Monday, September 22, 2008

Finished the vacuum reservoir

When you take out the petrol engine, you lose the vacuum that makes the brakes work. So EV conversions need to install a separate vacuum pump. Many trucks have these installed anyway, and it's a fairly easy process to make it work.

The vacuum pump itself is quite noisy and even though it doesn't chew a lot of power, there's no need for it to be running all the time. What you do is make a reservoir so the brakes can access the vacuum when you need it, and then the pump only has to run to top it up.

I asked Gav at KiwiEV about his reservoir (which you can see here) and he said it was about 2 litres, and if he was doing it again he would make it 5 litres, just so he can show off the stopping and acceleration power of his EV. So I decided to stand on the shoulders of giants and make mine 5 litres.

Hmmm - problem...How do you calculate the volume of a cylinder? Was I digging out my old maths textbooks? No way - I just did a google search for "volume of a cylinder" to get the formula, then divided by 5,000 to get my dimensions:

Volume = (Radius x Pi) squared x length. So (2.5cm x 3.142)^2 x 80cm = 4.9 Litres

So, for about $20 at my local Bunnings Hardware I got 1 metre of 50mm PVC tube, two end caps, 4 washers, 2 brass hose nipples and 2 brass locks for the inside. 3m of vacuum hose cost me $12 at the local auto parts store. I cut the tube down to 80cm, as this will give me about 5 litres of vacuum.

Then when I got home I learned that the thread on the brass nipples is about 1/2 inch - a lot larger than the largest drill bit in my kit. Back to Bunnings for a drill bit and I also picked up some silicone sealant and a gun. I drilled a hole in the end caps, fitted the washers and nipples to the locks and sealed all around them, then left it to cure overnight. Pushing the vacuum hose onto the nipple was a bit of work, but then tightening up the hose clamps was the easiest part of the job.

So: here's my finished setup. I've checked that it will fit in the car in front of the radiator, using cable ties to secure it to the body.

Now all I've got to do is afford the vacuum pump from ZEVA. Please donate! If you own a business, ask me about sponsorship/advertising.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

My hero

This will be me in a couple of months...

No gas? No problem: Electric car sets example for future

By Sara Kennedy
9/8/2008 6:27:42 PM
Molokai News : Environment
 View CommentsPost Comment

Driver concerned about gas prices and the environment

Have you seen a car that looks like no other driving around Molokai? 

You might mistake it for a fancy golf cart or even a space-age vehicle from The Jetsons.

In fact, it is not an ordinary car, it’s an electric car and it’s the only one on Molokai.

Owned by Kala‘e resident John Wordin, the Dynasty Sedan, shipped from British Columbia, “generates a 

lot of interest.”

To feed the curious minds, he actually does plug the car into a regular wall outlet. Every 

night, he plugs the car in, and when he wakes up, it’s charged. According to Wordin, 

the car takes four hours to fully charge, equaling one kilowatt-hour, and will run for 

approximately 30 miles at 25 mph. The vehicle uses a lot of energy uphill, but with a full 

charge, he makes it around town just fine.

Wordin paid $14,500 for the car, and combined with shipping costs, the total price was 

around $20,000.

At his Kala‘e home, 40 solar panels charge his vehicle and run the house. His water heater 

and outdoor power equipment are solar as well.

The car, if charged twice a day, costs Wordin an extra dollar on his electric bill and gives him 

approximately 30 miles. In comparison with gas prices, Wordin can travel 150 miles on five 

dollars, the cost for approximately one gallon of gas.

Besides helping his wallet, the car helps the environment. The average new vehicle has a 

smog/pollution index of 0.53 percent, while the electric car emits no pollution into the air.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, for every gallon of gas burned, 

20 pounds of pollution and carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere.

Wordin’s concern about the environment has been growing since 1998. He read books and 

articles on the subject of America’s fuel dependency and has been preparing himself for the 

necessary changes.

“My interest in this has evolved over a period of time,” he said.

Wordin is trying to provide an example for the community. He has seen gas prices continue 

to rise, the economy fall and the environment suffer.

“People are still buying SUVs; something is definitely wrong,” he said. “They just don’t get it, 

oil is running out. The world is changing and I see examples everyday.”

