Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Overall Plan

Here's a thumbnail sketch of how I intend to convert the Pulsar to electrons. Some of these items are obviously simplified and not in the strictest order, but you get the idea.

  1. Submit plans to Queensland Transport and get approval for the conversion
  2. Remove exhaust, fuel tank, fuel lines & engine
  3. Measure transmission bell housing
  4. Design & fabricate connection plate and coupling for the torque converter
  5. Design & fabricate a bracket to hold the motor in place and install it
  6. Install the electric motor in the bracket and connect it to the torque converter via the plate and coupling
  7. Design and fabricate a bracket to hold the alternator and vacuum pump
  8. Install alternator and vacuum pump (for the brakes)
  9. Design and fabricate battery racks: 1 in the engine bay, 1 in the fuel tank space and a backup in the boot
  10. Install controller, pot box and battery cables
  11. Design and fabricate charging system
  12. Purchase and install voltmeter and display on dashboard
  13. Tow the finished EV to the inspection depot, get insurance and rego finished, then drive it away!

I have a fair idea how most of it fits together, and I know the hard bits will be:

  • Fooling the transmission into knowing when to change gear
  • Design and installation of the brackets to hold the engine and alternator
  • Modifying the demister/hot air blower to comply with safety standards
  • Affording the batteries to get the range I want (50km)

Over the next few posts I'll put some technical specs together and a costing guess. I'm looking for an electric motor in Australia, but I may have to import it from the USA. Both KiwiEv and Electric Echo had to use US motors, so I may have to follow suit.

As you can imagine, this kind of project isn't cheap, and with a family to feed, house and clothe, it all adds up. Time may be money in some cases but here, it's definitely a case of the more money I can bank, the faster this project will go!

I'm working two jobs at the moment but if you can spare a few dollars (or a few hundred), you can be assured it is going to a very worthy cause and helping to do a little planet-saving. Please use the "Donate" button to deposit funds into my PayPal account.

It's simple economics, but the economics aren't simple

Supply and demand.

Lots of demand for oil combined with failing supplies leads to rocketing prices. Get set for a new Moore's law in oil prices!

So looking at an idea like the EV-1 or the new plug-in Hybrids - why aren't the governments pushing this new oil-free transport technology? Economics!
The other day, Insight on ABC ran a program about how Australian are wedded to their cars and high oil prices won't make us catch public transport. It's true - the country is just too big for a viable public transport system to work. We're just too spread out compared with London, Tokyo or Singapore (the examples held up as good public transport systems).

So if we NEED our cars to get around, get tradesmen to work and mums to the shops - the EV or plug-in Hybrisd seems to be the answer: Fast, cheap to run and best of all - not lining the Saudi's bank accounts. So why aren't governments behind it?

Well, the USA elected a Texas Oilman for president. No further explanation necessary.

In Australia, the automakers and oil companies are big political donors and have incredible power. It's a conflict of interest for public servants to make laws that will harm their ultimate paymasters. No big conspiracy theory - it's just economics.

Besides, governments have never been leaders of innovation. I've said it many times - none of the major inventions of the 18th, 19th or 20th centuries were promoted, encouraged or assisted by the governments. Governments follow, and if we want to turn this toil thing around, it's up to the average person to take matters into their own hands. People like Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Edison, Wilbur and Orville Wright - ordinary people who tinkered on their own. Once we get enough momentum, the governments will have to get involved in order to work out how to tax it - again: simple economics.

So my theory is this: The oil companies know all about peak oil. They know the writing is on the wall. They've tested electric cars and they know the technology works beautifully, but the time isn't right yet. They were making billions when oil was $80 a barrel. Imagine how much they will make in between now and when the oil stops flowing?

Use the rising profits to buy the next source of power - power stations. Why the hell do you think Morris Iemma is being "encouraged" to sell the power supply of NSW? Somebody is prepared to pay for it becuase they know what the demand for electricity is going to be in the next 10, 20, 50 years. Their motto is "hold oil shares, buy electricity shares" - using the doomed profits from your oil to fund the acquisition of the next energy producers.

And then, when they've fleeced ever last possible cent out of selling petrol - unveil the electric car and raise the price of electricity to match what we've been paying for petrol!

So here's the end of my rant - I'm going to shift my focus now from WHY to HOW.

Original posts from Live Space

Here's the dilemma I'm considering:

With oil over $120 per barrel, and $1.50/l here in Brisbane - my question is: why aren't they producing more oil? With the price so high, it's worth spending twice as much money prospecting because you'll still make the same profit. The general theory is that there is no more oil - certainly not as readily available as it used to be. Combine this with the thirst of China & India and presto - supply & demand give us high prices.

Reducing demand is a good option. I've been seeing Soon-To-Be-Ex-President Bush promoting Hydrogen as the "fuel of the future - available in 5 years or so..."

Wait a minute: how do you make Hydrogen?

Well, you start with water, and apply electricity to it. Electrolosis creates Hydrogen and oxygen which can then be stored, taxed and put in your fuel cell and used to power your internal combustion engine... I find it sad that electric cars like the EV1 have been available for 15 years now, and you just put the electricity straight into your batteries. Skip the electrolosis part. Combine that with safe nuclear power and use a small rocket system to deliver the nuclear waste into the sun and you've got a great way to keep mobile, save money and reduce emissions. Not not mention saving a huge amount on spare parts for your engine. And paying no nmore money to oil barons who use it for all the wrong ends...

There's a growing group of people who are saying things like "the gonvernment should do something about high fuel prices" and "Why aren't there incentives for alternative energy, solar panels etc"? Wake up people. No useful invention has ever been funded or encouraged by the gonvernment. The steam engine, light bulb, telephone, radio, nuclear energy - even the original motor cars were built by everyday people in their garages or labs. Once the idea was proven, the governments figured out a way to tax it, and only then do they promote it. This is the stage Electric Vehicles are at right now.

I'm planning to convert my 1989 Nissan Pulsar. I'll post the progress here.


I tried using my Windows Live Space for this blog, but Microsoft in the spirit of competition are blocking Google Analytics and the PayPayl Donate button. So I'm picking up my bat and ball and moving over to Blogspot...