EVCCON and Beyond

It’s been a busy couple of weeks here at Illuminati HQ.

Nate and I headed down to Cape Girardeau Missouri to the first annual EVCCON hosted by Jack Rickard of EVTV fame. We met a lot of our old friends, some from X Prize and others from the EV community, and made many new ones. The convention was filled with long days of extremely knowledgeable speakers, who tended not to have my bad habit of rambling. It made me realize that I’m going to have to work on living with the debilitating disease of Tangentitis, and hopefully, with many long sessions of rehabilitation, learn to if not overcome at least control the symptoms of my disease while in public or posting blogs. (If you also suffer from this terribly debilitating disease, there is help, go to tangentitis.com for the latest information on dealing with this disease and the newest medication possibilities by BudPhiser, a flavored liquid medication called ‘allphuctup’, or if more drastic measures are needed try the new BudPhiser, ‘gonein60seconds’*)

The List of Honor from EVCCON:

Each and every one of the following could be written into a blog of their own.

First a thank you to Steve at autobeyours.com; we first worked with Steve while finding parts for our XPRIZE car, later we actually got to meet the “STEVE” in person at the shakedown event in Michigan. He had been hired, like the A-Team, to help Global E in their quest for the gold, almost single handedly building Global E’s hybrid entry for the competition: a full size car that achieved nearly 60 MPGe on the racetrack (take that Big Three!). Steve, Nate and I worked a several electrical issues on both Global E and Illuminati’s car’s while at the competition and we were really happy to get a chance to meet with him again at EVCCON. In fact, Steve had come with a gift for the Illuminati, an electronic power steering unit from a Prius that he thought might be just what we were looking for to add to Seven, and he was right! After getting the unit home and tearing it down to just the components we need it looks like it’ll fit perfectly onto the steering column of Seven! We’ll be adding it during this winter’s tear down and rebuild. Thanks Steve!

Also, for those who saw the videos of EVCCON you can see some of Steve’s handy work, you see Steve is the owner of Autobeyours.com, he rebuilds Toyota Priuses and also does custom modifications, in the drag race you’ll notice a stretch Prius limo, that’s Steve’s; he’ll do almost any custom Prius work, pure electric, El Camino pick-up, stretch limo, you name it and if it’s with a Prius he can do it.

Also, he’s not only a Prius expert, he’s got lots of new and used parts that can be used. For example, putting electronic power steering on your EV conversion.
So give him a shout and see what’s up at Autobeyours.com and tell him, “the Illuminati Sent Me.” We like to make him think he’s being watched…it gives him that warm fuzzy feeling of an IRS audit 😉 And hey, if you can’t joke with one of your buds, who can you joke with.

New friends:

While perusing the vendor booths, Nate and I came back to each other with a info flyer from RechargeCar with a picture of a really cool, nicely shielded amp probe they’re about to go into full production with. Later on during the event, at Jack’s house with a few of Jack’s specials in us, we met up with these really cool guys, and found out that they are RechargeCar and they liked our car and wanted to test their new amp probe on an AC system, which is notorious for making noise and interfering with the brains of amp probes, to see how theirs would fare. Well, I’m happy to say it fared very well indeed. We even tried making things a bit noisier for it and it had no problems whatsoever, so we’re going to be working together in the future, us trying to break their amp probe, and them trying to thwart our efforts, all so that Jack will have a new recommendation in instrumentation and so that the you, the EV converter, will have the most reliable, noise proof, instrumentation to incorporate into your builds.

So I’d like to say thanks to Andy and the rest of the folks at RechargeCar.com, and tell them that we look forward to trying to break, I mean test, the first of the production versions of their amp probe and instrumentation, which so far, both I and Seven have miserably failed in our attempts to break, fry, scramble, and otherwise reek havoc upon. I’d include Nate in that, but he’s the guy that usually is fixing what I’ve found some way to break and until that changes, well, Nate is only good at breaking big metal objects, like wrenches, pry bars, and ½ inch grade five bolts 😉

Renewed Vigor:

We have also returned from EVCCON with renewed excitement and enthusiasm for Nate’s battery charger project. I’d like to go into more details, but that would spoil the surprise…lets just say it’s everything Jacks been looking for in a charger.

Also, as some of you may know, I once again broke the transmission in Seven while on the autocross track at the CON. So, how many times is that? First time was only a clutch at X Prize. Second time was this past spring just after turning up the inverter to 90% and doing some 0-60 runs, and third…well that was EVCCON, however from our failures our greatest successes shall be born. I very obstinately told Jack, after he repeated that we needed a bigger transmission, that we’d be back and with a smaller stronger transmission.

