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Old 05-08-2010, 12:14 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Making EVs BETTER than traditional cars

Hey Folks,

Tonight, I got a comment/question on about electric vehicles I have posted elsewhere on the internet.

The question was "Can an electric car have air conditioning?"

I replied that the answer is, of course, YES! I then briefly explained how it can be done.

But that got me thinking........

The EV-1 could heat OR cool the car automatically BEFORE you got in it!

The Nissan Leaf is supposed to be able to do all sorts of things (pre-cool, program when recharging starts, etc.) by programming it with a cell phone.

So, Electric Vehicles can do the same things that traditional gasoline cars can (such as have air conditioning) but they can even do some other things even BETTER!

People often ask what I do for heat in the winter. I never even bothered to build in a heater. Rather, I just set an existing heater directly in the car, set on a timer. When I hopped in the car in the morning, the car was already warm! Try that in a gasser! (with your car parked in the garage, with the door closed.)

If we are going to play around with things like electric conversions, why even try to be like a gas car. Instead, why not exploit the unique advantages of EVs to create something far better!?

Does anyone else have cool ideas for a home electric conversion - to make it better/more fun/more useful than a gas car?

I still think I would like to rig mine up with a full battery pack inverter. In case of a blackout, my car could power my house!

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Old 05-08-2010, 01:07 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Inverter idea also works for a job-site power supply, if you happen to be one of those people who might need one.

Imagine what a 480VDC electric car could do in case an EMT needed a de-fib?
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Old 05-08-2010, 05:20 AM   #3 (permalink)
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You could program your controller to accept data from the serial port. Then you could just get a series of coordinates from GPS or something, and let it drive you all by itself (allowing for input by you of course, like braking, slight left/right corrections, etc...). I actually don't think it would be very hard.

You could show your "instantaneous miles per gallon", or watt*hr/mi on a moment by moment basis, where it corrects the figure based on the amount of force required at that moment to move the car how it's moving (watt*hr/mi is actually a unit of FORCE!). Then it could be a game, so that you could drive so as to minimize that force. A direct hypermiling indicator. On a regular gas car, you have to just wonder how good your hypermiling is going. Well, there's the MPGuino.
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Old 05-08-2010, 09:40 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MPaulHolmes View Post
You could program your controller to accept data from the serial port. Then you could just get a series of coordinates from GPS or something, and let it drive you all by itself (allowing for input by you of course, like braking, slight left/right corrections, etc...). I actually don't think it would be very hard...
The question is if it "should" be done. I think there would be even more zombies on the road if this took. Take the train/bus if you can't be bothered to drive.
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Old 05-08-2010, 11:28 AM   #5 (permalink)
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The large version of the Elec-Trak had accessories available for it, including an arc welder and a power inverter.

I do like the ideas of power inversion and battery backup. I don't think a defibulation is the best idea, although I did jump-start an original Honda Insight once from one of my traction batteries. (Never saw a car jump-start so fast in my life!)

I don't think the average driver needs a robot car yet either, although that is one of those things constantly experimented with by the military and robot competitions.

I DO like the idea of instant instumentation and GPS. I talked with Adam a while back about GPS integration, and he said he was working on it. I will have to pester him about it again...

