Super Efficient Cars [very large pictures]
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Author:  NeilBlanchard [ Mon Oct 24, 2011 4:18 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Super Efficient Cars [very large pictures]

Thanks for the offer! I will hopefully get the PhlatPrinter 3 straightened out (I think I need the heavy duty 10A driver board!) and then I will be able to show a lot of actual physical results i.e. the building of the chassis.

Author:  NeilBlanchard [ Fri Dec 02, 2011 9:41 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Super Efficient Cars [very large pictures]


I am quite enamored with velomobiles, and I would love to do an electric assist system in this one:

(click on image for link)

With a rubber (kayak-like) skirt and a little optional roof, these have to be the most efficient road-going vehicle there is. With electric assist (hub motors on the front wheels) and disk brakes, it would be an incredibly efficient daily vehicle that can be used in all weather save when there is deep snow.

Author:  MikeC [ Fri Dec 02, 2011 10:57 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Super Efficient Cars [very large pictures]

The velomobile looks well-designed, and I think an eZee electric motor conversion for the real wheel would work well -- http://ebike.ca/store/store_ezee.php -- and I see that they offer an $1800 Bionx electric conversion kit, too. But the $8000 base price tag makes it impractical. Without a motor, it still has the primary fault commuters find with bikes -- sweating & the need to shower when you get to work. And if the shell is made of fiberglass, that is difficult to get behind -- fiberglass is basically about as toxic as asbestos and lasts forever, the only reason it hasn't been banned yet is that no one has come up with a good replacement.

Going back to your CarBEN EV, I have one basic question -- why such large capacity? I mean, it's great to be thinking about a green big people mover, but isn't the biggest problem the millions of 4-5 passenger sedans in the US, Canada, China, etc that carry just the driver in their daily commute back/forth? I'd love to see what you'd come up with for a small, green 2-person urban commuter vehicle that's super inexpensive.

Something like this, maybe.... http://www.freedrive-ev.com/info.html (tho its pretty ugly, slow and still kind of pricey)
Though I'd lean towards a tandem bike-style vehicle based on something like this -- http://bugev.net/BugE_Design_Concept.htm

Author:  MikeC [ Fri Dec 02, 2011 4:09 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Super Efficient Cars [very large pictures]

Never mind... a bit of web searching showed I haven't been paying enough attention to small electric vehicle developments over the past few years. There appear to be quite a few out there -- but again mostly priced higher than for "everyman".

Author:  NeilBlanchard [ Sat Dec 03, 2011 4:27 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Super Efficient Cars [very large pictures]

Right, the costs are still in "early adopter" mode. Part of this is the makers are still unsure and going slow, and this begets hesitancy from buyers. It'll get there.

All fair points on the velomobiles. The costs seem high, but if you look at the costs of good bicycles these days, then they might seem more reasonable. I am going to be using yellow Elmers glue on the fiberglass in CarBEN EV5 -- I think this is biodegradable, and the glass is silca/sand so it would return to the earth, too. My concession is the EPS foam core will have to be recycled -- there is a company nearby here in Framingham MA called ReFoamIt that recycles EPS:


Bummer -- I just checked the web site and they cannot accept colored insulation board... :(

Well, I will look for biodegradable foam that can be used for this, but I have to build the prototype with what I have.

I have a family of four, and the CarBEN EV5 will be under 14 feet long. It's a compact or subcompact car. For 2-3 seats I'd go to a form like Dave Cloud's Dolphin (I'm pretty sure this is earlier in this thread?).

Author:  alecmg [ Wed Dec 07, 2011 7:13 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Super Efficient Cars [very large pictures]

This news sounds like April fools joke but it is only too sad


Aptera is closing down and its employees are destroying the half-built cars

Author:  NeilBlanchard [ Wed Dec 07, 2011 9:28 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Super Efficient Cars [very large pictures]

It is no joke -- they destroyed (at least) 3 prototype Apteras: a 2g (gasoline engined), a 2h (serial hybrid), and a sport version of the 2e that had a 150kW motor in it; very fast! They had (apparently) stripped down the chassis before destroying them -- they were finished fully functioning prototypes! The so-called Team B were quite vindictive...

Ironically, the fact that they are now bankrupt might make it possible for the cofounders Steve Fambro and Chris Anthony to restart a company to make uber-efficient electric vehicles.

Author:  NeilBlanchard [ Fri Dec 30, 2011 5:21 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Super Efficient Cars [very large pictures]

Here's a new video of an ongoing collaborative project to build a very efficient EV, called the SIM-LEI:


I'm sure that the "beauty" of this car becomes more apparent when you drive it -- I think it is 4 wheel drive and very quick, as well. 207 miles on a 24.9kWh battery is very impressive!

