Workspace Woes

August 25, 2009
With the 944 in my driveway, parking has been a bit of an issue. The single car garage has been housing the 944, and half of my wife's car. My driveway then takes the rest of her car, and my Miata, with about a foot of it's bumber hanging over the curb. I've been lucky with avoiding tickets so far, but I can't count on that lasting forever. Plus, not being able to close the garage door overnight during the winter will let snow get in the porsche, which is completely unacceptable. I've been pondering possible solutions for a while, and just last night, the solution finally came. My neighbour has graciously offered the use of his detached single car garage. On the condition that I clean out all of their 20 years of stored 'items'.

With Graham and I hauling stuff, I think we can get the garage ready for use over the space of a weekend or two, no problem. And then we'll finally have a cozy place for the 944 to be worked on. The neighbour's garage is slightly larger than mine anyway, which will make life a lot easier. My neighbour has always wanted to turn the garage into a workshop anyway, and once we're done with it, it will definitely be a functioning workshop for all of his future projects. Or for my next EV conversion - we'll see!

I have a feeling that I may be paying for the use of his garage by keeping his fridge stocked with beer, but that's a small price to pay for the huge convenience it will provide!

Plus I won't have to shovel snow off of my wife's car this winter either. Yes, the miata will sadly have to endure the snowstorms, and hail and ice... But it has survived two winters already, without whining too loudly.

Time to break out the gloves and the garbage bags, and go crazy!
 

Supply Stream

August 22, 2009
On the business side of things, we are slowly gathing information about local EV supplies, and groups of EVers. We have had a few discussions with a local designer/manufacturer of DC controllers, battery chargers, and other electronics - ElectroCraft. This is a very exciting bit of progress. Having local products wil not only help us save on shipping and troubleshooting, but also fits in perfectly with goal of making our 944 as green and environmentally neutral as possible. ElectroCraft offers a number of different controller solutions, and we may be able to add them as a preferred and standard vendor for our future clients' conversions.

From our preliminary discussions, we will likely be sourcing out an 11" DC motor with an 800A controller. We have decided to maintain the existing transmission and clutch system, for a number of reasons - including simplicity and safety. Our next major decision will involve the battery system. Do we grab a dozen or so 12V Yellow Tops from Walmart? Or do we try to source a more advanced battery to increase energy density and lightness?

Budget is a concern of course, but we also need to prove to clients that with a good balance of reducing weight, and investing a little extra in the right technology, they can improve the enjoyment and usefulnes of the car to make it all worthwhile. At the next EV Society meeting in Scarborough, Graham and I will try to talk to one of the members from Electrovaya (a leading Mississauga battery manufacturer) and see if we can get our hands on some of their batteries. But that's not until September.



 

Interior Identity

August 22, 2009

Our fully functional 944 is starting to feel a little exposed. With no hood, no hatch, and its sunroof up on a shelf, every interior part is now quite visible to the exterior. With so much light getting in, it's quite apparent how years of sun have taken its toll on the carpeting throughout the entire car. The multiple shades of brown, some almost as light as tan, are certainly not right for Singlar Motion's future flagship. It's time for the 944 to shed its humble aged interior.

I managed to pull the seats out without too much difficulty, exposing some nice dark shades of brown carpet. Definitely time to have them out. Starting around the back seat, and then the main floor of the car, the carpets detatched easily. Most of the underpadding is in shreds, or damp, or rusty. Nice. I even managed to recover $1.36 from various unlikely places. The 944 is starting to pay for itself already! Prett soon, there was a lot of nice sheet metal getting exposed. It'll have to be sanded and re-painted, which gives us a nice opportunity to give the new interior a new look of our choosing. Bright lime green? Electric blue? Maybe shiny silver with a roll cage to make it like a true track car. Or even a deep black. Who knows what personality we'll be imprinting into our 944. Most likely, as we get to know her better, it will become clear.

I had to take out the centre console to release some of the carpeting, and the 26 year old plastic was so brittle that most of it got cracked or destroyed somehow. Not to worry though, all of the instrument clusters can be refitted into a new console, or replaced with maybe a built-in computer screen. It's not our intention to re-make the entire dash, or try to turn the 944 into a spaceship. But a little bit of modernization can't hurt. Plus, we'll be frequently using a computer for diagnosis and monitoring, so why not build it right in?

I think tomorrow I'll finish taking out as much of the interior as I need to, and hopefully start cleaning it up. A good vaccuum, light sanding, and a wash will make it infinitely more enjoyable to work in the car.

 

The Start of our First Conversion

August 21, 2009
Day One:

We searched and searched for the right car to begin work, and we were fortunate enough to stumble upon this beautiful 1983 Porsche 944. With its light weight chassis and 50/50 weight distribution, we thought it would make the perfect platform for our first conversion.

After a Kirk wedding and a honeymoon, we got to work, first removing the rear hatch, part of the back seats, the carpeting and the front hood. Next step - sell out the original components and start to order the new.