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Old 04-28-2006, 11:49 AM
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Originally Posted by steve t
can you imagine a chopped street rod with a electric motor tubbed out or going to drags with no sound
I'm a little late to the thread, but I've been thinking a lot lately about an electric rod. There is already an electric drag racing association, and I think NHRA now has a class too.

I'd miss the noise of a healthy V8, but electric motors are torque monsters. I wish more people would get into EVs - I think some real progress could be made.

IMHO, the problem with EVs is that they have been largely driven by "greenies". Many of those I've seen are built for short hops by people with limited mechanical ability. Most are currently built by stuffing the electric parts in where the mechanical parts formerly were. Also, being pure electrics, they have limited range with today's affordable battery technology.

I have thought for awhile, that if some rodders got into the act, some great things could happen.

Firstly, instead of building an EV for environmental reasons, build it for performance - make the most of an electric propulsion system for acceleration.

Secondly, I think hybrids are the way to go. If you don't have any range, the car's no fun to drive. Yes, its more complicated, and yes, it still burns hydrocarbons, but if the engine is running at near-constant speed in its power/efficiency band, then you're going to be better off and have good performance too.

Thirdly, I think these have to built more from the "ground-up". I don't' mean a complete from-scratch machine, but I believe the entire chassis has to be built around the electric/hybrid drivetrain. Locate the battery packs down low and balance them out to improve weight-distribution and handling. Design the suspension to carry the weight. It wouldn't be all that much more complicated than putting a newer drivetrain in an old rod, just different parameters to achieve.

Lastly, some good data is really required. Electric motors measure HP differently than ICEs. I have looked and haven't seen any good way to guestimate what performance would be given a vehicle weight, gear ratios, electric motor HP/RPM, etc. Until someone can "run the numbers" and get an idea of what sort of acceleration they're likely to get, there won't be much enthusiasm. I've seen some anecdotal evidence that EVs are actually quicker than a lot of "performance" cars, but its mostly "trial and error" right now.

The thing about hybrid electrics is it has the potential to benefit everyone - the same way the original hotrodders activities spilled over into the rest of the auto industry. On top of that, it gives us all a way to perpetuate our hobby in the face of a changing world. Conceptually, its not that much different than the move from carbs to EFI was/is. Look at what happened when EFI finally caught on to our hobby. As a side benefit, we may be able to get more performance out of an EV than we're getting now out of our muscle cars, with better emissions, and less maintenance. Its win/win for everyone, if you can live without that heart-thumping sound we all love.

Just my thoughts...
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