Thursday, December 29, 2011

Merry Christmas

Well, we've been struggling a bit with the holiday season and some family illness that has kind of beat us up for time. But Brain and I did manage to get out a bit of a video this week to share, along with the help of some of our viewers.

Brain reminded me that it was Christmas Day of 2008 when we did the first roll of the original Speedster. We had started that first conversion in September of 2008 and we were rolling by Christmas. lots of little fixes between then and May when we did our first video.

Much has transpired in the three years intervening. In November of that year, again Brain kind of pressed for a weekly video. We of course assumed we could easily sell advertising on the show, Brian's always been pretty good at closing such as sale, and by assembling the interested parties in such a show, it looked pretty formulaic.

The industry itself turned out to be a little pre-emergent I'm afraid. We've kind of had a lockup between hopelessly small entrepreneurs selling nearly DOZENS of their product and equally naive larger funded companies who are just as naively insisting on selling only to a half dozen immense Original Equipment Manufacturers.

All of this will shake out of course and some more realistic approaches will remerge. We may have been a little early to the party. So the future of EVTV is kind of a race to see if my attention span wanders before it becomes profitable.

In the early days of Boardwatch I wrote everything and participated a bit in the industry to establish credibility. I actually wrote the only known version of UUCP in assembly language (because I could of course). We worked with modem vendors on features and command sets and pretty much invented the "sysop discount" which was universally adopted by modem manufacturers to offer a 50% discount to BBS operators under the theory that this would advance sales of modems to the callers to those bulletin boards in a world where the modems were not really standardized in those days at the higher speeds.

The EV industry is kind of locked down with all vendors awaiting a call from the OEM that will fill their dreams, meanwhile not selling ANYTHING as their cash dwindles toward zero. It's incredible. These auto guys have to be the dumbest beasts on the planet. SELL SOMETHING to SOMEONE SOMEWHERE. That's kind of the key to business survival.

Having a plan is good. But sitting there watching yourself become irrelevant because it didn't turn out the way you want is not it. If they would sell to who wants to buy, instead of only to their ideal customer, there is no telling where all that might lead.

We hope not to do the same thing. In any event, long term we do NOT intend to do all of it ourselves. EVTV will morph into a "magazine" of various views from various participants. In this issue we feature another installment of John Hale's Toyota upgrade and a fascinating bit from John Hardy of the UK who has devised a cunning thermal watchdog for your battery pack.

And that is rather the point. You don't have to swallow the whole hog to participate in the barbecue. Let's say you have FAILED to introduce the next automobile that changes the world and become GM overnight. You might have worked out the instrumentation to tell how many amp hours you've used. I find the latter more interesting than the former.

New insulating materials, new corrosion preventives, the NordLock washer is the greatest discovery so far at EVTV. And for most of our viewers one little tip like that can make watching worthwhile.

The heart of the question is how do you have and participate in an industry where all solutions are proprietary trade secrets you are trying to patent and make money from? If I see far it IS because I stand on the shoulders of giants. But if all giants keep what they know secret, and don't allow anyone on their shoulders, nobody sees very far at all now dow they?

Our economy has entered a very mean spirited "small" phase where our LARGEST corporations will bring in hundreds of Indian temp workers,layoff hundreds of veteran American workers, and do it all to make next months or next quarters numbers with no thought beyond that. It is ok to steal from each other. And any advantage should be guarded and kept secret. It is very much like the famine period setting of STONE SOUP which I shared with you earlier.

As we used to say in Boardwatch, the Internet DEMANDS a certain generosity of spirit from those who seek to profit from it, and it will punish those without it soundly. Recent goliaths such as Google and Facebook and recent developments on the Internet would tend to make this or even deny it. I don't think so.

And on a wider front I think it holds true as well. Those who carefully guard the little they have will lose even that. Those that start giving it away will be unable to give it away fast enough to keep it from piling up on them.

In this Christmas season, nothing has really changed. The original message holds true. It is better to give than to receive. And more profitable to share than to hide away and hoard. It seems with each generation we have to learn all this over again.

Merry Christmas.

Jack Rickard

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Mentos and Coke Powered ELEscalade

More Swallow. More Elescalade. We've decided to abandon the electric powered ELEScalade concept and go with a new rocket powered package from EEPYBIRD that uses Mentos and Coca Cola.

The Elescalade we begin populating the large battery box in the back with 57 cells of 400 AH. These 400 Ah cells weigh 29 lbs each for 1653 lbs. With straps and cables and box, probably more like 1725 lbs. It does squat the ELEscalade down on its haunches.

