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Author Topic: Electric Spec Miata....anyone interested?
Aaron Bailey
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Hey everyone,
I am a senior Mechanical Engineering student at Cal Poly State University in San Luis Obispo, CA. We are developing an in wheel electric motor for our senior project. We just wanted to take a poll and see how many people would be interested in racing an electric Spec Miata. (ESM) This motor would be able to last approximately 3 seasons without any sort of maintenance if not longer. This is just a concept but we would like to get some feedback.

The motor would mount up to the existing spec miata suspension including A-arms, shocks, steering, etc. All you would have to do is buy this motor kit and bolt it on. The power would be as much if not more than a good spec miata is currently and the batteries would be good enough to not lose power over the course of a race. The weight would be lighter total than the drive system you would be removing. With this in mind please give me the following feedback:

Would you be interested?
How much would you pay per motor?
What other qualities would you like to see?

Thanks for your input!

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Aaron Bailey
#15 Spec Miata
http://www.aaronbaileyracing.com

seege Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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I understand you're just trying to gauge interest at this point. My first concern would be keeping the batteries away from the driver.
If you could configure an ESM car to pass tech
then you would probably have interest. I would think building one for demonstration would be your first order of business. Good luck it sounds cool. Sealed motors for all!

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-CJ Johnson

Lance Snyder Made Donation to Website
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Aaron,

Interesting idea.. but from the worker world we will need to know how to handle this vehicle safely. Most important is wrecks but also should there be a malfunction on course how do I get it flat towed or on a tiltbed without shockin the beejezus outta me?

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All this has happened before, and will happen again

Eric Barbaric Verified Driver
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I think it is a smashing idea! Take the most popular amateur racing class in the country, take the most recognized sportscar success story in the last 50 years, and show what an electric car can do.

I'd vote to allow electric motored cars into our class, just to encourage development. So what if they out-torque us for a $5 trophy.

We need to help dispel the stigma of electric cars being low-quality, low-performance, low-mileage machines. Times have changed and who better to show the world what today's electric technology is capable of, than SM?

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Interested?- Yes
Motor price?- $1000 each
Qualities?- Min 3 hr endurance, battery cradles located in the engine bay and fuel tank location.

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Problem Solved/ReelScreensSE/RE Power

Qik Nip Verified Driver Made Donation to Website Series Champ
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Aaron:
By "in wheel", do you mean the motor is housed somehere outboard of the A arm pivot? If so will it withstand the rigors of track use? BTW, what will the motor assembly weigh(sprung weight issue)? Sounds quite interesting.
Rick

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Fortune Cookie Racing SM 60
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Lance Snyder Made Donation to Website
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quote:
Originally posted by Eric Barbaric:
We need to help dispel the stigma of electric cars being low-quality, low-performance, low-mileage machines. Times have changed and who better to show the world what today's electric technology is capable of, than SM?

We need to show that they are safe first, you have actual humans on corners, humans in tech, humans in the paddock and a human behind the wheel. F1 is dropping KERS in part due to battery issues, we aren't pushing the development envelope like they are but if they are scrapping that kind of system then the technology might not be ready for primetime. It's a great idea and interesting product, but first and foremost is safety for all those involved.

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All this has happened before, and will happen again

Aaron Bailey
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Yes safety is a big concern and we are looking at that as well. Right now we want to see how many people are actually interested and would be willing to race an ESM.

By in-wheel motor, yes it would be in the actual wheel to cut down on drive train losses etc. We are still doing analysis but it would be able to take the loads of a normal spec miata plus an additional safety factor.

Thanks everyone for your input, and keep it coming.

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Aaron Bailey
#15 Spec Miata
http://www.aaronbaileyracing.com

Aaron Bailey
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quote:
Originally posted by Qik Nip:
BTW, what will the motor assembly weigh(sprung weight issue)? Sounds quite interesting.
Rick

We are trying to minimize the unsprung weight as much as possible. There is a trade off between reducing drive train losses and unsprung weight regarding electric motors.

We are still running numbers, but like I said we are trying to make it as close to current spec miata weights, power etc as possible.

