I need a vehicle project, Wreck-free Sunday

I have been having issues trying to get to sleep lately because I can’t get my mind to stop laying out car designs. So far I have come up with 2 completely different ICE hot rods (Variations on the T-Bucket theme), a EV hot rod (another T-Bucket), and a monster-engined SCCA SoloII race car for the fastest class in that series, A/Mod. Lately in SoloII the A/Mods have been getting beat by the Formula 125 shifter karts, mostly because of the smaller size of the karts letting them take better lines than full-size cars rather than any actual performance advantages. In all the standard measurements of acceleration, top speed, braking, and maximum cornering force the A/Mod cars are superior. To beat the F125 cars an A/Mod has to get at least 2 of those substantially better than the F125. My approach would be to get the straight-line acceleration and braking substantially better without losing anything in the handling.

On the two ICE hot rods, one was a Corvette drivetrain and brakes with a modified Corvette suspension stuffed into a monocoque tub with a replica 1927 Model T body covering it, making the whole works weigh about 1100 pounds less than the ‘Vette with a whole lot less creature comforts, and a big wing over the top to make it stick in the corners. The other ICE car would take a FWD transverse engine and transmission and stick it behind the driver as a mid-engined car like the old Pontiac Fiero or Toyota MR2 sports cars and build a light tube frame to make a car that weighs about 1200 pounds without the driver. This would give me a car that really scoots at normal car speeds, lots of acceleration up to 60 MPH but not a real high top speed. A side effect would be pretty good gas mileage around town where weight is the overwhelming consideration because the aero on a T-Bucket is horrible with the open wheels and large open cockpit. No matter what I did with the T-Bucket as long as I kept the general esthetic of what a Bucket is I would get terrible highway gas mileage, roughly the same as the in-town numbers.

Now the EV rod (another T-Bucket, can you tell I like the T-Bucket?) would be a completely different fish entirely. One of the problems with the T-Bucket as an EV is a lack of space to hide the batteries as the esthetic is for all the mechanical bits to be hanging out in plain sight. Plainly put, the T-Bucket is a celebration of engines and suspensions and brakes and tires, all as big as possible. Making an EV out of that results in nothing to see except the brakes, tires and suspension bits because you end up replacing the transmission and engine with a TransWarp9 electric motor in the place where the transmission normally goes. This removes what had been the focal point of the entire exercise with nothing to replace it with as demonstrated by the empty engine bay in the NEDRA race car “Sweet Tea”, another 1927 T. The answer for this is to use a Track T nose and a full hood and side panels with the batteries under that. This is a slightly different esthetic than the T-Bucket but still one that looks good and will fit in at a rod run, until the hoods get popped and there’s only a stack of batteries under the hood instead of the gleaming chrome and paint of a modified ICE. One other thing that would be missing from the esthetic would be the barely muffled engine noise of a hot rod. A pair of speakers with a looped engine rumble from a MP3 player, maybe?

After that I needed to get my mind out of the “car” mode, so I went back to ebikes.ca and worked on a e-assist bike. I eventually spec’ed a Nine Continents 2805 and 20″ wheel with the 35A controller and a Ping 36V 20Ah LiFePO4 battery (or two). Using a bike I have built before I know that I can get the weight of the bike minus the wheel that will be replaced by the 9C motor to 28 pounds, with the battery weighing 17 pounds and the motor/wheel/tire combination coming in at 14 pounds and a couple of pounds extra for the controller and controller/battery mount make the whole mess come in at roughly 61 pounds and roughly 50 miles of range without pedaling, much more with a 100W HP input from the rider. Hill climbing ability would be great, with the ability to climb 8% grades without pedaling or overheating. Total costs are about $1200 plus the bike to be converted, or about $1700 altogether. The $200 seat on this bike really raises the costs at retail, a less expensive seat would reduce the retail costs proportionally.

And that’s what has been running through my head this week.

PAS, Opus


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