Blue Meanie

Base Vehicle: 1972 Datsun 1200 coupe
Motor: 9" series-wound by Advanced DC, model FB-4001
Drivetrain: Original 4 speed transmission with shaved flywheel and heavy duty clutch
Controller: Zilla Z1K 1000 amp controller by Cafe Electric
Batteries: 14 Enersys 'Genesis' XE60 12V AGM lead acid, 47 ahr @ C1. Pack weight 693 lbs.
System Voltage: 168 Volts
Charger: PFC20 (hotrod version) by Manzanita Micro
Heater: Ceramic core, approximately 1500 watt
DC/DC Converter: Todd PC40 with 16 ahr Enersys 12V battery & .5 Farad capacitor backup
Instrumentation: Twin E-meters...traction system & 12 volt system
Performance: 0-60 in ~5.5 seconds, 1/4 mile in ~14 seconds, top speed ~125 mph
Range @ 80% DOD: 25-30 miles driven aggressively, 35-40 miles at constant 55 mph, 45-50 miles at lower urban speeds of 35-45 mph
Seating Capacity: Original 4 place seating has been retained
Curb Weight: ~2460 pounds.
Tires: 175/70 R 13 GoodYear Invicta GLR (LRR)
Additional Features:
  • First converted to electric power in 1980...thirty years of gas-free high performance electric driving!
  • Special violet pearl over royal blue paint
    *Thanks to The Refinishing factory for their support*
  • American Racing alloy wheels
    *Thanks to American Racing for their support*
  • Custom interior
    *Thanks to Guy's Interior Restorations for their support*
  • Recent fabrication of the stainless steel battery trays and all brackets by Marko Mongillo
  • 225 watt competition stereo system w/ 3 classic Sony amplifiers, 14 speakers - main stage by MB Quart and four 8 JL Audio inch subs, JVC CD head unit with remote 10 disc changer
  • All high current high voltage cables and gold plated connectors by 'Phoenix Gold'
    *Thanks to Phoenix Gold for their support*
  • Clear Lexan battery covers
  • Keyfob controlled motorized rear battery tray
  • 6 channel security system
  • Euro 'Cibie' H4 headlights, non-USA split clear/amber front lenses, non-USA tricolor rear lenses
  • Featured in the following: November '94 Sport Compact Car magazine, March '95 Car Audio and Electronics magazine, March '99 Wired magazine, March '05 (issue #5) Make magazine, January '09 (issue #7) Retro Cars magazine.

156V Optima Yellow Top Version

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2008 168V Enersys (Hawker) Version

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Blue Meanie Time Line

1980 - 1986 Formative Years: Surplus 7 inch GE 2CM77 aircraft starter/generator with series & shunt windings, 8 six volt golf car batteries for a selectable 24 - 48 volt pack @ 190 ahr C20 (48V mode) - 6 traction batteries under the hood and 2 traction batteries plus a pair of 6V & 8V batteries in series for a 14V supply in the trunk just behind the rear seat bulkhead, home brew resistor/voltage/contactor 3 step speed controller, clutchless design with output of motor coupled directly to the 4 speed transmission input shaft. Full regen using the shunt winding, ~ 40 miles range to 100% DOD (battery abuse!) and with 1000 amp launches, tire-squeeling acceleration! (battery abuse!) With 1000 amp loads and 100% discharges regularly, the first battery pack lasted less than two years. The second set made it about twice as long. Though a very basic EV at this early stage, the car received bodywork and fresh paint, had American Racing 4 spoke mags, and had its interior cleaned up. A high end audiofile quality Clarion AM-FM stereo cassette system with LED digital display played through hi fi coaxial speakers in the doors and rear deck. Custom made dash gauges kept track of amps and volts.
1987 - 1992 Quiet Period: Retained the aircraft starter/generator with series & shunt windings. Replaced the heavy 48V lead acid pack with just 2 Marathon brand 69 lb. 25.2V NiCad wet cell type aircraft starting batteries @ 21 ahr C1 for a selectable 25 - 50 volt pack all under the hood. Retained the pair of 6V & 8V batteries in series for a 14V supply in the trunk. Initially retained the home brew resistor/voltage/contactor 3 step speed controller. Retained the clutchless design and the 4 speed transmission. The 130 lbs. of batteries predictably only gave ~5 miles range to 100% DOD, but with 1000 amps still available and just 1300 lbs. curb weight, this combo produced tire smoking launches! Attempted to design and build my own transistor speed controller, but it blew up in a spectacular fashion! Went back to the contactor controller and settled for a jerky, short range grocery getter that smoked the tires at will!
1993 - 1994 Major Redesign: A complete tear-down of the car with all new body and paint work, plus a custom made interior and major stereo upgrade transformed the car into a gleaming showpiece. Swapped out the old aircraft motor and clutchless design for a larger, more efficient, and far more powerful Advanced DC 9 inch series-wound motor spinning a shaved & lightened flywheel with racing clutch. Retained the stock 4 speed transmission. To reduce the possiblity of corosion, power now came from 11 Advotech brand Thermo-Oil 12V batteries (essentially an RV style Trojan model 27TM @ 105 Ahr C20 weighing 55 lbs. each with mineral oil added to reduce acid spray out the vent caps) for a total pack weight of 605 lbs. to make up the 132V pack. 132 volts was considered fairly high for the '93 era of backyard-built EVs and it was a giant leap forward from this car's previous 48-50V systems! A 12th Advotech battery handled 12V duties and the 12V system was now boosted via dual 30 amp Sevcon DC-DC converters, so there was really 660 lbs. of Advotech batteries in the car, 5 under the hood and 7 batteries (6 for traction 1 for 12V) in the trunk just behind the rear seat bulkhead in a brand new slide-out motorized tray! For the first time, a modern transistor controller was used in the car, a smooth and quiet Curtis 1221B 400 amp motor controller. Though the controller's 400 amps was far less than the 1000 amp surges the 48V system was forced to make with the old contactor controller, with nearly three times the system voltage @ 400 amps, more total hp was being made. Punishing the batteries to 100% DOD gave ~30 miles range - treating them better to ~70-80% DOD netted a solid 20-25 miles. The pack sagged to ~100V at a full 400 amps for 40 kw (~40-45 hp) of total power to move a heftier car weighing in at ~2300 lbs., but with all the low end electric torque being made this combo matched the stock 1200's gas engine 69 hp performance. More importantly, the drivibilty improvements were dramatic with no constant clacking of contactors and no jerky speed transisions - just butter-smooth speed control and quiet serene electric cruising. The car's top speed rose to nearly 90 mph!

