Forever and a Day

September 11, 2013
It certainly feels that long since my previous entry... A lot has been happening at Singular Motion, and we're gearing up again for EVFest 2013.

The most obvious upgrade we've made to the 944 is it's new paint job by Rubberized Rides in Orangeville. Curtis did a great job making our beast Firebelly Orange. You won't miss it at EV Fest, that's for sure.

We will also be adding an additional 12 cells to our battery pack over the next week or so. All of our components are rated for at least 350VDC, so we will be slowly adding on until we are getting the performance and range that we want.

We finally got around to performing a range test, and found that our pack will only take us a woeful 52km (at 80%DOD) of hilly driving at 80kmph or so. That works out to roughly one km per cell. There are a number of causes for this that we will be exploring:
- Alignment: this hasn't been done since we started the project. Very likely we will add some efficiency by getting the tires properly aligned for the new weight distribution.
- Transmission: The stock transmission that we have is now the noisiest part of the drivetrain. There are sure to be a lot of losses accumulated over years of driving. We are exploring a replacement/upgrade.
- Aerodynamics: the 944 is not the sleekest of cars. The underside of the car has more air pockets where components used to be, that could be adding to the drag. We will explore how to smooth out the air flow under the car.

Well, that's a brief update - come to EV Fest on September 22, 2013 to see the 944 for yourself!
 

Road testing - Engage!

August 18, 2012
 

Another successful weekend

August 12, 2012
So it has been another very successful weekend working with the Porsche. We have installed all of the new toys that we bought to upgrade the EV. Here's the list of improvements made since before our last controller failure:
- New WarP-Drive 1200A controller with Interface Module
- New standard WarP-Drive cooling system with reservoir, pump, radiator and fans. And Orange 'High Voltage' Coolant!
- Fixed the vacuum pump wiring
- Improved low-voltage wiring with better connectors, and simpler installation.
- Improved high-voltage wiring with orange cables, anderson disconnects between battery boxes, terminal boots, and much more.
- Relocated emergency disconnect switch to inside the driver compartment and with no cable/pulley required.

After a few quick tests with the wheels off the ground, everything seemed to be in order. We did another quick scoot up and down the driveway, with great success. The throttle is far easier to control, and moves the car much smoother.

Everything is looking good for EV Fest now. Hopefuly some road tests in the next few weeks, so stay tuned.

Brian
 

Pre-EV Fest scramble

August 6, 2012

So with EVFest only a month away, progress has picked up on the Porsche conversion. We will be implementing a lot of new ideas, and our goal is still to drive the car to the show. We started with some basic maintenance items that had been neglected for a while.

The clutch slave cylinder was reinstalled and the system bled. Hurrah for a working clutch.

The brake system was also reworked with a new vacuum system sensor. However, not two minutes after we installed the new sensor, we must have tightened it too much, and it cracked off. Very disappointing, especially since the previous sensor seems to be having hysteresis problems that made the pump stop/start very rapidly. We decided to reinstall the sensor and so far it is working fine. We will have to keep an eye on it.

We then moved on to mounting the new components that we had purchased - the first being the new Warp Drive Industrial 1200A controller. Being a much larger unit than our previous controller, we could not use the same location. We found that by trimming our adapter plate, we could make enough room to mount the controller to the side of the top battery box. We welded a few support tabs onto the box, repaint, and mounted the warp drive. All of the connectors should have enough clearance, including the new coolant hose connectors. Also, the warning lights on the case of the controller should be visible through the Lexan in the hood.

With the controller mounted, we installed the new throttle, and then the cooling system. We purchased Netgain`s standard cooling kit, instead of the pricey performance kit, so we will have to see how our temperature fairs.

We also cleaned up a bunch of the 12V wiring in the car. The new controller makes wiring a lot simpler, especially with the interface module eliminating the need for an extra shunt and gauge.

The next step will be to run all of the high-voltage wiring. This will be done using a separate Anderson disconnect between each battery pack, as well as one accessible from the driver`s seat. In each case, both positive and negative wires will be disconnected simultaneously for added safety. In addition, keeping the wires close together will reduce the EM fields produced, which is always a good thing.

At this rate the 944 will be on the road in no time.

 

Renewed vigour

June 15, 2012
A lot has been happening with the 944 since the last post around Christmas. Since then we got the car road-safe and legally on the street, and then had yet another controller blow up. Fun and busy times.

The controller seemed to suffer from over-heating despite the built-in thermal sensor. Once overheated it completely self-immolated itself, leaving only some black powder and a lot of molten metal.

Back into the garage, we took everything out again to re-design. We have since ordered and received the new Warp-Drive 1200A controller, complete with a liquid cooling kit. The disconnect switch is going to be re-worked, the contactor is going to be cooled, and some of the other mounting brackets are going to be tidied up a little.