But that also gives us 76380 watt-Hours of power.

The Elescalade has a curb weight of 5800 lbs and a gross of 7200 lbs. We're going to be over gross at 7550lbs and with an additional 1000 lbs of people meat, QUITE over gross.

Our 10:1 rule normally serves us very well and that would seem to indicate 750 to 850 watt-Hours per mile or a little under 100 miles range.

But we think we will do both MUCH better than that, and much worse than that, with this vehicle.

We haven't done much with this, as we have little to test with and some problems. The Rhinehart Motion Systems Controller has never achieved sufficiently consistent operation to offer any useful testing on the 2009 Mini Cooper Clubman. We have another vehicle, a 2007 Ford Edge in the 5000 lbs class offering perhaps more direct experience with an automatic. BUt this conversion was so badly done from the beginning - we kind of inherited it from Arnulf Larsgard when he folded his Iowa plans, that we've barely been able to get it into operation.

But we have noticed and more or less confirmed anecdotally a remarkable inversion in these higher weight vehicles. The Mini Cooper is 3550 lbs while the Ford Edge is over 5000. And accelerating that mass turns out to be hard work. In town, the Edge can use as much as a kilowatt hour per mile. The MiniCooper is more like 400 wH per mile.

But on the freeway, where wind resistance always cuts down our mileage on the light cars, things take a dramatic turn. The Mini Cooper drops from about 1.15 Ah per mile (420 watt hours) to 0.85 Ah per mile (310 watt hours/mile) at 70 mph on the freeway. Similarly, the Edge with the automatic transmission drops down to about 400 watt hours per mile.

This is a little counterintuitive. I don't think it is because they are so very efficient on the freeway. I think it is because they are so very INeffecient in town. Accelerating that much mass is just expensive. When you quit doing it, mere air resistance can't by comparison compete.

So we think we'll have something like 70 mile range in town. But will probably be able to drive the 120 miles to St. Louis rather easily in the ELEscalade. And it's six speed 6L80E transmission with a pretty serious overdrive in sixth gear could in fact extend that phenomenon quite all out of bounds.

The truck will no doubt be heavy.

There is a subtle point of temperature that might be worth stressing at this point. It was observed by the official BMW Mini Cooper electric program which I find interesting.

The presumption on battery cells is that they must be thermally controlled for safety and to avoid thermal runaway somehow and a fire. Our experience is that cell heat just has NOT been an issue and when we do make provisions for it, they are largely wasted.

That view is largely shared by BMW - with the corollary that we've also noticed - a decrease in performance in the cold. We've done little to quantify this. The listed 10-15% is so much smaller than the penalty with Pb chemistry cells that we almost celebrate it. But it is very real.

Then too, the LiFePo4 cells we use all seem to indicate NOT to charge below freezing - 32F or 0C. Truthfully, I thought this was a typo when I first saw it and although I've requested additional information on this perhaps a dozen times from various vendors, nobody has any specifics as to why this is or even whether it is.

But the Mini Cooper guys noticed that on some days of chill, their range fell below what was comfortable for their use. That's pretty serious. And they are talking about what they HOPE to see in the new electrics from BMW.

Mostly this revolves around battery thermal management but really HEAT. They want heated batteries.

And with batteries representing quite a mass, it is really better to START warm than to GET warm. So we're doing something really quite similar in the ELEscalade.

In a past show we detailed our electric "heater". This is made from a home tankless water heater of some 24 kW capacity. With our 190v DC pack, we're probably looking at 14 kW with TWO tanks and heaters really. So we will be able to warm our water using a pair of heaters in small tanks, and at some temperature cut out one of the heaters and at a second temperature cut out the other. As temp falls, the "other" would cycle back on. And so we can heat quickly, and then drop our energy use to "maintain" temperature.

This is part of a glycol water system that will be pumped through our cabin heat exchanger so WE can be toasty warm first. But then it will go through our battery box which would represent a pretty deep heat sink if it were cold soaked.

So we're going to make sure it isn't. We're going to have a second system that is made of small rubber flexible heating pads that will attach to the tanks. They operate on 240 vac and are a couple hundred watts each.

These "gentle" heaters will be fed the same 240 as the battery charger, and at the same time. Additionally, we will switch the 12v pumps on when charging. We'll qualify that with a "season" switch so it only happens in winter, not in summer. Or perhaps automatically with a thermostat.

