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James' EV part II · 17 November 05

James and his Cat

Meet James May.

You ever have one of those weeks where your mind and hand coordination doesn’t seem to be working? Hands end up in the wrong place on the keyboard and you type a paragraph of gibberish before noticing…and then wonder if maybe it’s better that way?

I email James to get picture of him and the car.

Me and my typos. Here’s James and his cat.

Hey, it’s a nice looking cat.

James was good enough to send over a pile of new pics of the car being worked on. He invited his friend Peter over to help clean things up a bit and squeeze in that huge pile-o-batteries.

To set the mood you should imagine this being narrated by Tim Hunkin, from the Secret Life of Machines. It’s an English series from the early 90’s that they’ve been showing on the discovery channel recently.

So, here we go. First step, a view of the EV’s engine area, sans batteries.

Engine Area

Let’s identify things, clockwise, starting from the top left. The grey box, I mis-identified as a fuse box in the first entry, is actually a custom rev limiter. James says, “It has a couple of ICs and some discrete components and a relay on stripboard. It cuts off 12 supply to the controller if the revs get past 5500 I think. The sensor is, I think, a magnetic sensor near a castellated wheel on the end of the motor.

To the right of that is the master brake cylinder, at a unique angle, with a silver-blue electric vacuum pump next to it. I believe the black contraption in upper right is part of the passenger compartment fan system.

Lower right is the orange propane heater, which James is replacing with a ceramic electric heater (hopefully keeping the propane in case he changes his mind). Far right is his buddy, contemplating the work ahead…or trying to use his Jedi mind tricks.

The battery box frame is in the center and in the very front there’s a few heavy duty relays. On the far left is the motor mount and wiper fluid,

Battery tray before mod

This is how the battery tray looked when they started off. To accomadate the transmission “bump” the original designer put a channel in the battery box. Clever.

You can also see a little more of the contactors.

The problem is that James is using larger batteries and he’d like to fit five of them up front.

New Battery Slot

First step is to cut a notch into the fiberglass.


As always, click these smaller images to see larger versions.

Fiberglass and Foot

Here you can see the patch made to the fiberglass, which looks pretty good as near as I can tell.

I’ve never messed with fiberglass. Dad made a fiberglass boat when we were kids, so I’m familiar with the smell and the mechanics of it, but no first-hand experience at slopping something together. Something for a later project.

Anyways, nice patch but what’s that on the shoe? ”:^)

Engine Mount Trimming

Yes, well back to the show. The keen observers out there are probably wondering about the channel and how it’s going to fit over the transmission now that he’s removed it.

Here you can see that they are cutting a notch out of the transmission adaptor plate and the housing to accommodate the extra space for the battery.

Having cut my own share of thick aluminum stock I can emphasis…tough work. Note that they covered the motor to keep the metal shards out of it.

Trunk View

I’m not quite sure what is going on here in the trunk.

By the way, James is getting his EV supplies from AVT.

Comments 3
  1. Greg Gullatt    Nov 17, 2005 13:58 PM    #
    Hmmm, I,ve been wondering what to do with that extra one piece fiberglass tub/shower unit that is not in good enough shape to use for it intended purpose. It sure has alot of nice 90 degree bends. Originally thought of making a utility trailer body out of it, but it sure would come in handy when it is time to make an EV car battery box.
    By the way, congratulations on the expansion of your family. A friend and his wife just had a child and they said now they know what their Momma’s meant when they use to say “I’ve watched you grow up”.
  2. — James May    Nov 17, 2005 18:53 PM    #
    Hi Greg. I have spent days now grinding and sanding my front battery box. Fibreglass is easy, rigid and longlasting, reasonably acid-proof, I think, but the dust, oh the dust, it gets everywhere and it prickles your arms for hours. Don’t grind it if you can help it!
  3. Rob    Nov 18, 2005 10:04 AM    #
    Very nice work, James!