Imminent Progress

January 16, 2010
Well, we just moved our 944 to a real shop: Hunter Motorsports. Now that the car is getting nice and warm, it will make work a lot easier. There's still a lot of sanding/priming/painting of the interior to do, and it just wasn't working in the -20 degree weather. Progress has been irritatingly slow so far, but I'm very optimistic now that we're in a shop that everything will start to fall together nicely.


 

Miscellaneous Merriment

December 23, 2009

So, the first of our EV parts have started arriving. On the weekend I picked up the package sent from EV Source, which had our fuses, disconnects, vacuum pump and a bunch of other goodies. Everything was exactly as ordered. I mistakenly only ordered one Anderson disconnect, which means I got half of a device really. Two halves are needed to make the disconnect work. And it's huge! I had no idea the disconnect would be so large. I'm going to have to rethink its location. The idea is that this disconnect can be pulled apart manually, even while under load, as an emergency cutoff in the case of an accident, fire, runaway motor or anything else. I'll probably mount one end of the connector solidly to the chassis, and attach a steel pull-wire to the other end and mount a handle inside the passenger compartment. Other designs have involved using a foot-pedel, but I think that a hand-pull should suffice. The 1500W heater is actually a lot smaller than I expected, which is a bonus. It'll be a lot easier to attach some ductwork and a fan this way.

We have also started exploring the idea of moving to another garage. The shed that we've been using is getting awefully cold. If anyone in Toronto or the GTA has a spare bay they want to lend us, please let me know!

 

Massive Motor

December 7, 2009

So apparently Net-Gain has started the production of their latest motor creation: the Warp11 High-Voltage. To be blunt - this is amazing. It's basically a Warp11 motor that has been reconfigured to allow for much higher voltages (up to 360V) and much (much!) higher rpms. It can even provide regenerative braking if set up properly! These are very, very sellable features. The fact that you can spin this motor up to 9000rpm is going to provide the largest benefit in my opinion. It will be even easier to use this motor in a direct-drive application, or for achieving much better performance while leaving in the original transmission. Plus, since motor amperage is a function of the difference between applied voltage and back emf, doubling the allowable applied voltage will actually allow much higher amperage to be supplied to the motor, which equals much higher torque. Now, these 2000A controllers may actually be useful after all. Getting a system voltage as high as 300+ volts could be a challenge, especially while trying to maintain a 1000A+ output. But, with the falling LiFePO4 prices, we could be looking at some pretty powerful new EVs on Toronto roads soon.

It looks like by the time we get our 944 on the road, it will be obsolete. I may have to plan to convert my Miata using the 944 parts, and then buy a whole new system for the 944. Budget permitting, of course.

 

Photo Phrenzy

November 30, 2009
Photo Phrenzy
OK, so I managed to find a few good pictures from the past month or so, and I figure I'd post them all now. 

I also wanted to mention that I've been in discussion with our Toronto based electronics manufacturer ElectroCraft, and it looks like we can jointly offer a simple upgrade for any Hybrid car on the road, allowing the owner to plug the car in overnight for charging. This would be an inexpensive upgrade, and would allow drivers to maximize their electric mileage. We can also explore more thorough upgrades like adding extra batteries. Just drop me an email to discuss.

I've been getting a number of emails lately from people interested in electric cars, which is great! Once the 944 is done, I'll be happy to give demonstrations, and in the meantime I'll answer as many questions as you can throw at me.
 

 
 

Empty EV

November 22, 2009
Well, a lot has happened since the last post, and once I find my camera again, I'll post some pictures.

After Graham brought in the engine lift, we made swift progress getting the gasoline engine out of the Porsche. We had to squeeze the engine a bit to pull it out of the top of the engine bay, but it was a lot easier than removing a ton more parts to drop it out of the bottom like our instruction manual told us. There was a small issue with one bolt with no space to get at it, as well as stirring up a huge cloud of fiberglass fluff, but eventually we succeeded.

That same weekend we sold the engine, along with all of the other accessories we had pulled out and had no use for, to Brent at Hunter Motorsports in Mississauga. 

There were a few more things to remove once that the engine was gone, including all of the fuel lines, coolant hoses, heater core and some extra wiring. I ended up pulling out the entire dashboard to get at the heater core, which may not have been a great idea. The plastic parts of the dash were so old that I ended up breaking just about everything. It'll take a bit more custom work to build in a new dash, but I wasn't impressed with the look of the old dash anyway. Plus taking out the heater core removed a good bit of weight and freed up a huge amount of cabin space. 

We then began the journey of putting everything back together again and starting the new build work. The transmission was the first part to go back in. It went back fairly easily, although we had to clean and repack one of the CV joints which had fallen apart when we removed it from the transaxle. 

We also started a more thorough design of the new system and finalized all of the components that we needed. We split the car into three systems; battery, motor, and integration. Graham took on the battery system and ordered a set of Thundersky LiFePO4 batteries from EVComponents in California (who ships directly from China). The pack is a set of 50 100Ahr batteries, which will give us a system voltage around 160-180V. This pack should give us an easy 300A continuous current, with more for quick starts when we want it. 

We also sent in our order to Darius at ElectroCraft Systems in Toronto for the main controller, battery charger, throttle box, and 12V cross charger. Darius is making us a systems using a new board design and higher amperage components - I think it's his third controller version. It looks like it will be a great set of components. 

I also set up an order through EVSource from California for all of the extra components that we need, like the main contactor, fuses, disconnect, speed sensor, ceramic heater, and some other miscellaneous bits. These parts may ship before Christmas, but everything else will arrive mid-January. That doesn't leave us with a whole lot of time to prepare everything for their arrival. 

