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Illuminati Seven – Click above for high-res image gallery

The vehicle from Illuminati Motor Works, called Seven, was in bits strewn about the team's garage bay at the Automotive X-Prize Knockout Stage in Brooklyn, MI this week. Sure, the car can be put back together quickly and did make it to the track when requested, but not everything is going smoothly for the team from Springfield, IL.

The Seven is a fully-electric car and is also the last all-electric car left standing in the mainstream class. We spoke with team leader/engineer Kevin Smith, who told us that one of the team's problems is that the Seven can't fully charge right now because the batteries aren't conditioned. Illuminati built the 30 kWh pack itself from purchased cells. After the Shakedown Stage in April, the seven-member team needed to take the car apart and work on improvements (a trend that was kept alive when we saw the car – note the missing headlight, which was being repaired) and the battery pack couldn't charge during that time. In fact, the pack needs "dozens" of charges (maybe more) to fill up, with each successive charge holding a bit more juice. This not only hurts the team because they can't get the maximum number of electrons into the car, but also because of the way the AXP judges measure the energy used. The car is filled up, then the tests are run, then the car is charged up again and the energy used is measured. Since the Seven takes in a bit more electricity with each charge, the AXP thinks the car has used more energy than it actually did, Smith explained.

Still, last we heard, the Seven averaged 119.8 miles per gallon equivalent over the three efficiency tests, so there's potential that we'll see this one during the finals stage if they can muster up enough range out of the pack for the distance tests. Maybe Voodoo Steve, the foam being that appeared under the rear window one night, will help.



Photos by Sebastian Blanco / Copyright ©2010 Weblogs, Inc.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 16 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Good thing aesthetics are not part of the competition.
      • 4 Years Ago
      IMW's Seven is one of the few mainstream vehicles left. Home made or not, it's out-performing a lot of the competition.
      • 4 Years Ago
      http://illuminatimotorworks.org/blog/
      The blog, third from the top, by Nate. Even Illuminati's web site speaks to the intensity and quality of their effort. Each member expresses the project from building to testing under the judges eyes has been a learning experience that has never stopped teaching.

      Hand building a car is a very serious endeavor.
      • 4 Years Ago
      When I look at that car, I think of this:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kUftpgCf8yE&feature=related
      • 2 Months Ago
      "Illuminati" is the name of your group? You've got to be kidding me.
        • 2 Months Ago
        Illuminati is a VERY cool name - but the shape? The bonnet looks as though it were lifted from an old Porsche 356 whilst the rear is from a 1930's aero design - not well integrated - perhaps they should have copied Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic more closely!
      • 2 Months Ago
      Illuminati built their own controller. They were the fastest through the lane change test; partly because this car has four-wheel steering (they used the hardware from a Prelude). They built their own regenerative shocks as an experiment (but ended up using conventional ones). They have a 200kWh motor. They have a 52kWh Thunder Sky battery pack. They were the only pure EV in the mainstream class, and now the only other mainstream cars are the two Edison2 cars.

      These guys are serious. All of 'em.

      Sincerely, Neil
      • 4 Years Ago
      Hmmmmmmmmm.............this has home-made written all over it!

      I hope they had a lot of fun putting it together, but I think there are more serious contenders in the X-Prize.

        • 2 Months Ago
        Serious? Seven, Illuminati Motor Works entry, is proof of concept designed according to Progressive's rules. Over two years of the teams efforts. The June 15, 2010 blog gives some insight to the seriousness that one team member has. Maybe you'd consider his expressions of regret about spending so much time on the car instead of family as typical of a man on a lark over some fad, but maybe not after you read it. If you've never seen serious independent effort not depending on universities or corporations, you will have a hard time imagining Seven's creators as serious or any of the independent efforts as serious because you have no appreciation for the sacrifices it takes to warrant the word.

        I assure you all those competing in the Progressive XPrize are serious.
      • 4 Years Ago
      It never fails to amaze how juvenile many of the comments on this blog are. I'm sorry you could never quite figure out how to put the lego together, and smashed your little brother's instead in a pique of rage.

      It's homebrew. It's supposed to be. And for me, it's an incredibly impressive (a) prototype, (b) piece of work pulling together a number of often disparate engineering disciplines, and (c) testament to the fact that a few guys and gals with some gumption (look that one up, juveniles) can achieve.

      Inspiring work. Well done, Team Seven!
      • 2 Months Ago
      some cells will gain a bit of capacity over the first cycles but usually not large amounts.

      the body design is a bit... elaborate. could benefit from a bit of refinement.
        • 2 Months Ago
        about 3-5 full cycles should do it.. something not right about their BMS.
        • 2 Months Ago
        My thoughts too. The cells weren't at the same state of charge to begin with, and are gradually coming into balance, that would explain the gradual increase in capacity as the BMS allows undercharged cells to catch up with the others - but that should be achieved in just a few charge cycles and the charge balancing really should have been done before competition started. .
      • 2 Months Ago
      Is that a Munsters, or Adam's family car? Uffda.
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