TDL Electronics
(414) 322-1255   
9209 W Hwy K         Franksville, Wisconsin 53126

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This truck is gathering ALL kinds of attention.   This is the official page.  Many other mentions are:

EV Album Page   

  See the Quick Cable video here

Aug 30 2009 Racine Journal-Times Newspaper Article

Sept 1 Gas2.org Article

Wired Magazine Sept 3 2009 Article

Discussion on Fark.com

Electric El Camino Our New Favorite Electric Car Jalopnik.com

Car Buyers Notebook.com

Popular Mechanics Magazine Sept 10 2009

El Camino on Wikipedia



Electric Vehicle Projects

Electic El Camino


Why would a guy buy a perfectly clean classic truck, then gut out the gas motor, fuel tank, radiator, exhaust
 and all that cool polluting stuff and throw it in a big pile for the scrap yard?  Beats the hell out of me. 
Must be one of those eccentric  green tree-huggers you hear about who can't stand dirty air or high gas prices.
  Or maybe there's more...

How about innovation, using your skills to make something better?  A performance boost, no more tune-ups,
and the thrill of thumbing your nose at the gas stations when you stop in only for coffee and cigars?
 Well it works for me.  Could have bought a new car for the cost of the conversion, need to recharge every couple hundred miles
 (see the solar barn link), and called in a few favors from the local experts on metals and machining. 
Was it worth it?  Hell, YES !

TOP SPEED:          85 MPH
ACCELERATION:      Quick
MOTOR:                   100 HP
CHARGE TIME   8 Hours or Less

How about a ride to wherever you want to go without depending on oil companies, even the power grid to make it happen?
 Home-grown electricity right from the sun powers this sweet ride. 
Pretty soon, you may  have one too.  We can help.


Ain't she pretty?        The eBay photo that won me over

Start from the beginning.  Buy a solid car or truck with a stick shift and without a lot of rust.  She can have a tired motor. 
That's OK. Light weight is good, also reasonable coefficient of drag (wind resistance) and easy-rolling tires help a lot. 
We'll do some math later on, but it helps to know a little up front.  A gallon of gas produces about 125,000 BTU/hr when burned.
  That's about 33 KwH (33,000 watt-hours) of electricity as an equivalent measure.  The best gas engine with computers,
 tuned-up and at operating temperature gets about 16% of that energy to the drive train.  Maybe 15% of your gas
 is used for propulsion.  How about 90% efficiency?  That's more like it. 

Comparison:  Gas vs Electric Car  (May 2009)

Fuel Type
Unit Cost
Optimized Range
Fill-Up
Cost per mile
Carbon Footprint
GAS
2.60 / gallon
300 miles / tank
$52.00
$0.17 per mile
Polluting
ELECTRIC
.10 / KWh
200 miles / charge
$3.30
$0.015 per mile
Very GREEN


After conversion, 33 KwH of electricity ($3.30) takes us almost the same distance at about a sixteenth the fuel cost
 and without making any air pollution.  The solar and wind electric here comes from Nature and
the fuel is not transported halfway across the world. 
Also, no tune-ups, oil or antifreeze, exhaust repairs. 
Add to that no warm-up time or tune-ups, the quiet purr of an electric motor and the cool factor
(everyone
wants to see under the hood), and she's a winner all around.


The BEFORE picture

OK, so this kind of a project is not for the squeamish.  If you are good with power tools and unafraid to modify
(chop, bend metal, cut big holes and make replacements for supporting members you removed, and you are comfortable
 working around high voltage, sharp metal and many other hazards, you are the guy for the job.  Not everyone is an expert
 in many disciplines.  Our specialty is electronic controls, so much of this was not new but offered some
challenges to be innovative.  For the major mechanical systems we asked for help.  Rite Engineering in Franksville
  answered the call  to couple the electric motor to the transmission, mount the motor to the frame, and contracted
 out the battery box sheet metal works to Jensen Metals, also in Franksville.  T'NS Machining  in Muskego, WI
loaned us one of the owners, Scott for a couple long evening sessions to make the boxes fit and securely mount them. 

This was no small feat, as we put 900 pounds of batteries in two boxes UNDER THE HOOD, along with the motor,
speed controller, wiring and safety add-ons.   Power steering remains the same, belt-driven from the motor (tail shaft),
 and power brakes use vacuum from a new electric pump since there is no engine vacuum any more. 
(The power steering now has it's own DC motor, and twenty of the 46 batteries moved to the rear August 2009.)

The up-to-180 volts DC from the batteries is stepped down to 13-14 volts by a DC-DC converter to run the headlights,
 wipers, radio, and all the usual 12 volt conveniences.  Under the flap where the gas filler was, we added a recessed plug
 for 220 volts in to a charger.  'Fill her up'  turns into 'Plug her in'.   Much of this will become clearer through the photographs.
  The point is, this is not a plug-and play kit type of conversion.  We plan to engineer  for each vehicle and its owner the best solution,
without making trade-offs, meeting the goals we set 100% from the beginning.  (A Corvette is next!)

