Zombie History

------------------------------------2012 VERSION-----------------------------------

At the Bookman's Spring Thaw EV drag races, April 16th, 2012, Tucson, Arizona

Photo courtesy of Tom Saxton

  • Motor:

    'Siamese 9' dual armature. Freshly rebuilt in April, 2011

  • Drive type:

    Direct drive into Ford nine inch differential - no flywheel, clutch or transmission. Electric reverse.

  • Driveshaft:

    Single piece all aluminum driveline from 'Inland Empire Drivelines'. NHRA required Driveline loop.

  • Rear axle:

    Dutchman heavy duty Street/Strip Ford nine inch rear axle setup with 31 spline racing axles, & CalTracs traction bars.

    Strange aluminum differential housing with Detroit locker. Last year's 3:50 gear set is replaced with an even taller 3:25 ratio.

  • Wheels & tires:

    Front - American Racing 'Torq Thrust D' 15 x 4 two piece alloys with 5 bolt Nissan/Ford bolt pattern and 145/65/15 Continental EcoContact LRR radials.

    Rear - American Racing 'Torq Thrust D' 15 x 8 two piece alloys with 5 bolt Nissan/Ford bolt pattern and 225/50/15 BF Goodrich 'G Force' Drag Radials' (23.9" dia.).

  • Batteries:

    192 Dow Kokam lithium manganese nickel cobalt polymer cells configured at 2P96S make up the Zombie's 355V, 21.3 kWh high current battery pack. Each cell is 3.7V, 30 ah nominal with a continuous discharge rate of 20C, and a 40C 10 second rating for a maximum of 1200 amps from each cell. The cells are arranged in paralleled pairs, so the battery pack can safely output 2400 amps.

  • Controller:

    Zilla Z2k 2000 amp controller. Quick-pull emergency disconnect.

  • 12 volt system:

    Unable to get a DC-DC converter to live more than a day or two in the demanding Zombie application (100V swings from 300V-400V and the killer spikes from the 2000 amp HV controller) a second unassisted 40 ahr Thunder Sky 13.2V battery w/4 ch BMS board was located under the hood. Placed in parallel with the existing 40 ahr Thunder Sky in the trunk compartment, this added about 16 lbs. to the car's weight, but it beefed up the unassisted 12V system supply to 80 ah capacity. With 100 miles driving range, the single 40 ah battery wasn't enough to run things for hours on end.

  • Other Mods:

    Other than the taller rear end gear ratio change, there were no new changes for 2012.

  • Car weight:

    2364 lbs.
  • Races and EVents

    April 14-15th... Bookman's Spring Thaw

    The trip from Portland to Tucson was the first Plasma Boy Racing road trip in many years, and it turned out to be one of the most memorable, ever! We would be leaving the cold spring rains of the Pacific Northwest as we went south to sunny Arizona.

    Below: With a crew of four, tools, charging equipment, spare parts, and luggage the Hemi Jeep was fully loaded. The compact non-enclosed trailer too, was stuffed with both the Zombie and Gaylen's lithium-powered quad - ready for the adventure to begin!

    Did I say memorable? Below: About 150 miles into the trip, while cruising at 65 mph on a rainy traffic-packed freeway we felt a violent jolt as if we had been rearended by a tractor trailer rig - the Zombie had broken loose and fallen off the trailer!!! Its rear tires hit the pavement instantly spining-up the driveline who's universals ground into the trailer's rear edge framework - thankfully, the front of the car stayed on the trailer. My 'experiment' with low cost thin tie-down straps instead of beefy chains almost caused a castrauphic accident!

    Below left: The cheap, thin straps that broke and released the Zombie off the trailer. Below right: The rear straps (that used to pull at the rear axle to snug the car to the trailer) followed the car on its way off the trailer, then tightened again to barely keep it attached to the trailer, saving everyone from what coud have been a horrible scene on the freeway! Note to self - go back to heavy duty chains and redundant safety chains!

    Below: 100 miles after recovering from almost destroying the Zombie, we had a spectacular tire blow-out on the trailer! We were only a few hundred miles into the 1500 mile trip down to Tucson and already had two pretty hair-raising events... as I said, this was a memorable trip!

