. You could even flatbed it somewhere else very easily. Being spring, it would also be pretty resistant to torque shocks in testing. Best of all, a custom or adjustable cross-member or two that would hold almost anything you wanted to test on it would be very straightforward to fit to it.

    The more I think about it, the more I like it.

    TomA

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  11. Any thoughts on Nissan using a top balancing BMS on the LEAF?
    http://www.mynissanleaf.com/viewtopic.php?p=62229#p62229

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  12. We've been working this week on a mount for the generator to the table top. Part of the reason for having a bench Tom is so I don't have to do all that bending and stretching. i can just walk up to it and it's all at waist level.

    But the mountings are a bit of an issue. And yes, we'll probably wind up having to anchor the benches to the floor. We'll see how it goes.

    I haven't had any thoughts of the Leaf at all since the last Polar Bear commercial JP. I've kind of got worked out what top balancing does, I've been very clear on it, and if EVERYBODY wants to do just that, it won't affect me or my not at all confused position whatsoever.

    But feel free to return to the forums and vote on it a lot if it entertains you.

    Jack Rickard

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  13. A motor mounted high on a pickup frame is going to be almost waist level to begin with. Everything can be nice and high on the top side of the frame because the CG is irrelevant. Put a lift kit and some snow plow tires on the chassis and the whole thing will be right up in your sweet spot, Jack.

    Besides, the ergonomics that really matters is the console where you put the controllers, connections and control/monitoring gear, which could easily be on a panel (1/4" steel plate, as a scattershield to stand behind, yes?) where the radiator would be.

    This one is actually a no-brainer to me. As I say, the more I think about it...

    TomA

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  14. Hi Jack and Brain, The motors look cool! It's good to see you'r finally going to use the new TS cells......can't wait to see some results.

    We'll be doing a parallel dual 9" project, belt driven from one motor to the other, should make an almightly belt scream! dual soliton 1's and 60x 160AH cells....we've changed vehicle choice yet again, its a bit fatter project..

    Cheers

    Your corrispondant in New Zealand

    Simon Wilkinson

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  15. Tom:

    We're kind of committed to the bench top version at this point, but the more I think about it, the more I like your pickup frame version.

    I did look into the Nissan Leaf batteries a bit. They are Lithium Manganese - entirely different from LiFePo4. I know nothing of them. Lithium Manganese and Lithium Cobalt have some negative temperature coefficient issues on the cathode that make them forever unattractive to me.

    We pay a little penalty in density in using hte LiFePo4 "rare earth" type cathodes. But the benefit is a much more robust cell, and in a much more robust cell package. I think it's worth carrying around the extra weight in an automobile.

    It also gives us a kind of generic cell layout that can be replaced with what is essentially shaking out as "commodity" cells. Maybe not so much a commodity as the 18650 cells so ubiquitous, but a commodity prismatic.

    Jack Rickard

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  16. Hello

    Winston Batteries , just release new datasheets for the Li-S batteries :)

    On the Nissan Leaf batteries, they use individual box with 4 pouch type 70Ah cells connected 2s2p and just 2 terminal to the outside .

    Celso Menaia

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  17. "They are Lithium Manganese - entirely different from LiFePo4."

    But so many seem to miss that important detail!

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  18. Re the updated Winston LiS datasheets mentioned by Celso: these now have discharge and self discharge graphs. The latter showing 30% self discharge in a year. We shall see.

    By the way the chinese character "天" means "day"

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  19. I am concerned about the safety of the bench mounted dyno too.
    I agree with the other folks who say that a truck frame should work quite nicely.
    If safety is an issue at all, I urge you to reconsider the mounting before turning it on!
    I'm thinking the 2nd table will make an ugly "weed whacker"

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  20. Hi Jack,

    The voltage (and corresponding volume & weight) of the new LiS bat is a problem. For example, if we use that battery w/ Tesla at 366V, you will need 159 pcs! weight is 5.3kg*159 = cannot be carried by the car. Voulume is also too much.

    JohnM

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  21. Probably more like 174 pieces - I think the nominal open circuit on LiS is about 2.1v. But look at the bright side, 219,600 wH and abotu an 878 mile range. The batteries would of course weigh nearly as much as the car.....

    Different chemistry, different sizes, different numbers. A lot to move around on the table top. But longer ranges require higher energy density. What do we have to trade to get it?