From that fire our phoenix is taking shape. We’re working on our own clutchless single speed gearbox specifically designed for electric drive trains. That said, I like shifting and I doubt I’m alone, so, we’re also working on plans for a high-low box, a two speed trans for electric cars. When will it be ready? I’m pushing for the one speed for next spring, the two speed will take a little longer…testing on the shifting mechanism to make sure it’s bullet proof will require lots of hard driving time for me….darn.

And a two speed may only be a pipe dream. Tesla tried a two speed as well with little success. So for now keep the two speed thing just between you and me and be looking for a rock solid one speed racing gearbox for electrics because I’m tired of George Hamstra’s Netgain Motors and others like his always breaking all of our stuff.

If axles are your EV’s issue, check out Rockford Acromatics, they made our axles which I haven’t been able to break and are the only company so far that we’ve found that will build custom axles for a front wheel drive application…even if it is hooking up a metro trans to dodge hubs. Make sure to tell them that the axles are for an EV application and they’ll know what to do.

After getting home from the CON at 3am Sunday morning, Jen and I (mostly Jen) drove up to the Rockford area to meet up with a college buddy of mine and former Hybrid car builder, Tony Spaldon. Tony is looking into helping us with our trans and motor/trans coupler issues and was in possession of our last spare transmission. A quick 4 hour trip to see Tony and collect the trans and 4 hours back so that Monday I could tear apart and put back together Seven with the spare trans before Jason Fagone, an author working a book about the X Prize (“Genius is Not a Plan” from Crown/Random House), was due out at Illuminati HQ (a.k.a my barn).

Jason was flying out for a ride in Seven and to get a follow up on how and what the Illuminati are doing so he can finish his book. No pressure to get Seven running, right? I mean I have a whole day before I go back to work and 4 days before Jason arrives.

Yeah, well, that’s when the adventure began…We got the old trans out and the new one in by late Monday night, rolled it back and forth under it’s own power in the shop and everything seemed fine; Fast forward to Tuesday after getting home from work, I take Seven out of the shop to make sure everything is working OK and to shake some air out of it’s cooling system which is notoriously hard to bleed. It was at that point I noticed something wasn’t quite right. It may have been the growling, the tender massaging action of the accelerator pedal or the violent vibrations as I went down the road…I’m not sure which of those keyed me to the fact something was amiss with our new used transmission. something that just wasn’t going away. Something about a bearing not really being round anymore. DOH!

The new used trans that we just spent the last two days acquiring and installing has bad bearings and we can’t get another replacement in time for Jason’s visit…so what do we do? We go buy some tools and pull a couple all-nighters to pull the transmission (again), and disassemble it (again), pressing off the old bearings and installing new ones then getting it all back together and into the car.

We made it with at least a couple hours to spare and even got to sleep a few of those before Jason arrived.

So, the author/reporter guy shows up, not knowing that his well planned trip and flight from out east were hanging in the balance. Luckily he hadn’t seen the video up on Jack’s blog site.

The visit went well. The entire team, plus our intern, Matt, were able to make it out and we discussed our adventures since X Prize, tore apart some transmissions to rebuild, worked on our designs for future transmissions and power supplies, and started work and planning for adapting the Prius power steering unit Steve gave us into Seven.

Also started working on plans for a guest automotive builder to come out and give us a hand with proper use and incorporation of light weight strong composites into Seven and the rebuild we’re planning for this winter. But more about our friend later, this is just a heads up…a teaser for you, because he’s not only coming out to help with our project. He’s decided to take his 40+ years of fabricating and building cars for the race industry and start teaching others how to do the same, so our work with him will be his initial foray into the realm of education; and you will see why we are so honored to work with this, for now, unnamed individual and the benefits he brings to the EV conversion and builders world in the form of light weight strong materials and safety and how far he can help us advance in our endeavors in a very short period of time. More on this and other topics later….my “gonein60seconds” is starting to take hold…good thing I’m a fast typist.

Audere Est Facere
Kevin Smith

*warning, gonein60seconds is a highly flammable medicine that should not be used near open flame or while smoking or in the presence of someone smoking. Side affects may include: loss of memory, incarceration, head aches, loss of feeling in extremities, fear of bendy straws, and the desire to play with high voltage.

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