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The Car that Teaches

Once funded, the vision is to enable the car to teach others about its features and build projects that are similar or relate to the scientific principles each each of the car’s features take advantage of in practice! I will incorporate interactive sections on the car that use a type of virtual reality – for instance the engine bay will have a virtual interaction to learn more about the motor and electronics. The user will be able to see how the battery and charging system work with custom links to unique projects that replicate the principals and science the car is using for that feature. The car will have its own app to interact with virtual reality cue points around the car and its features to interact with it in real time.

Elements of my robotics projects will be incorporated into the car as well and by accessing the same links mentioned above via the same cue points, users can learn how the entire system works while being submersed in virtual reality. Pretty cool, right!

The overall goal is to take the car to maker spaces, events and schools to inspire kids to tinker and to instinctively draw parallels to software and curriculum which they already learning – driving their love for education with real world examples. I hope to inspire kids and young adults with these real life applications of electronics, physics and software technologies, so that they, not only see whats possible, but feel enabled to do the same.

The public will be able to contribute to the opensource aspect of the project, which will enhance and inspire new features for the the car through an online community. Contributors will also be listed throughout the car, using a signature or logo in the engine bay or glove box.

The Conversion Overview

The electric car project is an open source, crowdfunded internal combustion to electric motor conversion. The plan is to swap a donor car’s engine for two AC-34 motors. Both motors combined should produce 150 horsepower and 220 lb-ft of torque to the wheels. Using a 60kWh battery pack constructed of recycled laptop batteries as a power source will give the car a projected 210 mile range.

The project will need quite a few laptop batteries. Each laptop battery produces a minimum of 4 cells (18650 – or something similar to a AA battery, but slightly bigger). If all the cells harvested are good and produce 2000mAh then each of those cells will store 7.4Wh of energy (stay with me). This means the project will need 136 cells (1000/7.4 ~ 136) for a 1kWh battery. 136 cells in parallel will produce a 1kWh battery with a nominal voltage of 3.7V. This wont cut it! 136 cells can’t be evenly distributed over 7 groups or packs in series, we will then need 140 cells for a 7s20p setup. That will produce a battery with a nominal voltage of 25.9V (7×3.7V) and a capacity of 40Ah (20x2000mAh) which results in 1036Wh (25.9Vx40Ah). All that said – the battery is going to be “big.”

So, now that we’ve defined a basic battery pack, the project calls for 60 packs or  2,100 laptop batteries – which will hopefully produce 8,400 usable 18650 cells!! (see big!)

Some of the cooler features…

All of that will get the car moving, but today’s electric cars have some really cool features. One of my favorite features is the large tablet-like displays that most of the Tesla are sporting. I want to duplicate something like that for my car. Something that we can program and add a custom interface, which will control all of the features of the car!

This is a great example of how the car will be opensource. Anything that we program or source to make the display Tesla uses will be listed and documented so others can learn from what I’ve done and build their own. The virtual car tour will also reveal a link and video media explaining how the display feature works.

Using a display like this will also allow me to tap into my robotics mainframe and access features like facial recognition and other bio-metrics. This will allow me to add some really interesting security features and Driver/Passenger interaction.

For example, if the robot recognizes that I’m the driver and my son is a passenger – it will automatically configure the seats, radio and activate the video gaming system in the back seat! The car could address us by name and we could control climate control or other features via our voice or gestures!

We could add other features like regenerative breaking or solar charging. The solar panel could be built into the roof of the car and visually hidden, using flexible solar cells.

The possibilities are endless! We could build anything we want. For more information on my EV car project visit my Indigogo campaign – I could really use your financial help, ideas and support!

Resources and Downloads

As the project progresses, more and more information will be published to this section. Whether it be source code, app updates, links to materials and/or related projects or anything else needed to follow along with the Cerebral Dad Electric Car Project will be posted here.