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Snake Oil Racing
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54 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi,

I'm new to the forum and just getting started building my Mk4. It is going to be electric drive rather than a gasoline powered.

This is my second build of an electric vehicle. The first one was a boring and pokey Saturn conversion. This one will not be boring or pokey ;-)

Now, before you start laughing about an electric motor rather than a powerful V8, read on...

The motor is an 11" High Voltage TransWarP motor from NetGain. It can make at least 460 ft-lbs of torque, instantly, from a dead stop. There will be no transmission, the motor is being hooked up direct drive to the rear end. So no loss of hp by the transmission.

It will be powered by a pack of 720, 3.2V Lithium Ion cells, for a total pack voltage of 288V DC, that can deliver 1600 Amps.

The motor controller is capable of delivering 1/2 megawatt of power, which the motor can handle, and the battery pack can produce, although I will only be running it at 403Kw, rather than the peak of 501Kw.

The pack and controller at 403Kw = 540 HP. So the car will not be a sleeper.

To me, the Electric Mk4 is the best of two worlds... the classic Cobra muscle car of the past and future of clean but powerful electric vehicles.

To quote a fellow EV'er John Wayland, "It would be zero emissions if the tires would stop smoking". Take a look at Wayland's 72 Datsun EV, the White Zombie. 0-60 in 1.8 seconds. At the drag strip, it easily beats just about everything.

I am expecting the Mk4 to do 0-60 in 2.7 seconds, and still get the equivalent of 160+ MPG if driven gently.

Details of the build can be found at evalbum.com/3567.

Cheers,
Wayne
 

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Too much is just enough.
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Welcome Wayne. The only problem I see is your "equivalent of 160+ MPG". Electric vehicles don't get that under realistic conditions. You'll make it about 80 miles on a charge, right? I've yet to see an all electric beat 100 miles on a charge, and even if you were able to hit 160 miles, it wouldn't be 160 MPG. Your "tank" only gets you as far as 160 miles, which is less than the range of an FE powered FFR. I could be wrong, but that's how I see it. Also, electric vehicles aren't clean. When you look at all the emissions that are generated in order to make the car and then charge the car, they actually are worse than modern internal combustion engines. Just look into the emissions behind lithium batteries. Also, your power comes from a coal burning plant (I looked up Maine's power plant). Electric vehicles are not to solution for future clean vehicles if we don't use nuclear and hydro plants and find a way to manufacture lithium batteries with less emissions. In the end, you're just moving the emissions from the tail pipe to a smokestack.

There are a few members on here interested in doing electric powered FFRs, but I think only 2 FFRs have been done on electric, you'd be the first Cobra. Good luck. Don't get me wrong, it's cool you're doing an electric Cobra. Not my tastes, Cobras are meant to be loud, but it's your car, not mine. Just don't be naive in thinking that today's EVs are clean vehicles, they are far from it. In the future, sure they could be pretty clean if you developed fuel cell technology and improved battery production emissions. But that is at least 10 years out, most likely a lot longer.
 

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Snake Oil Racing
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54 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
In my previous electric car, I designed and installed a sound system that produces artificial engine sounds. In that case I used the sounds of the Jetson's car, but it can be programmed with any sound source, or a selection of them.

So, no it won't be silent. Not at all. You may hear the sound of a big V8, jet engine or locomotive as I go blasting past you....



1. Cobras are meant to be loud. Not sure how you plan to deal with that. :001_tongue:
2. "It would be zero emissions if the tires would stop smoking" Thats some funny stuff.
3. Carroll is surely beating his head against a wall.
4. A silent Cobra? no thanks.
 

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Welcome to the forum. Why can't we all just get along? A gearhead is a gearhead.I drove a Electric Ford Ranger built by United Tech.It was way cool.If you set a switch for performance mode,it would smoke the tires.Roger
 

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Snake Oil Racing
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54 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Granted that a tank of gas versus a 'tank' of electric fuel will get you more miles per fill-up This is one of the biggest limiting factors with electric vehicles. Battery technology will eventually change that. There is some very intersting stuff in the works these days. However, I am speaking of miles per gallon equivalent, not miles per tank.