    Jack

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  22. Ultimately, its going to come down to materials science, as it has for everything else from tennis rackets to vascular surgery.

    Without a hot, vibrating ICE full of solvents, an EV is a much simpler vehicle to build a chassis around. We will have full composite monocoque shells as the basic unibody structures. They will be an order of magnitude lighter and stronger than body-on-frame anything or aluminum space frames like the Lotus or Tesla S. The McLaren F1 was the first of these road cars, and its getting on 20 years since it was developed. The F1 solved many problems an EV doesn't have, and it was a supercar.

    Since then, everything about doing a composite unibody is easier and cheaper. A chassis of this construction also has an indefinite service life. Best of all, this construction will allow the cars to get a little larger, accommodating more (battery and load) weight without sacrificing strength. I think a 5 passenger car that weighed about 2200lbs, 750 of which was batteries, with a total GVWR of 3300lbs, would be ideal. Only a composite unbody will get you there.

    We're going to start thinking of cars differently- more like airplanes, really: The chassis lasts essentially forever, and is periodically refitted with the next generation of battery, drive system, interior and wear parts. That's how its done in the air. Jack's DC-3s are a great example of this. Basler can refit your original airframe, and swap those heavy, maintenance-intensive radial engines for new turboprops, yielding a performance and service envelope (faster, able to fly in icing conditions, etc.) that would have been unthinkable 75 years ago. Other modes of transport (ships, buses) have been that way for decades, and now its going to be that way for cars, too.

    The batteries, and to a lesser extent the drive systems, are going to continue this stepwise incremental improvement ad infinitum. The big improvement jumps are going to be in the glider, and particularly, what its made of.

    TomA

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  23. Tom the vehicle you describe is essentially a Solectria Sunrise, of which you are probably aware.
    http://ephase.blogspot.com/2010/12/more-bang-for-buck.html
    The question is will the automakers be motivated to invest in creating such a long lasting vehicle?

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  24. Yes, I've followed the Sunrise for a long time. It will probably get my vote in the system giveaway, depending on how well Lee and the boys present it.

    http://www.sunrise-ev.com/

    That monocoque is relatively primitive compared to what is coming. The developmental mule is currently on a steel lower chassis, which will no doubt be upgraded to full composite for (kit) production. I also largely like the S2 upgrades from the Solectria car as Lee bought it from James Worden, except for the direct drive Thunderbird SC rear axle, which is too heavy and crude for this car (and the Warp 9 will really hate being used that way.) Still, its a noble effort, and its just too bad that its now taken so long to develop the the decade of lead over the rest of the world that this design once had has largely evaporated.

    My concern about the Sunrise is the same as every custom-bodied car: glass. Unless this thing is using stock windshields, side and rear glass from something relatively common, the car (and kit) is going to be at a hard stop on production. The VW kit car guys learned this a long time ago. Even if NHTSA and the DOT permit polycarbonate windshields, the cost of custom glass is a nasty hurdle for this design. I sure hope it uses standard glass from somewhere.

    And actually, a really up-to-date car like I'm thinking about would be bigger- more like the size of a Honda Accord than a Civic- 25% more of everything than the Sunrise, (and the Volt and Leaf, for that matter,) except the weight.

    We shall see...

    TomA

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  25. Tom:

    You're preaching to the choir here. But it isn't easy for us to get our arms around CFRP techniques.

    The Tesla is actually an illuminating example. When you make the underside of the car body the battery box, and integrate the transaxle, motor and controller into a small package, it becomes apparent just how much space an ICE and transmission take up. The car is basically a saddle on a hugely space inefficient horse/drivetrain.

    Freed of that, the Model S winds up the size and shape of a European sedan on the outside, but with HUGE room on the inside. The car is back to a blank sheet of paper.

    They are going to stamp aluminum, which is a world better than stamping steel 1914 fashion. But I agree CFRP would just throw the whole thing forward 20 years. Our range goes way up, and the durablity of the basic car sheell becomes a "forever" item.

    I guess the quest for the new car with the new features is going to forever keep us in the planned obsolescence mode with regards to cars. But I can easily picture an alternate universe where you buy a car body you like, and just keep putting new paint and interior in it after the fashion of the aviation industry forever. Battery upgrades would be trivial. A motor is a motor is a motor. ONce they work and provide about the power and performance you want, they quickly become boring. And they would last essentially forever compared to an ICE engine.