Wordin’s dream is to see the whole island driving electric cars.

“Sure, it’s possible,“ he said. “People just have to realize there are profound changes in the 

economy, as well as the environment.”

Peter Rosegg of Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO) said the time is not too distant when 

electric cars will cost less and be more readily available on the market. HECO is looking at the 

situation, “closely and optimistically.” Sometime in the near future the company will be changing 

its meters to an advanced system that will let customers charge electric cars overnight for a cheaper 


Studies done by the Natural Resources and Defense Council and the Electric Power Research Institute 

have shown that, electric cars are cheaper than driving cars running on fuel.

eVehicles in Honolulu specializes in electric vehicles and can be reached at 589-2347

I just shake my head...

Darwin awards, anyone?

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Pot calling the kettle "black"

Pot calls the kettle "black"...

And Mr Cheyney, why can't the Lithium-Ion battery industry have a billion dollars to help get electric cars on the road faster? Then we won't need the oil pipeline in Georgia that's causing most of these problems...The Saudis and Iranians will go broke, the USA can retreat to the isolationist stance you had during the first half of WW2 and the environment will thank you as well.

Oh wait...Halliburton doesn't make batteries, it repairs war silly of me...


Cheney criticises Russia on Georgia visit

September 5, 2008 - 7:48AM

US Vice President Dick Cheney accused Russia Thursday of an "illegitimate" invasion to redraw the map of Georgia and cast doubt on whether Russia could be trusted as an international partner.

Standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, Cheney pledged US help beyond a one billion dollar (690 million euro) aid package announced Wednesday.

Meanwhile Moscow, which says its military intervention was justified because Georgia had attacked Russian citizens in breakaway South Ossetia, received the backing of foreign ministers from six ex-Soviet countries.

They stopped short of following Russia into recognizing the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, a second separatist region also at the centre of last month's brief war.

"Russia's actions have cast grave doubt on Russia's intentions and on its reliability as an international partner, not just in Georgia but across this region and indeed across the international system," Cheney said.

"After your nation won its freedom in the Rose Revolution, America came to the aid of this courageous young democracy," he said, referring to the 2003 uprising that brought Saakashvili to power.

"We are doing so again as you work to overcome an invasion of your sovereign territory and an illegitimate, unilateral attempt to change your country's borders by force that has been universally condemned by the free world."

Later Thursday the OSCE said it had sent military observers in a buffer zone between Russian and Georgian troops for the first time since the conflict.

The European security body said its officers were patrolling the road between the villages of Karaleti and Megrevekisi, four kilometres (2.5 miles) from the bombed-out South Ossetian capital of Tskhinvali.

Georgia Russia has said it will only pull troops out of the buffer zone once international controls including military observers and police are in place in the area and once Georgia signs a non-aggression pact.

Cheney, who became the highest-ranking American official to visit Tbilisi since last month's conflict, watched boxes of aid being unloaded to highlight the one-billion-dollar US package.

Saakashvili, for his part, said the "number one priority" was the rebuilding of Georgia, parts of which were left devastated by Russia's fighter planes and advancing troops.

Russia sent its forces into Georgia on August 8, one day after Georgia had tried to take back control of the rebel region of South Ossetia from Moscow-backed separatists.

US-Russia relations have nosedived since the US led angry Western criticism of Moscow's military action, its recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and the continued presence of its troops in Georgia.

On Thursday, the parliaments of Russia and Abkhazia signed a cooperation agreement aimed at harmonising the laws of the two countries, RIA Novosti news agency reported.

"The parties will begin harmonising the legislation of the Russian Federation with the legislation of the Republic of Abkhazia," the report quoted the text as saying.

Cheney is pointedly not visiting Russia on a tour that has already taken him to Azerbaijan, where he stressed that the security of the energy-rich region was a top concern for Washington.

His trip has also been aimed at expanding the transit of oil and gas exports to the West through pipelines across Georgia and Azerbaijan, avoiding Russia which Washington views with increasing distrust.

Cheney also strongly backed Georgia's bid to join NATO, a move that has been vehemently opposed by Russia, saying Washington was "fully committed" to its eventual membership.