For MPG equivalent, I have years of experience, thousands of electric miles and plenty of spreadsheet data (kwh/charge, miles/charge) that shows my Electric Saturn doing about 140 MPG equiv. Since the Mk4 will be about 1000 lbs lighter it should also be more efficient, so 160 MPG equiv should be within reason.

As for overall pollution of gas versus electric, industry experts would disagree with you, and would show that electric is lower emissions overall, especially when considering what it takes to manufacture a vehicle and also to provide fuel for it's lifetime. Electric wins easily here.

Ok, so I admit, that it won't be as loud as the other Cobras out there, and it won't go as far on a tank of fuel. But my goals in building it are to have fun, be challenged by design & construction, and have a car that will be unique among all others. 460 ft-lbs of instant torque is just icing on the cake ;-)




Welcome Wayne. The only problem I see is your "equivalent of 160+ MPG". Electric vehicles don't get that under realistic conditions. You'll make it about 80 miles on a charge, right? I've yet to see an all electric beat 100 miles on a charge, and even if you were able to hit 160 miles, it wouldn't be 160 MPG. Your "tank" only gets you as far as 160 miles, which is less than the range of an FE powered FFR. I could be wrong, but that's how I see it. Also, electric vehicles aren't clean. When you look at all the emissions that are generated in order to make the car and then charge the car, they actually are worse than modern internal combustion engines. Just look into the emissions behind lithium batteries. Also, your power comes from a coal burning plant (I looked up Maine's power plant). Electric vehicles are not to solution for future clean vehicles if we don't use nuclear and hydro plants and find a way to manufacture lithium batteries with less emissions. In the end, you're just moving the emissions from the tail pipe to a smokestack.

There are a few members on here interested in doing electric powered FFRs, but I think only 2 FFRs have been done on electric, you'd be the first Cobra. Good luck. Don't get me wrong, it's cool you're doing an electric Cobra. Not my tastes, Cobras are meant to be loud, but it's your car, not mine. Just don't be naive in thinking that today's EVs are clean vehicles, they are far from it. In the future, sure they could be pretty clean if you developed fuel cell technology and improved battery production emissions. But that is at least 10 years out, most likely a lot longer.
 

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Too much is just enough.
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Wayne, just to be clear, I'm not attacking you. I saw issues that needed to be commented on was all. Today's eco-friendly movement has a lot of BS in it and I don't like seeing people going for electric for the wrong reasons based off of lies someone like Al Gore started.

As for production of a vehicle, the only real changes between an ICE powered car and an EV car, are the batteries in terms of pollution. The rest of the car is pretty much the same with some minor changes due to different drive trains. So don't get into EV vs ICE vehiucle production, they are the same. Lithium battery production facilities put out so much pollution from the various gases emitted that they kill the surrounding life in the area. Here is a pretty good article.
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/08/swiss-environmental-study-finds-ev-battery-production-impacts-outweighed-by-operation-impacts/
While operation of the vehicle has similar CO2 emissions as an ICE vehicle, due to smokestacks, the batteries have a pretty big impact on the environment and you'll have to replace them. Lithium batteries are difficult to recycle, unlike normal car batteries. Over the life of the car, the batteries will have 15% of the eco foot print. This may seem small, but it's actually a pretty big impact for just the battery. Then once you add the emissions from a coal plant, the emissions for driving an electric car are similar to the emissions caused by ICE vehicles. They are by no means clean vehicles if you do not use nuclear or hydroelectric power.

Do electric for the right reasons, to have fun. Don't go for electric because it's "eco friendly." That is the issue I have with a lot of EV vehicle owners, they think it's clean when it isn't, yet.
 

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I often dream of having an electric Cobra. I think it would be so cool to run a few laps with nothing much more than tire and wind noise. Please keep us UTD on this project, I'd love to see how it progresses.

Odlly enough, I was passed on the highway this morning by a Tessla roadster. First one I'v seen.
 

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Snake Oil Racing
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54 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Thanks Roger. I joined the forum mostly to get some advice on a few problems that I'm trying to resolve. I have started to poke around on the previous posts and there is definitely some good discussion to help.

I decided to post an introduction to see how other Cobra owners would react to an electric version. I expected that any responses would be anywhere between 'cool dude!' and 'Cobra Blasphemy!!'

.... now, I'm off to try to find out something about that steering rack problem....

