01/14/09 Well, this is the last entry in this particular log. The time has come to start a fresh log for the production dp1 (it's really a completely different car from the first prototype, not a single part is carried over). What'll happen to the prototype? Some fun things actually. The engine along with wiring and some plumbing is going to come out and get installed in the first dp4. As for the chassis...
I've occasionally referred to other projects I'm involved with. Many of them have to do with electric vehicles of various sorts. I even did a bit of engineering on a KERS system that's being used by one of the top F1 teams - yes it's in a car now and working well so far, and no I'm not allowed to say which one. So all these contacts and experience naturally have led to a project of my own, one that I can actually talk about. And it basically consists of putting an electric motor in the prototype dp1 chassis. I aim to do it for way less than the $60M+ Tesla spent to do the same to an Elise (sadly). The goal is to test out a lot of components and further develop the necessary technologies - it will not be a product in itself but will lead to one or more products being offered for sale, eventually.
I've been helping out on a design of a motor controller
and this will be a perfect testbed for that. I'm just going to use
a cheap lead-acid battery pack to set a baseline (I expect about 4-6
minutes runtime at race pace from 360 lbs of battery with a 60KW motor).
I do have contacts for better batteries but given that an advanced
battery to give 20 minute endurance at full speed costs around $70K,
that's a ways off yet. Have to get the basics sorted first. There's
a lot of hype and half-truths in the industry, all stemming from people
trying to talk their way around the fact that the forementioned $70K
battery only holds the energy equivalent of 1.5 gallons of gas. My
$2K, 360 lb lead acid pack will hold the equivalent of about a 12-Oz
can. This is the very inconvenient truth that all EV devlopers have
to deal with, whether they admit it or not (most don't, perhaps unsurprisingly
since green is the new dotcom). Electric drag racers have done quite
well lately and it's not too hard (relatively) when you only have
to go 1/4 mile at a time. Getting real-life range at race pace is
the big challenge. With electrics at present state of the art, you
can go Fast, Far, Cheap - choose one.
So the prototype chassis will start a new life shortly, a quieter and cleaner one. In preparation for that the disassembly has begun...
Here's an approximate picture of what the EV is going to look like:
Yes, the filler cap will be replaced by a charge port :) Other details will come in due time.