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: Specialty Equipment Market Association Convention Highlights

Specialty Equipment Market Association Convention Highlights

09 Nov

The annual Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) trade show converged at the Las Vegas Convention Center during the first week of November 2013 to showcase the latest automotive industry developments. SEMA is a trade association that is primarily composed of small businesses that add value to larger automotive manufacturers’ product lines by creating niche products and unique markets. The number of exhibit spaces expanded this year as the overall economy and automotive industry has continued to grow.

Electric-drive vehicle technologies were showcased alongside classic automotive muscle cars and performance technologies.

Don “Big Daddy” Garlits is a living legend from the world of drag racing who has won 17 world championships and established top fuel drag racing as a worldwide competitive sport over his long career. He has reached quarter-mile speeds of 270 miles per hour and was the first to exceed 200 miles per hour in one-eighth-mile timed races with his series of “Swamp Rat” dragsters.

Top view of the Swamp Rat 37 by Don Garlits

Top view of the Swamp Rat 37 by Don Garlits

Since the 1950’s, Garlits has been a pioneer of drag racing technology. Now at age 82, Garlits is working with members of the National Electric Drag Racing Association (NEDRA) who have built Swamp Rat 37 as an electric dragster. The team will be chasing a new world record for electric dragsters exceeding 200 miles per hour on sanctioned quarter-mile drag strips during National Hot Rod Association events in 2014. The electric power train was developed by Shawn Lawless of Lawless Industries, who had already teamed with Orange County Choppers to exceed 200 miles per hour on NHRA-sanctioned drag strips with an electric motorcycle driven by Larry “Spiderman” McBride. The large DC motor in Swamp Rat 37 will be powered by a lithium-ion battery pack through a “Zilla” motor-speed controller and a PFC-series charging system developed by Manzanita Micro.

Green Street and SEMA 071

Neil Young and the LincVolt extended-range electric vehicle

Green Street and SEMA 037

Neil Young's LincVolt extended-range electric vehicle can travel 45 miles on stored electricity before switching to an electric generator powered by cellulosic ethanol.

Neil Young’s LincVolt extended-range electric vehicle can travel 45 miles on stored electricity before switching to an electric generator powered by cellulosic ethanol.

Neil Young, musician and automotive developer, exhibited his LincVolt hybrid-electric conversion of a 1959 Lincoln Continental during the SEMA event. The LincVolt is an extended-range electric vehicle that can travel about 45 miles on lithium-ion battery power before reverting to an electric generator to continue providing power and a range of about 300 miles. After the 21 kilowatt-hours of stored electricity depletes to a certain level, the generator turns on to create electricity from a tank of cellulosic ethanol, a fuel that burns more cleanly than gasoline. Cellulosic ethanol is derived from waste plant production by farmers rather than from corn or other food products.

Green Street and SEMA 041

Green Street and SEMA 040

This new technology provides smooth acceleration and performance for a legacy Lincoln Continental platform that has a gross vehicle weight of 6300 pounds but can still be easily accelerated to 85 miles per hour. Young and his team of developers are hoping to commercialize the lithium-ion battery pack, AC motor, generator and control electronics in the LincVolt as a packaged system that can be installed in multiple vehicle platforms.

Lithium-ion battery and electric-drive control system for the LincVolt system.

Lithium-ion battery and electric-drive control system for the LincVolt system.

The challenge for all third-party developers at SEMA is to develop technologies that can work within automotive standards guidelines created by SAE International, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), and governing organizations for easier adoption by other original equipment manufacturers (OEM). For example, SAE J1772-2009 is a standard accepted by the worldwide automotive industry that details the form and function of electric vehicle supply equipment used for electric vehicle charging stations. The defined power range of the standard governs single-phase electric power systems from 110 Volts AC at 8 amperes up to 240 Volts AC at 80 amperes.

SAE J1772 connector can plug into front end of LincVolt to recharge its lithium-ion battery pack.

SAE J1772 connector can plug into front end of LincVolt to recharge its lithium-ion battery pack.

Young reached out the SEMA community to invite sponsors to help with the development of his next project – an electric hot rod he called E-Rod, that will use his team’s existing hybrid-electric vehicle technologies.

Neil Young's next project is the E-Rod, an electric hot rod.

Neil Young’s next project is the E-Rod, an electric hot rod.

Larry Gareffa and an Electric 1965 Mustang Fastback

Sparky, an electric 1965 Mustang Fastback has been converted to run on batteries and an electric motor.

Sparky, an electric 1965 Mustang Fastback has been converted to run on batteries and an electric motor.

