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Surprise! · 17 January 06

What is it??

I was out in the new garage installing a garage door opener when a horn sounded outside. Hmm, wonder who that could be?

Turns out it was my friend Brian and his brother, along with:

(said in your best game show host voice…)

Atom, side view

Welcome the newest addition to our EV collection.

My wife, taking the naming convention of Eve in the most logical direction, suggested we call it Adam. Great idea, but it could be better. How about:


He’s not much to look at. Kind of sporty, kind of whoa-who-got-into-the-fiberglass! But he’s very light and has tons of potential. In fact if he had a last name I’d give him a middle name of Potential, just to keep the whole clich├ęd electric naming thing going.

As it turns out Atom and I have met before, on a number of occasions.

One of the local high schools decided to try their hand at an electric car, I think after having the beginnings of the car donated to them. Over the course of a few years various shop classes would break into groups (electronics, chassis, ergonomics, etc…), work up their plans, and then spend a semester working on Atom.

I visited the class a couple of times with our Electric Mazda, showing them how the system was put together, what did what, talking about the safety (or lack thereof) and just generally showing off. It was fun.

Atom, front view

I donated a set of used batteries, so they’d have something to experiment with as the wiring came together. I also donated a charger to another local school in time for their Tour de Sol excursion.

It looks like someone, or some company, might have donated other hardware to Atom over the years. There’s a nice Solectria 48volt charger and a Curtis 1204 controller tucked inside along with some heavy duty relays and Anderson connectors. The motor…well, I’ll have to save the motor and drivetrain for another post, once I get a chance to take more pictures.

Seeing is believing.

Atom is configured for 48volts using eight 12v batteries: paralleling two sets of four series batteries. I believe they even had it running before the program ended.

Atom, ZMU Comparison

As is our custom here is a picture to help show scale, using the widely acclaimed ZMU (Zeke Metric Unit). A hack saw is included for those not familiar with ZMUs and for a sense of foreshadowing. (all pictures are clickable to zoom…thanks Darin)

The back bumper? Bolted to the fiberglass. It may be meant as a place to set your drink on. The front access panel? Plywood with a little hunk of dowel sticking up for a handle.

Still, with the possibility of the middle name Potential, you can see how this might make for a fun NEV vehicle. I’m not sure what’s needed to be street legal, but suspect that learning to fiberglass is in my future.

Comments 16
  1. darin    Jan 17, 2006 11:28 AM    #
    That is hilarious. I hope you will post a “zoom” image or 2 at some point. Looks like fun!
  2. Jerry Halstead    Jan 17, 2006 11:32 AM    #
    Whoops! Forgot about the zoomy thing. All of the images (except silhouette) are now zoomable.
  3. jcwinnie    Jan 17, 2006 11:43 AM    #
    Something about men and boys and the size of their battery packs, Jer
  4. Jerry Halstead    Jan 17, 2006 11:51 AM    #
    In that regard this battery pack has the right shape!
  5. — Kendall    Jan 17, 2006 14:41 PM    #
    Is that scorching around the upper-right of the rear hatch? :)
  6. — James May    Jan 17, 2006 15:15 PM    #
    Looks like sanded gel coat to me!
  7. — neal    Jan 17, 2006 15:28 PM    #
    are there any companys that sell conversion kits? i now drive an 84 mazda b2000, gas powered
    but, 34 mpg highway. better than most new cars.
    be safe, n.
  8. Jerry Halstead    Jan 17, 2006 18:14 PM    #
    Hey, Kendall I’ll have to check. The back hatch is a rather flimsy affair, more like the wings of an old airplane.

    The roll-bar though, I think it’s the toughest part of the whole car!

    Hi Neal, check out the resources page, I have links to a few companies there. Mazda truck, eh? You need to talk to James!
  9. — James May    Jan 18, 2006 08:01 AM    #
    My ‘81 Mazda B1800 was VERY good! Lots of torque, pretty light for what it was. And [almost] indestructible.
    I don’t think I would have converted it though. I think Jerry’s ford is about the right size for a practical EV conversion.
  10. — Dan    Jan 18, 2006 21:04 PM    #
  11. — John Westlund    Jan 22, 2006 05:02 AM    #
    I can’t help but wonder what that thing would do with an aerodynamically-efficient canopy, covered rear wheel wells, smooth underbelly, smooth headlight covers, re-done fiberglass work and quality finish, ADC 6.7” motor, Zilla 1k, and a 96V pack of Optimas. That would be a nice little rocket…
  12. — pat    Dec 02, 2007 21:32 PM    #

    Thats pretty darn cool. I wander if I could set up a club like that at my High School…

  13. Noam Kantor    Dec 04, 2007 00:01 AM    #

    I am an aspiring EVer in missouri, and I was wondering if it would be possible to use DeWalt 36V Lithium-Ions to power an EV.

  14. — Pat    Dec 04, 2007 08:47 AM    #

    The word fast comes to mind. yes it is possible but you would need alot of them and lithium is VERY expensive.

    P Cash

  15. Noam Kantor    Dec 04, 2007 19:13 PM    #

    But they are 36v and cost about $100. You just need 4 to get 144v, right?

  16. — Dan P.    Dec 06, 2007 05:28 AM    #


    Yes 36*4=144 so dose 9*16 but what Pat is saying is that even if you have the voltage, you still need the amperage.
    Having (16) 9 volt batteries linked in series will get me 144 volts and they are a lot cheaper then the 36 volt DeWalt battery but unless I also have a very large bank of them in parallel to boost the amperage; I doubt they could move the mass such as a car for even an inch before being depleted (i.e. half life).