--------------------
Aaron Bailey
#15 Spec Miata
http://www.aaronbaileyracing.com

Jarhead Made Donation to Website
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Is the battery operated golf cart that delivers water to your station safe? Of course safety would be paramount.

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Problem Solved/ReelScreensSE/RE Power

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But the raspy sweetness of the engine will be ....chirp..... chirp..... chirp......

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Sphinx Racing
Atlanta Region
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TimBuck Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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I'm in! Pro motors by Traxxas!!!

--------------------
Tim Buck

MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development
Mazda North American Operations
phone (800) 435-2508
fax (949) 222-2650

zoom-zoom!

Lance Snyder Made Donation to Website
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quote:
Originally posted by Jarhead:
Is the battery operated golf cart that delivers water to your station safe? Of course safety would be paramount.

Will the battery operated golf cart be involved in a heavy frontal/side impact at 45+ MPH?

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All this has happened before, and will happen again

Jarhead Made Donation to Website
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quote:
Originally posted by Lance Snyder:
quote:
Originally posted by Jarhead:
Is the battery operated golf cart that delivers water to your station safe? Of course safety would be paramount.

Will the battery operated golf cart be involved in a heavy frontal/side impact at 45+ MPH?
It depends which redneck is driving the golf cart.

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Problem Solved/ReelScreensSE/RE Power

Lance Snyder Made Donation to Website
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That's true... although I think I've only been upto 13 MPH or so on a golf cart, but then again im a lardass too which doesn't help top speed.

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All this has happened before, and will happen again

Keith in WA Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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I'd be concerned about the cost to replace the motor after an incident so durability would be important.

Areas around the wheels seem to be common places to get wrinkled. With an existing SM, replace the control arms, the tie rod, sway bar link, maybe the wheel and beat the heck out of the fender and you're probably back in business. If the motor was expensive and required an expensive custom wheel to go with it, suddenly the cost of a relatively minor crash gets pretty spendy.

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Keith Novak
(Will work for tires)

dsrgr Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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nd the batteries would be good enough to not lose power over the course of a race.

Will the batteries last the weekend. 2 hours.... what about charging time between practice, qualifying, and race...???

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Another thought. It should really work without special wheels. Most of us carry a few sets of wheels with us on any given weekend.

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Keith Novak
(Will work for tires)

Mike Tesch Made Donation to Website
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I wonder if this would qualify for a $4,200 tax credit for electric vehicles...?

If so... I'll cancel my electric golf cart order and you can count me in.

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"I've got 5 kids... here there are hundreds"

Mike Tesch
Go Time Racing LLC

Eric Richter Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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I'd be interested, definitely
I'd pay 2-3k per motor
I think its a great idea, I think we will all be racing something with an electric motor eventually. Lets get started now, and get ahead of the pack. If you need a test driver, let me know, I'm down in Santa Barbara.

Eric

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2009 SoCal SCCA SM Champion
"Only boring people get bored"

wheel Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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If you think hitting the rumble strips is hard on a SM now, imagine what it would be like with much of the weight on the wheel. I wonder what the handling would be like with the heavy motor moving up and down with the wheel as you change directions. If the motor could be attached to the diff input, that might work better, from a handling standpoint. Of course, you would have the parasitic loss of the diff, half shafts, etc.
Interesting idea. Build one and they will come.

John the Impaler Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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Electricity is for toasters.

 -

John@P1 Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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If you build it, they will come!

--------------------
John C. Kuitwaard
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Colin MacLean Verified Driver
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Motor in the wheel? That's an interesting concept!

As for safety, if it's a giant rack or two of standard 12V batteries, no way no how. I have seen what those racks do to a metal wrench when laid across the terminals by mistake. It'd have to be advanced battery technology. 800lbs of 12V batteries are what is used on current electric street Miatas.

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Colin MacLean
Flyin' MacLean Motorsports

Rob Burgoon Verified Driver
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I worked at a special electric only trackday at Laguna Seca earlier this year. There were a few fires [Smile]

The mess of teslas were having issues as well. They were out of juice in under 20 minutes if I remember right.