In this way, when you plug your car in at the end of the day to charge it, the warmth will be maintained all night. Because of the continuous or lengthy nature of this, we want a fairly small and gentle heat in this case. The urgency is not so much to save power as we are on our wall AC, but recall that we only have to maintain it above freezing for the batteries and then of course for our comfort in the morning. A couple of hundred watts should do it if it is on all night.

Again, the mission of the ELEscalade is to be warm and toasty in the winter and cool in the summer. Actual motion is a secondary criteria on this build. And performance and range almost not even a consideration.
Oh, I suppose it's always a consideration, but secondary for this build.

In any event, it's a bit of fun to be underway and putting together the battery pack. The large terminals and M14 bolts and Nordlocks are interesting. MANLY battery connections. Speaking of which. EVWorks in Australia had these 55 mm braided copper straps listed for 400Ah Thundersky cells and we bought a bunch of them. We've had them sitting around for eight or nine months. They have a much larger terminal bolt hole of course to accommodate the much larger M14 cap screw, as compared to the M8 or 8 mm diameter terminal screw we normally use on the smaller cells.

Unfortunately, they don't work. These cells are not on 55 mm centers, but rather 67.5 mm centers. So they are too short. Incredibly, EVWorks threw us TOTALLY under the bus. While acknowledging the mistake, their solution is to remove the 400AH reference from the web site and thank you very much for the field report. They have NO straps suitable for 400Ah cells and no intention of getting us any. Sorry.....

Of course, their suppliers, whom they refuse to reveal but whom we of course found anyway, want a kind of a hugish 3000 straps minimum to build them. And we need about 70.

I'm so incensed by this cavalier attitude, as well as the truly egregious shipping charges EVworks has started charging, that we're going to look at just buying the 3000 straps, along with 3000 of all the other sizes, the bolts, the Nordlocks, and just going into the battery terminal connection business. That way I'll have them and you can get them without having to go to Australia for them. Ridiculous situation.

But truly, we love these copper braided straps. They are flexible and do NOT put pressure on the terminals when flexing. They work well with the Nordlocks which have become a central element of our terminal connection strategy. We simply do not use the copper bent straps sent by the manufacturers any longer.

For the moment, we've cut the end out of the straps so they are long enough to fit. They don't REALLY fit and we have kind of not quite enough surface area here for 3000 amps of current. But it will let us wire up the pack until we can get proper 67.5 mm straps in from China.

We got some 1/4 x 3/4 aluminum bar and some 1/2 x 3/4 aluminum bar in from McMaster Carr and we are starting our new strategy of clamping tabs together with 1/4 inch 20 thread screws for the A123 cells. There is nothing really innovative here. Numerous people do this more or less this way and describe it online and a number of different viewers have suggested this, albeit in one screw and two screw and plastic screw variants. Hopefully we'll have something to show this week or next. I've ordered 300 of the cells and once they are in, we can show several approaches at once.

Back to my Mentos and Coca Cola....

Jack Rickard

Monday, December 12, 2011

Chiseled in Jello in the Global Village

It is true we are having a ball in the hinterlands of the Midwest, axing away at how to take any ordinary car and hack it into an entirely silent electric beast and make it do our bidding. While the rest of the world waits with baited breath and hopeful attention for developments from the global OEMsd, we are living and driving the dream and I have to tell you it IS fun and it IS worth it.

I'm doubly excited because it goes a little beyond whacking away in the garage on a hobby. I see a vibrant burgeoning new industry in custom electric cars that stretches out for decades and encompasses things the original hot rod custom car scene cannot even contemplate.

But like any frontier mining camp, it also attracts charlatans and mountebanks along with the adventurers and pioneers.

We were defrauded of some $9800 on a battery purchase from David Kois in April of 2010, along with at least 23 other people. Roy Mann led a group to take legal action and so we pitched in ANOTHER couple thousand ducats for legal expenses. They finally reached a settlement receiving some inventory they insisted represented 59 cents on the dollar, including MY 40 Thundersky 200Ah cells. Despite the irony of having to buy the cells, fund the legal attick, and then pay the rest of the group AGAIN for my cells, I agreed to do that anyway.

Didn't happen. In a behind the scenes maneuver AFTER the settlement, and after reaching an agreement with me on the disposition of the cells, Mann and Baker reached an agreement with David Kois, the ORIGINAL vendor who defrauded us, to have HIM sell the cells and tender cash. They handed over the goods, and Kois has INDEED started selling the stuff AGAIN. But he's keeping the money and refused for nearly a month to even communicate with the principals in the lawsuit.

