Friday, February 29, 2008

Mythbusters Part 1: Airbags? We got ‘em!

Let me cut to the chase and then rewind for the plot: contrary to some erroneous reports, the Tesla Roadster does indeed have driver and passenger airbags.
Rewind: a while back I was talking with the web team about a desire to have a special blog created alongside these that would be reserved for us [...]

Driving P1

On February 1, 2008 Tesla Motors handed over the keys of the first production Roadster (P1) to Elon Musk, Chairman and now a proud Roadster owner. What has life been like behind the wheel of P1? Find out from Elon himself.
It has been a blast driving my Tesla Roadster every day for the past [...]

Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Spin Stops Here

Two weeks ago, I highlighted how Tesla moved from waves to bits in our motor and charge controller in the PEM. You might have left with the impression that as of June 2007, when the DMC replaced the analog controller, our work as DMC firmware engineers was complete. Fortunately for us (this is [...]

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Lotus Engineering Newsletter Q&A with Tesla’s Car Guy

In the beginning of January, Tesla Motors Vice President of Vehicle Integration, Mac Powell, sat down with Dave Leggett of just-auto for a Q&A session which recently appeared in the 24th issue of the Lotus Engineering Newsletter, proActive. We wanted to share with you this excerpt from the Newsletter as well as include some comments [...]

World Ag Expo, Model One shows up

The World Ag Expo in Tulare, California is known as the biggest Farm Show in the US. This is the second year I've attended. This year we brought along the Model One to show off to Matt Finley of Under My Helmet. Thanks for the great write up Matt!! Robert Jordan of Buckland Vineyard Management was there at the show with me and in the photo shown here. Modelonedsc04554_3

It was as big as I remembered from last year. What I didn't remember was the scores and scores of service vehicles that were engaged in shuffling people from one side of the event to the other. There were dozens of UTVs (aka side by sides), golf carts, and tractors pulling wagon loads of people. It seemed to me in some times that there were more people riding on carts than walking. Saddest part of all is that all of these service vehicles were all gas-powered. All of us pedestrians had to deal with the noise and the pollution from these little four stroke engines. Based on data provided by the EPA, these little vehicles can put off anything from 10 to 34 times more than a car in pollutants. That made the idea of walking around and behind them seem almost wrong. Later in the afternoon, we got smart and snuck in with the Model One and did a little of our own riding. It was incredible how many people came up to us to ask if it was electric. I wasn't sure how they knew but their level of interest and enthusiasm was a great litmus test for what opportunities lie ahead for Barefoot's product, not just at the farm show where we will definitely be displaying our products next year but a long term relationship with California ag.

--Melissa Brandao

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Handing Over the Keys VI: Dr. Rob Wilder

Dr. Rob Wilder is Manager of the WilderHill Clean Energy Index, the first Index on Wall Street for renewable energy, better energy efficiency, and zero-carbon solutions. He was previously on faculty at U.C. Santa Barbara, and University of Massachusetts; he has been a AAAS/EPA Fellow in Environmental Science & Technology, Fulbright Fellow, and National [...]

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Evolution of Motor Control: from Waves to Bits

When we last discussed motor control on this blog, EP10 was drifting around on the frozen lake in Arvidsjaur, Sweden. At that time (January 2007), we were in the process of co-evaluating Conti-Teves’ ABS system in tandem with Tesla’s motor control. We left the lake thinking highly of the Conti system and moderately pleased with [...]

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Re: P1 Arriving Now! :)

On Friday, February 1, 2008 at 12:56 P.M., an email was sent to all San Carlos based employees of Tesla Motors: “P1 Arriving Now! .”
This simple email signified the moment we had been working toward for the last few years. You see, “P1” is the internal designation for the first production unit to [...]

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

7GEN: Hotzenblitz electric car

This is a minicar EV, slightly bigger than a SMART car.
In Nov 2007 it was announced the maker, Hotzenblitz, upgraded the Hotzenblitz to use LiFePO batteries from Kokam. This gave it a 200+ mile range.

Article Reference: 

Swiss Firm Upgrades Hotzenblitz Electric Car to LiPo Batteries

Hotzenblitz B01

Minicar EV with Lithium-Polymer Pack has Range Up to 400km

Hotzenblitz EV with Lithium-Polymer Battery Pack

Conversion of a Hotzenblitz to Lithium Polymer from Kokam


read more

Smarter Charging

Ten years ago when I was driving an EV1, one of the best perks was free parking and charging at LAX. I would pull into one of the EV parking places by Terminal One, plug in, and go on my trip. The charger would turn on right away – typically this would be [...]

Friday, February 1, 2008

Significant growth for Electric ATVs, etc.

Russ Hollman in his blog has discovered a gold mine! And he mentioned Barefoot as part of the blog thank you Russ you're a hero!

While we at Barefoot talk about the growth potential in this market as often and as vigorously as we can, it is something altogether different when a third party comes out with the same clear message, and it couldn't be clearer than the research conducted by the International Market Solutions, "2008 Market Study of the Small, Task-Oriented Vehicle Market" .

Strong gains are expected in major non-fleet golf car markets (aka ATVs, service vehicles, etc) with significant growth over the next five years....Stephen Metzger, IMS Managing Director and principal author of the
study, states, "We have seen continued market strength in the utility
and privately-owned markets during the 2000-2006 trend period, as well
as in 2007."
The small, task-oriented vehicle industry marked several milestones
in the past two years that will help drive expansion in the next five
years. These include:

  • Key new product entries and
    innovative technologies that boost performance and comfort, including
    the first adaptation of AC electric power to a major golf car-type
    vehicle manufacturer's product line;
  • Continued evidence of the globalization of the small vehicle industry, particularly in the sourcing of parts and accessories;
  • A major concentration of sales efforts and capacity expansion in off-road vehicles;
  • A tightening of used vehicle supplies, pointing to increases in the privately-owned (personal use) market.

For those that doubted...alternative fueled off-road vehicles are coming and in a big way, we're going to have a market party--you're all invited!

--Melissa Brandao

7GEN: Zenn swaps motors in latest electric cars

Zenn makes a neighborhood EV which looks like a regular sedan. NEV's are speed limited by federal law to 25 miles/hr max. This makes them useful in a few situations but not fully useful in all driving Americans do. This makes NEV's an easy target for sarcasm like in this C|NET article-- casting NEV's as only suitable for beer runs.
The news is that Zenn is moving to an AC drive train. AC versus DC makes for more efficiency and maintained power at high power levels.

Article Reference: 

Zenn swaps motors in latest electric cars


Handing Over the Keys V: Aaron ‘p-nut’ Wills

Aaron ‘p-nut’ Wills is the bassist and youngest member of the band 311. Known for his “funk-slap” bass style p-nut has brought his own sound and entertaining style to the stage. Aaron had a recent opportunity to drive a Tesla Roadster around Santa Monica and through the hills of Malibu. Following are [...]