Share →

rickardIt’s odd to consider my impending retirement from EVTV. I don’t “retire” well. I tried it once, but it was a bit like a pig on roller blades with a 5 iron, wandering from golf course to golf course across the land, clueless and without portfolio.

But I have to say that I’m very pleased at what doesn’t feel like a lightened workload, but really is. This all kind of comes together in this week’s show in some amazing ways.

In many of the world’s armies, if you kill the general, you kind of disable the army. America’s tradition is somewhat different. If you shoot the general here, everyone gets a promotion, otherwise little changes.

We started converting an already built kit car, a replica of a 1957 Porsche Speedster, to electric drive. We then did a second “project” with the 2009 Mini Cooper Clubman – a brand new car actually. A little over five years later, things have changed a bit.

Anne Kloppenborg is developing an electric boat, qualifying drive trains for EU emissions, and doing his first 818 car project. He warehouses components for sale throughout Europe and is upgrading to a new facility – right on the water.

We’ve offloaded our Aristocraft 16 foot jet boat project to Jeff Southern, who is actually building a team for this in Kennesaw Georgia. Jeff has also volunteered to do the heater for our Green VW Thing. And he promises better video and more of it.

Paulo Almeida and Celso Menaia in Lisbon Portugal have developed the JLD 505 device, have completed a CANbus shield we have sent off to production, and are redesigning the GEVCU to a new weathertight format using the CINCH connector for additional pins. They’re also doing a Mazda RX-8 conversion.

Ed Clausen in Massachusetts is hard at work both on a BMW 320ti project, but more importantly the EVTV Battery Management System.

John Hardy of REDDITCH, UK and David Bogard have begun testing of the new CAM series cells, although David Nelson actually sent in the first report on these.

Michael Brown of Thailand is out doing test drive reviews of new BMW i3 car.

Mark Weisheimer, Byron Izenbaard, and Rick Star here in the U.S. have teamed up to crack the CAN bus codes on the Lear Charger used in the Chevy Volt, Smart ED, and Coda cars. Rick was at EVCCON for the first time and actually has two operating Codas as well as two gliders for parts. Eventually I see these chargers as being readily available at less than $1000 for a 3kW very capable CAN controlled charger.

Collin Kidder in MIchigan continues to head GEVCU software development and is working on a CAN analysis tool that should make reverse engineering CAN driven devices much easier in the future. Few know or adequately appreciate the key work he did earlier developing the definitive CAN library for Arduino that allows us to do any of this at all.

While not in the current episode, Damien Maguire in Ireland has started a new conversion project in Ireland of a BMW 340C. We will follow this closely. He’s using our Siemens 1PV5135 AC induction motor in this project, but driving it with an OPEN SOURCE inverter controller with some power electronics he designed himself along with an automatic TRANSMISSION CONTROLLER he developed. I’ve still got a little red ass on over the fact that he didn’t make it over for EVCCON this year.

The bottom line is that most of the video this week came from EVTV contributors from all over the world. Most of our product development happens at locations around the globe. And even some of our traditionally in-house projects are moving out of house.

No, I’m not actually going anywhere. As I said, retirement turns out to be for gurlz. It was one of the few things I’ve ever attempted and simply failed at completely. it didn’t take. We’ll continue with some of the heavy lifting, largely building test benches and rolling test benches, capital intensive activities, for product development as I see it in the future.

But an amazing thing is going on here. There are many many individuals around the world as devoted to the mission of converting personal transportation to electric drive as I am or in some cases MORE devoted to it. Gradually, they are taking on the video production itself and the product development necessary to empower and enable future custom electric car builders to do better cars with greater performance at less cost. How is this going to come out? I would suggest an ever growing number of people doing better cars.

I alluded to this in this weeks video. Momentum. And 90% of winning is being the last to go home. If you don’t accept failure, and don’t have anywhere else to go if you do fail, about all that is left is to succeed. EVTV has lost money every year it has operated for over 5 years. Actually the loss has increased in each of the five years. Early, we had little encouragement to do it at all. The conversion shops and component suppliers of 2009/2010 universally rejected us outright as an advertising medium -in many cases abusively and even mockingly. Anyone in their right mind would have joined the 95% of all business startups that fail in the first five years. By the way, the percentage of those that make it five years but don’t make it six is about 0.01%. As I said, if you survive failure, about all that is left is success.

My point here is not to celebrate. Rather to point out that persistence often trumps both genius and luck and actually I’ve never found much of worth in either of the latter, but much in the first.

Second rodeo’s are always easier because you kind of know how they are going to come out. At Boardwatch I wrote the ENTIRE magazine entirely by myself for a number of years. In the end, we had 22 columnists, including world renowned computer columnist John C. Dvorak (InfoWorld – PC Magazine) who wrote our inside back cover for many years actually. I was relegated to a single rambling Editorial page and did continue to do “Letters to the Editor” all along. Brain ran the company, Marla ran the graphics department, and Kathy ran the financials. I hardly knew what was going on most of the time. In the end, all good managers and succesful entrepreneurs work themselves out of a job. I became both extraneous and salutory.

The Internet makes this both more powerful and more real. The modern day version of GlobaL Stone Soup. In the end, you can remove the magic stone and put it back in your pocket. It never really added much flavor to the soup at all.

I also alluded, in this weeks episode, to the mountainous task yet before us. The Terran ship features a serious understeer. It takes a number of years to move the helm hard over. I’m seeing another eight to ten hard years before the outcome becomes as widely obvious as it is to us now. Again, it is not a matter of batteries or infrastructure, though those will certainly happen along the way. It is an acculturation issue in true form. My car drives just fine now.

So it is with some awe and appreciation that I consider our good fortune exemplified by the contributors this week. EVCCON is increasingly becoming an annual team meet with a lot of the resulting builds of these efforts showing up. Why wouldn’t THAT celebration be fun. Brain and I again mostly folding napkins and making sure the coffee is appropriately placed and hot. I drizzle a little home made whisky on some of the grumpies and that seems to cheer them up.

We welcome all who would find common cause. But it isn’t your normal volunteer organization. Those seeking instant gratification or immediate financial rewards will be disappointed to find mostly work and financial expense in the equation. Having done this in the past, I am confident when I say those who do persist, kind of like EVTV itself, will find it MORE rewarding in all ways in the end than they ever could have imagined. But we’ve already lost a few otherwise talented contributors along the way. It is ever so. For some, getting out of their own way is the hardest part.

Then too there is always the problem of dealing with a fumbling tyrannical and at times delusional autocrat along the way. But I’ve grown accustomed to Brian’s eccentricities and I am assured that you can as well.

Christopher Fisher has continued behind the scenes for several years to manage our HTML web site, store, and databases from his home in Sweden. After leaving the military, he joined the love of his life there and can scarce be tempted out of the country. He recently completed our Registry of Custom Electric Vehicles. At EVCCON, a number of you professed a desire for a common area to upload photographs and video of the event to share them. Christopher has been hard at work on a new UPLOADS.EVTV.ME area where you can upload videos, photos, and contributions of all sorts – including video submissions for the show. This is both password protected and at the same time open to the public. As there are regular miscreants who abuse such open services, I have decided NOT to publish the four letter password, in the hopes that NO ONE CAN GUESS WHAT IT IS. Again, I simply will not reveal the FOUR LETTER PASSWORD to the EVTV upload area.

Stay with us. We’re moving strongly into the fun part.

Jack Rickard