Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Well, it's been a little while since I last updated. And yes, I have cut my hair since the pic was taken! I've gotten quite a bit of work done. I now have the motor installed in my Tercel, and I'm working on battery racks and component layout. So far it's looking like I'll have 3 or 4 batteries up front (plus one for the 12v system) and then 9 or 10 more in the back. Although this is far from optimal as far as weight distribution goes, it'll get me on the road. I'll always be able to modify it later on.

In the spirit of doing things on the cheap, I'm working on a component shelf that will allow me to transfer all of the major components and wiring from my truck to my Tercel by simply unplugging a couple connectors and loosening a few wing nuts. This way, I won't have to buy new contactors and stuff while the Tercel is still in the test stages. It will contain the controller, both contactors, fuse, circuit breaker (maybe), current shunt, and a few other minor items. It will have one connector for 12v power and signal wires (power on, amp meter, volt meter, controller status lights, and a few other things), another connector (one of the big Anderson ones) for the motor, and another Anderson for main battery power.

It will also have a plug for the charger, which is only going to be used on my truck. I've purchased 14 6A 12v smart chargers to use in my Tercel. By using individual chargers, I'll get an automatic equalize charge, not to mention saving a bundle of dough. They will be mounted on-board (they're very small, maybe 8" long), and they will all be tied to one main charge plug. Since they're smart chargers, they'll automatically switch to a trickle charge when the batteries are topped off, taking better care of the batteries than any group charger ever could.

I've been working on my own homemade controller design, but I don't think it will be done in time (hence the reason why I'm working on the removable component board). My controller will be an IGBT controller, driven by a flash-programmed PIC, which will allow me to edit the firmware at any time just by plugging it into a computer serial port. I have a Powerex 600A 1200V IGBT that I purchased surplus off of ebay. This should provide more than enough current-handling capability. If I size the filter caps right, it should be able to handle at least 200V or more. I'm also working on an LCD interface using a 16x2 44780-controlled blue LCD, which is easily interfaced with the PIC.

Initially, it will probably be a pretty bare-bones setup, but later on I hope to add features like built in cruise control, current limiting, RPM limiting, throttle endpoint adjustment, and more. That's the great thing about building these things yourself- once you have the basic power stages and driver complete, you can add all kinds of crazy features for very little cost, often by just adding a few lines of code.

Anyway, I've got some more to report, but I think this post is long enough... I'll try to add some more updates ASAP.


Benjamin said...

Sweet project! I've got to give you mad props on this since I've not even gotten around to my EV yet (it's not even in the works, need some money first, :p)...

I posted about your truck over on my site, http://ecomodder.com. If you're interested, you should come talk to us about it!

Keep up the good work.

fifi said...

Hoi Andrew,
i'd like to cogratulate you for wat you achieve.
This is just super work , At home in Belgium i have a Pv installation on the routh , i am waiting untill there are plug in ev on the market in Belgium at reasonable price, to buy one .

It's thanks to kids or people like you that the greater car-makers see the urge to mass produce these cars

Good luck with all your super projects

grtz from Belgium


Anonymous said...

Killer project! Great to see inovation, done on your budget, with such great success!
One note: I noticed that in one of the links to your site in mentioned your truck had no heat and you use a fan to cool the motor.
Can you direct the heat from this fan into the vehicle when needed via small insulated tube and a manual vent? It could probabaly be used as a colling unit, as well, if you inseted a tube to the front of the grill to direct colling directly to the motor.

Check ou the choke handles and vent handles on the mid 80'd toyota landcrusiers. And jeeps

Just a thought before I forget!

Great work, keep it up!

jon_s said...

I hear your new motor will deliver 120HP and you expect to get up to 80MPH... I used to drive a '91 Tercel with a 90HP engine and easily got that thing over 100MPH. I can't recommend it (the suspension was unhappy - I thought I was going to fly away around 105MPH) but don't flip your new baby the first time you gun it! 120HP is more than enough for that car :)

Perkoff said...