Since the motor was out again to check for damage during the controller melt-down, we decided to upgrade the brushes to the Helwig Red-tops that are now standard with all Warp motors. They are getting bedded in as this is typed. New brushes make a lot of noise while initially setting! They have run for about 48 hours are at about half-way set. They are getting quieter and using less amperage each hour.

Posts should be rolling out frequently these days as we ramp up our work with renewed vigour. Counting down the days to the next EV Fest!
 

Post Show Remarks

December 13, 2011
This post is a little late but as you have most likely noticed from the video on the home page, the car has completely transformed and is up and running. The use of the double garage proved very helpful and we were both working hard on many components of the car. We started by completely rebuilding the battery boxes and the mounting method. Once we got the idea, it was simple to create the other boxes. 

We wanted to work as much as possible because we had a very tight deadline. EV fest was only a couple months away and we were dedicated to ensuring the car was capable of being driven by that date. Sure enough, it was, but the road to success was rough, we blew up a controller during the testing process and had to pain stakingly trouble shoot the issues. Proudly, we completed the car and were so excited, we couldn't wait to take it for a spin however, because we took it apart with the idea of creating a race day car, we couldn't road test it. 

We are currently reconfiguring the throttle and controller for improved power deliver and adding the necessary safety components required to pass safety. Once complete, we will be able to drive the car to our shows without the use of the car trailer.  We hope to have this complete within the next couple months.
 

Re-starting the project

July 18, 2011
Hello followers - it's been a long time.

The 944 has finally been taken out of it's winter storage and has been brought to the new Singular Motion headquarters in Newmarket. We now have a roomy 2-car workshop where we can finally make some progress on this conversion. The cobwebs have been swept away, and we have started re-testing the systems that were previously completed.

One interesting thing we found was that our battery voltage has slowly climbed.... I really don't understand how this is possible, considering that all batteries have a small leakage current which should eventually drain the battery. The only explanation that I can think of is that the chemistry hadn't settled the last time we were charging, and since we charged as full as we could, this brought the voltage even higher as the chemistry gelled. Each cell is now resting at about 4.7V which is quite a bit higher than the maximum recommended voltage set out by the manufacturer. I will have to set up our heating element and try to discharge the pack down to a better level. These batteries certainly do have some unusual behaviour.

The next step is to build some sealed battery boxes and a new frame to hold them into the car. Because of the motor adapter we bought, the secondary shaft of the motor is interfering with the battery locations. This means that the bottom row of batteries will have to be installed from underneath the car, and the top row will have be lowered in from the top. The motor shaft will then be sitting between the two rows.

With the new workshop I'm sure we'll be rolling in no time.
 

New Year

January 24, 2011
Happy New Year fellow EVers,

Things have been slow and cold lately in Toronto. Cold being the key word there. Without heated facilities, we haven't spent much time with the 944. I just bought a small heater, and insulated coveralls, so perhaps I can get some work done in the near future.

We're currently working on making the BMS system operate remotely from the batteries. Our BMS design currently uses a resistive bypass circuit on each cell that can be switched on during charging to prevent overcharge. This design is inherently inefficient, and produces a lot of heat. Because of the limited spacing of our battery cells, we were worried that the hot resistors were too close to the adjacent batteries, when the BMS was mounted directly on the cells. We are going to remotely mount the BMS inside the cabin of the car, where we can more easily monitor the cell voltages, as well as properly mediate the heat produced while charging.

We completed the wiring with all of the terminals including a plug between BMS and battery in case the batteries need to be removed/replaced. When the first battery was plugged in, we had a malfunction in the BMS. We tried a second BMS board, and it didn't work either.... Needless to say, I'll be spending some time re-testing and debugging all of the boards...again...

Stay warm!
 

Toronto Star

October 24, 2010
Those of you who read the Toronto Star may have notice that Singular Motion was featured on the front of the Wheels section yesterday! It's great to see that EV conversions are starting to get more publicity. There was certainly enough interest at the show to warrant such attention.

For those of you who missed it, check out the article online here: http://www.wheels.ca/newsFeatures/article/792247

Thanks Peter Gorrie for writing another great article.
 

EVFest

October 22, 2010
Last weekend's EV Fest was a huge success! We stuffed every last component into the car, and even got most of the wiring done. We still had to use human-power to get the car into the showroom, but it looked very impressive. We had over 500 guests come by and check out the car, and they had some excellent questions. I'd like to send out a big thanks to the organizers for a job very well done. This was the first EV show in Toronto, and each year is going to get bigger and better.

Oh, and the 944 won the award for Best Techinal at the show. That's a pretty big honour for our not-quite-finished yet project. People are obviously seeing the car's final potential, which is great. EVs are supposed to functional, but the 944 goes one step further with it's flair. We're planning on adding a lot more character to this car over the winter, so stay tuned!

We might also be making an appearance in the Toronto Star, so keep an eye out for the EV Fest article coming out on Saturday October 23.