Author:  NeilBlanchard [ Tue Jan 03, 2012 6:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Renewed big effort to make progress on building CarBEN EV5

I've been beavering away on the DataCAD drawing for CarBEN EV5, and these are the 42 sections forward of the high point on the roof; starting at the very front of the nose:

Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image

The front sections are ~1" thick because the transition is rapid, and the "stacked" sections are where I need to use a shallower depth to stop a feature. The majority of them will be 1 15/16" thick though -- there are about 85 of these, so this represents less than half -- and they are not done yet. There are five and a half sheets laid out -- I will know how many it will take to do the whole chassis when I finish this! :)

I will be using 1" thick foam sheets and just cutting two of each. This will let me use the bits I have and the machine will handle them a lot better without any farther futzing with the high current driver board and X-axis stepper motor.

Author:  NeilBlanchard [ Thu Feb 09, 2012 10:44 am ]
Post subject:  CarBEN EV5 drafting progress

This is a progress image of the drafting work I am doing in DataCAD 14 of the sections of CarBEN EV5, in preparation for generating the g-code to cut foam sheets with my PhlatPrinter 3 CNC machine.



Author:  NeilBlanchard [ Tue Feb 14, 2012 10:25 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Super Efficient Cars [very large pictures]

Here's a progress image of the drafting I'm doing on my CarBEN EV5:


All of the sections have now been smoothed and fleshed out; and then each section has the next section behind it copied overlaying it. This is so there is always an excess of material on all sections, so they can be smoothed just by carving with no filling needed. And the rear doors are laid out flat by cutting a section parallel through them -- they are in a slight angle, so they form a flat V.

Author:  MikeC [ Tue Feb 14, 2012 10:35 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Super Efficient Cars [very large pictures]

Very cool, Neil. I'm excited for & w/ ya!

Author:  NeilBlanchard [ Fri Feb 17, 2012 8:18 am ]
Post subject:  CarBEN EV5 drafting progress

I've reached a benchmark on the drafting -- all the sections are drawn in their finished form. The next step will be to drawing the jigsaw joints and lay out the pieces on the 2'x8' foam sheets -- this will take a while!

Here's a more detailed look at a sampling of the section starting just behind the high point of the roof moving back through the CarBEN EV5 chassis.

The different colors show the areas where the adjacent section behind adds material to the forward section. In other words, the tapered shape must have an excess of material -- because both the outside and the inside of the same taper.

I hope this makes sense.

These are the sections at the top hinge of the hatch door. I've started the interlocking lip on the door and the opening that holds the seal and acts as a water gutter when the door is open.

Also, note the 1/2" diameter alignment dowel holes -- these are modeled straight through the entire model. As the chassis tapers, I added other alignment holes.

These sections show the transition in side windows -- the 'C' pillar that is just ahead of the rear wheels. I'm intending the have 2 layers of glazing on the side windows and the hatch and door windows, to provide more insulation.

The section on the right has the front top of the hatch windows, near the center.

The two center rectangles in the floor are the battery bays. The vertical rectangles on the center and right section are for the rear suspension; which is probably going to be a trailing swing arm(s).

These section have the front pieces of the rear wheels and the wheel skirts. Notice the hatch window is getting wider the closer you get the back.

I moved the wheels to where they may fit more efficiently when cutting the foam. And the rear shock / spring units will probably be located here.

The rear wheels are attached to the chassis here, for the purposes of building the model so it can sit on the ground as the car will. After the chassis is (started?) to be fiberglassed, the wheels will be cut out and the suspension components can be designed and have the anchors affixed to the chassis.

The section on the right has voids for where a lateral link arm can be located. This will form a box beam across the floor between the rear wheels.

These sections are at the back of the rear wheels, and I moved them where they fit efficiently on the foam sheets.

I am hoping to be able to use the alignment holes as a wire chase, so I am cutting a connecting channel from the outer hols to the inner holes that pass through the section closer to the back.

These sections show the rear wheel strakes and the diffuser fins on the underside of the chassis. Also, I'm cutting a small area so the tail lights can be wired -- the small triangular holes at the "shoulder".

The rear exhaust air vents (that exit flush to the sides of the rear fenders) are shown in the section on the right.

These sections show the exhaust air vents and the end of the rear wheel strakes. Also, the hatch windows stops at this point.

This is the 'D' pillar and the outer edges of the rear bumper starts on the section on the right.

This is the very back of the chassis (nearly) and the section on the left has the rear door stops and the exhaust air vents. These are 1" thick sections because the taper on the very back is much "steeper".

