Hooniverse Asks- How Will You Hot Rod an Electric Car?

When I was a kid, the geezers who worked on cars complained – between arcing spits of chewing tobacco – how sealed carbs were ruining automotive tuning. People, unlike geezers, are adaptable, and even though automobiles and their internal combustion engines have gone through decades of changes that have altered the way we get horsepower out of them, there’s still a healthy market for tuner supplies and extra ponies to be had. But what about the next paradigm shift – the one away from ICE motors and on-board energy conversion – to that of remote generation, and electrical storage on your ride?
Even when emissions controls and OBDs both I and II took effect, there still were ways to make your car go faster. Oh sure, maybe it didn’t involve a bigger carb on a high-rise manifold, but a computer chip and MAF sensor upgrade as well – but the point was, it still made the car go faster.
But electric cars. What to do with electric cars? If you have a Tesla Roadster today, how would you make it even more electric? Would you throw in even more laptop batteries? Or maybe a bigger motor, sacrificing distance over how much fun you have getting there. Do you even know what the options are? It seems to me that we are on the cusp of another big shift in our automotive lives, and we better be prepared otherwise dorks like that Justin Beiber are going to eat our lunches in their suped up electric golf carts, and there we’ll be standing with our virtual pants around our ankles. So what’s your idea on how to hot rod an electrc car? Or would you not even bother, evolving yourself into a curmudgeonly old geezer, spitting tobacco and complaining about how everything is 240 volts these days? Which’ll it be?
Image source: [inhabit.com]

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38 responses to “Hooniverse Asks- How Will You Hot Rod an Electric Car?”

  1. Maymar Avatar

    I'd start with the right car.
    <img src="http://www.stockphotopro.com/photo-thumbs-2/A377WR.jpg&quot; /img>

  2. muthalovin Avatar

    Supercharge it.

  3. P161911 Avatar

    The uncreative way, drop in a Chevy small block V-8.
    The creative way, more juice/voltage. Just enough so the blue smoke stays inside.

    1. Black Steelies Avatar

      Ah, Top Gun 2: Goose Flies Again. My favorite direct to DVD sequel!

  4. skitter Avatar

    Everything is better with an H-pattern and a clutch.

    1. AlexiusG55 Avatar

      I think single-speed direct drive with a dead-flat torque curve is even better. Add lightness and simplify.

      1. skitter Avatar

        I'll only cede the argument to a flat power curve. Some electric motors can get close to that.

  5. Feds_II Avatar

    I would turn the lights off and turn the light on. See, because the lights would take the electrons away from the motor, and by making it lighter, it would be faster.
    Hotrodding is always about efficiency: the most power in the lightest package wins. An electric car needs motors and batteries. The ultimate electric hotrod probably looks something like this:
    <img src="http://adamdevop.com/dp/dicycle004.png&quot; width=500>

    1. SSurfer321 Avatar

      Laying a 60' patch of rubber in that contraption is much less impressive, what with it being all of 4-5 tire rotations.

      1. Alff Avatar

        It would still probably impress – with that tiny contact patch and the always-on torque of an electric motor it would probably require some skilled throttle modulation to do more than sit-and-spin.

  6. dwegmull Avatar

    I have seen this electric Porsche in person. It is a one off conversion done by its owner. It is an amazingly clean build. I don't remember the technical details but I'm quite sure it is a daily driver…
    As far as the Tesla Roadster goes, well my base model is plenty powerful for my driving abilities… Tesla does sell a Roadster Sport model which has a hand wound motor with more coper in it and an electronic module that allows 800A peaks instead of 700A. The software is also setup to allow running higher battery temperatures for longer. All of these modifications result in increased performance but a shorter predicted battery life (although Tesla will not commit to firm numbers)…
    While mine is a daily driver, some owners are quite into racing. There are many discussions about tires, suspension settings, optimal charging methods, etc.
    Have a look through the forum here: http://www.teslamotorsclub.com/forumdisplay.php/6
    It includes everything from high speed driving on ice to auto crossing.

  7. Alff Avatar

    With a kite and a brass key.

  8. TurboBrick Avatar

    Put an LS1 in it? Isn't that how it always starts?

    1. muthalovin Avatar

      Correct answer.

  9. adem Avatar

    Well, just like you hotrod a ICE car – ask yourself "How do I pump more power to the wheels?"
    Motors – Big brushed motors hooked up to standard-ish transmissions seems to be the way most electric cars are heading nowadays, as it requires the least amount of changes from a standard production car, drivetrain- and suspension-wise. But there's *definitely* a better way of doing it from a performance standpoint (as long as you're ok with losing the ability to row-your-own), and *definitely* a better way to do it from an efficiency/range standpoint, and *probably* a better way to do it froma cost standpoint, both initial and long-term. What about a fat pancake-style synchronous AC motor with adjustable air-gap on each wheel? More efficient (Zero drivetrain friction losses) AND faster. Sure, there's a lot of un-sprung weight, so mount the motors like inboard disks on a Jag, if you care about handling.
    Motor controllers – this will probably be the bottleneck in power delivery; buy a bigger/better one if you want to go faster.
    Batteries – also a bottleneck for power delivery. Want to go faster and don't care about range? Re-wire the pack to reduce the range while increasing the current it can pump out.