    I could see battery/instrumnetation/entertainment getting upgraded every few years, with new paint and interior. But drive train/body pretty much a stone monolith.

    We've actually done a lot of talk of doing our own frame and body using aluminum and CFRP. IT gets very expensive very quickly. But the real issue has been finding people to work with that could do the job. And of course, what kind of car to do. Matt likes something like the Citroen GT. I like the Speedster. Everyone likes more practical 5 passenger with cargo. We can't do a whole line.

    The Sunrise looks fascinating. But what I'm looking at here was last updated in June of 2009. Where is this project today? The web site looks quite dated. Is anything further going on?

    Jack Rickard

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  26. I'd love to see you do the Porsche 918 Spyder.

    I know it's a no, but still.

    Padraic

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  27. This talk of the solectria brings up azure dynamics. I have noted that the AD drive kits (AC55for example) are now EXCLUSIVELY using can bus interface. The Eviosion has can bus, the curtis 1238 has can bus, the brusa has can bus, most if not all modern cars have some flavour of can bus .... I think you can see where this is going. How the hell do we use these devices and get them talking to each other?  More to the point, how do we integrate these into existing vehicle architecture.

    Pretty much all I know about can bus is that it is broadcast network system where each component is listening out for the information that interests it.  is this not an opportuity in the making? Surely one of those clever electronics computer type guys can come up with modules to "spoof" signals. As an example - power steering on the mini cooper.  Now I don't know where the signal to the PS pump comes from but, couldn't a small module be placed in line with it in the can bus netwok. This module would determine that the car is "on" and spoofs a minimum speed requirement to the PS pump. Once the actual can bus signal exceeds this value then the module simply acts as pass through. The tacho would not be affected as it gets the signal it is looking for but the PS stays on while the car is on.

    Probably going even one step further, what about a generic can bus based electric vehicle control module. This would be complicated by the fact that everyone seems to feel the need to develop their own can bus "standard" so again, integration is the issue. I think the EV community needs to stop working around can bus and start working WITH it.  I simply don't have that skill set though. 

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  28. Wasn't there some company offering a "skateboard" platform that included batteries, motor, and suspension? You could bolt a Sunrise body to it and drive off, almost.
    Still the question of what window glass could be used.

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  29. Trexa: http://www.trexa.com/

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  30. CAN BUS actually stands for Computer Area Network, but because of it's electrical nature is resistant to EMI and in some ways ideal for automotive uses, it has been widely adopted there and you rarely see it anywhere else. IT has become the networking standard for cars.

    But it isn't an operating system. It's a network architechture like ETHERNET. Each manufacturer comes up with its own codes and uses for those codes. A nd they are generally treating them as proprietary. "Tuners' then discover what SOME of the codes mean by trial and error.

    SImilarly, BMS manufacturers, charger designers, controller designers, etc are implementing CAN bus interfaces, usually for their own use, and prying the code/symbol definitions out of them is a task.

    To get any device to be able to control or listen to other devices is really about the code book, not about the bus.

    A common registry of codes from EV developers would be nice, but is an open source concept and not likely to be welcomed by those developing proprietary solutions.

    This friction between interoperability and product defense has been the nature of many things for many years. It becomes a religious war between the for profits and the open source guys. Oddly, the for profits always want the BENEFIT of open source developments without the tit for tat. Similarly, the open source guys view those who don't open source THEIR products as somehow allied with Microsoft and all forces of evil in the universe.

    Beyond that, I can't sort it all out for you. But you're right, a wizard who built a canbus central controller/display unit and learned to integrate all the varieties of EV equipment into it would be King for a Day.

    Jack Rickard

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  31. Padraic:

    We have very few "no's" at EVTV. We're not even NO on BMS. But we have a lot of "not yets" to deal with....

    Why don't YOU do a 918, and send us HD video of the effort, and we'll try to include it in our show....

    I'm pedaling as fast as I can....

    Jack Rickard

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  32. JP:

    If I wire going to stick a body on the Trexa, it would be this one:

    http://www.acautos.com/49-50-mercury/

    Jack, IIRC sometime last year somebody asked Lee about the Sunrise on the EVDL, and the answer was something like: "development is ongoing but slow, money and time are hard to find for it, we've made some progress but haven't updated the website, etc."

