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John Wayland's White Zombie – Click above to watch video after the jump

In the 16 years since first electrifying a 1972 Datsun1200, John "Plasma Boy" Wayland has steadily made improvements to his street-legal machine, helping him set drag strip records on a relatively regular basis. This year is no exception and having only recently made the leap from lead to lithium batteries (finally) – he had previously run with a lithium pack of A123 cells temporarily borrowed from the Killacycle crew – the Oregonian was eager to watch his White Zombie surpass its previous best.

The opportunity came, fittingly, at the fifth edition of an event the forklift technician organizes himself called the Wayland Invitational, held at Portland International Raceway (PIR). Despite some last minute glitches, our EV hero drove to the track in his antique sleeper sporting its new 22.7 kWh Dow/Kokam pack, ready to roll real quick like.

The first run produced a best-ever time of 11.111 @117.77 mph. The 2nd, 11.069 @ 117.70 mph. Aiming for a time in the 10s, the third go suffered from a shorted switch that filled the cabin with smoke. After some hectic repair and adjustments, the fourth and final run saw the Datsun matched up with a Nissan GT-R. When the lights went green, the 'Zombie launched abruptly, exploding down the track like a bee-stung chihuahua crossing the line in 10.40 seconds @ 117.21 mph. A new NEDRA record. Hit the jump to see the Godzilla-spanking run for yourself.

[Source: Tesla Motor Club / EV World]



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  • 18 Comments
      • 6 Months Ago
      Imagine what it could do if it was actually aerodynamic.
        • 6 Months Ago
        Probably a finishing speed of about 5mph more at the end. You overestimate the value of aerodynamics.
      • 6 Months Ago
      that would help but not quite as dramatic as for marathon cars. he might get below 10 seconds but I'd be surprised if he gained a full second.
      but the faster he wants to go the more aero will matter
      • 6 Months Ago
      Have i mentioned that i love Portland? :P
      • 6 Months Ago
      not bad. wonder what the specs are on the batteries.
      and what the 0-100km/h time is now
        • 6 Months Ago
        Dave, I don't think they are 180Wh/kg cells. I could be wrong but really.. please.. what are the odds of that : )

        about electric motor rating. it's not about load vs no load, electric motors are often rated at some very dosile use that they can do continuously for 10 years straight because many of them come from very boring and unambitious industrial uses.
        also and very importantly electric motors are more like turbo engines in that while they might be rated for an eternal 15HP you can simply increase the motivation and get virtually any power level out of them although they will not be able to keep that up or even be destroyed. plasma boy aka John Wayland runs the relatively primitive forklift motors way above their intended use which they can handle because they are very overengineered and the trip is so short that the wires don't overheat and melt.
        not sure what motor he has in it now, he used to have two 8 inch forklift motors merged together, they may be rated at 10HP each. at peak he might be using them at 300HP or more and they'll do such high peaks if it's not long enough to melt the wires. or snap the shaft. there's probably a stronger custom shaft too to take the torque.

        if he precooled the motors with dry ice or even liquid nitrogen they could do more if nothing else breaks. and those old style DC motors is not the most power dense there is. it might weigh 150kg and the 38kg motor in the Tesla Roadster could probably do better. and the right permanent magnet design could probably do better still.
        he could also build an Ariel Atom style car to reduce the weight of the roller. and put some sleek bodywork on it ala lemans to minimize the air drag at the end speeds.
        making an electric car that can play with the funny cars and top fuel dragsters is far from impossible. really just a matter of doing it. provided you have the money of course
        • 6 Months Ago
        Kokam's website has no cells with such specs from what I can tell. either low power 150Wh/kg or one high power cell at 125Wh/kg.

        it's possible they've given him some prototype cells though but I wouldn't count on it.
        a power cell at 180Wh/kg would be fairly interesting but they may be lying.

        as for Kokam in general, as long as I've looked into lithium batts they've always had a very poor attitude when it comes to price. they have a our shit don't stink mentality. he says they currently cost 750$/kWh but they think they can get down to 500... how gracious of them when actual bigger fabs sell for 300 already.
        we need to see below 200$/kWh, not clueless 500.

        kokam has always been irrelevant for reasons of cost and mediocre cells.
        • 6 Months Ago
        @DaveD:

        You can get all the specs at http://plasmaboyracing.com/whitezombie.php but you're making some assumptions that are quite a lot removed from reality.