I also went to my firs EV Society meeting last Thursday, which was great. There are a lot of people out there interested in EVs. I met a fellow who might be interested in machining the clutch adapter that I need, and maybe even fabricating some motor mounts and a battery box as well. For a project as complex as this, having the right connections is crucial.

I've also done a little bit of planning for the headlight relocation work, which I think will give a nice modern look to the car. I already sold the headlight motor, so I have some extra incentive to get the light relocated properly. I even bought some fiberglass components, and with a bit of practice, we should be able to make some excellent and lightweight replacement parts. Every pound shaved off the car will make a big difference in mileage and acceleration. 

Ok, that's pretty much everything up until now. Some photos should be posted soon.

 

Limber Lift

October 7, 2009
Graham went out and bought us an engine hoist last night, so we can now progress with totally disembowelling the 944. With a bit more time I probably could have had the Porsche spit its engine out, but the hoist will let me save my persuasion techniques for something more important.

On a side note, I drove down from Toronto to Detroit last weekend and picked up a brand new Warp9 motor! With proper cooling, I feel that this motor will provide us with all the power that we need. It's a heavy beast, so it'll be nice to have that hoist to haul it around.

Dave from Fisher Automotive in Mississauga has agreed to help us fabricate an adapter plate, so once the engine is out, we'll also remove the clutch housing and send it along with the Warp9 motor over to him. While the adapter plate is getting ready, we should have enough time to clean out the remaining ICE parts from the car. This includes the fuel tank which requires the removal of the transaxle before it can be taken out, and the fuel lines, filter, etc., etc., etc.

We also purchased a sand-blasting adapter in order to strip all of the old glue and rust from the interior. We'll pick up some non-silica sand and some ever-important protective gear, and then let the sand fly!

With the engine removal imminent, I think it's about time that we capture some more photos and videos of the 944 overhaul. I'll be picking up some form of camcorder tonight. You might even see something on YouTube soon.
 

Engine Ejection

September 20, 2009
Yesterday, Graham and I tackled the engine bay again, and managed to almost fully prep the engine for its removal. Starting with the A/C condenser, and its piping, then the fully exhaust system from the bottom of the manifold, then the alternator, A/C compressor, motor starter, and finally the ECU, we steadily removed just about everything that we don't need anymore. We took out almost 200lbs of equipment, and the engine has yet to come out. This is great weight savings for us, as we hadn't anticipated the weight of a number of these heavy components. In general, everything came out very easily. Only the thoroughly rusted bolts on the manifold caused any kind of problem, and they were dealt with fairly easily. For the engine to come out, we will have to remove the lower A-frame and some of the suspension components in order to drop it out the bottom of the engine bay. Judging by how easily everything has been coming apart so far, I don't anticipate that this will cause any problems. 

I managed to find a Porsche auto shop that is interested in buying all of the used parts that I salvage, which is great. I was dreading trying to sell each an every piece individually, even though I could potentially recover more cost that way. Hopefully this week, we'll get a chance to borrow a hoist, and take the engine over to the shop and get rid of this huge pile of parts that are accumulating. It's starting to look like a 944 boneyard, which is a little creepy. 
 

Rad Removal

September 14, 2009
So, the engine bay has come under attack. I have removed the front bumper (surprisingly heavy) and the cooling system is starting to come out. The massive radiator fans are out, all of the coolant, the coolant reservoir, air intake, and a bunch of hoses. Probably about 40lbs of stuff that doesn't have to go back in again is now sitting on a shelf in my garage. And, if we splurge on a new bumper, another 20lbs could be saved as well. There's actually a lot more weight in the engine bay than I was expecting. Hopefully there will be a bit more lightness adding going on tomorrow too.

 

Garage Gurus

September 2, 2009
So the 944 has now moved into its new home in my neighbour's garage. After a few hours of moving stuff out of the garage, donating some of it to the Salvation Army, and storing the rest of it more efficiently, there is now plently of room for the Porsche, and elbow room around it. Admittedly it's not perfect. The head-space is a little low, especially around the entrance. The door is a mere 5'-5" high maybe, and there are a few beams throughout the space at this height as well. Luckily we will be doing most of the work while sitting in the car, or hopefully on chairs in order to reduce the number of time we smack our heads. Still, the car is in, the door is closed, and we can work on the car whenever we want, whatever the weather.

Since there has been no interest in the 944's engine whatsoever, I think it is time to pull it out of the car, and put it on a shelf somewhere in the hopes that someone will still want it. I have been considering leaving the water-system in the car, but I have a feeling that integrating it into the new motor could be quite challenging. Plus it's pretty heavy, and would provide cooling far in excessive of what we'll need. Maybe we can sell that too.

I'm getting eager to start a detailed design of our system, and figure out how everything is going to work together. We need to find some way of cleaning the exposed interior body of the car too. Lots of glue and some rust too.
 

Logo Lunacy

August 30, 2009
Logo Lunacy
Well, after many long hours of grueling hair-pulling and nail-biting, my wife and I finally came up with our new Singular Motion Logo. This highly anticipated symbol is going to be proudly displayed on all of our converted vehicles, to unite them under one name.

I could explain what the symbol represents, or even how we came up with the idea, but I think that I'll leave it up to the reader to figure it out.

We are still hammering out the details of our banner, and business headers, but this definitely is a good start. Many kudos to Amanda for her creativity and total artsiness.