"As the current members of NATO declared at a summit in Bucharest, Georgia will be in our alliance," he said, referring to an April meeting of the Western military bloc.

NATO's chief, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, plans to visit Georgia later this month for further aid talks.

After his talks with Saakashvili, Cheney headed to Ukraine where President Viktor Yushchenko has plunged the country into fresh political turmoil by pulling his Our Ukraine party out of the ruling pro-Western coalition.

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega became the first foreign leader to follow Russia's lead and recognize the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, newspaper reports there said Wednesday.

© 2008 AFP

Grid Will Handle Rechargeable Cars

Grid Will Handle Rechargeable Cars


SAN JOSE, CA (AP) - Which draws more juice from the electric grid, a big-screen plasma television or recharging a plug-in hybrid car?

The answer - a plasma television - is what is easing the minds of utility company executives across the United States as they plan for what is likely to be a conversion of much of the country’s vehicle fleet from gasoline to electricity in the coming years.

Plasma TVs, industry officials say, consume about four times the electricity as recharging a plug-in hybrid. Yet utilities have managed to cope with the increased loads as thousands of new televisions came on line.

So as long as the changeover from internal combustion engines to electric vehicles is somewhat gradual, they should be able to handle it in the same way, Mark Duvall, program manager for electric transportation, power delivery and distribution for the Electric Power Research Institute, said.

“ We’ve already added to the grid the equivalent of several years’ production of plug-in hybrids,” Duvall said at a conference on electric vehicles in San Jose. “The utilities, they stuck with it. They said, ‘All right, that’s what’s happening. This is where the loads are going, and we’re going to do this.’”

Automakers, such as General Motors Corp. and Toyota Motor Corp., are planning to bring rechargeable vehicles to the market as early as 2010. But speakers at the Plug-in 2008 conference say it will take much longer for them to arrive in mass numbers, due in part to a current lack of large-battery manufacturing capacity. Auto and battery companies still are working on the lithium-ion battery technology needed for the cars, and on how to link the battery packs to the vehicles.

“ We see the vehicle penetration levels coming at a rate that’s manageable,” said Efrain Ornelas, environmental technical supervisor with Pacific Gas and Electric Co. in San Francisco. “It’s not like tomorrow the flood gates are going to open and 100,000 vehicles are going to come into San Francisco or something like that.”

Instead, the vehicles will show up by the thousands throughout Northern California, he predicted. PG&E will be able to track their charging patterns and plan accordingly for the future, he said.

Utility officials say they already are coping with increased demand, especially during peak-use periods in the afternoon and early evening. But the rest of the day, most utilities have excess generating capacity that could be used to recharge cars.

But the preparation doesn’t mean electric vehicles will be accommodated without problems and good planning, the officials said.

Since most electric cars will likely be charged during off-peak electric use times, utilities should have no problem generating enough electricity. But since people with the means to buy electric cars likely will live in the same areas, utilities worry about stress on their distribution systems, Ornelas said.

That means consumers will face a lot of choices about when and where they charge up their cars and how much they want to pay for the electricity.

The choice for consumers will come because utilities likely will raise rates to charge cars during peak use times, generally from around noon to 8 p.m., and lower them for charging during low-use hours, industry officials say.

In California, utilities already are installing meters that track use by time of day. PG&E charges 30 cents per kilowatt hour to charge an electric vehicle during peak hours, he said, but charges only 5 cents from midnight to 7 a.m.

Duvall said utilities still have to be wary that high gasoline prices could push sales of rechargeable electric vehicles well into the millions by 2020, because that could stress the system. Other possible problems include electric vehicles getting larger and requiring far more electricity for recharging, and demands from people that their vehicles be recharged quickly, drawing more electricity during peak times.

Also, companies such as the Campbell-based Coulomb Technologies, are starting to develop recharging stations for sale to parking lot operators, office buildings and cities, which will draw more electricity.

There’s also talk of the cars storing electricity and sending it back to the power companies during peak times, but officials say that’s a long way off.

Industry officials say they can manage the fleet changeover as the cars and the utilities each have computers in place to manage when the cars are recharged.

“ From our perspective, I think it’s something that’s really manageable,” said Ornelas.