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Knurled
Knurled MegaDork
8/7/16 4:05 p.m.

The failsafes, in this case, are the ones that open the HV battery's contactors if there is any fault detected. Exceeding the engine's RPM parameters doesn't result in electrocution or a probable fire...

Nashco
Nashco UberDork
8/7/16 5:17 p.m.
Knurled wrote: The failsafes, in this case, are the ones that open the HV battery's contactors if there is any fault detected. Exceeding the engine's RPM parameters doesn't result in electrocution or a probable fire...

Have you ever heard of a money shift? Excessive RPMs absolutely can cause catastrophic failure of the engine or transmission. I assure you that one can start a fire by spraying hot oil onto a header or slicing a fuel line with shrapnel far easier than one can cause a high voltage fault on an OEM high voltage system (with only a software change) that is so extreme that it should have opened the contactors but did not. That sort of system failure and resulting safety concern would take multiple failure modes stacked up on top of each other.

Furthermore, if a few crazies thought that deleting safety measures from the PCM was going to give them a trophy, there is absolutely no way that SCCA could determine the PCM had been modified. You can't just swap ECUs on new cars, and there's no way a layman could sniff out the right messages on a CAN bus to see what's going on. This rule only keeps the safe and honest people safe and honest.

Like I said, I'm an engineer. An automotive engineer with a powertrain degree who has worked on high voltage system design, including safety systems. Electricity can be dangerous, just like gasoline and nitrous and alcohol and all sorts of other fantastic stuff racers have learned to love. A couple of 1s and 0s in an ECU floating on a CAN bus aren't what makes an EV safe. Dozens of engineers spend years of their lives on every single EV design executed just on the safety protocols, and somebody removing a torque limiter or derate message on its way to the motor controller certainly can't screw up high voltage safety as easily as you seem to think. Having a major collision is far more likely and would be far more likely to result in a catastrophic failure that resulted in a safety concern as well.

In the future, all forms of motor racing will incorporate increasing levels of electrification. The performance benefits are too obvious to ignore. One can choose to get on board and figure out how to handle the change and make the best of it, or one can choose to do things the way they've always been done until they're irrelevant (or so irrelevant that they become really, really hip). Seems that not giving EVs a level playing field with ICE cars puts SCCA on a bad track if we look to where things are going in the future.

If somebody wanted to review the SCCA rules and practices to ensure safety remains consistent with EVs at events, I'd be glad to work with them to make recommendations. Between FIA, SAE student racing, NEDRA/NHRA, Pikes Peak, etc. there are plenty of reference points.

Bryce

camaroz1985
camaroz1985 Reader
8/9/16 11:49 a.m.

Sad to see you have to sell. If I was closer I would seriously consider buying this. Good luck with your sale and the move to Europe.

Knurled
Knurled MegaDork
8/9/16 4:58 p.m.
Nashco wrote:
Knurled wrote: The failsafes, in this case, are the ones that open the HV battery's contactors if there is any fault detected. Exceeding the engine's RPM parameters doesn't result in electrocution or a probable fire...

Have you ever heard of a money shift? Excessive RPMs absolutely can cause catastrophic failure of the engine or transmission. I assure you that one can start a fire by spraying hot oil onto a header or slicing a fuel line with shrapnel far easier than one can cause a high voltage fault on an OEM high voltage system (with only a software change) that is so extreme that it should have opened the contactors but did not.

And that is a deliberate fault while driving, not something that can happen at a standstill because a bolt fell into the battery pack and shorted a terminal to ground or something. If the PCM doesn't open the contactors when that happens, the likelihood of fire approaches 100%.

I know what you're saying, but right now, the safest approach is to keep things stock. IMO.

ssswitch
ssswitch HalfDork
8/9/16 5:09 p.m.

Good luck with your sale!

I saw this video a little while ago, really impressed with how much torque that little critter can pump out:

linky.

Nashco
Nashco UberDork
8/9/16 5:34 p.m.
Knurled wrote: And that is a deliberate fault while driving, not something that can happen *at a standstill* because a bolt fell into the battery pack and shorted a terminal to ground or something. If the PCM doesn't open the contactors when that happens, the likelihood of fire approaches 100%. I know what you're saying, but right now, the safest approach is to keep things stock. IMO.

The safest thing is to stay at home and watch tv on the couch. But that's not what keeps SCCA going, racing cars does.

I don't think you do get what I'm saying. On a Honda Civic or a Miata, does the PCM open contactors of somebody drops a wrench onto the 12V battery terminals and creates a short to ground? What happens if the starter wire nut comes lose and the starter cable shorts to the metal fuel line? Does the PCM shut off the powertrain instantaneously if it detects that a fuel line is leaking due to a lose hose clamp? (Hint: All of those would cause a fire and the car would not only have no way of stopping it, the car wouldn't even detect a problem)

Gas cars are extremely dangerous, but we've learned to understand and accept their hazards because they're way more fun than sitting on the couch. EVs are actually significantly safer than gas cars, as you'd expect from any new technology development. However, even for those that know this to be true, somehow human evolution prevents us from trusting what we don't know.

I'm glad to explain why somebody dropping a screw into a battery pack is not only completely not feasible, but also not preventable under the current rules. I can also explain why dropping a screw into a high voltage battery pack won't cause an issue any worse than if you did the same thing with a 12V battery. I can help explain the electrical architecture of a high voltage car and how watchdogs exist to ensure that a simple single point failure won't allow for catastrophic problems. I can help people understand what safety and performance rules can and can't be checked for conformity.

But I won't do any of that if nobody cares to hear it. It's easy to say "no" but in this case that's definitely the wrong way to handle things. If you get wind that this rule really was created with an interest of safety, I'd appreciate if you could point out this thread/banter and my interest in adding a very informed viewpoint to the discussion. The offer stands.

In other news, the car seems to be sold. If I play my cards right, I'll get it back in a few years. Maybe I can fix the rules by then.

Bryce

Vigo
Vigo PowerDork
8/10/16 10:37 p.m.
There's also a technique to getting maximum acceleration out of the Spark EV. If you instantaneously mat the go pedal, torque limiting is much greater than if you roll into the accelerator. I'm sure those internet videos on EV acceleration were awesome, but I suspect subtleties like this are missed when you don't have an ass in a seat.

Well, maybe you can be the one to set the internet straight and take just one good vid.

camaroz1985
camaroz1985 Reader
8/11/16 6:36 a.m.

Of course yours sells setup the way I would want and now they installed EV charging stations at work for me making the range of the Spark much more feasible. Timing was off by a couple days haha.

Socalbum
Socalbum
10/19/18 1:50 a.m.

Hi Bryce did you ever figure out how to completely disable the stability control on the spark ev

Nashco
Nashco UberDork
10/19/18 2:26 a.m.

In reply to Socalbum :

 

Nope. I moved to Europe a couple of years ago, so it’s not really on my radar now. wink

Bryce

 

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