Larry Gareffa is President of the Las Vegas Mustang and Classic Ford club and also serves on the Board of Directors for the Las Vegas Electric Vehicle Association. Among his collection of classic Ford cars is “Sparky”, an electrified 1965 Mustang Fastback that he has converted to use batteries and an electric motor, as well as a modern LED lighting system. Gareffa exhibited his electric Mustang as part of the CoverCraft booth in the Central Exhibit Hall during the SEMA trade show.

LEDs illuminate the headlights and backlight the Mustang Pony on Gareffa's electric 1965 Mustang Fastback with CoverCraft accessories.

LEDs illuminate the headlights and backlight the Mustang Pony on Gareffa’s electric 1965 Mustang Fastback with CoverCraft accessories.

Larry Gareffa was kept busy for four days answering questions about his electric Mustang conversion during the SEMA trade show and has also been aided by sponsors, who have helped develop and commercialize his EV drive train systems.

A 1928 Buick named "Frankenstein" was converted to electric drive, complete with "electric chairs" for driver and front passenger.

A 1928 Buick named “Frankenstein” was converted to electric drive, complete with “electric chairs” for driver and front passenger.

Another eye-catching electric car conversion was found at the E-Stopp booth in the Central Exhibition Hall. A 1928 Buick had been converted to an electric car, complete with “electric chairs” for the driver and front-seat passenger. Nicknamed “Frankenstein”, the car was reminiscent of the Munstermobile from a 1960’s TV show.

"Electric Chairs" for an electric 1928 Buick conversion named "Frankenstein".

“Electric Chairs” for an electric 1928 Buick conversion named “Frankenstein”.

Electric DC motor system and battery pack inside 1928 Buick conversion.

Electric DC motor system and battery pack inside 1928 Buick conversion.

Clemson University’s International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR) showcased their Deep Orange project, a hybrid electric platform with all-wheel drive that employed an internal combustion engine on the front wheels and an electric motor/generator on the rear wheels. The electric motor/generator added regenerative braking and additional horsepower to the drive train.

Clemson University's International Center for Automotive Research unveiled their Deep Orange project - a gasoline/electric hybrid with all-wheel drive.

Clemson University’s International Center for Automotive Research unveiled their Deep Orange project – a gasoline/electric hybrid with all-wheel drive.

Local Motors, a startup design company for transportation products, brought a “community” approach to platform development: http://www.localmotors.com

Grand Opening of Local Motors in downtown Las Vegas

Grand Opening of Local Motors in downtown Las Vegas

Based in Chandler, Arizona, the company has developed an open, international community of over 30,000 automotive designers who freely share their design projects online, in order to gain constructive criticism and experience. Regular design contests are staged by the company for cash prizes. Winners of these competitions have been recruited by automotive companies during the past five years.

Green Street and SEMA 084

Local Motors can fabricate the winning abstract design models into physical prototypes by working with the drawings and graphic representations from the designer. International design winners have come from South Korea (a Rally Fighter off-road vehicle), Germany (Electric Bicycles) and Portugal (Racer motorcycle). One of the next design competitions will focus the Local Motors community on developing an electric car.

Green Street and SEMA 083

The company plans to open 100 microfactories around the U.S. over the next ten years to serve its online community by supplying the resources and tools to develop their designs. Once the design is fabricated, Local Motors can also guide a designer through marketing channels, that include presentations at the SEMA trade show and other commercial venues.

The very first microfactory opened in Las Vegas, Nevada on November 7, 2013 and was unveiled during the SEMA conference. The new site includes work bays and a company “shop” with promotional clothing accessories. The facility is located on the corner of Stewart and 6th street in downtown Las Vegas.

In addition to its fixed microfactory location in downtown Las Vegas and Chandler, AZ, Local Motors has also developed a “mobile factory” concept built within a shipping container platform. Most of the tools used at the microfactory can also be installed inside a “mobi-factory”, that can be transported and made operational at a remote site. The electrical wiring inside the mobi-factory can be plugged into an single-phase AC source that provides power to a TIG welder and other motorized tools. Four GE Wattstations can be plugged into the front of the mobi-factory, each with one SAE J1772 AC Level 2 connector plug available to recharge plug-in electric vehicles parked next to the mobile factory.

Local Motors has installed four GE Wattstations on a mobile factory, each with an SAE J1772 plug that can connect to a plug-in electric car and provide power rated at AC Level 2.

Local Motors has installed four GE Wattstations on a mobile factory, each with an SAE J1772 plug that can connect to a plug-in electric car and provide power rated at AC Level 2.

Blog posted by Stan Hanel, NEVA Outreach Coordinator

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