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The Hybrid-Electric Senior Project

Welcome to the webpage concerning my senior project!
Here you'll find plenty of information on my conversion of a 1994 Ford Ranger to Hybrid-Electric drive. Take a look at the project page for some detailed information on the conversion.

I'm also still looking for sponsors for the project; keep in mind that all donors of $100 or more get a logo placed on the vehicle, and that all donations are tax deductible!



News:

September 18, 2006
It's been quite a while, and I'm overdue for an update. The truck is actually ON THE ROAD now, operating as an electric-only vehicle for the time being. I will have some new pictures up soon detailing the progress made over the summer. I am away from home for the next few months, and there will be a bit of a hiatus on additional progress. The vehicle has been left in my family's hands, and you might see it cruising around town!

May 29, 2006: Memorial Day
The installation of the battery racks is under way. The four battery rack under the hood as well as the eleven battery rack in the rearmost poriton of the truck are both close to being complete, and after that there are only two more which go under the bed. There are new pictures posted!

May 22, 2006
I've been home from school for a little over a week, and have been making some tremendous progress with the truck. The motor is now securely mounted in the engine compartment and the battery racks are built, and now need only to be installed in the truck. It's getting really close!

May 3, 2006
I've finally uploaded larger versions of the images in the latest gallery. Check them out!

April 19, 2006
Nick Viera of www.driveev.com has generously offered to host my website. This means (virtually) no more space restrictions, and no more tripod! While the old url, http://hybridproject.tripod.com/, will still point to the website, the acual address has changed to http://hybridproject.driveev.com/.

April 10, 2006
Back at school, now, and I still haven't found new hosting space for the site. The only thing not fully functional now is the latest photo album, which remains thumbnails only. I was actually able to drive the truck out of the shop at the end of spring break... with the motor strapped down and a single battery powering it. Next on the long list is motor mounts, battery racks, and lots and lots of cabling and chasing down wiring. School's out in a little less than a month, so I'll post more news as I have it!

March 30, 2006
I'm currently on spring break, and I've made some progress this week with the drivetrain components. The transmission, motor and transfer case are all currently installed in the truck, and they look great. There's still much to do, but it's exciting to finally see some more progress. Check out the pictures page for some new views!

Febuary 1, 2006
The adaptor plate, although promised by mid-December, has finally arrived. Although I'm currently attending school in Boulder, I hope that the truck will see some considerable progress soon! This time, the matter is completely in my hands.

December 7, 2005
Finally, an update! All signs point to my adaptor plate arriving in time for winter break, which begins December 16th. With this, I should be able to get the driveline all straightened out, and I might even have a moving vehicle by the time I return to school (early January). Cross your fingers!

August 20, 2005
In the midst of preparing for college and finishing up working for the summer, I have found out that the transmission adaptor plate ordered from Electro Automotive will not be ready anytime in August. Apparently, Electro is still getting caught up with work that's been backlogged all summer. The good news, of course, is that I will have all next summer to complete the project. I hope to be contacting each of my sponsors soon to inform them of the hang-up. Thanks to everyone for your patience; I hope to see you on the road next summer! If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me.

June 29, 2005
It looks like the grant from the school district will total $1,500! This is intended to directly offset the cost of the Zilla controller, which is the most technologically advanced component of the conversion thus far.

In other news, I have just acquired a well used 4kw industrial generator, which will allow hybrid functionality before I get the Honda powered generator built and figured out.

As before, I'm still waiting on my transmission adaptor. As soon as I have this, I will be able to mount the driveline up and get the vehicle to move (albeit slowly) under its own power!

June 16, 2005
New news on the adaptor plate that I've been waiting for: the machinist is recovering from a back injury, and is currently working through his backlog. According to the email I received, it will be "Just a couple more weeks". At least I know it's back on track. It will be exciting to get the electric motor mounted to the transmission and in the truck; having this completed will be one less obstacle in the way of getting the truck on the road.

June 10, 2005
I just found out that the grant request was approved! The specifics have not yet been worked out, but this is awesome. The grant is not to be for more than $1500, and the exact amount has not been decided upon.

Other than the grant, there's not much new news to report. I'm still waiting on the adaptor, and the batteries have yet to arrive. I do have the battery charger from Manzanita Micro, and have been experimenting with that recently. The next step on the project is to mount the motor (as soon as I get the adaptor) and build battery boxes. I also need to start concentrating on collecting all the odds and ends that will help finish the project: cable, tools, mounting hardware, etc.

I will post new news as I have it.

May 29, 2005
The open house went very well, and I was able to show my project to quite a few people. Thanks to everyone who came by to check out all the senior projects.

There's still no official news on the grant, but I will post information about it as soon as I have it.

Also, I'm up over $6k now! Thanks a million to all my generous sponsors.

May 23, 2005
Tomorrow (Wednesday, May 24th) the high school is putting on its annual senior project 'open house,' and all current seniors will have their display boards there. It runs from 5 pm to 7 pm at the high school, and anyone who's in the area is welcome.

May 20, 2005
The school presentation went very well, and my project 'passed' with flying colors. I also re-presented my project to the school district's technology commission, which is considering writing a grant to help pay for the conversion! I'll have more news about this as it unfolds.

Furthermore, I just placed an order for 24 6-volt lead acid batteries from Carquest, manufactured by Deka/East Penn Battery Company. Both corporations are pitching in to make the battery purchase as affordable as possible! Again, thanks to Marge at Carquest and East Penn Battery.

I am still waiting on the adaptor plate for the motor. Current estimates put the vehicle on the road in approximately two months.

May 17, 2005
Tomorrow I will be doing my "Senior Boards" presentation, which will involve a 20 minute presentation of my project to a small panel of judges. This is the finale of the High School's program. I will, of course, continue to build the vehicle for the next few months, and I will be perfecting it for years to come!

May 12, 2005
I just sent away for my battery charger: a PFC-30, made by Manzanita Micro. This will allow me to charge the battery pack from the AC mains instead of the generator whenever possible. Also, in addition to plug-in charging, the PFC-30 will serve as a temporary generator management system while I devise my own, more application-specific control.

May 9, 2005
The high school car show on Saturday went off pretty well, despite some less-than-optimal weather. There are some pictures of my truck at the show here (you also get to see it with all the trim on it in these pictures).

Also, the Zilla controller from Cafe Electric arrived today. It is awesome. It certainly is nice to start to accumulate more of the parts needed to do the job! I took some pictures of it.

Laura Sefton, a local architect (970.879.4893), has decided to donate her (aforementioned) 1989 Honda Civic to the project, which I will use for its small, efficient engine, fuel injection system, exhaust system, and all the other little bits that make an ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) go. From preliminary measurements, it looks like this engine will fit nicely under the hood of my Ranger with a generator head, sharing the space with the WarP, the controller, and perhaps a few batteries. Thanks, Laura!

Finally, I have ordered a second Vicor DC-DC converter after verifying that the first one I purchased functions properly. This was a bit of a project in itself; here are some pictures. I decided it would be prudent to get a second one because of a) The extraordinarily low price of these units (They list at $490 and cost me $45 each) and b) To make sure I have enough accessory power to perform all the duties I need it for.

 

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Matthew Holthausen - PO Box 776201 - Steamboat Springs, CO 80477 - (970) 846-2514 - strongreaction@gmail.com

 

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