Friday, October 31, 2008

Rust removal - the pics

The photos run from the last to first - sorry about the order, it's just the way the blogger wizard only allows 4 pics at a time, and then wacks the new pics in at the top instead of where the cursor is >:(

The passenger door still needs some body filler, so it will have to wait until next weekend.

But for an accountant who has zero experience with cars, it's not a bad effort. I'm pretty impressed with my handiwork, and saved quite a bit of money, too.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Bits and pieces

I've done lots of work in the last few days, but nothing major as I'm still saving up the last few dollars for the vacuum pump and ceramic heater.

Mainly I've been concentrating on two projects: the instrumentation and the rust in the door pillars.

The instruments are finished, all I need to do is label the gauges and wire the box in. I'll post up some pics shortly. This will tell the driver how "full" the battery "fuel tank" is, and how fast they are consuming the energy while driving. If I keep the batteries above 50% and try to draw less than 450 Amps while accellerating, I think we can optimise the range and best of all - keep it simple.

I've also learned a lot of things about rust, and the main thing I've learned is: I HATE SANDING. It's only surface rust, but it's starting to show under the paint and unless I get it out now, it will only get worse. So the process goes something like this:

Sand off the paint near the rust patches
Apply wax & grease remover
Apply rust converter to the area, allow to cure for 20 minutes
Wipe over with a damp rag, then a metho rag, then a clean rag
Cover all areas you don't want pain on with newspaper and masking tape
Spray with primer, let it dry properly, then wait another 5 minutes just to be safe
Finish up with a couple of coats of matt black

All in all, I'm pretty impressed with my handiwork, and the new paint looks GOOD. But the rest of the doors are original paint and faded, scratched and worn - there is a REAL contrast between the new & old sections. So I've resigned myself to repainting the whole window frame section of the doors.

I think I mentioned in an earlier post that I have the heater core now, so when the ceramic heater arrives I can get stuck into that little project before Christmas.

Please donate. I still need the motor and controller, so I'd be more than happy to advertise your business on this site and on the car, and it's really starting to generate interest. I'm getting almost 300 hits a month on this blog alone.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Good news for recharging locally

Looks like PBP has taken an interest in Australia in the nick of time. Hopefully by the time I finish my conversion, there will be some recharge points in Brisbane. Here's a list of some places that would be CRAZY not to offer EV recharging:

- Cinemas
- Restaurants
- Shopping centres
- Dinner cruise departures
- Motels/Hotels

Basically, anywhere you want people to stick around for a couple of hours consuming your product.

Here's a link to the news article:

Electric car venture in Australia seeks $700 mln

LONDON, Oct 23 (Reuters) - California-based electric car operator Better Place joined with Macquarie Capital Group on Thursday aiming to raise $1 billion Australian dollars ($676.1 million) to install electric charge points across Australia.

Australian utility AGL Energy committed to supply renewable energy to fulfil the "green" low carbon emitting credentials of the plan, the company said in a statement.

Automakers are in a technology and production race to develop oil alternatives, whether biofuels or electric cars, to address problems of energy security and climate change.

"We're interested in Australia to demonstrate scale," said Shai Agassi, Better Place chief executive and founder.

The Better Place concept is to install electric car charge spots at designated parking lots in residential areas and workplaces. In addition, to allow longer drives, the company would roll out electric filling stations.

The $200 million venture-backed company is still in a very early stage, testing charge spots in Israel with plans to follow in Denmark, and is working with Renaultand Nissan <7201.t> to develop electric car infrastructure.

The company's aim is for pure electric cars to leapfrog mass production gasoline-electric hybrids such as the Toyota Prius.

Hybrids achieve range by combining an electric motor with a gasoline engine, while pure electric cars need an electric charging infrastructure. Electric batteries can manage a range of only about 250 kilometres on their own at present.

One problem for Better Place may be to gain traction in an autos industry reporting plummeting sales as consumer spending slides in response to tight credit and looming recession.

In addition, infrastructure projects will require debt finance, at a time credit markets are locked or expensive.

"Debt is a four-letter word now in most parts of the world," said Agassi. "Most of it (the present fund-raising) would be equity. We'll raise a significant chunk of equity now. We'll plan the debt component as the market evolves."

Thursday's proposal would entail developing charge spots in four urban areas, in Victoria, New South Wales, Brisbane and Canberra, and then link those with electric filling stations.

The infrastructure necessary to get the first 1 million electric cars on the road would cost 1-2 billion Australian dollars, Agassi estimated. (Reporting by Gerard Wynn; Editing by David Gregorio)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Cheaper, better battery for hybrids

The news just keeps getting better and better...

October 16, 2008 04:00am
Article from: AAP
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AUSTRALIAN researchers have found a way to produce cheaper and more powerful batteries to run hybrid-electric cars.
CSIRO researchers based in Melbourne have developed a new type of lead-acid battery to replace the nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) batteries environmentally-friendly hybrid cars such as the Toyota Prius use.

Lead-acid batteries are cheap and can store large amounts of energy.
But if they are repeatedly and rapidly charged and discharged - as happens when used in a hybrid car - the battery plate becomes coated with chemical deposits.

The problem means the batteries wear out faster than NiMH batteries.
But the UltraBattery, developed by Dr Lan Trieu Lam and his CSIRO team, combines a lead-acid battery with a supercapacitor.

The combination stores as much energy as a standard lead-acid battery, but without the messy deposits on the plate.
"By acting as a buffer during charging and discharging, the capacitor boosts the battery's life to match that of NiMH batteries," Dr Lam said.

During lab tests the UltraBattery lasted four times as long as the best lead-acid batteries, while producing 50 per cent more power.

A test vehicle running until the UltraBattery fails has so far covered 185,000km, while being recharged as needed.
The cost of the battery is also expected to be a third to a quarter of NiMH batteries and a sixth of the lithium-ion batteries used in some high-performance electric cars.

Independent testing is yet to be carried out.
Japanese firm Furukawa Battery Company has started modifying a plant to to make the UltraBattery by the middle of next year.

In the US, battery manufacturer East Penn in Pennsylvania will manufacture the device. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


I've got the donor heater core out and I'm just waiting for it to dry before I buy the ceramic unit. I'll post pics when there's something interesting to show.

In the meantime, here's a chart of the entire Dow Jones from it's inception, including the recent "crisis".

Doesn't seem so bad, when you put it in perspective, hey?

Douglas Adams was right: "Don't Panic"

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Sydney 2008 Motor Show

My mum and dad went to the Motor Show and took some pictures of the EVs.

All in all, they weren't too impressed with what was displayed - mostly existing stock and few concept/soon-to-be-released stuff. I always wonder why they can't take a perfectly good production car and just convert it like I'm doing with the Pulsar...