View Full Version : Jack Rickard Leads the Quest for the Ultimate BEV
09-30-2009, 01:23 AM
http://www.cleanmpg.com/photos/data/2/AmericanFlag.jpg An individual doing impeccable BEV_builds. (cleanmpg.com/forums/showthread.php?p=235117)
http://www.cleanmpg.com/photos/data/591/speedster.jpgMike Sirach - CleanMPG (cleanmpg.com) - Sept. 30, 2009
A leader in EV technology is located on the banks of the Mississippi River in South Western Missouri. Jack Rickard has his EVTV Motorverks Shop (web.me.com/mjrickard/) set up in Cape Giradeau, MO where its vintage fašade of a carriage house leaves yesteryear at the door. When you step in his shop, technology oozes from every corner of the building. The 1957 Beck Porsche 356 Speedster is in the left bay. The New 2009 Mini Cooper Clubman in a major state of disassembly is in the center bay and a Gem Car is in right bay with an authentic vintage wooden speed boat hanging from the ceiling in another room ahead. Various test equipment, DSLR cameras, HD video camera, laptops, LiFePo4 powered spotwelder, LiFePo4 batteries and Mini parts are scattered around. Jack narrates several videos on his METV.ME website (http://web.me.com/mjrickard/) that is a treasure trove of information for anyone interested in EV technology that features building the Speedster. I was given the tour and Jack explained his path of obtaining the perfect combination of a BEV that was fun to look at and to drive as well. It was a welcome sight to see the quality work that Jack and his assistant Brian Noto were producing in The Heartland of America!
The body is a fiberglass replica of a 1957 Porsche Model 356 Speedster that was built by Special Editions Ltd. The chassis is mounted on a 3” tubular steel frame.
The drive train consists of a Netgain Warp 9 DC series electric motor mated to a Prostreet Racer VW transaxle. This combination is powered by 72 Thundersky LiFePo4 90ah batteries that store a maximum of 27.5 kWh of 153 volt energy. This is managed by a Kelly controller at up to 1200 amps for a peak power of 144 kw or 193 hp. The power pack far exceeds the 60 hp engine in the original 1957 version.
After a thorough tour of the shop and the different components he has experimented with, he graciously offered a drive in the Speedster.
Taking off in 3rd gear, the power was smooth and constant. Jack prompted me to upshift to 4th after reaching highway speed. It was an odd feeling to drive the open top roadster down Kings Highway at 70 mph. The experience was surreal. I have always been able to feel the motor and sense and hear the speed and operating condition of the engine. ALL of this was missing! Gone were the rotational vibrations, the noise of the combustion process and the sound of the associated mechanical components meshing together to power the vehicle. At 70 mph, the noise of the wind was the only dominant sound. When pulling off of the highway on to the downhill ramp, the need for 4 wheel disc brakes was apparent. The car started picking up speed immediately when I removed my foot from the throttle. At slower speeds, the most evident sound was the adhesive friction of the tires on the pavement. The attention to detail is evident everywhere on the car. The fit and finish of the components and associated wiring is very detailed. There wasn’t any evidence of loose wires or wires tied up with electrical tape.
He has succeeded with the build of the Porsche and has started on the conversion of the Clubman. His plans are to step up another notch after the Mini is completed. The following conversion is going to target a Tesla class chassis.
An energetic individual with a vast knowledge of the systems he is dealing with, Jack’s mission is to share his knowledge to make this technology available for people with a less technical background. His EVTV website (http://web.me.com/mjrickard/) is loaded with videos on the Speedster build as well as his progress on the Clubman project. To make room for more projects, he has put the Speedster up for sale on Ebay. Click here to bid on it (http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/1957-Porsche-356-Speedster-Replica-Electric-Drive_W0QQitemZ260480021811QQcmdZViewItemQQptZUS_Cars_Trucks?hash=item3ca5d1b533&_trksid=p4506.c0.m245#ht_1422wt_1165). You better hurry because the auction ends at 3:46 pm cst on September 30, 2009...
09-30-2009, 01:02 PM
About 2 hours left in the auction. He started the car at only $1 and it is at $30,100 right now. The page views are nearing 11,000 and there have been a lot of questions. It will be interesting to see what it brings in the final minutes. It still has not hit his reserve price. He told me how much he has in it, and its not there yet.
