Sunday, August 13, 2017


I have had the Better Place batteries on Craigslist for over a year with plenty of interest but no takers, so instead of selling the Fiero EV project, have been looking for a suitable AC motor replacement. While checking out Facebook, this new motor came up from Netgain.

NetGain HyPer9 AC Motor


Motor Face: B-Face (Warp Compatible)
Motor Diameter: 9.0 Inches
Motor Case Length: 13.75 Inches
Motor Shaft Length: 2.0 Inches
Motor Shaft to End Length: 15.75 Inches
Motor Type: Permanent Magnet Synchronous Reluctance AC
Weight: 90 lbs 
Max Voltage Input: 132
Terminal Stud Size: M8 Inch
Integrated Sensors: Encoder and Temperature
Rated Torque: 173 Lb Ft
Rated Power: 120 HP
Max RPM: 8,000
RPM Sensor: Yes
Drive End Shaft: 1-1/8 Inch with 1/4 Inch Keyway
Accessory End Shaft: Not Available (coming soon)
Max Efficiency: 0.94
Thermal Cooling: External Heatsink
Max Temperature: 150 Degrees Celsius

What draws me to this motor is the Low Voltage, HP, Torque, efficiency, and the fact that it is a direct bolt-in to the currently installed Warp9 motor. It is not available until November, but EV West has installed the motor in a conversion and has offered a test drive before purchasing the motor package. Also, George Hampstra has been very supportive of the EV conversion industry over the years and always had gifts for the attendees at EVCCON, along with drawings for motors and merchandise during the show, so I really want to support him! I always felt like the last couple of EVCCONs without George were just not the same.

Undoubtedly, I will have to spend more to get the Fiero back on the road than buying a used OEM EV but something about converting an older classic car is more appealing than driving a newer offering by an OEM.

Stay tuned!


Sunday, April 2, 2017


The Fiero EV project has been a great experience filled with ups and downs over the last 5 years. My dream was always to take a build to EVCCON and that dream came true in 2015, although the event was actually canceled and only a scaled down version was held. 

My original thoughts were to purchase a lead acid conversion and just add the lithium batteries but that path went to the wayside when the original Curtis controller blew up, just as I was ready to start working on the Fiero.

Now I am faced with a fork in the road as after the Synkromotive controller caught on fire, I am really back to square 1! One lesson learned was that you do not want to do a build with old technology. When the Fiero was purchased, most conversions used DC motors and the HPEVS three phase motors were just being introduced. Prior that the introduction of this motor, AC motors and controllers were a very costly proposition. Now with the HPEVS motors and re-purposing of OEM motors, companies like EVNETICS and Synkromotive have ceased producing DC controllers for EVs.  


EVTV is offering a Siemens motor and air cooled DEMOC controller for around $1500, but just as the original purchase of the Fiero, this is old technology and is quickly being replaced by much lighter and more efficient motors and controllers. The Siemens motor is 190 lbs and the DEMOC controller is 60 lbs. That would be an increase of almost 120 lbs over the DC set up currently in the car using basically obsolete components.



Couple this with the fact that used OEM EVs depreciate rapidly and are being resold at a fraction of their original price leaves one with the decision of whether to convert or pick up used OEM EV that still has a battery and drivetrain warranty. Currently a Fiat 500 E can be purchased on ebay for between $5000 and $6000. Decisions.....decisions!

FIAT 500 E

Between better motor/controller efficiency and lighter, more powerful, and safer battery technologies, does it really make sense to put the Fiero back on the road with the currently available components. Also, I am more of a mechanic and do not do well with the programming portion of the currently available OEM component technology, so struggle even pulling up a terminal session to set the parameters.  

With all of that said, the Fiero EV was still a fun and functional car to drive and with the 2 Better Place modules that were installed, had a good 50 mile range when driven moderately. So the question becomes, do I sell the car with the battery module for a little over the cost of the battery modules or dive back in and get it back on the road?


If any of you have any input, I would be glad to hear from you.

Until next time,