We confirmed this past week that he had sold our cells AGAIN, and pocketed the proceeds. He insists he'll work it all out AT THE END OF THE YEAR. (Or whenever he gets some money from defrauding someone ELSE sufficient to both live on and pay off the current group).

I'm so disgusted I may never order from an American parts retailer again. Roy Mann is so disillusioned he has abandoned his gorgeous 1976 VW beetle.

Kois currrently operates a web site called CurrentEVTech.

We would urge caution in dealing with him however. He's very charming and got us twice, insisting on BOTH occasions that he's really a VICTIM.... The same claim made by James Morrison....

Meanwhile, we continue work on the Swallow and the Elescalade. We heard from Bill Bishoprick of Salem Oregon, applauding our work to update the Swallow. Bill originally engineered this attractive little notion of an EV. And we're a bit taken with it.

By far the biggest development involves batteries. Sinopoly has emerged as one of the most attractive vendors who never were. They have quoted $1 per AH to anyone who will listen for their cells, but we can find no one who has actually received the cells. Per Ecklund claims he knows a guy who has but we haven't stumbled on anyone directly.

Thundersky is really where all this started. Our first cells were some truly horrible SEIDEN cells. But very early we bought Thunderskies from Elite Power Solutions out in Arizona. Today they sell the GBS cells. But after receiving 70 400 Ah cells from Thundersky for the Elescalade Project, Winston Battery has informed us they no longer offer cells in the United States and their exclusive agent for North America is Balqon. We can't even get them to return a telephone call - or tell us what they want us to do with this commercial we keep running with a dead e-mail address on it.

This leaves China Aviation Lithium Battery Company as the only viable vendor we can find actually shipping prismatic cells - and they are kind of stuck on the idea of $1.25 per AH.

And so we are going to begin looking at alternatives. Headway has some new large scale cylindrical cells. Sebastion Bourgois did an interesting pack in his Porsche 911 from Headway cells and claims he likes them.

Most ironically, it appears that the American manufacturers who have so abusively dismissed us as little and ugly and dressing funny, and insisting that they ONLY sell to "OEMs" with such a hugely comical combination of arrogance and naiveté, seem to be mostly going out of business (Enerdel) or losing control of their product (A123).

A123 is very interesting to me personally. They had previously made some very twitchy little cylindrical cells that were probably truly dangerous in any application. We played with them and I could see no real use for them. We did make a little aux battery out of 4S4P arrangement and it went up in flames a month later.

They developed what they call a prismatic cells, we call them pouch cells. This is a little foil pouch 7.5 mm thick and about the size of our 100Ah prismatics. It has two tabs for positive and negative of course.

They entered these in a competition to power the Chevy Volt and Chevrolet chose LGChem's Lithium Manganese Oxide Spinel cells instead. The Lithium Manganese cells offer a little better energy density than the A123's and at the time, LGChem represented a much larger company more likely to reach full production in time. But Chevrolet may have chosen the wrong cell.

We certainly favor the LiFePo4 cell chemistry of the A123 20 Ah pouch as a safer chemistry. They have continued to work on these cells and have reduced manufacturing costs while increasing density and power performance as they went under a DOE program. Chevrolet has now selected them for the Chevy Spark program. Unfortunately, they don't need any batteries for that car until 2013.

Meanwhile, A123 had invested $30 million in Fisker stock. In return, Fisker selected A123 as their cell vendor. And they had told A123 that they needed cell modules for 7000 cars before the end of 2011.

Brain actually had a conversation a year ago with the Vice President of Sales and Marketing at A123. He was told then that the Prius fire and Davide Andrea was the direct reason they would not sell battery cells to hobbyists and custom car builders. But he also said they would be working day and night just to ramp up production for the Fisker contract.

As ti turns out, apparently Fisker did not build 7000 cars in 2011. They built maybe 1500. It's a little unclear what of THOSE were delivered to actual customers.

But its certainly thrown A123 into a tizzy. Despite an apparently firm contract finally with an OEM - General Motors, A123's stock has plunged. Their Initial Public Offering (IPO) of September 24, 2009 valued the stock at $17. It reached a high just a few days later of $26.74 per share. It opened this morning at around $2.07 - not the performance clean green investor dreams are made of.

And after receiving hundreds of millions in Croney Crapitalism government ducats to bring 5000 new manufacturing jobs to Michigan, the company reached about 900 total jobs before they laid off 125 last week.

