Tesla’s New Tabless Batteries Unlock New Levels Of Performance

Telsa are one of the world’s biggest purchasers of batteries through their partnerships with manufacturers like Panasonic, LG and CATL. Their endless hunger for more cells is unlikely to be satiated anytime soon, as demand for electric cars and power storage continues to rise.

As announced at their Battery Day keynote, Tesla has been working hard on a broad spectrum of projects to take battery technology to the next level in order to reach their goal of 3 TWh annual production by 2030. One of the most interesting aspects of this was the announcement of Tesla’s new tabless 4680 battery, which will be manufactured by the company itself. Let’s take a look at what makes the 4680 so exciting, and why going tabless is such a big deal. Continue reading “Tesla’s New Tabless Batteries Unlock New Levels Of Performance”

Electric Volkspod Takes You On An Eco-friendly Beetle Cruise

The Volkswagen Beetle is a true automobile icon, and while it may not be the fastest or most breathtaking looking car ever built, its unmistakable shape with those elegant curvy fenders and bulgy lights holds a special place in many people’s hearts. And then it inspires them to build minibikes from those same parts.

[Brent Walter] is well know as an originator of the hobby, starting a little while ago with his Volkspod. Inspired by [Brent’s] work, [Jonah Mikesell] decided to give it his own try, but unlike the original design that uses an actual minibike under the hood, he built an electric version of it, and painstakingly documented every step along the way.

The idea of the Volkspod is to take the Beetle’s two front fenders, weld them together to one symmetric body, and turn it into a small motorcycle. [Jonah]’s version does all that, but instead of taking a whole minibike as core of the project, he only uses a minibike frame and substitutes the engine with a 2000 Watt e-bike motor along with an e-bike battery pack. Fitting the frame within the dimensions of the fender construct required some extra welding work, but in the end, it all came nicely together, and with its red paint job, it kinda looks like something from a vintage post-apocalyptic sci-fi cross-genre movie. Watch him taking it for a spin in the video after the break.

Unfortunately, neither the original Volkspod nor this one has the roaring engine sound of an actual Beetle — which is akin to what the wings of a real-life beetle of similar size would probably sound like. But well, it’s always an option to fake that. And if [Jonah] ever feels the urge of a bigger engine, maybe a washing machine can help.

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A Monotrack Bike With Only Basic Tools And Parts

Tracked vehicles are cool, but can be quite complicated to build. [XenonJohn] wanted to skip the complexity, so he created Vector, an electric tracked motorcycle using only basic parts and tools. No machine tools required.

If it looks familiar, it’s because it was inspired by [Make It Extreme]’s monotrack motorcycle that we covered last year. [XenonJohn] liked the concept, but wanted one that was simpler to build. That meant ditching the custom machined parts like the wheels and the suspension system. These were replaced with three go cart wheels and axles mounted in pillow blocks, on a simple welded frame. An e-bike battery powers a 500 W golf cart motor that drives the rear wheel. Like [Make It Extreme]’s version, the track is an SUV tire with the sidewall cut off. [XenonJohn] used tin snips to do this, but from personal experience we would recommend a utility knife. This track design will have a tendency to collect debris inside it, so cutting some hole in the tread could help. As with most single wheeled/tracked vehicles, you really don’t want to try and stop quickly.

It looks like this bike works fine in straight lines, but there is room for improvement with the steering. [XenonJohn] has some ideas to do this, which we hope to see some time in the future. Let us know in the comments how you would make it turn better.

[XenonJohn] really like vehicles that can make you face plant. He built quite a few self-balancing motorcycles, one of which was supposedly designed with first responders in mind. It honestly seems more likely to create an emergency than respond to one.

A Motorcycle Dashboard Straight From The ECU

Classic motorcycles are the wild west of information displays. Often lacking even basic instrumentation such as a fuel gauge and sometimes even a speedometer, motorcycles have come a long way in instrument cluster design from even 20 years ago. There’s still some room for improvement, though, and luckily a lot of modern bikes have an ECU module that can be tapped into for some extra information as [mickwheelz] illustrates with his auxiliary motorcycle dashboard.

This display is built for a modern Honda enduro, and is based upon an ESP32 module. The ESP32 is tied directly into the ECU via a diagnostic socket, unlike other similar builds that interface with a CAN bus specifically. It can monitor all of the bike’s activity including engine temperature, throttle position, intake air temperature, and whether or not the bike is in neutral. [mickwheelz] also added an external GPS sensor so the new display can also show him GPS speed and location information within the same unit.