    Unfortunately, the composite monocoque business is an OEM's game. Unless you're Burt Rutan, I can't think of anyone with access to an autoclave big enough (and the experienced guys and equipment necessary) to do CF unibody structures. Even the OEMs can't really do this yet, so it just isn't a workable thing today.

    That's not the end of the story, though. I always say "composite" and not "carbon fiber" because CF probably isn't necessary for this application. The boat builders have recently made huge gains in the strength and lightness of their precision injection vacuum molded foam and honeycomb core structures, which are S2 glass and kevlar, and don't have the exotic production requirements of CF.

    Yes, CF has marginally superior properties, but in this scale (as opposed to a tennis racket) the differences may not be so critical. The weight penalty might be, I dunno, 15%? Call it 30%, worst case, on a unibody that might weigh 295lbs instead of 225lbs in CF. That's not a bad trade to change the cost basis of an aerospace clean room for that of a bass boat factory. The marine guys can probably do the auto unibody job perfectly well, right now, and maybe even cheaply enough to make it all go.

    Lastly, for the home builder doing ambient cures and hand layups, CF is really the wrong material. Plain old S2 glass will outperform it under those production techniques, as the parts are easier to make, far cheaper and can even be lighter.

    TomA

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  33. Since your all dreaming about the future, here's my dream about the future, although a more distant future. I think 3D printing is really going to take off and something like a car body will be made on a large format 3D printer. The printing process could allow for much more complex shapes and car manufacturers could make many more models of car on the same production line.

    Here's an article about the whole thing in case anyone doesn't know what I'm talking about:

    "The printed world"
    http://www.economist.com/node/18114221

    I also like the idea of everyone having a 3D printer at home like we have 2D printers now. Jack for example could print out some custom parts for his car. He seems to like ABS plastic a lot. Which is convenient because some of the cheaper 3D printers that are coming print in that plastic.

    Nick F.

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  34. Absolutely fascinating article Nick. I can readily imagine just the ability to design adapter plates in plastic and drop them off at the machinists to have done in tool steel. It would be fantastic. We could fit everything BEFORE sending it out to have it made.

    You've opened up a new world for me. We'll have to look at this 3D printing. We're a step away from the Star Trek device that just made stuff - can't recall what it was called.

    Tea- Earl Grey - Hot.

    Jack Rickard

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  35. Jack - "Replicator" is the word you are looking for.

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  36. I've had this company on my bookmarks for about a year. There are some parts for my conversion that I would like to have built, but injection molding one is not an option and machining one is expensive, this is a much better option in many cases, and if you are going to have a mold made for a part, I'd have it printed first and make sure the dimensions are exactly the way you want before spending the money for the mold.

    http://www.shapeways.com/about/how_does_it_work

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  37. Precisely. The nice thing about Alzheimers is you get to meet so many new people every day. REPLICATOR. We are coming very close to the replicator, albeit perhaps in slow motion at first.

    I want a replicator. Of course, I don't want the $14,000 model. I like the BIG one.

    Jack RIckard

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  38. I looked at this printing technology almost two years ago and was foaming at the mouth with so many ideas. I also looked at coupling it together with a 3D Laser Scanner:

    http://www.nextengine.com/

    It really begins to open up a LOT of possibilities.

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  39. A 3d scanner makes things go SOOO much faster when your building brackets and such for the first time. We have one at work and it gets way more use then the 3d printers. It's only about a 2'X2'X2' so not much use for the autoworld. I think everyone in the office has scanned every single coffee cup we have around the place. And one thing that sucks out 3d printers....none of our can print a cup that will hold water.....

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  40. Eh guys, though high tech production methods at home seem to materialise before our eyes, I have a completely different albeit, I would think, more important feature of EVs future to deal with.
    EMI
    So Jack, while young Hauber plays with your test bench, wouldn't it make sense for you to check for EMI? I would assume you can handle a spectrum analyzer quite well. And you'd probbably be one of the few who can also explain whats going on.

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  41. A 918 (or replica), if I am ever in a position to finance it I will, and film it in glorious HD for prosperity.

    But it will be more like a light, perhaps Japanese sports car with useless back seats that would make good space for a mid mounted battery pack.

    I'd love to see an EV 1 replica.