That the company maintains their policy of NOT selling their cells and modules should be of intense interest to their board of directors and shareholders. But it gets more interesting. Suddenly, several Chinese traders including OSN Power Technology and Shenzen VictPower Technology are offering A123 MD1 HD 20 Ah cells. These showed up at $50-$60 each a month or so ago and really are not very attractive at that price.

We just ordered 300 at $20 each. They seem to average about 18.6 Ah per cell, not 20. But that's still about $1.08 per AH which seems to be the going rate of the Chinese prismatics.

They ARE possibly attractive at that price. They put a very high amount of POWER for their size - up to 600 Amps momentarily from a 20Ah cell. If you put six of them together, you get about 110 Ah that will pump 3600 amps if you have the packaging hardware to do that without melting or blowing up.

And therein lies a tale of course.

But what has really happened here with this "grey market" A123 cell? Are these simply "seconds" disposed of in a grey market? Perhaps.

More likely, and certainly it makes a more interesting story, let's imagine A123 contracting with Korean and Chinese factories to make their cells. Then they don't need quite as many cells as they thought they did because Fisker doesn't make quite as many cars as they said they would. What is the Chinese factory to do with all the cells piling up in the aisles?

A123 would not be the first U.S. company to lose control of its own Chinese supplier. One of the dangers here in getting the Chinese to build your DeltaQ chargers, for example, is that they might just improve it and sell it against you as an Elcon. We actually busted a guy in EVDL whining heroically about this very matter and pointing to the loss of "American" jobs (Canadian company) as the result. Actually the problem was not American jobs, as they had contracted with China to build their chargers, which they are claiming are "made in Canada."

As American companies have learned to play these games - hey we put a label on it and the instruction book and it is actually American made then - so have the Chinese. Hey we replace this cable with that and up the voltage and its a new charger.

Don't fall for the media demonization of the Chinese. It's the American companies that have brought this directly to our shores.

However it is happening, suddenly we can get some VERY power cells at very reasonable prices. As the volumetric density and density by weight do not actually increase at ALL the advantage is pretty slim. But you do wind up with a very granular device that can be combined in new ways to new shapes. And it does open the door to smaller packs of less range while also featuring less weight, less volume, and still sufficient POWER output to drive the controller and motor to their max.

And so it is incumbent on us to cover this development. More, we need to develop a modularization technique our viewers could use.

Again, if you have any ideas how to structure a process to truly vette a BETTER mousetrap/module, it's a pregnant time. I'm struggling to see how to do this. But I'm attracted to the notion of doing a better/simpler/less expensive/BMSless version of the A123 module.

It is an infant industry on the frontier of a new world of electric cars. IT's all graven in Jello. Yes, there are dangers. But opportunities as well. That's what a frontier is.

I'll make you the same deal I did the Internauts. I'll hang around till it's built. When the townies show up, I"m outta here.

That should give me a little work to do over the next 12 or 14 years I guess.

Jack Rickard

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Public Radio International MARKETPLACE

Nice little story on the 2011 Electric Vehicle Conversion Convention by Alex Chadwick.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Jack and Brian in Wonderland - The Search for Alice.

Lies, Damn Lies, and EV Industry Forecasts.

It starts with the rather bald implication that the American public is hungering for electric cars, and that the evil empire is denying them access to them for various vaguely nefarious and republican reasons. This huge, latent demand for a better technology, left unfulfilled and unrequited in the eternal quest for filthy euchre and the ongoing quest for global climactic rape and mayhem.

And somehow lurking in all that is the eternal premise that the wealthy grow wealthy on the backs of the poor working man.

If you could spend a day in my mailbox from THIS end, you'd understand why I'm old, cranky, and overweight.

In truth, the demand for a battery powered electric vehicle, not only in the United States but worldwide, is essentially and statistically zero and always was.

China, a country whose primary means of transportation for a century has been a bicycle, offered a more advanced government subsidy last year for electric cars than the United States and had a whopping 34 takers.

It IS true that those who DID lease an EV1, a RAV4, a Ford Ranger, or a Chevy S10 in the 1990s, probably overwhelmingly wanted to keep them.

Today, the Volt is under siege both as a non seller and a fire hazard. But Volt owners haven't gotten the word. They love the car. In fact, according to Consumer Reports, it has the highest vehicle owner satisfaction numbers in the business - ahead of the Dodge Challenger and the Porsche 911. Neither beast nor fowl, it uses both gasoline and kilowattage rather indiscriminately.