Cheers,
Wayne

Welcome to the forum. Why can't we all just get along? A gearhead is a gearhead.I drove a Electric Ford Ranger built by United Tech.It was way cool.If you set a switch for performance mode,it would smoke the tires.Roger
 

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29,374 Posts
Very cool project. Keep us posted
 

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Snake Oil Racing
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54 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Motorhead,

I don't feel attacked at all. I always welcome other opinions and take them into consideration, so I appreciate the opportunity to discuss and/or debate.

I built my first electric car just for the challenge of it, and quite frankly to feel like I was giving the finger to big oil when gas hit $4 a few summers ago.

All of the FFR builders on this site surely know the satisfaction of working through a challenging project like building a car from the frame up. For me, this is my first frame-up build, and only the second car that I have worked on other than an oil change or flat tire.

I admit that I'm enthusiastic about electric vehicles. If you're looking for a design challenge try building one!

I totally agree that there is a lot of BS out there in the media, so for me, it's "I'll believe it when I see for myself". Thus I have no doubt about the ability to get 160 MPG equiv out of this car.

Plus, I have always drooled at the thought of owning a Cobra!!

Wayne

Wayne, just to be clear, I'm not attacking you. I saw issues that needed to be commented on was all. Today's eco-friendly movement has a lot of BS in it and I don't like seeing people going for electric for the wrong reasons based off of lies someone like Al Gore started.
 

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After I finish my v8 version, I'd like to build an electric to balance my bad karma!:evil:

Sounds like a cool project, I'd like to see how your build goes, very interesting.

one thing I'm curious about, will the weight difference be less, more, or about equal? Just thinking out load, getting rid of the v8 = gas engine, tranny, gas tank & gas, battery, fuel lines, fuel pump, radiator(?). Electric = electric motor, batteries, electric power steering pump(?), electric brake assist(?), what else?

btw, I think it would be cool to retain the LeMans filler cap, but have an electric plug there instead!

Speaking of quiet electric cars, I heard some states have passed laws to ADD sounds to electric cars, because blind people can't hear them coming! (serious!)

I designed and installed a sound system that produces artificial engine sounds. In that case I used the sounds of the Jetson's car,
that's funny, it would be real funny in a Cobra, then SMOKE the tires!
 

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Snake Oil Racing
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54 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
The car will be almost the same weight as a V8 version (inlcuding a full tank of gas) when it's finished, maybe a few lbs less. I am planning to distribute part of the battery weight to the rear where the gas tank would go. This will allow the car to get closer to a 50/50 front-to-rear weight distribution.

Most of the traction motor fits in the transmission tunnel, with a few inches sticking out into the engine compartment. This leaves the whole engine compartment open for lots of batteries.

The LeMans filler cap is exactly where I am planning to plug in. I used the gas filler for it on the Saturn too.

I added my engine sounds system to the Saturn because it was so quiet and did actually make people jump a few times, when all of a sudden, there is a car there.

As a safety factor, this is especially important when rolling slowly through parking lots. The sound system's ability to play any sound can be entertaining. For a while the Saturn sounded like a bunch of cows moo-ing, which really gets some odd looks from people!


After I finish my v8 version, I'd like to build an electric to balance my bad karma!:evil:

Sounds like a cool project, I'd like to see how your build goes, very interesting.

one thing I'm curious about, will the weight difference be less, more, or about equal? Just thinking out load, getting rid of the v8 = gas engine, tranny, gas tank & gas, battery, fuel lines, fuel pump, radiator(?). Electric = electric motor, batteries, electric power steering pump(?), electric brake assist(?), what else?

btw, I think it would be cool to retain the LeMans filler cap, but have an electric plug there instead!

Speaking of quiet electric cars, I heard some states have passed laws to ADD sounds to electric cars, because blind people can't hear them coming! (serious!)


that's funny, it would be real funny in a Cobra, then SMOKE the tires!
 

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Snake Oil Racing
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54 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
Thanks. Jeff and I have been in touch for a while now. Jeff is looking to do some road racing with his, mine will go to the drag strip eventually.

Another electric FFR was done by Michael Kadie. He did a '65 Coupe and I think he was planning to also do electric roadsters and sell them.

