EV West sells pretty much everything related to starting your own EV project. The company sells items such as car parts, conversion kits, and charging station solutions. Furthermore, part of the team often demonstrates these products on their YouTube channel. They are often involved in really fun projects that include electric car conversions, technical videos, racing, product tips, and even reviews.
One such project is creating a Tesla-powered Lakester that is fast enough to break the Electric Vehicle E2 Class land speed record at this year’s Speed Week event. The Electraliner Project, as they call it in the video below, is a collaboration between EV West and Hickey Speed, which helped design the body of the vehicle.
The main challenge was creating this vehicle in 90 days–making it completely from scratch and getting it to the Bonneville Salt Flats where the race will be held. The vehicle was made with a custom tube-chassis, sleek aerodynamic body, a Tesla motor, and several high-tech batteries. The specifics to keep in mind in building the vehicle was that it had to weigh more than 1,100 pounds and less than 2,200 pounds in order to stay in that E2 class.
There were also 3000–5000 Energizer batteries (9V) integrated into the vehicle. However, not all of the details were revealed. The guys plan to reveal all of the details about the creation of the motors and battery specifics after Speed Week has ended. The design was first drafted with a computer model while John, mentioned in the video, started on the chassis.
One of the teammates, Spicer, showed off his “spice rack,” which is actually the battery pack for the Electraliner. The box, made from aluminum, will hold 295 Panasonic battery cells. “Luckily, they’re not individual, they come in groups,” Spicer noted. They would have to in order to make room for the large 14 cell nodules. They will create 357.7 nominal volts.
He explained what the knobs on the corners do. The first one on his left (the viewer’s right) allows the remote monitoring of battery voltages. The switch next to it is an emergency kill switch. On the other corner is the disconnect for the high-voltage leaks.
Jalopnik noted that the team will haul a small solar array out to the salt flats to charge the vehicle. This will keep their three swappable racks of batteries charged up in between runs. The team also plans to use only the top 50% of each battery pack due to power dropping off pretty quickly after that. As for cooling, the entire vehicle will be chilled with 5 gallons of ice water poured in right before each run. EV West’s Michal Bream also spoke on the TST Podcast (video starts at 3:43) about this project.
The electric record at Bonneville was set back in 2004 by the Buckeye Bullet. Its speed was 314.9 miles an hour, and that car was heavier and had a lot more power. The author of the Jalopnik piece doesn’t expect EV West to beat that, but it’s definitely going to be an interesting race.
Racing Speeds Up The EV Revolution
Racing is an all-American sport and pastime. I knew many Jeff Gordon fans even though I wasn’t really into that scene — a lot of my friends were. Today, the electric vehicle is demanding that you take it more seriously, and this comes in part due to very quick electric vehicles.
Racing can become a major ally for not just Tesla, but for the EV movement. If you can race EVs on the track and not run out of battery, then this will, in the minds of many, help reduce concerns about range anxiety, a major hurdle for EV adoption even if it isn’t a major issue among EV owners. (Some prefer to call it range anxiety anxiety.)
Tesla owners often partake in racing on the track as well. Back in June, a Tesla Model S P100D left behind a Ferrari F12 in a 1/4-mile drag race. The Model S was brutal toward the Ferrari. It showed no mercy. There are many other stories like that, which helped to bring Tesla into broad popularity.
Sports are very effective for breaking down cultural barriers and assumed biases. That includes car racing.
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