___Thank you for posting this and it looks like it went out at Reserve not met. I have to ask why Jack would expect to get out what he has in it in parts alone?
10-01-2009, 06:20 AM
Great write up Mike!
It's a shame the car didn't sell, maybe he'll relist it and have better luck the next round.
I'm really digging the MINI Clubman build up. Even though he lost the rear seat, he's kept the whole cargo area. I'm thinking something like that could make an excellent urban delivery vehicle with all the space back there.
10-01-2009, 07:42 AM
If anyone was interested in a BEV with curb appeal, they missed out by not buying the Speedster.
The Mini build will make an excellent BEV. The factory modern conveniences will make it more attractive to a much wider range of drivers. The extra length in the Clubman is allowing him to pack in more LiFePo4 cells. The 110ah capacity will help power the modern amenities like the factory electric power steering. That is encouraging to see Mini put that in from the factory.
10-02-2009, 04:31 AM
The 356 Speedster EV has been relisted on Ebay! (http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=260484651636#ht_2173wt_1242)
Here's your second chance Sean!:D
It was relisted on the 30th. Lot's of activity again and the price is up to$15,300 from a starting price of $1. He has a very descriptive video listed in the ad that explains the car and construction in detail. Find a 1.5 hour time frame for when you watch it.
Right Lane Cruiser
10-02-2009, 06:40 AM
Oh man. It didn't even hit his reserve at $30K!! I can't come anywhere close to affording that.
I'd probably have to have about 8" removed from my legs to fit anyway. :o
I'll see if I can carve out 1.5hrs tonight after the little one goes to bed.
Edit: It appears he's strung together some of his other footage (found on his YouTube channel)
10-02-2009, 08:34 AM
I have NOT strung together earlier footage from YouTube to create the video on eBay. Most frustrating to see this.
That IS the original video. YouTube has a 10 minute time limit on their videos. So I actually have to take each video, and brutally hack them into pieces to post it on YouTube.
We are gradually moving away from YouTUbe as I learn more about how to present video on the Internet. Our site at http://evtv.me has all the videos we have done so far, at the full original length, if not the full resolution. Most are available in HD.
I can't say how long we will continue on YouTube with the 10 minute restriction.
In any event, thank you all for the kind words. Yes, it is more a matter of room than anything else. We are going to do a second Porsche 356 in partnership with one of the kit producers. While I can never see myself in a production/manufacturing environment, we are going to attempt a little slicker version, with fewer batteries, a more advanced AC drivetrain with regenerative braking. And we're going to refine it to minimize costs and maximize ease of manufacturing and production - while trying to maintain the same levels of performance and range.
EVTV's mission is to foster a grass roots movement to convert cars to electric drive and of course, Pinky, to change the world. We're trying to raise an army of 100,000 garage rats to do conversions of the kind of cars you want to drive - dream cars. And the corollary is that this is done using readily available components anyone can buy. The GM/Toyota crowd are NOT going to give you an electric car, unless they can develop proprietary drive trains and proprietary battery modules to ensure your serfdom and indentured servant status on their economic fiefdom.
We're advocating the development of batteries and components ANYONE can purchase in an open, competitive market, to build, power, and improve their own custom vehicles.
But there is a reality component. Our videos draw interest from a lot of people with very active careers and families, who while intensely interested in environmental issues and electric cars, just don't have the time to spend a few hours per day in a garage hacking off mufflers and gas tanks.
We are going to try, working with people who DO produce limited numbers of custom crafted cars, to develop a ready made version of the eSpeedster that could be bought for money. It's not really my thing, but I'm going to attempt a "slick" design that can be produced at a lower cost, and sold in limited numbers.
In any event, thank you for your very kind words and support. And it was a kick seeing Mike's face light up with the "EV grin" when he drove the Speedster. It very much is something you have to experience to "get". It quite goes beyond using NO gas and NO emissions.
Right Lane Cruiser
10-02-2009, 08:42 AM
Welcome, Jack! It's great to see you posting here. :)
Sorry about the mis-spoken description of your video -- I've watched all of your clips on YouTube and recognized the footage. :o
Please continue with your efforts. I have yet to find anyone anywhere else documenting every detail of a conversion in the manner you have, and frankly it is both fascinating and extremely helpful for those of us who have contemplated doing a conversion (I've more than once thought about converting my '02 Elantra to electric).
Hopefully I'll get to experience that EV grin for myself someday soon.