The center rib on the hatch door will act as a supporting stop at the center of the rear doors. I also have added a small "dorsal" fin at the center of the hatch spine. This was not on the SketchUp model; though I hope to remake the SU model from these sections that is much smoother and much more complete as well with all of the interior voids included in the model.

I cut sections parallel through the rear doors, so these are true size and I'll cut them from the flat foam sheets, avoiding an awkward bit of smoothing. The red lines are the actual edges of the doors and windows, and the gray lines are additional material so I can form the jambs.

The rear bumper and roof "spoiler" trailing edges are a very wide chevron, to match the way the rear doors close.

Author:  alecmg [ Thu Apr 12, 2012 4:49 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Super Efficient Cars [very large pictures]

Toyota has been reading this thread
Their new concept car FT-Bh looks very much like CarBen
Except traditional doors on the side

Cd 0.235 and weight target 768kg

Lots of other concept-y gizmos, but the main idea is solid

Edit: forgot to add link http://www.autoblog.com/2012/03/07/mini ... neva-2012/

Author:  NeilBlanchard [ Thu Apr 12, 2012 5:19 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Super Efficient Cars [very large pictures]

You may be right -- if they covered the wheels, then the Cd would get even better! ;)

Author:  HelenaAndrews [ Mon May 07, 2012 1:06 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Super Efficient Cars [very large pictures]

Amazing cars and designs! They will be looking at hybrid drive systems for future versions.

Author:  NeilBlanchard [ Fri May 11, 2012 9:35 am ]
Post subject:  CarBEN EV5 update

Here's a couple of views of the stacked sections; mimicking the assembled cut foam pieces.


Please note that the door, wheel skirts, and the hood are separated from the main chassis, just as the foam will be, so they can be assembled separately.

I plan on importing this into SketchUp and smoothing it -- this will make the model much smoother and "tighter" so that hopefully I can then do CFD testing; which should give an approximate Cd (coefficient of drag).

Author:  NeilBlanchard [ Tue May 22, 2012 11:03 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Super Efficient Cars [very large pictures]

Well, I just finished doing the TV "shoot" for Chronicle at WCVB TV, the local ABC affiliate, and we had a long chat about ecodriving and ecomodding. They probably got plenty of material, with several shots outside the xA, me driving on the local streets, then inside the car for some ecodriving techniques; and also a fair amount on my CarBEN EV5 design: the 3D model and CAD drawings, as well as the three scale models and the full sized pieces.


I'll know more about possible broadcast date, etc. and when I do, I'll post it here. And I have a new blog post about ecodriving:


Author:  frenchie [ Tue May 22, 2012 5:10 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Super Efficient Cars [very large pictures]

Congrats !!
That's great news !!

Author:  NeilBlanchard [ Thu Jun 07, 2012 9:39 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Super Efficient Cars [very large pictures]

The chronicle show that I was interviewed for will be shown a week from today -- Thursday June 14th @ 7:30pm. It's on Channel 5 here in the Boston area.

I was interviewed, and I showed my aero-modded Scion xA, I drove it; and I showed my CarBEN EV5 open source design as well. They were here for over two hours, and took probably an hour of video, so most of it won't make it into the show.

Our show on alternative fuels/hypermiling, etc is slated for next Thursday, the 14th. The show will be posted on our website the following day...but just for ONE DAY. You can bookmark the video link for each segment, though, and you will have access for ever and ever. Feel free to post on websites, and share w family, friends, and Hollywood talent agents.

That's Ch 5 at 7:30. But you knew that... :D

Big thanks to all!


Clint Conley
Field Producer
WCVB-TV Boston :: WCVB.com
Chronicle facebook.com/wcvb5


Author:  NeilBlanchard [ Fri Jun 08, 2012 7:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Super Efficient Cars [very large pictures]

The full show (~1/2 hour) will be online for 24 hours following the broadcast; and then the separate segments will be online indefinitely.


Here's the page for the Thursday show I'm in: http://www.wcvb.com/chronicle/Thursday-June-14-MPG-OMG/-/12523032/14691008/-/pubkd8z/-/index.html

Here I am waving my arms making some sort of point...

Author:  NeilBlanchard [ Fri Jun 15, 2012 9:41 am ]
Post subject:  The Chronicle videos are now online!

The Chronicle videos are now online!





Author:  NeilBlanchard [ Mon Oct 15, 2012 4:36 am ]
Post subject:  CarBEN EV5 update

Someone on the EcoModder.com form did a really quick CFD test on CarBEN EV5 last night in a program called Falcon. Even just this brief glimpse is really cool! More to come...

http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/8088925091


It uses a 3DS file which I was able to export directly from SketchUp. The way I read it, the general lack of blue on the back of the model is a good thing?

