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Electric Starion EV - Part 5 - at the Electric Car Show

The Electric Starion is now at a drivable state and we take her for a spin at the annual electric car show in Sydney. Some say that by international standards, the AEVA show is probably not a huge event, but conversely, for a small population, there is a high proportion of interest in EVs in Australia plus R&D attracting international attention, despite little interest from the government to date (although the recent Climate Ready initiative may change this). Many types of makes and models of new and old cars converted to electric drive were on display; regular daily commute vehicles, sports cars, classic cars, electric bikes, roadsters, hotrods and even a Formula 'E' race car. The 'H' word was well and truly overshadowed by 'full EV' and many people were interested in how to get their own fully-electric cars. There was one vehicle, a Prius with a K2 battery pack for extended range; these are small lithium phosphate cells up to 3200 milliamp hour, banded together into modules to make up the required voltages and they have a high energy density and handle a high charging current, ideal for regen braking. There's a test review which explains this better, at http://zeva.com.au/tech/K2/ and from there a link to the K2 Energy site where you'll find a video comparison of the cobalt and phosphate impact penetration test. As for my Starion, with an adjustment on the Curtis trimpots, it drove well, gear changing was minimal (we tried 2nd and 3rd starts (and not game for a 1st start test yet) and essentially we're convinced that I'll only ever need to drive in second or third gear as there is so much torque in the Kostov. Reverse gear exhibits a typically higher torque (not as high as first), and as seen in many EVs reversing will have to be handled carefully but further refinement will be looked into, and all in all, the Starion drove like a regular car - a regular Starion in fact with all the handling (including drift test) expected in a sports car. There was no noticeable increase in weight and the batteries delivered the power quickly as expected. We're still a little ways off completing the project as there is calibration to do, incline tests, road compliance and a couple of areas that need respray, some minor body fixes and so on. Overall though, very exciting. Apologies again for the shaky camera, there were so many people bumping around (and a Nokia N93 is not that noticeable compared to the larger cameras the media had), and I really should write a new piece of music (hope this old one's okay). Keep watching http://electriccarsforeveryone.com for updates and Nathan's http://www.converturcar.com website for news and info on upcoming vehicles to convert.


 


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Electric Starion EV - Electric Car Conversion - Part 7
Getting seasonal obligations out of the way, this video should be near the last we're doing as the car approaches completion. There's a brakes and air-con/pwr steering test, Nathan talks about water boilers used to cool engine bays in cold climate countries that could be used for cabin heating in an EV, I talk a bit about IGBTs and Nathan does a tacho send test using an IGBT. Sooner or later there may be motor speed controllers custom designed for EVs that use IGBTs. These things have freewheeling diodes, and from my limited understanding that means they're there to stop reverse current voltage spikes across the inductive load. When the current flow to an inductor is suddenly interrupted, the inductor attempts to maintain the current by reversing polarity and ramping up the voltage to maintain the flyback. Without the diode the voltage can go high enough to damage the IGBT. The diode allows the reverse current to flow through it and dissipate. IGBTs could be cool things to use for 'electric Boost' -just like a turbo Boost. From the video you can also see the BMS installed - these will be sprayed with conformal coating for protection. Most of the scenes in all the videos have been shot on a Nokia N93 which has been very handy. Thanks to Nathan, Linda and Christina for the filming. And sorry about the seasonal sillyness.





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Electric Starion - Electric Car Conversion - Part 6
After successfully testing the drivability, it's back to the workshop to get stuff removed to paint the battery racks and sort the best place for the charger and finally add the tacho sender to the gearbox adaptor plate. The fuel port assembly is done now also; I cleaned up the inner rubber mount and gasket-sealed the hole with a rubber bung where the original fuel inlet was, and Nathan cut out the new hole for the power through to a new fascia plate where the 20A connector will be mounted. A shut-off switch is added which is essential when 'filling up'; some folks use micro switches like the ones in arcade machines in their EV fuel ports but we're using a brake switch which will be more durable and it's long thread allows us to fine-adjust the profile of the switch so that it triggers properly when the fuel door is opened/closed. An annoying short had to be traced under the dash (oops, I forgot to ground a 5W resistor), and you'll meet our little helpers at the end of the video. Cuuuute...