Late 1994-1995

Electric High Performance!:
Retained the Advanced DC 9 inch series-wound motor, lightened flywheel with racing clutch, and the stock 4 speed transmission. Replaced the worn-out group 27 Advotech 12V wet cell RV batteries with a new type of lead acid battery, the sealed AGM (absorbed glass mat) Optima Yellow Top (YT), a spin-off from the Optima Red Top car starting battery that had been on the market for a few years. The YT was an all new model with true deep cycle capability, a 65 ahr @ C20 rating, and capable of very high current discharges. Blue Meanie was the very 1st street EV to use this type of battery. 12 of these smaller group 34 prototype Optima YTs (just 45 lb. each) were used to make up the 144V pack at a total weight of 540 lbs. There were 6 batteries under the hood and 6 batteries (plus a 39 lb. Red Top Optima for 12V backup) in the rear motorized tray. 144 volts was the new high voltage standard of backyard-built EVs made possible by a new brand of EV speed controller, the 144V 600 amp air-cooled Auburn 'Kodiac'. This new controller had a much more aggressive throttle ramp-up than the old Curtis controller and delivered its amps more urgently. With 144 volts of system power from the powerful Optima batteries that did not sag under load nearly as much as the previous wet cell batteries did, far more power was produced by the 9 inch motor! Though the pack of 12 Optimas weighed less than the wet cell pack, the range stayed about the same, and at ~70-80% DOD they delivered 20-25 miles. The pack only sagged to ~115V at ~600 amps for 69 kw (~70-75 hp) of total power to move an 80 lb. lighter car. 600 amps produced more torque, too, so the 0-60 time fell from ~13 seconds to somewhere in the 9 second area! The car's top speed rose to 100 mph!
1996 - Mid 1997 More Power!: Retained the Advanced DC 9 inch series-wound motor, lightened flywheel with racing clutch, and the stock 4 speed transmission. Removed the 39 lb. Optima Red Top 12V backup battery from the rear tray and replaced it with a 15 lb. 'Baby Optima Yellow Top' mounted under the hood and boosted by a new Todd 40 amp DC-DC converter. Replaced the protoype Optima YTs with production units and added a 13th Optima YT in place of the removed Red Top, raising the traction pack up to a lofty 156V! Pack weight now at 585 lbs. with 6 batteries under the hood and 7 batteries in the rear motorized tray. Replaced the air-cooled 600 amp Kodiak controller with the new higher powered liquid-cooled, 680 amp Kodiak. This new controller could sustain its rated 680 amps with its liquid cooling, where as the previous air-cooled model warmed up it would reduce its rated power. With the 156 volt pack and more amps now available, the 9 inch motor really began to flex its muscles! Range at ~70-80% DOD was 23-25 miles. The battery pack sagged down to ~123V at a full 680 amps for 83.6 kw (~84-92 hp) of total power! The beefier amp flow produced even more torque, while the increase from 144V to 156V raised hp again. The 0-60 time fell from ~9 seconds to somewhere in the 7.5 second area! The car's top speed went up, and the stock 100 mph speedo simply pegged!
Late 1997-2002 0-60 drops to just 6 seconds!: Retained the Advanced DC 9 inch series-wound motor, lightened flywheel with racing clutch, and the stock 4 speed transmission. Retained the 'Baby Optima Yellow Top' and Todd 40 amp DC-DC converter for the 12V system. Replaced the 13 Optima YTs with a set of experimental special paste formula YTs with colorful turquoise cases. Replaced the liquid-cooled Kodiak with an early production DC Power Systems 'Raptor 1200' monster controller. 1200 amp power blasts into the 9 inch ADC motor produced sideways launches - both 2nd and 3rd gear upshifts laid rubber in the now 2340 lb. Blue Meanie. Sane driving kept the range at about 23-25 miles with ~70-80% DOD. Hotrod driving would suck the pack down in 15 miles! The 156V pack sagged to ~90V at a full 1200 amps for 108 kw (~110-120 hp) of total power! 1200 amps made killer torque and with the higher hp pushed the 0-60 time to a conservative 6 seconds! Top speed was pretty much unexplored. The turquoise YTs lasted 5 years under super high current discharges and charges.
2003-2006 New Zilla Controller: Same motor and transmission setup. Replaced the tired 5 year old Optimas with the set of standard Optima YTs that had been used for dump-charging the race car's pack. Replaced the Raptor 1200 controller with a Zilla Z1K controller with programable Hairball interface. Replaced the Baby Optima 12V system battery with a Hawker 16 ahr battery. Upgraded the stereo system.
2007: Same motor and transmission setup. Replaced the Optimas with a used set of Exide Orbital Blue Tops. No other changes.
2008-2010: See above table for current specs