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This week we welcome Anthony Bagnulo as a visitor from Ottowa Ontario. Anthony came down for 10 days to work with us and see the EV thing first hand. Apparently, we’re not showing the full metal jacket EV building experience in sufficient detail.

In this edition, we have a bit of fun with an oversized plasma ball and digress into plasma ball history and a description of plasma. This will be our indicator to indicate a live cord on the Texaco Fire Chief J1772 charge station.

We also update Speedster Redux which is what we’re calling it now. A simple controllerectomy has gone beyond major surgery into a total rebuild. We have a lot of fun stuff going on with it and are really having a ball building this one.

Matt Hauber has just gotten to be quite good at eeking out the final millimeters from a battery box. He worked in two more cells in the front of the car, two more in the rear battery boxes. I added 11 underneath with our “belly pack” which so far has worked out surprisingly well. We have up 1.75 inches in the center of the car from a 9 inch clearance.

Additionally, we decided this week to mount the Soliton1 over the motor, and I must say, it does show off this really quite gorgeous design very well. It also freed up the shelf where we have installed SIX MORE CELLS and a terminal block along with some gland nuts for routing. The result is a very neat installation and a cell total of 57 for a nominal pack voltage of 191 and a pack capacity of 34,380 watt hours. At our previous 225 wH/mile rate, this would indicate a max range of 153 miles.

Unfortunately, we’ll be a little over 200 lbs heavier and so roughly 2400 lbs on the road. But it sure has me scratching my head what a 1600 lb version with carbon fiber and aluminum would do.

The center of gravity should be much lower and the polar moment should be somewhat reduced – both good things in Sports cars.

The power available will also be basically TRIPLED. This is almost obscene. The Mini gets up very nicely at 100kw and 3500 lbs. This 170kw estimated at 2400 lbs on Speedster Redux is just overkill – bad design to my way of thinking frankly. But Matt and Brian are talking about taking it to Monacco for the ALT FUEL races in April. I don’t know about that.

Implementing J1772 in the charge station is a bit more of a task than in the car. But I like to cheat. I’ve kind of genned up a circuit I’m toying with. It won’t make the 1khz square wave to indicate current available. But it would detect a change from +12v to +6v on the control pilot line as we implemented it in the cars. Understand this would NOT actually comply with SAEJ1772-2010. But it would allow us to hook up to the car with a safely dead line, press the manual switch at the car, and thereby energize the charger without having to walk over to the pump and flip the switch. The plasma ball should be sufficiently visible to tell us we succeeded. And this little circuit could be replaced at any time with a more robust one that actually implements the standard.

If you see any obvious errors, I’d like to know about it before I build and test it. It’s a simple comparator. If you press the switch in the car, the 12v through the 1K resistor will drop to about 6 volts from 12v. That will trigger a transistor to turn on a small relay that in turn energizes the two contactors that apply both phases to the J1772 cordset and of course one of the phases to the plasma ball. The manual switch on the side of the Texaco Sky Chief will still work as well.

We’re also working on instrumentation – even though this vehicle features the EVISION it had previously. We received our Zeva2 fuel gage driver and added a matching Speedhut fuel gage to the dash. This gage sweeps through about 300 degrees of a full circle – giving us a lot of definition. The second version of this sensor also features a tachometer output for instantaneous current.

It needs some things. It needs a battery backup so you don’t lose your AH count when you hit the maintenance switch on your pack. And it needs a reset button so you can synch it up with a full charge once in awhile to reset the cummulative errors that inevitable with this device over time. We’re going to do a segment on building a little box with all that in it next edition.


Jack Rickard