My dashboard computer has a 800x600 display. If the software was designed to toggle through a couple display modes, one could be just watt-hrs/mile really big in the middle of the screen, Or even a very large bar graph or something similar. Heck, even a change of color - green for good, red for bad, could help a driver instantly become more efficient.
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Old 05-08-2010, 02:31 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Great thread. Here are a few ideas for things an EV can do better:
  • Instantaneous traction control -- an electric motor can react far faster than exploding dinosaurs in a gas motor
  • Less time lost to shifting
  • You are always in the "right" gear (you want to rev the electric motor high for efficiency, so no time lost for downshifting)
  • Robot recharge -- drive over a power connector so you don't even have to plug in, or a small robot finds a plug and plugs you in
  • Falling torque curve in constant power mode gives an inherent form of traction control -- as the motor speeds up torque drops
  • Quieter means more feedback to the driver for hard cornering or hard launches in racing
  • Redundancy for reliability is easier to do -- you could do 8 motors, 8 controller, and 8 separate battery packs
  • Smaller size of the EV motor allows for more packaging options, such as behind the rear axle or putting it into the driveshaft tunnel
  • You can work on the car right after a drive without burning yourself, and if you burn yourself that's a diagnostic something is wrong!
  • Things are less likely to vibrate loose, as the electric motor is smoother
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Old 05-08-2010, 02:52 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I've thought about this a lot in the past as well, and one thing I think that an EV has an advantage over gas cars is the stored electrical energy. One hobby I used to have was car audio. There are a few disadvantages to building the ultimate car stereo based on the fact that it has to run on 12 volts. Oddly, there is a bit of crossapplications I have already benefited from: my accessory battery is a highly sought after battery for car audio enthusiasts: the exide orbital . It can be stored in any position because it is completely sealed, it has a low internal resistance, and it keeps a higher resting voltage. I like it because it keeps my windshield wipers going at a good rate versus a traditional battery. Anyway, more to the point: I think a car audio enthusiast could greatly benefit from an EV in a bunch of different ways. He/she could give up range to have the best car audio setup in town!
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Old 05-08-2010, 03:55 PM   #8 (permalink)
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You could also put it in forced watt*hr/mi mode. Maybe allow the display to ask you if you wish to temporarily remove the restriction if it notices that you are riding the line exactly. But then around town, if you lived in a semi flat area, you would be forced to hypermile. You would know exactly what sort of acceleration and top speed and such is required to get the equivalent mpg that you are shooting for. Also, the ability to generate graphs of every conceivable piece of data, like individual battery states, and power moment by moment, etc... You could see your graphs, and compare alternative routes, to see what minimizes energy usage. You could have a money meter, so that it shows how much your driving style is costing you in energy usage.
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Old 05-08-2010, 06:31 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ExplodingDinosaurs View Post
Great thread. Here are a few ideas for things an EV can do better:
  • Instantaneous traction control -- an electric motor can react far faster than exploding dinosaurs in a gas motor
  • Less time lost to shifting
  • You are always in the "right" gear (you want to rev the electric motor high for efficiency, so no time lost for downshifting)
  • Robot recharge -- drive over a power connector so you don't even have to plug in, or a small robot finds a plug and plugs you in
  • Falling torque curve in constant power mode gives an inherent form of traction control -- as the motor speeds up torque drops
  • Quieter means more feedback to the driver for hard cornering or hard launches in racing
  • Redundancy for reliability is easier to do -- you could do 8 motors, 8 controller, and 8 separate battery packs
  • Smaller size of the EV motor allows for more packaging options, such as behind the rear axle or putting it into the driveshaft tunnel
  • You can work on the car right after a drive without burning yourself, and if you burn yourself that's a diagnostic something is wrong!
  • Things are less likely to vibrate loose, as the electric motor is smoother
Very well thought out!
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Old 05-08-2010, 07:22 PM   #10 (permalink)
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The big hurtle seems to be range and time for charging. MIT recently developed some LiFePO batteries that could recharge in like 15 seconds. The problem would be the power source, but that's not a big deal I think. If charging stations could be equipped with similar type battery banks, they could dump their energy into a waiting car possibly faster than a gas car could fill up. So it may well be that evenually we are all laughing about how it used to take 5 minutes to fill up on gas, and now it only takes 15 seconds. hahaha.

Hey, since it's electrical energy, maybe the roads could transmit energy that to the car while you drive. Try that with gas...
For example, at MIT again (dang, they do a lot) they lit a 60w light bulb from a power source that was 7 feet away.
MIT Scientists Show How To Light A Bulb Wirelessly -- Wireless Power -- InformationWeek

What would gas cars do? Maybe in the future, you could chuck gas cans at them while they are driving. hahahaha.

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