Long Overdue: EV Miata First Start Video

If you watch the site you will know that I have gotten the electric car registered, driven it in a parade, and that it is entirely functional. But before all that, I had to power it up for the first time ever. That day, I invited friends over and we took video, which is now, finally edited. Enjoy.

Click through for the HD version

Posted on October 6, 2009 at 1:30 pm by Henry · Permalink
In: EV Miata

26 Responses

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  1. Written by Converting a Miata to all-electric - Hack a Day
    on February 15, 2010 at 12:33 pm
    Reply · Permalink

    [...] Herndon] converted a Mazda Miata to an all-electric vehicle. There’s a ton of great information in his archives, as well as a round-up video that [...]

  2. Written by Will
    on February 15, 2010 at 4:23 pm
    Reply · Permalink

    Excellent build!! I love seeing completed EV projects. Thanks for sharing this great build!

  3. Written by Josh
    on February 15, 2010 at 7:23 pm
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    Thats actually really cool. Very clean and good work, i only have 2 complaints though. 1, you have a mac, 2, it sounds like a golf cart :P
    Seriously though, awesome. Great alternative to some of the ugly ass hybrids out there.

    • Written by Henry
      on February 16, 2010 at 12:04 pm
      Reply · Permalink

      Yeah, yeah. Find me a 70+mph, 7000RPM, 1000A golf cart and I’ll consider that comparison. Or at least we’ll say it sounds like a golf cart full of angry bees (with apologies to Jeremy Clarkson). Unfortunately the ugly-ass hybrids are still more practical cars. I’ll be working on that. Stay tuned.

  4. Written by joseph L.
    on February 15, 2010 at 9:28 pm
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    …so where does the flux capacitor go?

    Nice conversion, I love how your miata looks.

    Did it pass emissions?

    • Written by Henry
      on February 16, 2010 at 11:56 am
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      Haha- I can only imagine how great it would be to have a Mr. Fusion for this car, if I could only get my hands on one. It’s smog exempt- registered, oddly, as a hybrid rather than an electric. It’s difficult to get an E code because carpool lane decals are still available for E codes, not for hybrid Q codes. So the inspector wrote “electric” on the checklist, the staffer put “electric” into the computer, but it reverted to “hybrid” anyways.

  5. Written by madmax
    on February 16, 2010 at 4:20 am
    Reply · Permalink

    Nice idea and made… and so quiet :)

  6. Written by Alex
    on February 16, 2010 at 6:27 am
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    Great build! Do you have any idea of the final weight? Did you upgrade the suspension at all?

  7. Written by nice job!
    on February 16, 2010 at 6:58 am
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    car: very cool. camera work: needs work. As a personal request though, keep the camera inside the car and out of the wind. Sea-sickness-inducing wobbliness and wind noise such that I can’t hear the car.

    • Written by Henry
      on February 16, 2010 at 11:50 am
      Reply · Permalink

      Given that it’s a tiny cramped car, and a big camera I think my friend cameraman did OK- hey, if you don’t like it don’t watch it :)

  8. Written by sam
    on February 16, 2010 at 11:41 am
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    awesome car i love mazdas in general. now not being skeptical or anything but what happens with an EV car accident with all that battery acid?

    • Written by Henry
      on February 16, 2010 at 11:49 am
      Reply · Permalink

      The batteries I am using are known as AGM- absorbed glass mat batteries, so the acid electrolyte is absorbed into a fiberglass-like material between the lead plates. Other cars use gel-electrolyte batteries or flooded liquid electrolyte batteries. Even if the tough plastic battery cases are torn into in a crash, there is no liquid acid in the first two types, and only a small volume in flooded batteries- Owners of a car with flooded batteries will often carry some baking soda to use in case of spilled acid- despite the danger of the powerful acid it ends up being less of a problem than the many quarts of hot dirty oil that are often spilled when a gas car crashes.

  9. Written by Curious
    on February 16, 2010 at 2:13 pm
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    How does the brake work without vacuum applied to booster?

    What would be range and charging time?