10-02-2009, 11:31 AM
Hi Jack! Welcome to CleanMPG!
Believe me, the pleasure was all mine! I have pics of it on my computers at work as well as home and my Blackberry. People are fascinated with an EV with the looks and performance that the speedster has.
If you ever need a test driver, I have a 98 mile round trip commute to work. :D
10-02-2009, 12:22 PM
If it's any helpful support, I'd definitely encourage the move
toward hosting your own video in standard file formats rather
than throwing *everything* up on youtube like the rest of the
unwashed masses [and having their perfectly good files mangled
into some Flash horror in the process]. I realize that this
doesn't have much to do with your main efforts, but straightforward
websites are always something good to work toward.
I like the straight-shootin' no-BS style of your blogging, too!
10-03-2009, 07:48 AM
A 98 mile round trip would be a good test drive. Actually, I think it would do it. I drove it three weeks ago on a Sunday from Cape to Perryville. Took some scenic back roads out the north end of town up to Highway 61 in Fruitland and drove to Perryville up that. Came back 61 to Fruitland and then via Interstate 55 back home. Most of the drive was 45-65 on winding newly resurfaced blacktop highway. About 10 miles at Freeway speeds - 70 mph. Total was 101.85 mile and showing 11% battery capacity at the end.
But I was working it a bit. After awhile, you learn some tricks coasting and so forth. Actually I guess in THIS forum that's not precisely news is it?
Yesterday, we swapped tires on the vehicle. I removed some kind of sporty 195x60R15s and replaced them with kind of old school 165R15 radials with wide whitewalls. It really dressed up the look of the car.
But that's not precisely the purpose. The 195's tread is over an inch wider than the 165s and the 165 diameter is larger than the 195. These old tires don't carry the number, but they are actually a 165/80R15. We filled them to 45 lbs. I had the 195s at 40.
The higher sidewalls improve the ride, but the higher pressure roughens it. We were going for a wash between the two, and got it. But by having a higher pressure, and a significantly narrower tread, with a rubber and tread that is significantly less "sticky", I'm hoping to significantly decrease the rolling resistance of the vehicle.
At 45-65 this rolling resistance is a significant part of mileage. Above about 65 the air resistance becomes so predominant that rolling resistance doesn't matter much.
You'd be amazed at the people I hear from in California that truly believe they have a 70 mile roundtrip on the freeway at 75 mph. I've BEEN to California, actually my wife is from San Francisco. The freeways I've been on I would guestimate feature an average speed of more like 22 mph. Here in the Midwest, we really CAN drive 75 mph - albeit not legally. But I didn't see any 75 mph going on around San Francisco....
10-03-2009, 08:28 AM
Thank you Hobbit. Yes, it is not only an issue about how to present video, it is THE issue. I'm not precisely bent on doing EV conversions, and have no interest in producing or manufacturing cars.
In the late 1980's I fell in with a band of zealots who wanted to wire up the world where a grandma in India could sell potholders to a housewife in Arkansas without permission from the telephone company, CBS, NBC, or ABC. They spent their time connecting personal computers in the night to exchange e-mail. I started a little magazine for them. This was a few hundred guys.
Eventually, that grass roots movement built out into what we know now as "the Internet." I know today you all think AT&T, Charter, and Microsoft built all that, and you should - they've spent enough money telling you that. But it wasn't what actually happened.
Today, I've found a new group of zealots who also want to change the world, this time by converting cars to BEV. I think they can. Of course, eventually Toyota and GM will spend enough money telling you THEY did it. But again, they didn't.
So for me, in 1989 the technology to do a printed magazine was just starting to appear on the desktop. In 2009 it looks more like video. Yes, I know it's been around, but like the lead acid BEV, it just really hasn't worked. This year, the cameras, the editing tools, and the software to present online, are all kind of coming together at the same time. So my mission is to learn as much as I can about building electric vehicles (best way is to build them), and to learn how to work this video thing as a publishing medium.
The guys with computers in their basements, hooking them up at night with modems and so forth, many many were having the same ideas at the same time and working around different edges of the problem. The difficulty was that they each thought they were working alone on something nobody cared about but themselves. By publishing a magazine, we acted as a lens to show them that 1 they weren't alone, and 2 others were also working on necessary pieces of the technology puzzle. And I suppose 3 that somebody DID care.