[mickwheelz] credits a few others for making headway into the Honda ECU. [Gonzo] created a similar build using a Raspberry Pi and more rudimentary screen but was instrumental in gathering the information for this build. If you’re looking for a display of any kind for your antique motorcycle which is lacking an ECU, though, we would suggest a speedometer made with nixie tubes.

Roll Your Own Heelys

Remember Heelys, the shoes with wheels in the heels? Just lift up your toes, and away you go. We were at least ten or fifteen years older than the target demographic, but got a pair anyway just to please our inner child and have some fun. Young kids would wear them everywhere and zip around inside stores to the annoyance of everyone but other young kids. We imagine some shopkeepers got to the point where they could spot the things as they walked in the door and nipped the skating party in the bud.

[DevNerd] has conceived of the ultimate plan: if you make your own Heelys, no one necessarily has to know unless you start rolling around. [DevNerd] started by cutting some large, 20mm-deep holes in the bottoms of a pair of Air Jordans and printed a sturdy wheel and a box frame for support.

Each wheel has a bearing on both ends that spin on a threaded rod. We’re not sure why [DevNerd] went with threaded rod, because it seems like that would prematurely wear out the frame box.

Don’t want to cut up your shoes, but want some sweet roller kicks for the daily commute down the hall? You could always make them out of pallet wood.

It’s A Boat? It’s A Duck? It’s A DIY Plastic Wrap Kayak!

Only few cinematic moments were as traumatically heartbreaking as [Mufasa]’s death in The Lion King and [Wilson]’s demise in Cast Away. To think, if only [Tom Hanks]’ character had found a role roll of stretch wrap in the washed up cargo content, he could have built a vessel with enough room to safely store his faithful companion. Sounds unlikely? Well, [sg19point3] begs to differ, and has a kayak to prove it.

It’s as brilliant as its construction materials are simple: tree branches, packing tape, and of course the stretch wrap. [sg19point3] used two different types of branches, one that bends just enough to shape the kayak in its length, and a more flexible variety to form the rings that hold it all together. After removing the bark, he shaped the branches as needed using some pegs in the ground, and let it dry for a few days. Once ready, he put them together and stabilized the construct with packing tape until it was ready for the grand finale of wrapping the entire thing in several layers of plastic wrap. To prove he trusts his own construct, he took it for a ride to the nearest water and lived to tell the tale — and to make a video about it, which is embedded after the break.

Admittedly, putting it together all by yourself on a remote island may be a bit laborious after all, so good thing [sg19point3] had some friends to help with the wrapping. Whether you’d want to take it beyond your local, shallow pond is maybe another story — you’d definitely want to steer clear of sharp rocks. For something more sturdy, check out the 3D-printed kayak from a few years ago. But in case you prefer wood, here’s a beautiful canoe.

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Adding Luxury Charging Features To An Entry-Level EV

The Nissan Leaf is the best-selling electric car of all time so far, thanks largely to it being one of the first mass produced all-electric EVs. While getting into the market early was great for Nissan, they haven’t made a lot of upgrades that other EV manufacturers have made and are starting to lose customers as a result. One of those upgrades is charge limiting, which allows different charging rates to be set from within the car. With some CAN bus tinkering, though, this feature can be added to the Leaf.

Limiting the charging rate is useful when charging at unfamiliar or old power outlets which might not handle the default charge rate. In Europe, which has a 240V electrical distribution system, Leafs will draw around 3 kW from a wall outlet which is quite a bit of power. If the outlet looks like it won’t support that much power flow, it’s handy (and more safe) to be able to reduce that charge rate even if it might take longer to fully charge the vehicle. [Daniel]’s modification requires the user to set the charge rate by manipulating the climate control, since the Leaf doesn’t have a comprehensive user interface.

The core of this project is performed over the CAN bus, which is a common communications scheme that is often used in vehicles and is well-documented and easy to take advantage of. Luckily, [Daniel] has made the code available on his GitHub page, so if you’re thinking about trading in a Leaf for something else because of its lack of features it may be time to reconsider.

Photo: Chuck Allen (chucka_nc) / CC BY-SA

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