        - There is no transmission. The motor is directly connected to the drive shaft. It produces enough torque to make a transmission unnecessary, and saves having to take the time to shift. :) Also, a big rear differential helps that as well.
        - Yeah, 80 hp at 75 volts, which is how they're measured. He's using 375 volts, and somewhere near 1500-2000 amps (the Zilla controller can be programmed to supply up to 2000). It's also worth noting that he had a motor custom-built for the job, and it's pretty far removed from a standard forklift motor like when he started out.
        - Wayland weighed the lithium-ion powered car at about 1850 lbs, in part thanks to a lot of weight-saving mods (and a light battery!). Last year he had to install roll bars after experiments with the Killacycle pack got him kicked out of the unmodified class. :)
        - The blue meanie isn't the old version of this car, it's another car altogether.
        • 6 Months Ago
        And just think what he could do if the car didn't have the aerodynamics of a brick wall :-)
        • 6 Months Ago
        From what I hear, his 0 to 60 is about 1.9 seconds.
        • 6 Months Ago
        I wrote John Wayland for info about the cells.
        it's a prototype cell. Lithium polymer 3.7V 32Ah, 20C discharge, 40C burst, 820g, about 144Wh/kg. he figures 2 cells in parallel will do 2400A (just under 40C)

        he makes modules of 8s2p and has 12 of them in series iirc.
        355V average. fully charged they rest at about 400V, after short use they sit at about 375V fully ready.
        • 6 Months Ago
        @rcappo:
        The batteries are presumably Kokam's NMC variety:
        'Kokam produces a range of prismatic lithium polymer cells (the “Superior Lithium Polymer Battery”, SLPB) based on an NMC cathode (lithium cobalt manganese nickel oxide) with a graphite anode. Its large format, large capacity cells range from 5 Ah to 240 Ah. '

        And:

        'Kokam cells for applications such as SEV-US’ will likely have an energy density in the range of 180 Wh/kg, with power density in the range of 2,200-2,400 W/kg, Nissanka said. The cells have a cycle life of 1,500 cycles at 100% Depth of Discharge, and offer a fast charge capability '

        http://www.greencarcongress.com/2009/04/sevus-kokam-20090417.html

        Of course, since this is a custom job he may only have been able to buy Kokam's less advanced ones.
        • 6 Months Ago
        thanks but what about the picture?
        you should use this http://www.plasmaboyracing.com/graphics/10.4.jpg
        instead of the above old one. it has the right sponsors. kokam likely sponsered the battery pack. bit sloppy of you to reward the old sponsors, see?
        it's from bottom of this page: http://www.plasmaboyracing.com/reviews.php
        Photo courtesy of Carol Brown (photogal@iglide.net)
        • 6 Months Ago
        If David M is right about the batteries he's using (and I would bet he is), then the car would be weighing in at around 2,000lbs these days. It WAS about 2,460 with the old lead acid batteries ( http://www.plasmaboyracing.com/bluemeanie.php) and that included 693 pounds of batteries. At 180Wh/kg, and 22.7kWh. that would come out to about 275lbs plus another 10% for overhead so about ~300lbs for the new lithium pack.

        So he has an ~2,000lb car with only an 85HP motor ( http://www.evolveelectrics.com/ADC%20Motors.html) and the manual transmission that came with the car....and he can run those times? Very impressive!

        I know that electric motors are rated at load while ICE engines are rated with no load so 85HP does not equal 85HP LOL But that is crazy even with the torque that electric motors can put out.
        • 6 Months Ago
        I also wonder what kind of spec the batteries have. Is it 156V, or higher? How much do the batteries weigh? What type are they (LiFePO4?)? How long will they last? And where did he buy them?

        I thought Dow/Kokam just broke ground on their new battery plant in Michigan...
      • 6 Months Ago
      Oh. I thought this had something to do with Rob Zombie driving his Dragula.
      • 6 Months Ago
      "exploding down the track like a bee-stung chihuahua"

      Hilarious!
      • 6 Months Ago
      this is a current picture. the above photo is very old
      http://www.plasmaboyracing.com/graphics/10.4.jpg
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