Give it up guys, the technology is still at least a few years out, likely 5-10.

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It really makes my week when nobody crashes into me.

Juan Pineda Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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I love the idea.

What are you envisioning for the battery system, and what would it's weight and cost be? On the good side, it only needs to last for 30 minutes at a time, although mostly at full throttle.

A back of the envelope calculation: 130HP ~= 100kW, so 30 minutes would require 50kWh battery capacity. Include efficiency factors, dial back assumptions about power, throttle, and race time, and the numbers will change some for the better and some for the worse. A typical lead acid car battery has around 1kWh capacity. Wikipedia lists the Tesla battery as having 53kWh capacity and weighing 993lbs. Another consideration is the efficiency of the battery system at full 100kW drain rate.

If the race schedule were such that you ran only two sessions in a day, you could potentially have 6 hours to recharge for the second session. Alternately, you might consider some kind of battery swap scheme.

-Juan

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www.ArtOfRoadRacing.com Race Craft Clinic - Thunderhill - 30 Jan 2011

Qik Nip Verified Driver Made Donation to Website Series Champ
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quote:
Originally posted by John the Impaler:
Electricity is for toasters.

 -

"There's no secret to toasting perfection ... just put in the bread and make a selection!" [Razz]
With attribution (and apologies) to Heywood Banks

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Fortune Cookie Racing SM 60
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Aaron Bailey
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quote:
Originally posted by Rob Burgoon:
Give it up guys, the technology is still at least a few years out, likely 5-10.

The technology is here, its just a matter of using it properly. We have done LOTS of research, and will continue to do a lot of research and testing as we progress our ideas.

The battery stuff is the limiting factor. We have no doubt we could create a motor capable of what everyone would want. The technology on motors has increased significantly over the last few years and we have a few things up our sleeves. Batteries continue to progress and there are ways to deal with it.

With that being said, we will not give up. This is the future and we are passionate about it. Once again, I didn't start this thread as an electric vehicle thread i wanted to know if anyone would be interested in electric spec miata or not and how much people would pay.

Thanks for all the feedback so far and i truly appreciate all of the positive feedback and worries.

--------------------
Aaron Bailey
#15 Spec Miata
http://www.aaronbaileyracing.com

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Aaron...I would donate a running 1.6 street car if you need one for a prototype.....let me know if you are interested,I have a high mile car in Phoenix you could have for the project.....Jim
jimmy@aztruckparts.com

Tom Sager Made Donation to Website
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quote:
Originally posted by Aaron Bailey:
quote:
Originally posted by Rob Burgoon:
Give it up guys, the technology is still at least a few years out, likely 5-10.

The technology is here, its just a matter of using it properly. We have done LOTS of research, and will continue to do a lot of research and testing as we progress our ideas.

The battery stuff is the limiting factor. We have no doubt we could create a motor capable of what everyone would want. The technology on motors has increased significantly over the last few years and we have a few things up our sleeves. Batteries continue to progress and there are ways to deal with it.

With that being said, we will not give up. This is the future and we are passionate about it. Once again, I didn't start this thread as an electric vehicle thread i wanted to know if anyone would be interested in electric spec miata or not and how much people would pay.

Thanks for all the feedback so far and i truly appreciate all of the positive feedback and worries.

Maybe you can contact Cobasys who made the batteries like those used in the Toyota Rav4 EV I believe. Sold to Chevron Oil and put on the shelf. Shocking that an oil company would make that investment and then kill the product. I'm no expert but they have some hot shyt NIMH batteries that'll power a car.

d mathias Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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Can you design something to make an artificial 'vrooom' sound. NASA held an electric car race at Mid-Ohio a couple years ago. It was neat and all, but the cars were virtually silent. I want my 'vrooom-vroooms'.

Randy Thieme
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Just to emphasize any design involving placing motors out at the wheels (as in the NASA moon buggy from the Apollo program) should be avoided. As has been mentioned on this thread before unsprung weight needs to be kept to a minimum. It won't help the cause of promoting electric power if the car is slow due to poor handling and not a lack of oomph.