Wayne


Wayne,
Welcome! You and Jeff McCabe need to talk...

http://www.ffcars.com/forums/showthread.php?t=246129

Good luck,
Jeff
 

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Too much is just enough.
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Electric cars do have their place, the biggest advantage is not using gas. Coal is mined all of the country and the US doesn't really need to import it. Once you start seeing nuclear power plants becoming the popular choice for power, electric will get a lot cleaner. The only downside to electric, is range. You can't exactly just stop by a gas station and fill up when you're low. That's the one thing I like about hybrids like the Volt, you can go a long time without using gas for just around town driving, but still be able to go on a road trip with the vehicle. I'll be keeping an eye on your build, as it should be interesting. From a gearhead perspective, electric has some interesting bonuses, like instant full power. That also has some risks as well though, you could lose control of the car in a blink of an eye, and Cobras already have a reputation for killing their owners, and are notorious for trying to kill everyone who sits behind the wheel.
 

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Hey Wayne,

Very cool project, please keep us up to date on this build.

Just curious, can you summarize how you deal with safety issues? Are you building the battery pack or purchasing? I would think with so many cells one or two cell failures could lead to a catastrophic melt down of the entire battery pack. In general how do you manage handling, assembly and trouble shooting with such a high voltage potential (300V+)?

Definitely some challenges, but that’s why it’s fun and interesting.

Thanks,

Mike
 

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Snake Oil Racing
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54 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
Mike,

You are spot on with the safety concern. 300VDC will bite pretty hard if you are not cautious working around it. I felt the bite a few times at 120VDC on my previous electric car.

As a general rule for personal safety, high voltage rubber gloves are a requirement. I have a few pairs of them rated at 500V. Conventional manufacturers like Ford supply them to the hybrid mechanics. Proceeding with caution when making electrical connections, double and triple check each move before doing anything to be certain it's ok. I do a lot of testing wth a volt meter as more cells join the pack during construction.

Also, insulated tools for working on the high power stuff.

I have not yet decided if I will build my own pack or purchase one. It will be less expensive to build, and the pack capacity will be larger for the same $. Larger of course equals more range. If I purchase a pack, it will probably be build by Derek Barger, who builds packs for high end vehicles including drag racing record holders like the Killacycle drag motor cycle. (if you want to see ripping fast acceleration, watch a video of it. 0-60 in 0.8 seconds. That's not a typeo. Less than 1 second to 60 mph.

Anyway, back to battery safety, the latest Lithium cells have proven to be very stable and don't catch fire like some other similar chemistry cells.

One of the most important parts of the battery pack is called a BMS, battery management system. It monitors each cell (or parallel set), and manages charging so each cell tops up to the same voltage. As a cell hits it's max charge point, like 3.65V, the BMS will shunt current around the cell while the other cells complete their charge to that voltage. When they all top up, the BMS informs the battery charger to shut down. BMS will also instruct the motor controller to reduce or shut down the motor when the cells drop to a low voltage threshold like 2.0V.

A third aspect of safety in a high voltage vehicle is crash protection. This includes insulation like rubber and lexan containment boxes, properly sized and located (electrically) fuses, and an inertial switch that will cut all power in the vehicle on an impact.

If I choose to build my own battery packs, which is the most likely direction at the moment, there will be 4 of them, hooked up in series to add up to the final voltage of 288V. Each pack will be under 100V, so not too deadly to work on.

A cool feature of the motor controller is that it includes a control panel that will be mounted on the dashboard. The panel can monitor voltages and currents at the battery and the motor. It can also be used to set upper limits, so for example, it can be programmed to only provide say 300A max to the motor. 'valet mode' as it is sometimes referred to. So if someone else drives the car, it keeps the max hp under control.... most certainly a safety feature.

Wayne


Hey Wayne,

Very cool project, please keep us up to date on this build.

Just curious, can you summarize how you deal with safety issues? Are you building the battery pack or purchasing? I would think with so many cells one or two cell failures could lead to a catastrophic melt down of the entire battery pack. In general how do you manage handling, assembly and trouble shooting with such a high voltage potential (300V+)?

Definitely some challenges, but that’s why it’s fun and interesting.

Thanks,

Mike
 

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Wayne,

I think I got it. So battery charge/discharge management and monitoring is handled largely by computer control down to each cell (or parallel cell packs). For crashes, containment is the key.

Thanks for the detailed feedback. Again, please keep us posted on your build.

Regards,
Mike
 
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