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Electric Starion EV - Electric Car Conversion - Part 4
Most of the hard part of cabling through the sub-frame has now been done. The car's been pretty well stripped to the bone but all this work should be worth it. While a lot of EV builders get their cabling to run under the car, protecting it in the sub-frame is my preferred option and this has been checked by the road-legal engineer and so far so good. Metal saddles are used to clamp the conduit flex where exposed, so nothing is loose. The main issue has been space in the engine bay, making sure the batteries sit comfortably under the hood and trying to fit the ancillary stuff. With the laser-cut mounting plate for the AC air-con and pwr steer driver motor etc, orientation had to be decided upon, and the battery placement largely dictated this, so its placement may appear odd at first, but will be very secure when completed. Battery balancing was also performed prior to installation and now we're on the road to re-assembling everything, dash, final wiring etc. I bought some Electrolube DCA200H conformal silicon spray for the BMS PCBs but we'll install and test everything first. Some BMS modules such as the TS-90 have all components protected in a resin block and maybe BEV who build the modules in Australia will integrate moisture protection in a future version. Nathan has done an excellent job welding up the supports for the ancillary drive components and the pulley part I supplied (which I happened upon by chance in my big box of junk in the shed) should do the job well for control. Also, the trunk/hatch area is painted and ready for battery installation. The next video will show the batteries installed with their BMS and the car will be (fingers crossed) basically drivable (with cooling system installed later if time runs out (but we've both got jobs to bring in da regular bux so time has been tight)). Despite some other issues with the car, it should be mostly ready for our annual EV show in Sydney (while down the road the bigger money Motor Show shows off the rip-off complicated hybrids and guzzlers - and we wonder if anything will really change and if governments will really listen (it starts by replacing greed with need but convincing them is a difficult thing)). Check out www.electriccarsforeveryone.com for updates, and I'd like to thank you all for your great support and comments (even the naughty ones are appreciated ;-P ). Oh, sorry re miscount on episode version (working on cars and video's and doing jobs means we're both need a hell of a lot of sleep!)





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Electric Starion EV - Electric Car Conversion - Part 3
Welcome to the third installment. It's taken a bit of preparation time, which is essential rather than diving in to find something we've done is not quite right - both Nathan and I have been guilty in the past of making stuff only to discover a better way of doing it. But parts availability has been the biggest issue; delivery time has been long delayed for many reasons too complicated to discuss here. In this video we re-assess engine bay mounting; most of the battery racks are welded up now and the battery management has arrived (except the master unit, d'oh!). We discuss battery management, the most efficient use of space in the engine bay, as well as the AC motor we received that will drive the air-con/power steering. (btw, the AC motor and BMS come from www.bev.com.au where they are custom-made). Also an older previously unused segment stripped in about removing weight, as this is crucial in gaining mileage. Oh, and a mention of power cabling which we will try to get through some of the sub-frame rather than running under the vehicle or lumping under the carpet (as the power cable sits inside a plastic flex conduit roughly an inch diameter), so long as it's legal which we'll check with someone who knows (guessing it's something like 600mm distance between u-clamp affixing). The Zivan will sit in trunk/hatch area to the left near the charging 'fuel' port; not sure about tire placement yet, but it looks like we'll keep our back seat which is good thing (and did you know that there is an under-seat sub-frame area roughly two inches high? Hmmm... possibilities....). As for the battery tank at rear, we're looking at ducting hot air from it using PC fans and 'Exhaust' steel piping. It'd be nice to get them through the side vent follies on the pillars, but this would mean a lot of work (they'd probably be part-exposed in the interior, angled down rather like roll-cage bars). Overall I would have loved to have progressed a bit more than we have but there have been circumstances beyond our control and parts supplies have been an issue all the way along - which in a sense is a good thing so we don't rush too-obvious solutions that would otherwise cost in time/energy to undo (in a circumlocutory sort-of way ;-) ). I'd like to thank Christina for her camera work during the making of these videos, shot on a two-year old Nokia N93 still going strong, as well as Linda for filming the air-con motor, without them I'd be stuffed for making videos about this car.





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