While the idea of an Electric Spec Miata class (ESM) has a lot of appeal I think for the sake of developing the technology a spec series is the wrong direction. A better approach would be an unlimited series like the old Can-Am series. Spec series exist to restrict innovation and research in order to keep costs down. Restricting innovation and research on a budding new technology is like putting Round-Up on your starter tomatoes. Those who love the idea of an ESM flame away.
[duck]

Kent Carter Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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Randy, you have a good point. A year or two ago, I suggested the SCCA explore a battery-powered Formula Ford-based sports racer series... Call it E Sports Racer. The chassis are plentiful and reasonably sturdy as well as low cost. Replace the drivetrain with an electric unit and allow regenerative braking on the rear wheels while keeping the fronts hydraulic for safety. Allow two and all wheel drive configurations. Encourage quick-change battery packs so that there would be a strategic decision to be made between 'fast with a battery change stop' and 'slow and steady wins the race'.

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Do I turn my 99 Hard S into a killerfast SM or seek a donor?

dtfastbear Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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Thunderhill better start making plans to install like 6 more of those giant windmills. I can just see 70 ESM's all plugging in at once between qual and the race!!

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NASA Nor Cal SM series Director
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Winner - Ford Racing Mustang Challenge Driver Shootout

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Dwayne Hoover Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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quote:
Originally posted by John the Impaler:
Electricity is for toasters.

 -

John, remind the kids at home where all our electricity comes from ... and how much of it "leaks out" between the plant and the plug in my wall ...

I think "The future" is burning something growable that isn't also our food supply (sorry, corn lobby) ... whenever I do the math on replacing even 5% of the world's surface transportation with batteries, it makes today's landfill situation look like a nature preserve.

Imagine the "Exxon Voltez" dumping seven bajillion pounds of battery materials into the ocean ... the writers of Batman XVII will have some fresh ideas on where chemically disfigured villains could come from!

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Visit the Midland City Arts Festival!

Dusty Bottoms Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
99 all the way!

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Anybody here ever race RC cars? It used to be that electric car races lasted basically 4-5 minutes because of battery limitations. If you wanted long races, you had to go to nitro-methanol, refuel every 5-7minutes with a pit guy and national/world level races of ~45 minutes but also some endurance races too. When I left the sport new batteries were coming out that allowed much longer electric car races. At the same time, brushless motors were coming out and that also helped run time tremendously. (I agree with Denny about the sounds. I raced nitro cars...you can't beat the smell of nitro and castor oil burning and the sound of 3HP .21 cu. in. one cylinder 30k RPM 2-strokes. There are companies already looking into putting speakers on electric cars so that pedestrians can hear cars approaching--I want a BRM V16 sound on my electric car [Smile] )

In a period of 5 years or so we went from 1700-1800mAh NiCd and NiMH to 3000mAh NiMH batteries...and even some spurts of Li-poly out there (though some fires happened while charging early on due to not using the proper chargers or damaged batteries). I believe they are running 4500mAh batteries out there now--I haven't checked in a long time.

The challenge with batteries is not only the capacity but the ability to quickly charge and discharge them--the lower the internal resistance the better. The life is very dependent on temperature/charge/discharge cycles. That's why the Chevy Volt is going to have only a 40 mile range. I believe they are operating between 40-80% battery capacity to extend the life.

To me it's a very interesting field and challenge. Are batteries by themselves the solution? Perhaps batteries for capacity with ultra-caps for quick bursts of discharge and regeneration? Or how about a different form of chemical storage? Hydrogen fuel cells?

Personally, from the outside looking in, unless batteries make a big step soon, they don't look like the long term solution to me. I think hydrogen fuel cells look very viable near and long term.

Also, I think it would be awesome to have an F1 level of development in an electric racing car series. I bet it may be easier to get funding/sponsorship for something like that too.

Sorry Aaron, it looks like this thread turned into an electric car thread after all. [Smile]

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"Your victory is tainted! Asterisk! Asterisk!!!"--Lisa Simpson

Kent Carter Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
Future Never Has Been

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Antonio, H2 looks great until you start looking at the logistics of moving such a slippery little molecule around. It goes right through stainless steel, so loss rates in storage and transit are huge. Unless you liquefy it.... which raises a whole new level of complexity.

