Bulgarian Forklift Motors and High Tech
As part of my volunteer work for the USFRA I help answer E-mail technical
questions. I am often confronted with novice Bonneville enthusiasts
who misunderstand the intent of the 130 MPH Club. The purpose of the
130 MPH club is to allow people to use their street vehicles to get
a feel for driving at speed on the salt, or to simply test the performance
capacity of their daily driver. Unfortunately, each year, there are
folks who try to use the 130 MPH club for “Racing”. Specifically
for racing vehicles that cannot run (or simply aren’t competitive)
in any of the real racing classes at the salt. This abuse results
in bogus claims we see on the internet, like Worlds Fastest Motorhome,
or Worlds Fastest Go Kart. The USFRA folks deal with someone who wants
to “Set a World Record” with some unlikely, unsafe, or
“unusual” vehicle on a weekly basis (Air Boats, Motorhomes,
Unicycles, Powered Street Luge, Hovercraft, Snowmobile, and on and
As a hands on builder type myself, I was immediately impressed with
the metal sculpture in progress on his combination Mill/Drill/Lathe
As an old fashioned hotrodder, I was very impressed by David’s innovation and do it yourself ethic. The work going on in his home shop is hotrodding in the very best sense of the term. But, as an old fashioned hotrodder, I have a hard time getting my mind wrapped around the concept of installing a Bulgarian Fork Lift Motor in place of a Classic Porsche six cylinder engine.
David’s young son Michael showed lots of knowledge and boundless enthusiasm for this project. He recognizes that proper battery choice is key. His language was peppered with technical battery terms and names, and he had strong opinions and preferences about the available battery choices. I came away impressed with the practical design and fabrication education this young man is getting by working alongside his father on this project. Michael runs a Go Kart and flies remote control electric powered airplanes. The electric airplane experience has Michael looking for more powerful, cheaper, lighter battery technology on his own. He asked many questions about running his Kart at Bonneville. I’m sure he has his eye on the drivers seat in the electric Porsche.
Given that paradigm, it is no surprise that Batteries are the focus.
Add to that concept the fact that battery technology is changing and
evolving-rapidly. There are difficult choices to be made between price,
power output, and life expectancy of the different battery technologies
available. Lead Acid batteries like the ones we use to start our gasoline
fueled cars are relatively cheap, readily available and both heavy
and messy. The next step up the performance and price ladder is Lithium
Ion (Li) Batteries. Among the latest and best examples of this technology
is the DeWalt A123 cells. These batteries offer excellent power density
allowing less weight for the same power supply, high discharge rates
making them an excellent choice for racing applications, good battery
life, quick recharge times and top dollar pricing.
The technology of plug in electrics and of production Hybrid cars is evolving and changing rapidly. There are some really interesting emerging battery technologies on the horizon. An example of one to watch might be Firefly Energy . This Peoria, Illinois company has received a US patent for a new carbon-foam lead-acid battery technology that it believes has the potential to revolutionize the existing global lead-acid battery market as well as serve applications such as hybrid electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids. Firefly contends it can deliver lead-acid battery performance comparable to NiMh, but at about one-fifth the cost, and with greatly reduced weight compared to traditional lead-acid batteries. Yep, they are hotrodding batteries at Firefly Energy.
This electric conversion isn’t only a race car, it’s a very practical Street Vehicle conversion. David plans to take advantage of the USFRA’s 130 MPH club to test his Porsche. This is a perfect use of the USFRA’s 130 MPH Club. Testing for top speed on this electric conversion should be a ball. We look forward to seeing this innovative, home built, electric hotrod at Bonneville.
You can learn more about David Dymaxion’s Electric
Hot Rod Conversion at his web sites.
Better yet, visit World of Speed in September and see for yourself.
Back to USFRA home page