    • Written by Henry
      on February 17, 2010 at 12:05 am
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      There is actually an electric diaphragm vacuum pump to power the vacuum booster. It’s the most annoying, noisy part of the car, actually. The range is likely about 20-30 miles, but I haven’t stressed it. Charging time varies between about 3-7hrs, depending on depth of discharge and service capacity.

  10. Written by mikemike
    on February 16, 2010 at 3:14 pm
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    man I was hoping you would pop the clutch just once! btw that thing sound mean when its revved up!

    • Written by Henry
      on February 17, 2010 at 12:03 am
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      It’s actually just as fast, if not faster jumping on the throttle in gear instead of dropping the clutch- the motor is absolutely most powerful in the low RPM range. I’ve tried it both ways :)

  11. Written by Dave Estill
    on February 16, 2010 at 3:36 pm
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    Congrats for getting it on the road. You have joined a unique club. Enjoy the ride and forget all the aches and pains of converting, but keep the lessons learned. I did one in the 1970s. 16 golf cart batterys (96v), 55mph, 20-25 mile range with a forklift motor. I’d drive 18 miles to work, plug in, drive home at night and plug in again. I had a great feeling of accomplishment. I wish it for you. I still have a GE riding lawn mower. – dce

    • Written by Henry
      on February 17, 2010 at 12:07 am
      Reply · Permalink

      I just really wish I could finally deal with the aches and pains of charging these picky, tricky AGM batteries. Then I’m likely to finally be able to enjoy the car- there’s lots there to enjoy, but charging the like $2k of batteries with my homebrewed balancing system is still a PITA. Still work to be done. I’m looking forward to finally getting to enjoy it- finally.

  12. Written by Kevin
    on February 16, 2010 at 5:18 pm
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    Great job! Is that hmmmmmm I hear because of the rotary batteries? ;)

  13. Written by Rob in Belfast
    on February 18, 2010 at 7:44 am
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    Nice work, Henry, and yes, I am insanely jealous. Firstly that you have the know-how to do it, secondly that you found the time to do it and thirdly that you have time to enjoy it. I need to reschedule my time better!

    Over here in the UK, we just call them MX-5′s and they are still very desirable. An EV version just tops the lot. I guess it if you found a way to install a small gas engine that runs on Hydrogen, you could extend the range somewhat.

    Go Henry and good health to enjoy it!

    Cheers!

  14. Written by Mo
    on February 27, 2010 at 5:25 am
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    Brilliant! can we have a breakdown of costs?

  15. Written by Typhoon
    on February 27, 2010 at 10:51 pm
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    Cool,but have you considered removing the transmission and simply using the motor on its own? The power curve could be remapped in order to provide best acceleration and best economy. I would have a feeling you would need a tougher diff though to handle the sudden torque at 0> RPM

    • Written by Henry
      on February 28, 2010 at 2:47 am
      Reply · Permalink

      I considered running a direct drive system back when I was planning the conversion- the advice I got convinced me that that was not the way to go. In order to run gearing capable of reasonable high speeds direct drive would necessitate usage of a much larger motor and more current to still accelerate reasonably. The nature of the series wound DC motors does not particularly lend itself to single ratio direct drive except in low speed or light weight or extremely high power drag racing applications. In order for normal speeds and acceleration in a regular, heavy car you need to use a vastly over-specified motor/controller system for direct drive, and end up with lower efficiency at the end of it all- Using a stock transmission is widely recognized as the way to go. Of course, many AC systems are better for direct drive, with a wider RPM range on the motor- there are lots of ways to go.

  16. Written by Clint
    on April 2, 2010 at 6:20 pm
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    Damn that is sweet!!! I give many kudo’s to your friends and yourself for showing just what can be done in someones garage. I think your a role model for others in this nation and your a beacon of hope in the quest for no more oil dependance. I have been thinking about a lil project myself with a bike to start then work up. I Know it can be done and your proof that with a lil knowlege and labor it can be done. Again blessings to your friends and yourself and keep us posted on your sweet ride.

  17. Written by DIY Electric Vehicles « galvata.com
    on May 19, 2010 at 8:36 am
    Reply · Permalink

    [...] the video of the first [...]

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