Resurrecting this old thread to note that Daniel got a Roadster now!
Resurrecting this old thread to note that Daniel got a Roadster now!
Daniel I would love for you to give an update. I have just finished the thread on your Porsche conversion and I appreciate your candor and above all you patience. I have done a few conversions and when I looked at what would be involved to do a solid high quality conversion I found that a used Roadster was a deal. So far I have not been disappointed.
But I would love to hear how things worked out with the Porsche. Thank you
Last edited by dhrivnak; 04-20-2012 at 04:21 PM.
I just noticed this thread.
Since my last post in this thread was in June of '09, there's a LOT that happened since then, pretty much all of which I have written about on the DIY electric car chat board.
It's all in THIS thread.
But that's a LONG thread so I'll give the short version here:
In June of 2008 I was in Ft. Lauderdale, en route to a vacation on Bimini Island to swim with free, wild dolphins (one of the most emotional things I've ever done in my life. (See my avatar. That's me wit the dolphin.) Having done some research that seemed to show that Paul Liddle was THE guy to go to for Porsche EV conversions, I made a planned detour up to WPB. I visited with Paul, he gave me a ride in his own EV Porsche, and let me drive it. He seemed like an upright guy. So I bought a 2003 Porsche 911 Carrera in impeccable condition from Chariots of West Palm Beach, and turned it over to Paul, after signing a contract and paying a substantial deposit.
The contract specified that the car would have a 1,000 amp controller, LiFePO4 batteries with battery management system, and would have "approx. 125 mile range." Time targeted for delivery was 8 weeks, with the caveat that battery delivery and raw materials "do not allow exact time."
The batteries did take longer than expected to arrive from China, but Paul told me the car was all done except for the batteries before they did finally arrive, and it was still another couple of months after that before the car arrived. This was about eleven months after we had signed the contract.
The car arrived with a 500-amp controller instead of the promised 1,000 amp; under-body panels missing, wiring harness hanging loose under the car, A/C condensers held in place by plastic ties, several of which were broken and one of the condensers hanging loose, transmission bolts finger-loose, axel bolts loose, batteries not strapped together as is required with this type of battery, battery terminals a hair's breadth from grounded frame, and the motor installed slightly off-center, so that as the motor turned it shook itself violently, resulting in the disintegration of the motor's internal fan. And the power brakes did not work, though the brake booster pump did run. And there was one tire mis-matched, which Paul claimed was how it came from Chariots of WPB, although that dealership only sells extremely high-end used luxury cars in tip-top condition. The Porsche was about the cheapest thing they sold. They even had a Maybach Roadster, which was the most beautiful car I've ever seen. I think it unlikely they'd have sold a car with a mismatched tire. And the car arrived without a cable to plug it in, and since the charging port at the car did not match the wall end, no electrician would build me a cable. Extrapolating the amp-hours used per mile to the total amp-hours of the pack, gives a range to empty of 80 miles. There was no BMS other than that the chargers balance the cells during charging. There's no balancing OR monitoring during discharge.
About 3 hours before the car arrived, after a week in transport, Paul phoned to explain that the smaller controller was because of problems with the 1,000-amp controllers he was planning to use. I verified that this was true. The company had shipped a bunch of bad controllers. But Paul never phoned me to ask how I wanted to procede, he just went ahead with the smaller controller.
The contract said nothing about acceleration, but Paul had told me that it would do zero to sixty in around 6 to 8 seconds. It actually took around 45 seconds, due to the small controller. (A Curtis.) Since the Curtis controller cuts back to protect itself when it gets hot, the car after half an hour of driving was actually slower than an Old VW Bug.
The above-mentioned problems made themselves known little by little, and when the motor fan disintegrated I finally realized the car was a death trap.
I almost got Rick Woodbury, of Commuter Cars here in Spokane (maker of the Tango) to agree to work on it, but in the end he decided he didn't have the time. That was when I thought I only needed a bigger controller, before many of the other problems made themselves known.
In the end Gordy of Gordoz E-Speed in Hayden Lake agreed to work on it, with the proviso that he had other EV projects ahead of mine, plus a full-time job, plus a family. He and some local folks studied the Porsche and decided it needed to be done over from scratch. He completely disassembled and re-assembled it. The motor was rebuilt and a new controller purchased. He did such an amazing job that the car took first place at a local car show. (I drove there in the Roadster, which took second place.)