  10. alcology Avatar

    A flywheel like the porsche.

  11. ZomBee Racer Avatar

    Hello Jato.
    <img src="http://pixelplanes.com/HAFB/linked/c-130 jato rockets _b.jpg" />

    1. OA5599 Avatar

      I had a friend back in Arizona who tried that on his 67 Impala. It didn't end well.

      1. Alff Avatar

        I heard it was a Camaro.

        1. Black Steelies Avatar

          Mythbusters used an Impala. A Caprice if I remember right.

  12. JeepyJayhawk Avatar

    Add super capacitors for more instantaneous power. Bypass the maximum discharge rate of batteries with something that can dump all of it's charge within a matter of seconds. Bad for range, good for fun.

    1. facelvega Avatar

      the new carbon nanotube batteries we should see any year are very lightweight, provide extremely smooth power delivery, are efficient, and can act as extremely powerful instantaneous capacitors as well. Moreover they can be made into any carbon-strong shape you want, so they could also be the frame and/or body of the car themselves, in principle.

  13. PowerTryp Avatar

    I won't, I'll be burning the dino juice (or any comparable substance in 50 years) for the rest of my life.

    1. Black Steelies Avatar

      The death of the ICE is definitely a long ways off. It may become inconvenient or expensive to run but by golly it'll run.

  14. TX_Stig Avatar

    Very nice. Much like cowbells and turbos, more is always welcome. Besides, electric cars are too quiet.

  15. Jim-Bob Avatar

    It's a catch 22 really. If you want to lighten it, you really need to deal with the batteries in some way. Either you run fewer of them or switch to ones with more power density. You could just run a bigger motor(s) but then you will decrease battery life. My ultimate electric car would have 4 inboard wheel motors so that you could do away with a transmission and brakes entirely and just use them for both of those functions instead. Why inboard? To reduce unsprung weight. Wheel motors are a neat concept but they add so much weight to the wheel that they negatively affect the suspension's ability to conform to road conditions. Additionally this would put most of the weight in the center of the car and probably improve handling versus putting it at the outer edges. I would also cover the surface of the car in a solar cell paint process that has been proposed as part of the CIGSS technology. This would add range and decrease the need for grid power to charge it when away from home. I would also add a bank of solar cells to the garage it was stored in as well as some sort of energy storage device for charging at a later time. This could theoretically be anything from batteries to an ultra-high pressure compressed air tank. This would then charge the car when I get home without having to use the grid.
    Ultimately though I don't see an electric car in my future. I see economic collapse which will all but kill the ability of anyone to actually afford or use the technology. In the end, the future I see is more Mad Max than green.

    1. Adem Avatar

      You can get rid of the tranny that way, but you still need brakes. Regenerative braking is great for efficiency and all, but it only augments traditional hydraulic brakes.

  16. P161911 Avatar

    Longer extension cord.

    1. ptschett Avatar

      That's what I was going to say! (That, and hook it up to three-phase.)

  17. facelvega Avatar

    Quite apart from the electric part, the handling bits of the car mostly stay the same: suspension, steering, (at least the conventional part of the) brakes, tires, and frame stiffness. These things are all still up for grabs, and so far only Tesla has even tried to get them organized, maybe Fisker.

  18. Black Steelies Avatar

    By the lightning of Zeus and the hammer of Thor!

  19. P161911 Avatar

    How about add a trailer hitch and tow this:
    <img src="http://www.allworldgenerator.com/prodimages/baldor_trailer_generator_large.jpg"width=500&gt;

  20. Abe Avatar

    I would start by reprogramming the controller to my liking. You would be amazed at what tinkering around with the motor contorller can do.

  21. Van Sarockin Avatar
    Van Sarockin

    Nitrous injection and a supercharger, obvs. And a bunch of cupholders and DVD players.

  22. packratmatt Avatar

    I'd do it the same way I hopped up my AFX cars, with AJ's TNT.

  23. birganator Avatar

    look to electric RC cars. you want to go faster? get a better controller or motor or battery or all three. that being said I expect battery/storage technology is undoubtedly going to see the biggest and fastest tech gains as economies of scale make large battery systems more affordable. you could already potentially hot rod your old prius by putting the batteries from a newer model in it.

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