Today, unknown to most, there are literally hundreds of guys out there not just working on cars, but chargers, battery management systems, controllers, motors, and of course a lot of useless perpetual motion machines. And a magazine circa 2009 would most probably look more like video on the Internet. So that's where I'm going. These guys are my heros. And I intend to tell you about them, as soon as I can learn a bit about the technology, and of course how to work a video camera.
Some of our efforts have been comical of course. But I think we're plowing new ground in some interesting ways. The Internet video world is all about 50 seconds of "Charlie Bit My Finger". And most commonly, 3-5 minute shorts. My own wife has told me emphatically that anything over 5 minutes won't be seen.
I finished one last night that will run an hour and forty eight minutes on nothing but how to construct ONE of the Mini Cooper battery boxes. The original Speedster video was 1:31. And people are watching it. We're using the Apple format, but I've found a player, JW FLV that will present it WITHOUT hashing it into flashcrap.
So YouTube, with flash and a 10 minute limit, just isn't working for us. I've learned to host with Amazon S3's cloud. I actually have to pay bandwidth for you to watch these, but it's not too bad and the video is replicated to Asia and several places in Europe with this cloud concept so it downloads amazingly well, from almost anywhere.
So for me, it's all about the video. But of course I'm fascinated by the technology. And I simply do not believe the prevalent media concept that journalists can do their job by "knowing the right questions to ask." This is why you have cutesy blond chippies on TV telling you with all authority total nonsense. Worse, 90% of the American public doesn't know any better.
To do this, I have to learn everything possible about the technology. And that's easiest done the hard way. Just go get the stuff and put it together myself and drive it. Then take it apart, put it back together again and go drive it again. Then follow the smoke and char trail, replace the burned pieces, and go drive it again. After a few hundred iterations, I get smart.
So the car is on eBay because I need room to do another car. We learned a lot from the Speedster. So much so, that after the mini, I want to do another speedster. Better components are already available, better batteries, a new AC drive system with regen, on and on. But I don't really need the money, and while I know everyone is looking for a bargain and an inexpensive BEV, if I have to give it away I'll give it to a daughter (I have five) or a son-in-law, not a stranger on eBay.
More than you wanted to know... but I share your feelings about YouTube and flash....
Right Lane Cruiser
10-03-2009, 09:46 AM
I certainly appreciate the m4v format! I am very frustrated with flash format myself -- it plays very poorly on any non-Microsoft platform. Not so with the format you've chosen.
It really is too bad all these components cost so much... but then again, that's how the personal computer started out, too.
Thanks again for your efforts, Jack. They really can and do make a difference.
10-18-2009, 08:58 PM
I'm digging this thread out again because I finally chased some
of the evtv stuff. First, *thank you* for having the straightforward
"download this and watch it later" links. That is *so* what any
other video-hosting site desperately needs -- none of this "player"
shim nonsense that tries to mask the link to the actual goods. You
may have some idea by now of just how thoroughly that pisses me off,
and how much time I have to spend reverse-engineering what it actually
does so I can eventually get the actual bits down to my own environment.
However, as I started the downloads of a couple of things ... it took
me a sec and a second look, but then I was like "... okay, 750 Mb?
Two *Gig*??" for some of the videos, but I let it run, and then
once I got 'em pulled down, I saw why. While there's value in
high-resolution material and lots of detail, the sizes may not be for
everyone. By halving the X/Y dimensions of a given video you save 4x
or more of the storage space, so something to consider may be offering
variously-sized versions of each one with their actual filesizes
listed. My guess would be that most folks would be happy with a
simple 640x480 format to get the idea of what the video is about,
and then maybe pull the huge version if they want to see every
individual one of your arm-hairs or whatever. I watched some of the
stuff at half-size just to check, and it still clearly presented the
material. For really close-up details you could also have a high-res
still picture gallery.
But overall, yay for straightforward links to standards-based formats,
and the subject matter is fascinating. I love the "human BMS" aspect
of just digging in and metering your module voltages but like you say,
that isn't going to work for everybody. I still think active per-cell
management is doable in a safe fashion, it's just that the various
designers haven't really thought about runaway conditions and when
they should just give up and send the data packet that says "sound
the big klaxon that tells the owner his garage is about to burn down"
and/or makes the charger completely disconnect and shut down in the
BTW, what's your begin/end tag music? Sounds like a movie soundtrack.
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