    The rain storm followed us the entire trip down to Arizona:

    We arrived at a friend's house in Sun City West - the town lived up to its name as the dark clouds were gone and it was sunny and warm. Below: We off-loaded the dirty Zombie and washed it after riding atop the open trailer through the nasty weather.

    One of the things that makes the Zombie special, is that while it is a low 10 second drag car, it is also a street legal daily driver with 100 miles range at highway speeds, and 80-85 miles at freeway speeds. As such, it's fun to demonstrate the range performance as well as the car's acceleration performance. We decided it would make quite a statement to drive the Zombie from Sun City West to Tucson. There is something exciting about cruising in the Zombie across the desert - how many other EV drag racers would be arriving after a 160 mile desert cruise, then rip off 10 second ETs?

    Below: Some of the beauty of the desert.

    Below: Cruising the desert on the way to Tucson

    Traveling at an average speed of 65 mph into a strong headwind, Marko and I drove the Zombie 81 miles on the first half of the 161 mile trip from Sun City West to Tucson, while the other half of the crew followed in the Jeep. We made it to the planned recharge point at the Fiesta Grande RV Park in Casa Grande with the pack's cells just beginning to hit their safe low voltage limits, amounting to a 100% discharge of the 21.3 kWh lithium pack - the cells are rated to survive 1000+ 100% discharges. This comes out to 263 Wh per mile @ 65 mph into a 40 mph headwind with driver and passenger. The Zombie's efficiency improves to 205 Wh per mile @ 55 mph with no passenger and without the resistance of a headwind.

    Below: The RV park was an oasis in the desert with its 50 amp, 240v NEMA 1450 power outlet ready to juice up the pack via the beefy PFC75 charger. We dialed it up to pull 48 amps @ 240vac which sent ~11 kW into the pack - it took a bit more than two hours to 'fill the tank'

    Below: Left, Bob and Ami Sue Oldfather, the hosts/sponsors of the Bookman's EV races. Due to a rain-out on Saturday, and with the regular Zombie driver Tim Brehm having to jet back to Portland, it was only fitting to have Bob take over driving duties for the un-planned Sunday race day. Center, Bob and the Zombie at tech-in. Right, with cameras rolling, Bob Oldfather in the Zombie ready the first of three 10 second passes.

    Below: Left, father of the mighty Zilla controller, Otmar Ebenhoech adjusts the controller settings. Right, Bob heating up the tires for run two.

    Below: The highlight of the day was the third and final run for the Zombie, when it was heads-up matched to this badass Camaro - due to motor problems the Zombie stuttered and only ran a mid-10, but it was just enough to put the Camaro back on its trailer!

    April 18th ... Earth Day at eBay

    eBay had invited us to display the Zombie at their campus in San Jose, California. We would be heading back to Portland after the April 16th race day in Tucson, so we planned the return trip to go westward then north through California to be there for the April 18th Earth Day event. It was pretty cool that they made a special poster with a cartoon image of White Zombie!

    April / May Issue... White Zombie Featured in 'Charged Electric Vehicles' Magazine

    June 30th... Greenwood Classic Car Show

    We displayed the Zombie for the 8th year, but instead of driving it from Portland to Seattle and back as we did in 2011, we had to trailer it because the motor was still blown from the April Tucson races.

    July 23-24th... EV Live Oregon

    The local event held at Portland International raceway was pretty much rained out, but that didn't stop us from taking the Zombie down for display as we had agreed to do. Still with a non-functioning motor, we left it on the trailer.

  • Carnage:

    At the Bookman's Spring Thaw races in Tucson in April, the Siamese 9 motor blew up after three hard passes... a near identical scene to what had happened in April of 2011 (see 'Carnage' section of 2011). Again, it was from over-temping the motor because we still had not set up an external cooling blower.

    Left - to - right (1) Dejavu - time to pull the motor again. (2) broken down to see what happened. (3) Melted armature winding - OK, it's really time to install forced-air cooling!