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CalCars at the Maker Faire CalCars at the Maker Faire April 22-23

The following recap was originally posted by Felix Kramer at the EAA-PHEV project discussion group.

CalCars team at the Maker FaireRyan Fulcher's car is now the world's tenth Plug-In Hybrid Prius (see list below). At 10:10 PM tonight, the car ran electrically for a significant distance with no problems. We were pretty confident it would work, but we're very relieved!

Our team had an ambitious goal: to condense what took us many months into a weekend. Finishing within the Maker Faire's two public days was an arbitrary goal. Talking to the thousands of people who came by with questions was also important. Finishing to get Ryan back to Seattle was necessary!

Much of the preparation work happened in the weeks before, especially the circuit boards. The core team -- Sherry Boschert, Mike Brown, Tom Driscoll, Ryan Fulcher, Marc Geller, Ron Gremban, Amanda Kovattana, Steven S. Lough, Shari Prange, Nick Rothman, Mike Sasnett (profiled at the team page) -- worked about 8 hours on Saturday and 9 hours on Sunday. After the Faire closed to the public, the hard-core -- Tom, Marc, Ron, Steve -- stayed until about 10:30. Then they relocated to Ron's garage in Corte Madera. Tom Driscoll worked straight through on mechanical prep. These four reassembled in the morning and kept going all day. I kept getting reports that they were getting close. But as everything got installed, wired, tested, and as the team worked to ensure that parts wouldn't or short out under any likely circumstance, the hours stretched out (asymptotically -- that's what happens when engineering designs are implemented into physical layouts, and its hard to predict how long it will take to get everything right).

You'll get more details in the next few days as they recover! Then the Electric Auto Association-PHEV group will work to bring people into the next phase of the project: documenting all that was done, turning that into an instruction manual, arranging to package as many of the components as possible in ways that make possible conversions.

Based on what we just did, we think with some additional pre-made components, it will be realistic for an individual owner of a 2004-2006 Prius with no technical skills to budget under $3,000 for materials, enlist the help (volunteer or paid) of an engineer or electrician (one person with experience working with high voltages is a NECESSITY), and then for these two people to complete the conversion in about one vacation week.

Thanks to all the people who helped at Maker Faire and behind the scenes. Many of groups that helped are listed at our Maker Faire Partners page. For a summary of all the conversion options for Prius, see our PHEV Conversions Fact Sheet (which has been downloaded over 500 times since we revised it a few weeks ago).

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