Oh, and I have been busy cutting and gluing! I only have TWO foam sheets left to cut, and the chassis is up to 10'-10" long:


Author:  Reachable [ Mon Oct 15, 2012 1:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Super Efficient Cars [very large pictures]

Next best thing to driving it, maybe!?

I watched the Chronicle show you appeared on shortly after it first aired. I thought you came across as well as anyone could in that kind of presentation.

Author:  aristide1 [ Mon Oct 15, 2012 4:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Super Efficient Cars [very large pictures]

This one's for Neil.


Author:  NeilBlanchard [ Fri Oct 26, 2012 1:19 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Super Efficient Cars [very large pictures]

Okay, I moved down into it's proper position, with the help of my son Nicolas!


Now I can glue up the hatch door, finish the rear wheels, the wheel skirts. I made a litter frame so two people can easily carry it. I've got to batten down the shelter before Sandy gets here...

Edit: I've now done rough smoothing on the outside:


Author:  NeilBlanchard [ Tue Dec 11, 2012 6:29 pm ]
Post subject:  CarBEN EV5 progress photos

Okay, the hatch is about halfway smoothed and the opening is better, too. There is a fairly major "pinch" in the 'C' pillar area - I've got more patching to do; which is hard to do until the weather gets warm enough to glue.

I'm finding that hand sanding with a foam block and 120 grit is working well - much more controllable and accurate than the 5" random orbital sander. And when I can afford it I need to buy a couple of new tools (the long flexible sander and an oscillating saw) - and I thin I'll need the Smart ForTwo windshield fairly soon, too.

I will start making some cradle frames out of the 2" foam I bought last spring; so I can turn the car on its sides and upside down.


Full slideshow here: Approximate view inside photo by NeilBlanchard | Photobucket

I'm inside for the first time today! Woohoo! :D


It seems like it will be *just* tall enough - the plywood floor is about 1" higher than the finish floor and the ceiling is still rough.


Link to full slideshow

I'm still getting used to it - I'll work on the hatch and its opening and see how it feels inside with that in place... By the way, do you like my high tech bucket seat?

It's wicked cool, if I say so myself! :D

Author:  MikeC [ Tue Dec 11, 2012 6:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Super Efficient Cars [very large pictures]

It's really coming along, Neil, very cool! 8)

Author:  frenchie [ Tue Apr 02, 2013 5:52 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Super Efficient Cars [very large pictures]

Hi Neil,
out of curiosity, would it make any sense to use a small gas engine, maybe a 0.8 liter engine (or smaller ?) would do it, running at it's most efficient rpm, to run an alternator to charge the batteries (constant rpm, no need for a transmission) ? The Smart Fortwo has a 0.8 L cdi engine that gets around 70mpg (54 HP) and that's with the transmission inefficiencies. This would be an add-on to the other on-board electric generation (regenerative braking, suspension...). Kind of like the Chevy volt but the gas engine only charges the battery (no need for transmission). The battery depletes faster than the charging at high power consumption (high acceleration, highway speed...), but charges more than it used power at low power usage (stopped traffic, low speed...).
I know if defeats the purpose of an all-electric vehicle, I'm just curious to hear your thoughts.

For the electric engines, any thoughts about the motor inside the wheel hub ?

Author:  NeilBlanchard [ Tue Apr 02, 2013 11:20 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Super Efficient Cars [very large pictures]

If I am right that a ~55kWh battery can go (at least) 300-400 miles on a single charge, then it would probably negate the need for a serial hybrid generator. The FVT eVaro has exactly this type of drivetrain. And that is where I was getting the electric motors and the battery cells that I designed CarBEN EV5 around.

The motors use direct drive via drive shafts only, and this gives virtually the same efficiency as hub motors, while gaining a big advantage of minimizing unsprung weight. In fact, the eVaro motors have the dick brakes *inboard* right next to the motor on the drive shaft, so the unsprung weight is even lower than normal.


I am going to bring my CarBEN EV project to the Framingham (MA) Earth Day Festival, which is happening on April 27th 11:00am-3:00pm at the Framingham Center Common; between Vernon Street, Edgell Road and Route 30; just north of the Framingham Center exit on Route 9.

What I have so far is the entire chassis built from foam and close to being ready for fiberglass. Here's my photo album of the construction process so far: CarBEN EV Concept Photos by NeilBlanchard | Photobucket

Please come if you can, and see the CarBEN EV5 that I have been working on for several years!

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