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EVAlbum · 2 May 06

For the past few months (it’s all a blur!) we’ve been spending some free evenings and weekends working on an important EV project. Not making an EV this time, but creating a tool for all of the folks who have made or are thinking of making their own electric car, bike, scooter, boat, lawnmower, tractor, and, hey, maybe even an electric airplane.

It’s the new EVAlbum:

EV Album

Back around 1997 Mike Chancey put together a site for everyone on the EVDL to post details about their electric conversions. This was a natural companion to the EVDL (EV discussion list) as it allowed people talking about a particular EV to easily post a link to a detail page.

Mike Chancey

The amazing thing about the EVAlbum is that for all of these years Mike has been maintaining it by hand. Someone would submit information via a web form, email one or more images, and Mike had the onerous task of cleaning it all up and making a page out of it: creating Prev/Next links, adding it to the “Latest EVs” page, and all of the other categories it fell under.

Lots of work and organization, not to mention emailing back and forth with the EV owner trying to clean up the information and getting the entry posted.

On Jan 30th Seth posted a comment on the EVDL wondering if there was a database with all of the EVs in it. Something you could query to find out things like “who’s using Kostov motors.” Mike put forth the proposal that if someone built the database he would be happy to rebuild the EVAlbum using it. I followed up volunteering to do the the web programming since I’ve done this sort of thing a number of times.

Electric Scooter

Seth wrote a perl spider to pull data from the old, static EVAlbum web pages and then Mike set about cleaning it up and getting it in shape to throw in a database table. At first the idea was to use a single database table which I’d draw from to programmatically make the site pages. In fact I got that very thing working within a few days of Mike making the first database cut.

Then someone suggested a more elaborate, multi-table database approach. A real database design. Yikes, I didn’t sign up for that! What that meant was redoing everything and writing a whole bunch of code…a bunch. Of course by doing so the site would be much more useable and able to answer some of the questions Seth originally wanted.

So a few iterations of table designs were followed by a few more and eventually, weeks later we settled down at around eighteen different tables of EV related data. This was more work for me, granted, but even more work for poor Mike who now had to now slice and dice over 700 EV records into NEW and IMPROVED methods of organization.

And then Mike says, “Hey, sure would be nice if we had a way for people to upload their own images, edit their EVs, manage all of their own information using a browser.” Uh, yeah, sure that would be nice, but, uh…dang, here we go again.

EV Components

More coding…

Along the way we added some cool new features to the Album. Mike geocoded all of the records (turning city/state into latitude/longitude) and I added hooks for showing the records on Google maps.

You can now see EVs organized by geography, find the most recently added, recently updated, EVs that are in progress of being converted, EVs organized by Make/Type, EVs organized by Battery, Motor, Charger, DC-DC, and more. You can even subscribe to an RSS feed to be notified by your RSS reader when EVs are added.

And over time, as we work out the kinks, we can add more features and options.

Most importantly YOU can now add and edit your EV relatively easily. That’s right, I’m looking at you James, Greg, Woody, Jerry and any one else I’m missing. Not that I want you to quit sending me updates and photos for EVConvert, but the EVAlbum is a great way to share all of the gory details of your EV.

In case you are curious here are the entries for my two EVs: Mazda 626 and Eve.

Electric Porche

So swing by and visit the EVAlbum and browse through some of the listings. There’s a lot of GREAT information to be found, lots of really interesting EVs, and some cool approaches to making electric cars.

Areas of note:

Thanks again to Mike for all of the hard work over the years in maintaining such a valuable resource!

Comments 12
  1. Peter    May 02, 2006 14:09 PM    #


    Even though I have not as yet built a EV of my own, let me say thank you for all the work you put into your own webpage and now the album. For those of us interested in following in the footsteps of ev’ers like yourself and the other people around the country I want to say THANKS! Pete
  2. — Dan    May 02, 2006 16:16 PM    #

    Here is proof-positive of the very high demand for electric cars, a Rav4 EV sold last night for $67,300!

  3. darin    May 02, 2006 21:08 PM    #

    Yes, kudos on the album work, Jerry. I can appreciate the amount of work that went into the behind-the-scenes stuff.

    And I can vouch for its usefulness to a noob such as myself: I spent many hours browsing through the myriad EV variations & purmutations within the album as one of the first steps in deciding to possibly make my own (not yet!).

  4. darin    May 02, 2006 21:34 PM    #

    The video link to the TV news piece about Jim’s dad’s 30 year-old electic Citroen reminded me of something else, album-related:

    I would like to see more video of folks’ EVs. With free and easy to use Web video hosting services like Google Video and YouTube, and the proliferation of digital video cameras (and digital still cameras that can capture short clips), there’s no reason why more people couldn’t share more in-depth experiences of their EVs.

    There’s something compelling about moving pictures. I suppose it’s why I stop by Danny’s Contentment video blog so often, hoping to go for another virtual ride in his neat little car.

  5. — Ed Cochran    May 03, 2006 00:44 AM    #

    I wish I knew you were working on that I would have helped.

  6. Shaun Williams    May 03, 2006 05:27 AM    #

    Jerry, You’re a legend.

    Just updated my EV Album details, piece of pie. Well done to Mike Chancey also.

  7. Jerry Halstead    May 03, 2006 08:10 AM    #

    Hi Pete,

    Thanks for the nice words. Hopefully the gang here will help guide you to gutting and electrifying your own car soon!

    Funny you should mention that Darin, I was watching someone’s vidcast the other day and thought I should throw one together for evconvet. Not sure yet on the content or format (I have a hard time being serious) so we’ll see what develops.

    Glad y’all like the new EVAlbum…certainly pushed the bounds of my php/sql programming skills on that one.

  8. — James May    May 03, 2006 08:20 AM    #

    It’s so much fun looking through the EV Album. It’s like those ‘trump cards’ where you would bet on range / top speed or power or something. I need to do an audit of all the bits on my car before I upload it. Also gotta do a speed test and a range test. Gonna drive in circles till it runs out!

  9. — Greg Coleman    May 04, 2006 00:53 AM    #

    Very good work. Hope to be putting some new info on about my car and a friends, that we are about to start on.

  10. — JohnG    May 05, 2006 15:07 PM    #


    Looks like that explains the lack of updates to the EVAlbum for the last month or so.

    Time to update my page for “Sparky” (real unique eh?) on the album!

  11. Jerry    May 07, 2006 08:05 AM    #

    Hi John,

    Yeah, there were a number of factors behind the slowdown in updates: work, EVAlbum, and Winter. Also, we lost our baby/pregnancy on xmas eve. It’s hard to describe the feelings that followed, but it really knocked the wind out of my sails for a long time.

    But now Spring is here, the sun is out, things are turning green, and the garage is even cleaned up a little bit! I've been out in the garage getting greazy (man, can you EVER get a car truly clean?) and putting Eve back together. She has new brakes, bearings, and one of these days I might be able to convince someone to sell us some batteries (long story)! ":^)

  12. — JohnG    May 07, 2006 12:59 PM    #


    Sorry to hear about that, I know of many others in your situation, although there is no “good time” for this to happen, the holidays would be the worst.

    You and Mike have made tremendous contributions to the EV community over the past 9 years or so, thank you both!

    With my Volvo needing another $500 in parts (exhaust), and the fact that we rarely drive it (1000miles/yr), it is time to consider where that $500 should be spent, and EV parts are looking better and better. For that price, I can get a good rebuilt or used 1221. With a motor I am 2/3 there in terms of cost (no really).

    Time to call some forklift dealers.