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 - Electric Car Conversion - Part 2
It's been a long wait, but the Thundersky lithium 144v 160Ah batteries finally arrived! Now we have to set about determining the best configuration for the batteries in the engine bay and rear tank using info from convertyourgasguzzler.com. A bit annoying the BMS modules haven't arrived yet as a confirmation measurement of the height of these would help in determining the battery rack height dimension. We could arrange the engine bay battery racks as a typical square-finish configuration, or perhaps angled around the motor for a cool effect, and then as Nathan suggests place plastic clear Perspex sheets over the top for a neat finish, and tinted perspex surrounding the Curtis terminals too perhaps - we want a neat engine bay! Nathan mentioned someone who had Thunderskies mounted on their edges (sides) but the efficiency was greatly deteriorated and batteries leaked! I don't know if those were the LiCoO2 (we're using LiFePO4), either way we'll install close to vertical anyway and a crude animation is included to show possible mounting. Another 'fun' part in this video was removing the dash so we could access the ventilation system box and put in the heater core (I know, could have gone with a water micro boiler unit but budget is getting tight; maybe later); biggish job but not too hard for two people working on it (Stephanie did it once, alone, and it was a pig of a job she said). I'll help Nathan get it back together later as he moves on to the charging setup and we'll the need the BMS master unit as well (which also hasn't arrived yet). The Curtis will have a water cooling block underneath where all the FETs are positioned inside (and block secured tight with thermal compound between surfaces) and maybe a fan box on top, if there is room, but the water cooler alone should help keep the thing under 75 degrees C (a Zilla would be better; can't get our hands on one for now and they're expensive). The very crude animation of possible engine bay layout will probably change as we decide the best location for stuff (pwr steer/air con drive components and compressor, pump motor, hoses etc) and final battery count front and back. The reservoir for water block coolant may stay in its original place if the hose length is not too long to be impractical. Slowly but surely we are getting somewhere now. Sorry about the shaky camera, some of us have been sick with flu. Sorry about the boobies too, but hot fiddling with cars ;-)





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.





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.





Stuff They Don't Want You To Know - Electric Vehicles
If electric cars have been around since the 19th century, then why haven't they become more widespread? Skeptics say the technology isn't viable yet, but conspiracy theorists think there's more to the story. Tune in and learn more in this podcast. http://howstuffworks.com http://facebook.com/ConspiracyStuff http://twitter.com/conspiracystuff http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/stuff-they-dont-want-you-to/




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