Racing the Electric Car

Our plans were to race the Saturn back when it had the lead power pack a couple of years ago. I never got around to it. So this year with the Lithiums, I made time for it this July 3rd 2011. We chose Gleason, TN drag-strip because they run ‘street car’ bracket racing on Saturday nights. Northwest Tennessee MotorSports is an 1/8 mile drag-strip that records your times at different distances and your 1/8 mile speed and time YouTube Video. Or video below


Testing the Performance of the S.S.Saturn

Testing the Performance of the S.S.Saturn

Two reasons for racing the Electric Saturn. One, to check the speed of the vehicle compared to a standard ICE Saturn or some other comparable four cylinder car. Two, to be able to have a speed-power reading of this vehicle in July 2011, because the Saturn may continue to evolve. Now we have some reference for, any ‘before and after’ modifications.
My son asked me before the race day what I thought it would run. Well I said I believe it was much quicker with the 650 pounds removed doing the lead to lithium change. I hoped to break 12 seconds in the Eighth mile. The best time was a respectable 12.69 seconds at 53.96 miles per hour. Compared to a stock 2001 Saturn SL1 on [[–SL1-Drag-Racing.html|Dragtimes]] one there recorded a timed 12.12 seconds on the 1/8 mile. The Saturn is powered by a 9.1″ Advanced DC Motor FB1-4001A 1231C-8601 Curtis Controller . Some controllers like the Zilla will flow 1000 amps but this Curtis controller maxes out at 500 amps. The energy is coming from a pack of LiFePO4 CALIB 130 amp-hour, 153 volt batteries. When we filled out the track card they asked the usual questions like year, make, model and cubic inch? Cubic inch we put down Zero.

We made 4 runs down the track. On the First run we started off in first gear revved the motor to about 2,800 rpm, dumped the clutch and hammered the gas. The front wheel drive wheels squalled and wheel hopped for maybe 10 meters, I shifted late (DC electric vehicle power band is lower than an ICE because of the fact that at high RPMs you cannot push high amps through the motor, when you floor it and watch the amp meter you will see the current drop as the rpm increases) and the results are in the chart.
On the second run I keep the RPM lower at the lights (about 2,000) and shifted sooner maybe 4,000 rpm. Found I could speed shift no problems (do not let off the accelerator pedal when applying the clutch and changing gears). The lack of flairup occurs because of the high rpm current drop.
On the third run I started in second gear and at over 2,000 rpm and the time was poor. Either the wheels spun more or the clutch was slipping because the RPM stayed high for the first 15 meters.

On the forth run the off the line launch was still not great but better. Could improve the hole shot off the line and run better times with more practice I believe.

Drag Racing the Electric Saturn July 3, 2011
60 foot 330 foot 594 feet 1/8 Mile 1/8 Mile MPH
2.86 8.34 12.08 12.92 53.58
2.86 8.23 11.94 12.76 54.35
3.23 9.01 12.82 13.67 52.81
2.78 8.12 11.86 12.69 53.96



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