August '17

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AUGUST 2017 THE SHOP 47 a NEDRA vehicle would interchange with a similarly classed IC racer. "We have an electric motor and a bat- tery pack instead of a gas motor and fuel," Cooper says—and that's about the only difference. For a given level of performance, con- struction costs are about the same as well. As for maintenance costs, there is no com- parison—electric motors just don't require all that much attention. Sponsorship, unfortunately, has been a hard sell, although Cooper is certain that "some parts manufacturers would love to sponsor some of our member vehicles," if only they realized that NEDRA vehicles were using their parts. Cooper's working on that, as well as an electric road-race series. AGAINST THE ICE Speed Ventures Inc., the Los Angeles-based road racing sanction, has since 2009 pro- moted Refuel, an annual electric-car race at Laguna Seca. For the past three years EV West has competed there with its electric BMW. "It's fun," says Bream. "It's a blast." But it's not the future he foresees, or wants, for electric racing vehicles. "We don't want the extra-help lane. We don't want to be singled out. You asked us about race series for electric cars. We don't want race series for electric cars." What Bream wants is for electric cars to compete head-to-head against IC-engine vehicles in every type of racing. Already (forgive the pun), the ice (internal combustion engine) is breaking. "We've helped the organizers of Pike's Peak write new rules for electric cars," Bream continues. "SCCA and NASA have reached out to us, asking how they can be more open to electric racers. The people who run the 24 Hours of LeMons (not the ACO; the other, low-budget guys) have amended their rules to allow electric cars. We sold components to a Barcelona-based team that was the first ever to finish the Dakar rally on battery power. We built an electric truck for the Baja 1000, and it was the first all-electric vehicle to compete in a SCORE event." Furthermore, as the OEMs inevitably roll out more electric production cars, they will need more racing venues to promote them. Formula E boasts a 2016-'17 itinerary that includes races in Hong Kong, Marrakesh, Buenos Aires, Mexico City, Monaco, Paris, and Berlin. (Photos courtesy Mahindra Racing) Jamieson DuRette, a U.S. Army reservist, and his "El-Ectric Camino" EV conversion, preparing for the 2017 race season. (Photos courtesy Rhema Motors LLC) TECHNOLOGY & ELECTRONICS In fewer than 10 years, Bream predicts, electric cars "will compete and win," not in Formula E, but in Formula 1. ELECTRICS FOR EVERYONE? Certainly the recent, and seemingly accel- erating, advances in electric vehicle tech- nology cannot be denied. "A couple of years ago, we were lucky to get 40 miles out of a battery," Bream notes. "Now my daily driver is a 1965 pickup truck that has a 200-mile range and tops out at 160 mph." His truck has lapped Laguna Seca in fewer than two minutes. And for EV West in particular, "the growth this past year has been explosive. We ship to every country you can imagine. And yet there's a huge vacuum of knowl- edge in this space. But the electric vehicle

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