Wednesday, September 26, 2012

EVCCON 2012 - Arrival Day

EVCCON 2012 kicked off today as electric car geeks from around the world converged on Cape Girardeau, Missouri.

I want to make sure people understand that I'm doing this blog with descriptions and pictures and video to capture what happened at the event, but this pales in comparison to actually being there.  You can't get your hands dirty pulling a failed motor out of someone's car and get it running again (in the middle of the night, happy on fine whiskey), you can't see and hear such a variety of electric vehicles taking it easy and going for all they're worth, and you can't talk with the people who have actually taken the plunge and built their own electric car.  There are so many great ideas, designs and builds to pour over, looking for ways to make your car go faster or run longer.  EVCCON 2013 is in doubt as Jack was disappointed in the modest increase (80%) in the number of people and cars, so be sure to contact Jack or Richard and tell them you're interested or will commit to going next fall if they run it.

I gave fellow Canadian Jason Arnold a lift down from the airport last night.  We got over to Jack's workshop around 10 AM and there were already a dozen people and several cars there and I wandered around Jack's shop.  As Jack says, we got liquored up and played with high voltage!

This is either Dale Freidhoff or John Yecker's Ford Ranger project - I can't tell because they're both red!

This is Jack's electric lawn mower.  The goal was to make a nice, quiet mower that could be used at golf courses while not disturbing the golfers.  Sadly, it's the loudest lawn mower on the planet, a combination of the hydraulic pumps controlling the zero-radius turning system and the spinning blades.

This is Jack's Escalade, finished just before the start of the conference.

Here's Jack, pontificating to the adoring masses.

This is Jason Horak's  Daytona.  Last year he had problems with his controller, so it was put up on the lift and swapped in a group effort.  The car ran well for a year and yesterday the motor went off like a grenade, so up on the lift it goes and a WarP 9 that Jack had was swapped in.

This is the new motor.

This is the casing of the old motor, note the dust and destruction.

This is the business internals of the motor.  Note the missing and damaged parts in the armature and bent winding ends.

Closeup of the damaged plates.

This is Jim Greeson's 914, a beautiful conversion.

Here's Jim's Lithium battery pack, I'm taking notes for my own design.

This is John Allen's Celica, beautifully engineered and well documented in videos that Jack broadcast on EVTV.

This is Kevin Heath's Mazda RX8.

He built his own battery racks and uses A123 pouch cells with his own bussing design.

He uses an Orion BMS system that has a gorgeous tablet display.

This is the battery bank in the floor of the trunk.

This is Mark Emon's 914.  It ran for the first time the day before he trucked it to the convention.  Mark and his brother spent the day replacing a burned out coolant pump.  It has 56 200AH cells, making for a very long expected range.

This is Robert Salem's TVR 280i.  He put dual motors and a small battery pack in it for drag racing.

This is Al Gajda's Bottom Balancing and Charging unit.  It uses two power meters with settable relay trip points.  This is a critical piece of equipment for our community as lithium batteries must be closely matched when placed into the car to avoid over- or under-charging of one or more cell in the pack.  We're encouraging him to document and publish his schematic.

I discovered Jack's battery graveyard.  He performs a valuable service to our community by testing batteries to and beyond their limits so we know how batteries will perform. This is a pack he built from A123 pouch cells.  These are all blown, bloated out from overcharge.

This is the famous battery testing bench from the EVTV videos.

These are the new "CA" series of batteries from CALB.  Shown are the 60, 100 and 180 AH cells.  I have my eye on the 180s for my car as the voltage sag is greatly improved from the previous model.  I think I can fit the 180s in my battery boxes which gives me maximum capacity while keeping my pack voltage in the proper range without going to parallel cells.

This is Caleb Lander's Beetle.  A great job of fitting in all of the parts in a constrained environment.

This is Jack's Cobra replica, freshly back from the paint shop.

It has a NetGain Controls' controller.

After being in the shop for 12 hours, it was time to go home, grab some sleep and make it to the kickoff tomorrow morning.