    Padraic

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  42. Funny I've been kicking around the idea of an EV1 replica. Looking at ways to improve the aerodynamics of my Fiero I realized the fiberglass body panels hung on a space frame make radical shape changes relatively easy and one could do a close approximation of an EV1, though once again glass issues mean it wouldn't be perfect. The frame construction also makes stretching the wheel base a relatively straight forward task that many have done. Of course all this is beyond my abilities but a cheap used Fiero can be a good platform with many possibilities. Pick an '88 for the improved suspension.

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  43. I'm familiar with 3D printers too. It's ok for making scale models from the computer design and plugs for making moulds for castings. But as a useful mat'l, its not stable, not strong, certainly no ability to survive in UV and I would never, ever by this kind of epoxy drink fluids from it.

    Apart from that, the ones I've seen are pitifully slow. lasering one fine layer at a time.... Then it dunks back into the bath before repeating itself.

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  44. JP-

    Pulling body plugs off of one of the remaining EV1 cars would be a hoot.

    The glass issue is an old and thorny problem. The only way to do it economically is to pick lites that are in common production.

    Fiberfab used C2 Corvette windshields and early Mustang fastback rear windows for most of their kit cars. Side windows were also Ford. Over the years, guys have adapted other glass, like RX7 door windows. Custom glass was only tried once, on the Bradley GT-II, and for those owners it is still available from the original contractor- for something like $3500 in production lots of 10- for each piece. I think there were 7 pieces on the car. Its miserable. The Aztec 7 shares a windshield with the Lamborgini Miura. An Aztec 7 with a good windshield is now worth $2500 more than one without...


    The custom car guys have made a science out of cutting down windshields and side glass with airborne abrasive slurries for chopped top customs. Its a royal PITA. Usually takes three tries to get a windshield done. In the '60s the guys often sunk the excess (intact) glass into the cowl and trunk on a chop because there wasn't a good way to cut it down. DOT-approved glass is the big issue, plain and simple.

    The good news is the huge variety of stock glass available. The problem is finding the needle in the haystack. If I were on Lee Hart's team, I'd mold thin fiberglass templates of the glass he needs right off the Sunrise, then take them to the Mall of America on a Sunday, and walk around seeing what they fit close enough to consider. The chances of eventually finding something that can be used with only modest modifications to the body are actually pretty high. Its just doing it that takes effort.

    The EV1 would be a similar project, but could very likely be done. The windshield doesn't look terribly unique- the door glass is probably the easiest to source, and the rear window could be a blown custom polycarbonate canopy. That's easy-peasy, and probably under $1k. Of course, if you tried to sell them GM would be all over you...

    TomA

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  45. These additive processes are interesting, especially the aluminum and stainless ones. The hard work here is on the data file. The printing is trivial thereafter, but the machining on a forged billet would be pretty simple given the same file. I'm guessing the additive models would be hard-pressed to beat a CNC machine job in cost, strength and low volume production for anything but the most intricate and lightweight parts. Still, for the right application, especially models and prototypes, its a great thing.

    An alternative digital process for composite construction is CNC foam machining. This is how plugs and cores are made for everything from F1 CF chassis tubs to HPV envelope bicycle fairings:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TqokK03BJsM&feature=related

    That's a really exotic setup, but much more modest "X-Y and a little Z" machines running Mach 3 software that can rout sheets of 2" think EPS foam are relatively cheap. That's how the hull of my Moonray will most likely be made- in 2 inch thick slices routed on a CNC table/gantry machine. Stack, glue together, sand lightly, glass and viola! Instant composite monocoque.

    TomA

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  46. Hey Jack,

    Before young Matt bolts the generator too firmly to the bench, would you consider including some load cells to measure the reaction torque between the two? I realize you'll already be measuring electrical power in and out, but the gearhead in me thinks mechanical torque would be interesting.

    Also, how will you control the load to simulate the vehicle inertia, rolling and wind resistance, etc.? I think simulating the load with some degree of accuracy is required to evaluate transmission shifting implementations, if that is a goal of your integration bench.

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  47. Hi Jack,
    I've found interesting article about guy named Robert Stempel: http://green.autoblog.com/2011/02/16/gms-bob-stempel-talks-about-lithium-batteries-and-what-will-ma/
    I'm too young to remember these times, could you shed some light to that period of GM and why everything changed later?