Is there a way to wire up the tires so as they rotate they charge the batteries? So if you run out of electricity you can just like go to a hill and push it down and buy the time you get down there your battery would be charged and as you drive it needs more charging but it's getting it from the wheels. You know sorta like how a dam uses water for electricity purposes.

sin titulo said...

you effin rock. i have a 96 toyota tercel that i would love to convert to electric sometime in the near future. curious to see how your latest project goes..its definitely an inspiration. :)

GingerDingo said...

Hi Andrew-

How much weight have you removed from the Tercel prior to adding your electric drive systems?

Do you think there will be a net weight gain or loss when you finish the Tercel?

Great work and congratulations on your truck!


Phil Dev said...

Just found your blog--fantastic work you're doing. Thanks for writing very detailed information. That's probably as useful as the actual projects!

Inspirational. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I have a 144 volt 1992 Toyota Paseo conversion that shares the same chassis as the Tercel. If I can help with battery placement ideas or other issues, let me know. Check my site at www.kickngas.org

Andrew said...

Thanks for all the comments, guys! It's great to see the positive feedback. The advice is useful too.

gingerdingo- I don't know for sure how much the weight difference is going to be. I think I removed maybe 400 lbs. I'm going to be adding probably 1000 back in, so it's going to add about 600 lbs in the end.

I'm starting to get really excited about my Tercel. I think it's going to be a lot of fun. "Anonymous"- I'll be checking out your site.

Anonymous said...

Amazing work there! Keep it up and I sure glad to see a fellow auto enthusiast unafraid to take challenges. I own two tercels and can say with a 120hp electric engine making power low in the rpms, youre making much more hp than the car ame with stock! Good luck and check out the guys at tercelonline.com in case you need some parts/performance info!

c w j said...

Very nice.

Do the damn thing, youngblood.



Jose . said...

I am really impressed with your work, I would like to know whether you think for collaborating in the development of an electric, specifically vehicles up to 15-20 tons. If you are interested we could begin a new project at the international level.

greeting and congratulations on your work

Beefuzz said...

I am wonderning cause i have thought about it in the past.. What have you thought about putting Solar panels on the back of the truck. You have the perfect platform if you can figure out a way to use them to recharge the batterys off a trickle charge..

Mike Wert said...

I would like you to know that you are officially my hero. At 16 I had just started working on making my truck faster, not more efficient. Now, at 20 and with another car to drive while Im working on my truck, I think Ill take a little after you and make my old Toyota an EV. Thanks Man.

ziptieisthenewducttape said...

Brilliant, I posted a link to your blog on mine. ziptieisthenewducttape.blogspot.com

Keep up the good work man.

Anonymous said...

Congrats buddy!

I was wondering what the range is on your truck and what you expect it to be on the new car?

How far can you go before you have to recharge?

Thanks and good luck on the new project!

Andrew said...

Thanks for the comments. Solar panels are one of those things that takes up a lot of space. In order for it to be cost effective for a vehicle with these power requirements, they're really best used in charging stations and the like. Sometime in the future I'll probably get together the money to put some up.

ziptieisthenewducttape- I gotta say, I love that name. Thanks for the link!

My truck goes about 40 miles on a charge, depending on conditions. I'm expecting roughly the same from my Tercel, only with much better performance.

Stay tuned- I'll have a new post up soon!

jeff blundell said...

Hello Andrew,

I'm a producer with Discovery Channel Canada. We do a 1-hour long science news program called "Daily Planet."

I'm very impressed with your electric pickup truck and I'd like to chat with you about it.

Drop me a line at
and perhaps we can do a story on you and your truck for the show.

Jeff Blundell

EV Pilot said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
EV Pilot said...

Andrew, Way to go. I'm new to this, but I have just purchased a 1988 B2200. I would like to know if you can help me with any drawings on the adapter or any other info you have on this model of truck. Thanks

Andrew said...

Thanks ev pilot. I'd be happy to help out. Check out my EV Album entry: http://www.evalbum.com/861. Also there's a few other trucks like ours on that site to give you some ideas!

Paz said...

People should learn more about energy alternatives like electric cars. The new ones coming out are way better than gas cars. One of the main electric car companies, Zap, has delivered more than 100,000 electric vehicles (source: www.zapworld.com). EV’s cost 1 to 3 cents per mile to run, compare that to regular cars!

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