(Paul did compensate me for the value of the originally-promised controller. And he gave me $5,000 for the engine from the car. He says that's all he could get for it. I think it was worth more. But I didn't want to pay to ship it here and then have to try to sell it myself.)
Last summer or fall I was able to take the Porsche for a test drive. It did a lot better, but there remain two problems: The motor is out of balance. This was not Paul's fault (except indirectly, since his off-center installation caused it to need rebuilding in the first plact; but the rebuilder didn't balance it). Gordy is going to have the motor balanced.
But the more serious problem is that the batteries are in extremely bad shape. I heard a rumor (Paul denies it, and I cannot confirm it) that an "incident" while on the bench at Paul's shop caused some damage, and that Paul replaced some of the batteries. In any case, the pack is in very bad shape, and the new BMS that Gordy installed complains after about 20 miles.
When I got the news that the batteries are so far out of balance that 20 miles of range is about all I could expect of them, and Nissan was already six months behind when they promised to deliver a Leaf to me, and was continuing to make promises and break them one after another, and no good information and basically treating me like they didn't give a damn, I gave up on ever getting a Leaf or the Porsche ever getting finished, and that was when I jumped on a plane, flew to Seattle, and test-drove a Tesla Roadster. I placed my order and flew home, and two weeks later #1117 Very Orange non-sport was delivered to me from Chicago, where it was an orphan in inventory.
Gordy has been busy building a new home and shop. When he's done he'll get the Porsche's motor balanced, and we'll see if we can salvage enough batteries to give the Porsche a 20-mile range and good enough acceleration to make it fun to drive. What I really want is to sell it, though, because I only have a two-car garage, and I don't need three cars. (Still need the Prius for road trips and such.)
The Porsche is MUCH more comfortable to drive (access/egress/seat-comfort) than the Tesla, and the Porsche takes corners and handles better. But with its zero-to-sixty time and its 245-mile range, and its likely superior reliability, the Tesla is the car I'll keep. If I cannot sell the Porsche, I may use it for those under-ten-mile drives some of the time.
And that's the sad tale of the EV Porsche.
Embarking on that project was the third worst mistake I've ever made in my life. But everybody tells me that back in 2008 there was no reason to doubt that Paul would do a great job on the car. The Tesla Roadster was still a year or two from production, and already had a long waiting list. I hated the look of the eBox, didn't want to buy a ten-year-old Rav4EV, and this seemed like the best shot at getting a freeway-capable EV with enough range to get me to Coeur d'Alene and back.
Live and learn.
I love my Tesla.
Just echoing everyone's sentiments. Thanks for the update! Congratulations on the Roadster! ...and sorry to hear/read about your ordeal with the Porsche.
Thanks for the update Daniel. I remember reading this years back and mourning the loss of a good looking car once we saw how shoddy the conversion appeared.
The world loves to be deceived.
I forgot to mention one final detail: A few months ago I phoned Paul. I wanted to give him a chance to make it right by refunding my money. I didn't actually think there was any chance he would, and I doubted he had the money, but I wanted to give him the chance. I listed most of the major problems with the car and asked him to give me my money back, minus the actual cost of the still-usable parts.
He refused, and he denied everything. He insisted that none of the problems existed when he shipped the car. He then said that he was short on time and promised to call me back the following Monday (this was late on a Friday IIRC). He never called back, and I did not call him again.
The Porsche has been sitting in Gordy's shop while he builds a new house & shop. Tim took it to an event where he hoped (unrealistically, IMO) to sell it. But now that I've had some time to cool off a bit, I'm considering having them replace the now-worthless, shot lithium battery pack with lead batteries.
The lithium pack was badly damaged when I got it from the original conversion shop. We considered the idea of trying to salvage the usable cells and build from them a pack with maybe a 30-mile range without sacrificing power. But I'm skeptical about this because I don't think these batteries can deliver enough current if we remove, say, 2/3 of the pack. Gordy thinks they could. Tim thinks not. I think not.
OTOH, originally I wanted 125 miles of range, so as to have 100 miles to 80% DoD (supposed to be okay with LiFePO4). But now that the Tesla is my daily driver and primary car, if I can get the car to 20 miles usable (safe for the batteries) range, and still have impressive power, I could drive it sometimes when I don't need to go farther. Lead batteries are a lot cheaper than lithium. This would be better than leaving it to rust.
So I'm pondering this idea, and Gordy is going to find out for me what such a pack would cost.
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