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  48. This is an excerpt from the article above from ohm69:

    With li-ion, it's necessary to avoid high and low states of charge, right? "Absolutely. You have to stay away from the top and the bottom because lithium is unstable at full charge, and at full discharge. If you stay in the 20 to 80 percent range, you're pretty comfortable."

    Sound familiar, Jack?

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  49. Christopher:

    It sounds familiar enough, and I would say it is very good advice.

    As to adding some insight regarding GM during that period, let me add some for GM today, and all these large companies.

    Most people are familiar with how their local shoe shop runs, and extend that knowledge to corporate entities of 100,000 people. It simply is not an accurate translation.

    When you refer to "General Motors" or "General Electric" or "Sun MIcrosysstems" or "Microsoft" these are enormous corporations with tens or hundreds of thousands of people in them. I know you picture the CEO as "managing" all of that. He doesn't.

    "General Motors" is a marketing term. It is a public personna. It is handy as a BRAND and a public entity. It is even a handy way to invest as you can trade a stock in that "public entity".

    But it doesn't exist in real time. What does exist is in this case probably about 100 companies, each with several thousand people, and each having "divisions" and "departments" within them. Not only is it not monolithic, but often departments actually compete with other departments, divisions compete with other divisions, and people and organzations within the structure vie with each other every day in almost every way.

    I used to coach our sales people at Boardwatch - telling me you called Sun Microsystems and they don't want to advertise is about like saying you called France and they told you they had no wine.

    THere are HUNDREDS of projects going on all the time in an entity operating under the umbrella of General Motors. Some get funded for further development. Some don't. Some do, but then that changes later. Some don't, only to be resurrected later. And people move between all these segments, and of course in and out of the entire organization.

    Their finance arm has almost nothing to do with their floorplanning arm, which of course does financing - for dealers.

    To those wihtin the organization, it often looks like chaos. To those out the organization, the perception of GM is quite carefully managed by professionals, most of whom don't actually work at GM. And that perception has nothing to do with how GM works.

    It is the Alice in Wonderland world of corporate capital structure on a large scale. It is not necessarily a good place for humanoids.

    Broadly, most such corporations DO generally evolve a "corporate culture" over time. The more cohesive that culture, generally the more successful. But managing that is kind of like herding cats with a five iron in a lightning storm.

    Over 55 years, and having worked at some of the largest, including McDonnell Aircraft, now Boeing, Emerson Electric Electronics and Space Division, and Martin Marietta, now Lockheed, and having dealt with large telecommunciations companies over the years at an intimate level, I guess I find it a sterile, poor habitat for humanoids. And most people dealing with them will find it a less than satisfying experience.

    I have grown to lionize small, creative entreprenuers with vision and persistence and usually small groups of people they direct in a very autocratic structure as being the best environment. But of course they don't scale well, which is why these large corporations exist. But in the perfect world, all businesses would be small businesses.

    The problem is, if they succeed, inevitably they become large businesses. Within my lifetime, Apple Computer, Microsoft, Hewlett Packard, IBM, ALL grew from small garage shops into what they are today. America. What a country.

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  50. Hey Tom,
    I'm probably instructing granny how to suck eggs here but last summer I've played around doing quite a bit of urethane and glass sandwich construction. Single curves are very easy. Double curves can be done with cross-scored sheet. Obviously, you can cut and sand to shape other parts.

    Keep it cheap. Avoid the cad machine. I made full size cut-outs using a normal printer and scaling to size with an old projector. Just keep a hoover in your empty garage because that stuff gets everywhere! Lot's of fun.

    Links abound Tom. Here's a nice and curvy one.
    http://www.rqriley.com/frp-foam.htm

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  51. Mr. Rickard,

    Can I amend my contest entry to say that I fried the motor in my daily commuter today that gave me over a year and a half of reliable service? :P
    If I can make a 2 HP motor last that long, I figure a Warp9 could last my lifetime....

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  52. My question is regarding the mounting the motors to the gear box. My understanding of an automatic gearbox is very limited to say the least and y knowledge on EVs is not much better.

    But could the automatic gearbox be mounted to the motors without the torque converter? In the same way that some people elect not to use a clutch in a regular gearbox? Maybe the question should be, how important is the torque converter in changing gears as it is no longer needed for letting the motor idle without stalling?

    I'm sure this is an obvious answer to most, but on the upside its always the stupid questions that get the most and often fastest answers.

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