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DIY Electric Car


A couple of friends of mine are interested in doing a project to build/convert a normal petrol car into an electric vehicle. I need to know if you have done an article on this topic or propose to do an article on this topic in the future, as I have discussed this with many people who are interested to know how difficult and expensive it would be to do this conversion.

Jason Parker
Australia

Building a viable and practical electric car from scratch is not worthwhile – it would be far cheaper to buy a secondhand Toyota Prius or Honda Insight and modify it as desired. We have covered modifying a Prius and will in the future cover modifying a Honda Insight.

Water Spray Modification

Regarding The New Intelligent Intercooler Water Spray Controller, Part 2. Given the 'all-in-one' nature of the final version, it would seem appropriate to include an additional indication of water reservoir level. Perhaps instead of a single colour LED to indicate water pump operation, a bi-colour could be used, showing a green light for correct operation and red for 'I need a refill'. Water level could be determined by one of the many off the shelf level switches (empty/not empty a la radiator level sensors), which would be left up to the user to procure to suit their reservoir.  An added benefit would be that the circuit used to 'sense' the water level could also be used to prevent the pump from running dry in the event of an empty water bottle.  A dampening circuit should be used on the 'level sense' line to prevent abnormal operation caused by sloshing water.

Andrew Vandreike
Australia

More on Peltiers

In regards to your Peltier Intercooler Water Spray (see Peltier Intercooler Water Spray. Would the pre-made insulated water tank [cooled with a Peltier] at the bottom of the page distributed by Oatley Electronics be a good addition to a water to air intercooler setup for a road car? To keep the supply water cool during longer on-boost situations?

Alex Lyall
Australia

As described in the article, it would have insufficient power to do so.

Don’t Dismiss Diesel

I read the Prius vs Insight with an open mind. Whilst neither of these vehicles interest me enough to purchase, it was an interesting comparison. A point I do think you may have missed and are perhaps somewhat blinded as you are, as you mention, an owner of both these vehicles is the compromises that (at this point in the development of the technology) that need to be made in order to justify said purchase.

Let me expand, they are often significantly dearer than a contemporary Corolla or Civic and have as you mention far worse load carrying capacity - perhaps with exception of Prius. You keep coming back to the sensational fuel economy or Insight but fail to mention that if you have to ferry two kids around at same time then you need two vehicles, two drivers, and therefore the 3.5-4 litres/100km is offset against the compared Peugeot diesel at approx 7.9-8.0 litres/100 km.

I don't need to tell you that the diesel torque is massive and that with a full load of family and luggage it would be a much nicer proposition travelling Melb - Sydney or even a lesser distance of 100kms or so. You have also shown that with simple modifications VW’s Golf diesel can be turned into a torque monster. And what of resale of a diesel in 3 or 4 yrs - this is a significant chunk of money that the fuel savings may not offset.

So to dismiss diesel purely on fuel economy I think is false economy (yep pun intended). Do I own a diesel - nope, nearly did (a Jetta) but VW sales people did not impress me - so we bought our 4th Liberty instead and one you guys don't particularly like due to lack of torque - 2007 3.0R spec B. Yep can be caught out going up a hill with a load but it is also deceptively quick. And as I know Subaru won’t loan you any cars any more, SI-Drive does actually work. One negative cannot offset what is otherwise an exceptionally well built, well equipped and extremely safe (5 star rating) car.

Simon Brown
Australia

More on Ethanol

In response to Richard Everett's Response.  The chemical carbon content of ethanol is irrelevant to the issue.  When oil is dug up and burnt in a car, the 'carbon' stored in that fuel millions of years ago is released into the atmosphere today.  When a crop is grown to ultimately be converted into a mobile fuel, the growing plant 'takes' carbon from the atmosphere.  That it is ultimately re-released is a moot point as more plants are grown to make further ethanol, and so the cycle continues.  Also, ethanol burns cleaner in respect to other pollutants.

That ethanol contained less calorific value that oil fuels means that you use more to go a given distance, and the process of conversion entails some losses, however, overall the complete fuel cycle using ethanol fuel is FAR less damaging to the environment that digging up squashed dead animals.  As a stop-gap measure the only major downside is the ethical issue of reserving the world’s precious resources and land mass for growing fuel crops when some people are starving.

Craig Dunn
Australia

Pipe Dreams

There most be some maths at work in the interesting Pipe Dreams article - a formula that at the least gives a ball park intake pipe length, but Googling didn't give me anything worthwhile...  Can anybody give some technical information or suggest further reading material?

Barry dal Herbert
Australia

If you Google under ‘Helmholtz Resonator’ you’ll find lots, but to be honest, we think by far the easiest and most accurate way of finding the right length will be to do multiple dyno and/or road acceleration runs with different length intakes.

Cheap Mains Power

Regarding Mains Power for Your Car!. I think the cheapest way is to hack up a computer UPS box, remove its internal battery and have them wired directly to the car power. Instant 600VA inverter at the lowest cost! And it also doubles up as a battery charger when plugged into the mains!

Robyntan Lee Yu Cheong Lee
Malaysia

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