The methanol fuel cells look like a better path to go.

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Do I turn my 99 Hard S into a killerfast SM or seek a donor?

Monkeywrench
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quote:
Personally, from the outside looking in, unless batteries make a big step soon, they don't look like the long term solution to me. I think hydrogen fuel cells look very viable near and long term.
Battery powered cars aren't the solution. Anyone ever look into what it takes to manufacter a battery?

I think a small, high torque diesel engine running near idle powering a generator, which in turns powers electric motors would be the ticket. This is exactly what freight locomotives and container ships have been doing for 50+ years now.

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-Bob Adams

Aaron Bailey
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quote:
Originally posted by Randy Thieme:
Just to emphasize any design involving placing motors out at the wheels (as in the NASA moon buggy from the Apollo program) should be avoided. As has been mentioned on this thread before unsprung weight needs to be kept to a minimum. It won't help the cause of promoting electric power if the car is slow due to poor handling and not a lack of oomph.

We have been looking at unsprung weight. I have done a lot of suspension design and analysis. We are very aware and have considered many options for ESM. In our current philosophy the unsprung weight would be comparable to a current SM. With this being said, I would still like to hear if anyone else is interested in this idea and if so, how interested.

--------------------
Aaron Bailey
#15 Spec Miata
http://www.aaronbaileyracing.com

Juan Pineda Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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Hey Aaron,

Would your motors also provide regenerative braking so you could recover some energy when braking? And if so, have you considered putting motors on the front wheels as well? Seems like 4WD is the most favorable in this regard.

-Juan

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www.ArtOfRoadRacing.com Race Craft Clinic - Thunderhill - 30 Jan 2011

Kim Ouye Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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Yeah, should be lots of used KERS systems for sale this winter...

--------------------
Kim

91 BRG SMT RIP
06 MX-5 Cup

"Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting 'Holy sh*t...what a ride!'" - Unknown

Michael53
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I need to see if I saved it but there was a guy on the east coast selling a really nice electric miata on eBay earlier this year. (with regenerative braking, fyi) He had most of the batteries under the hood and the electric motor was mounted directly to the rear diff. He had his performance specs and everything posted. I do remember it was quicker than our best spec's! It's also amazing how many electric miata's you can find on google and youtube!

Aaron Bailey
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Region: SFR/Cal Club
Car #: 15
Year : 1990
Posts: 22
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quote:
Originally posted by Juan Pineda:
Hey Aaron,

Would your motors also provide regenerative braking so you could recover some energy when braking? And if so, have you considered putting motors on the front wheels as well? Seems like 4WD is the most favorable in this regard.

-Juan

Juan, that was the original thought. It all depends how much torque we can get out of each motor. We should have a scaled prototype built in the next few months, and from there we should be able to check our simulations through our computer modeling. Yes we are going to incorporate regenerative braking. That is a must! I will try and keep everyone updated.

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Aaron Bailey
#15 Spec Miata
http://www.aaronbaileyracing.com

Lance Snyder Made Donation to Website
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Region: Atlanta
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quote:
Originally posted by John the Impaler:
Electricity is for toasters.

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Frakkin toaster!

 -

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All this has happened before, and will happen again

Martin Wiedenhoeft Verified Driver
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Region: Milwaukee
Car #: 99
Year : 1990
Posts: 78
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I think Kent and Randy have the right idea. SM really isn't the place for this and will limit the idea.

As far as batteries go did everyone forget the AFS20? Produced by American Flywheel Systems, it used non-chemical batteries. The batteries were basically a composit rotor on magnetic bearings. Discharge and charge rates were awesome. No toxic batteries to dispose of and they didn't wear out. Unfortunately I think the patent was purchased by one of the oil companies and the car destroyed.

I can't believe someone hasn't found a way around that patent or China hasn't taken the idea and produced it anyway.

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Trakmnky

   

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