 



        

              Dashboard View - The "Gas" Gauge always says "FULL", so it stays !                  The under-hood view.  Electric heat is complete                                  

!

        

              After detailing.    Ain't she a beauty?                                   The Plug-In and Electric Emblem are all that give it away.


       

          OK, here is the motor:                                   Mounted to the frame with the original Chevy 3-speed manual transmission

       
How are the 46 Lithium (LiFEPO4) Batteries going to fit under the hood?   Power steering (original pump) driven off new motor on the tail shaft
 Actually, 20 of them now live by the rear axle                          Now it is driven by its own motor, 1 1HP 180 volt job


       

Ever see a FARAD Capacitor?  Here is a 250 volt one !                The motor speed control and 1 of 2 heavy contactors (relays)


       

Many rusty parts: fuel tank, old motor,exhaust, radiator,starter - All GONE !        Man, that's a big battery box - firewall to bumper, fender to fender...

        
                 The big battery tray holds 36 Lithium batteries                        and the small tray behund the front bumber holds the other 10       

        

This is what 4/0 (#0000 Gauge) wire looks like compared to a quarter                     Rust-Oleum Primer on the steel boxes May 24 2009           

        
Contactors Fuses, a relay and the shunt  on the passenger wheel well        1/2" Hitch Pins hold the big box down to 2" steel square tube


         

Scott from T'NS Machining made amazing mounts for the battery boxes               The lower box just ahead of the stabilizer bar behund the front bumper
             AND the improved motor to transmission coupler                                       July 31 - This was moved to the back with a new 10-cell box





NEWS FLASH:

On June 23 with only 500 miles on the elecrtic conversion, our motor failed : an armature to frame short circuit. 
Oddly enough, this was on the return trip from the scrap yard where we got all of $8 for the old metal...

Advanced DC Motors told me this is a rare occurrence, only the fourth one they know of.     We hope they're right !
 It took us 8 hours to unpopulate the battery trays, wiring and remove the motor from the transmission and many mounts.
A truck to New Hampshire picked up the motor;  We will post updates as we use the time to make other improvements.
The front batery box (under the bumper) will disappear, power steering will be made electric, and a new bed liner too.
Stay tuned...

EV America  is where we bought the motor and controller, and many other components.
Bob Batson and Bryan provide great technical assistance, customer service,
and the best documentation we have ever seen !     Contact them and you will be pleased too.

NEWS FLASH 2:

July  26 found the Electric El Camino back in motion.   Using a 17 Amp-hour temporary pack at 144 volts,
 we were able to cruise  around the neighborhood and shake the dust off of her from a month in the garage.

  We had to gut the engine compartment -  batteries, battery box, wiring, motor , mounts , and
 transmission alike to send the motor in for repair.

Luckily, Advanced DC Motors cooperated and not only fixed it under warranty, but paid shipping both ways.
The motor was made in March 2009, the month we bought it.  Works OK now.  Thanks for the warranty.

While the beast was gutted, we moved some of the batteries (20 cells) to the rear where the gas tank used to be.
Seems only appropriate.   Since that is 13 feet away, we had to extend the 500 amp runs of wire.   Not easy.
Quick Cable of Franksville came to the rescue with enough 4/0 wire for double runs (4 conductors),
and the appropriate connector lugs to make elegant connections at each end.

Thank you John Shannon and Damian Gouff at Quick Cable for all your contributions to this worthy project.
See the Quick Cable video here

Now the cow-catcher battery box is gone below the front bumper.   In its place lives the Curtis
speed controller that needs lots of cooling, and a new motor just for the power steering.
The big under-hood battery box was reduced in size by Scott at
T'NS Machining
who also is moving the two smaller 10-cell boxes to the back.

Fully back on the road again in August, she is racking up the miles.  Why buy gas when
electricity is so cheap, even free?  Some new views are in order:

         
Twenty batteries now live below the rear bumper                             The rear boxes tilt down for easy access 

                                                                                                           

A smaller battery box for more room under the hood              Close-up of twin 4/0-Gauge Cables to rear box     


         
Hitch Pins Hold the big battery box to the 2" square Steel Tubing                       What, no gas cap?   Plug Her In !            


Anxious to drive her and show a few more people, the photos above reflect the quick-and dirty wiring job. 
This is being cleaned up and organized with color coded wires, terminal blocks and less spaghetti !
Cosmetic improvements always follow the development and testing, but are equally important.

Planned improvements to the dashboard and a SOLID STATE Air Conditioner are in progress.

     

MORE STORY AND PICTURES TO FOLLOW...


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  This Page was last updated  on:   11 September , 2009