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bennelson 05-31-2011 10:50 PM

Green Machine Experiment
Hey Folks,

There are a couple of guys who are working on a documentary about building an electric car and driving it across country.

They were out at my house a couple weekends ago. Here's a little video about it.

See video at THIS VIDEO LINK
(Can anyone embedd Vimeo in the forum? I don't know how!)

Green Machine Experiment - Official Trailer on Vimeo

The web page for the project is at:

In case you don't recognize me, I'm the guy wearing the Open ReVolt T-shirt! :D

bennelson 06-01-2011 08:18 AM

Here's a YouTube version of the video for your viewing convenience.

bennelson 06-08-2011 09:39 PM

Hey Guys,

Recently a couple of documentary film-makers came to visit me.

They are starting work on a feature length film about building an electric car, and driving it cross country.

They were in the area, and visited a few of my friends who have built electric cars. They spent a whole Sunday afternoon at my place. I even showed them my electric riding lawn-mower. We drove in my Electric Geo Metro to the old-timey drive-in burger joint and everything.

So here's the thing. None of them have ever even BUILT an electric car before, let alone one designed for a cross-country road trip!

They asked me to be the builder! I foolishly said "Yes". My only experience is that I've built one electric motorcycle and one electric car - just a short-range economy cruiser!

I have a fair number of friends who have build electric cars, including guys who are master mechanics and electric engineers - neither of which I am. I do have some experience with home-brew, open-source controllers, but have never worked with Lithium batteries before, which I think are nearly mandatory for this project.

If I have any regrets at all about my Electro-Metro conversion, it's that it's not a "cool" car. I always thought that if I did another conversion, I would want it to be a high-performance sports car, convertible, or muscle car.

For this project, they really want to do something "All-American" - whatever exactly that means - it's a little different to every person I think.

So here's the challege - build an electric car and drive it across country, as a summer project - GO!

If this is going to happen, I am going to need to call in every favor I have ever made for anyone. I'm going to need a lot of help from my friends, and every bit of moral support as I can.
Remember that whole Automotive X-Prize thing? Well, they had more than three months to work on it, and a bigger budget to boot. No million dollar prize either - just the pride in proving that a home-built electric car can do anything you need it to, including a ride down Route 66!

A "Trailer" for the film concept is at the top of this page. Keep in mind that the film doesn't exist yet. The car doesn't exist yet. The movie will be about the entire process and the people working on this project.

The "Trailer" is just a preview of what will come as long as we can get the funding and keep the motivation for what's required to make this happen!

In case you haven't seen my YouTube videos before, I'm the guy in the black t-shirt that says "Open ReVolt" on it under the jean jacket.

So, what do you think? Insane? Too ambitious? Not enough time, not enough budget for the goal?

See what you can do to help. Chime in here, or visit the official project web page at:

I think this IS totally do-able, but in only one way - as a MASSIVE GROUP PROJECT!

We already have right here on Ecomodder some of the smartest, handiest, home-brew, git-'er-done folks on the planet, right here.

So, what's the car need? A motor? Forklifts galore have already explored on this forum! Darin, weigh in here.

How about a high-power, yet inexpensive motor controller? I think the Open ReVolt will do nicely. AC or DC version to be decided, but I'm thinking high amperage....

How about air conditioning on an electric car? Well, lots of us have already designed swamp coolers - I even did a liquid-cooled seat for my truck during last summer's heat wave!

Aerodynamics? We have an entire FORUM dedicated to just that here.

And people to meet on the way? How about every one of you who helps out on the project!!?!? (Can I charge at your house while we're there?)

So WHO's WITH ME!?!?

We need to budget and fundraise for the battery pack, but otherwise we almost already have everything we need to make this happen!

Please weigh in with your suggestions and support!!!!!! :thumbup:

MPaulHolmes 06-08-2011 10:33 PM

If it's a high voltage DC controller, probably the IGBT route would be best. Can forklift motors do 300v? I can make a BMS for the lithium pack that can speak to the controller over CANbus. There would need to be a new control board and bms boards made though. Any major new design has the potential to fail, and then new boards be ordered which takes more time and money. For the AC route, the software would have to be finished. I was thinking of just porting over the code from an application note (AN908) to get it working, and then worry about fixing it up later. Also, someone on ecomodder is working on it right now. The hardware is basically done. Are there affordable AC motors out there that can drive a car?

bennelson 06-08-2011 11:25 PM

Not sure how many volts we can put through it, but I do have access to a motor that is exactly like this one that's in an EV Ford Ranger.

DC typically goes to up 144 or 156 volts or so.

I can also talk to Tom G. His Dodge Neon is running 300V AC. He might be able to locate a decent AC motor for the project.

euromodder 06-10-2011 02:02 PM


This screamed Dave Cloud's Dolphin to me.

I looked up his range 200 miles
Dave Cloud's Rally Car

All you need is better, lighter, and probably even more batteries.

bennelson 06-10-2011 02:32 PM

I talked with Dave Cloud on the phone a little while back. He has done a LOT of conversions!

I was hoping to get him to the Mother Earth Fair with that car. He didn't make it, but some of the other local EV guys were there, and described how he just showed up one time with the Dolphin at a meeting, without ever giving a hint of the project before just driving up with it!

While that is super-aero, I don't think it's the sort of thing the movie makers are looking for. They want something still somewhat "normal", and kinda cool in the traditional car sense.

A friend of mine has a Lithium El-Camino that can burn rubber in each gear - I'm thinking of something similar to that.

bennelson 01-12-2012 08:45 PM

Well, nothing has ever come from this documentary, except for the fact that I just can't sit still.

This thing has sort of been rolling around in my head for a while.

I think that an alt-fueled plug-in hybrid would really have some potential for an amazing project.

Build it and drive it over 1000 miles around Lake Michigan, without using a drop of gasoline.

Think it can be done? Maybe it can, IF you help!
See the new thread at:

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