To know an electric car at this point, with modern Lithium ion cells, is to love one. But almost nobody knows them.

And so we have this bizarre Alice in Wonderland national debate, with almost ALL the voices on ALL sides of it, pro AND con, bereft of any experience with the vehicles whatsoever, and they entirely drown out the plaintive mews of actual owners who have actually owned and driven the beasts for at least two weeks.
Since their experience matches not the preconceived pro OR con notions, there is not really a slot on the evening news for their voices at all.

More annoying for me personally, is the entirely altered nature of business in America. An unintended consequence of the Internet. A decade or more ago, all businesses had telephones and answered them as a matter of course, taking all callers. They responded to electronic mail. And generally, they would sell their products to anyone capable of paying for them, in quantities large or small.

This is actually a necessary mannerism of commerce. Despite the 80/20 rule that all businesses live by, wherein 80% of your business comes from 20% of your customers, the 20% age and die. Worse, they merge. And so you have to constantly replenish them from the great mass of unwashed 80% of your customers most of whom are in truth a pain in the ass. Problem being, you can't tell which of them is going to switch categories on you.

Today, we have whole industries with no phone number. They don't have a receptionist. Nobody screens the incoming call because no one takes them. E-mail addresses are posted, but no humanoid ever checks that mailbox. The sales process is very much more efficient because it is entirely outbound. There is no incoming over the transom business because there is no one there to take the order.

This is most forgivable in mature industries. Massive hedging in corn futures could be forgiven for being a bit clubby. There are a few traders who have been doing this as a family business for a hundred years or so. Ironically, you can call them and they'll take the call.

But in young, emerging, technically disruptive businesses, this is pretty much a page of lost opportunity and connections and relationships never made and never fulfilled. In other words, kids playing at having a business - usually with other peoples money.

So it is no great loss to the CEO of Enerdel. That half a billion in investor capital went away because HE was too busy in a business FANTASY to answer the phone wasn't really his money. And A123 can likewise VERY cavalierly claim to NOT do business with the great unwashed AS they watch their investors stock plunge below $3 - not a problem. OPM.

But the lost opportunities are a treasonous high crime and misdemeanor. Backyard and garage inventors Bill Hewlett, David Packard, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Bill Gates, Paul Allen would simply be shut out today because they cannot "qualify" to get a phone call or e-mail returned, much less order a small quantity of whatever it is the companies offer.

So today, we have this ironic situation where we have plunging prices on American lithium batteries that can only be purchased from Chinese traders,which is ok because the American made batteries are really made in Korea or China ANYWAY while the American company is laying off workers in MICHIGAN prior to going out of business and being delisted from the Nasdaq ANYWAY and our main question is will these cells be available long enough for us to bother to design a module/package for sufficient to use in a car.

And if we did, and enough of you purchased the cells, would the cells then remain in production in China to fill THAT backdoor demand even though the original U.S. company went out of business entirely? Oh, did I mention they received $259 million of YOUR tax dollars to do all this? But they will neither sell to you or even SPEAK to you at this point?

American jobs? I'm sorry. Americans don't DESERVE jobs. They can't be bothered answering the phone.

Beyond ranting and raving about these developments, we're basically taking the win on almost everything we've predicted for the past two years. It is now becoming evident to everyone that General Motors sales projections, Nissan's sales projections, and all industry observers sales projections, have been nothing but fantasy confused by the ongoing propensity to offer a bare faced lie to anyone who will listen.

Electric cars offer a serious advantage to those who own them. The problem is those who own them are very few and not part of the national conversation on this topic. So in this Alice and Wonderland world, the only way anyone is going to learn anything useful about a modern electric car is to take a ride with one of the very few who have one. ANd that ironically is the same group that was building their own. The conversion guys generally ARE the low hanging fruit who are buying the Leaf's and the Volts, and parking them right next to their own efforts at an electric car in the same garage. But that's what's happening.

And so the bootstrapping of this technology to the masses is going to be a much longer and much slower process than Carlos Ghosn can imagine I do fear, despite his heroic work in this area. It remains an early adopter market. And will because the American public has learned to rely on information gathered first hand by their own experience. They have over time learned how to tell when the corporate elements of the world are lying .....
.....- you can see their lips moving.....

We continue to work on the Swallow - which is fun with an open VW chassis from 1968. We're making battery boxes and hooking things up left and right.

Jack Rickard