Monday, December 3, 2012

New conversion time!

EV 13 with the 1961 Bug before conversion.

Gas tank is out, mock up of  front battery box.

Engine compartment....soon to have 9" motor.
As a going away present for Mr. Garrett, we have decided to convert his 1961 VW Bug.  The car will have specific design parameters to insure the integrity of the 51 year old car.  We are in the early stages now and are careful to make sure the whole process can be done without any cuts be made to the car.  The car will be 144 volt Lithium system, using the old cells from the MR2, which are in a semi depleted state, but should be good for a few more years and a vehicle range of about 50 miles tops. 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Raffle ticket sales at Hampstead Community Center

Today, several EV13 Team members sold tickets at the Hampstead Women's Clubs annual Craft Fair in the Hampstead Community Center.  The event was held from 8-1 and there were several hundred attendees throughout the day.  The day was a success with Brady and Ryan hitting their goal of 25 tickets sold!  That makes for four of ten members reaching their sales goal!  We hope to raise $2500 with the raffle so we can purchase a new set of Lithium cells for the MR2.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Featured in NC State Alumni Blog!

Our instructor was contacted by the NC State Alumni Association recently about doing a story on him and the Topsail EV program since he is an Alumnus of NC State. Click on the  Red and White for Life blog. banner above to read the story.

Still selling raffle tickets, so if you are interested in purchasing, hit us up on here by clicking on the "donate" button and filling in your information.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Raffle Ticket sales at Advance Auto

Cold day at Advance Auto today, but a few of the THS EV Team showed up bright and early at 8:00 to display the vehicles and sell raffle tickets.  We sold a total of 32 tickets  in a short period of time.  Next week, we will be at the Hampstead Community Center at the annual Hampstead Women's Club Holiday Craft Fair from 8:00-1:00.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

EV Raffle time!! $2500 in prizes!

The Topsail EV Team is holding their annual Fall EV Raffle, and this year is better than ever! Over $2500 in prizes and a 1 in 8 chance of winning. If you win a smaller prize, you still get your name put back in for the Grand Prize drawing of an iPad 2. We will have an EV open house on the day of the drawing, December 20th at 5:30pm at the EV shop behind Topsail High School.

You u can buy a ticket from one of the EV students. The price is one for $10 or three for $25.
 Thanks for your support.
IPad 2-$400.00
Indo Jax Surf School-Week-long Morning Surf Camp $300.00
Lyons Sushi Party $250.00
2- Golds Gym 3 Month Memberships  $360.00
Bugs Etc. House Extermination Service $150.00
Music Loft Gift Card $100.00
Olde Point Golf Round of Golf for 2 Players $84.00
Finesse Carpet Cleaning $75.00
2- Golds Gym 1 Month Memberships $120.00
Ohana Paddle Sports 4 Hour Board Rental and 1 Hour Lesson $60.00
Napa Auto Parts Socket Set $50.00
Autozone Car wash bucket kit $30.00
Advance Auto Parts Car wash bucket kit $30.00
Belvedere Country Club Round of Golf $30.00
Shuckers Oyster Bar Gift Card $25.00
Shuckers Oyster Bar Gift Card $25.00
5- O'Leary's Automotive Repair Gift Certificates $125.00
Daddy Macs Gift Certificate $25.00
4- Topsail Greens Round of Golf $88.00
Finkelstein's Gift Card $20.00
El Cerro Grande Gift Card $20.00
Max's Pizza Large Pizza $15.00
2- 2 Guys Grille Gift Certificates $20.00
Hibachi To Go Gift Card $10.00
South End Surf Shop Gift Card $10.00
3- Bagel Bakery Gift Certificates $15.00
Yozio Gift Certificate $5.00

Saturday, October 20, 2012

16th annual NEAT EV Rally Champions!

We arrived in style thanks to Larry Hall

Hunter handling the track

Davis make a first place run

Never let Shelby take a "fun run" on the autocross track.......

Competing in EV Jeopary for the Odyssey event

The guys hustling in the Pit Crew event

Another victorious event for THS EV!
Congratulations to the Topsail Electric Vehicle Team for their victories at the 16th annual NEAT EV Rally this past weekend at the NCCAR test track facility in Roanoke Rapids, NC.  An amazing weekend with an amazing group of students. We were recognized as being the best organized and most motivated group there! The team has accumulated 162 trophies in 13 years of competition.
The team won the following trophies:
1st Overall
1st Autocross: Modified Class
1st Range: Modified Class
1st Range: Truck Class
2nd Troubleshooting
2nd Pit Crew
2nd Acceleration: Modified Class
2nd Acceleration: Truck Class
2nd Autocross: Truck Class
3rd EV Jeopardy

Friday, October 12, 2012

WECT TV 6 News report

Bailey Hicks from Wilmington local channel WECT TV6 came early this morning to do a feature story on our EV program.  She was very impressed with the class and their knowledge of the vehicles.  She was especially impressed by the fact that the EV13 Team attends the class every day at 7:15, an hour before regular school begins.  We were able to give a few interviews and explain how we were preparing for the NEAT competition next week.  Davis Sessions and Matt van der Wal did an excellent job in front of the camera.  Bailey was very interested in the performance of the vehicles, so we did not hesitate to take her for a spin in the MR2.  As you can tell by the picture above, she definitely has an "EV Grin"!

There will be an update after the segment airs that will link to the story online.  Stay tuned.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

CFCC Auto Body demonstration

We had a guest speaker today from the CFCC Paint and Auto Body program.  Aimee Abreya stopped in to speak about and promote her program at CFCC for high school students who would like the opportunity to take the classes while still in high school for dual enrollment.  She also brought a very expensive paint booth simulator to allow students to practice painting in a virtual world!  The simulator was an awesome experience for several students who braved the virtual helmet and tried their skills at painting virtual body panels.  Every experience like this is a great opportunity for students to see what is available as a career.  We always need a vehicle painted when we do a conversion, so this would really help us out as well.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Display at Wilmington Christian Academy

We have a unique opportunity to be a mentor to a new EV Club being created at Wilmington Christian Academy.  The instructor visited our class for about two hours this week to get a better picture of what is involved in supporting an Electric Vehicle conversion club.  We had gobs of information and were able to show our shop and classroom area, plus we had advice on when to hold the meetings as well. 
  We were then invited to help promote their program at the school during their Fall Carnival fundraiser.  We drove both vehicles into Wilmington to their site and set up for display.  Most everyone was very impressed by the Topsail EV Team and their knowledge of the vehicles.  Hopefully the WCA club will make it to the EV Challenge final event this year with a newly converted car.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Spot Festival display

Once again, the Topsail Electric Vehicles were on display at the largest Festival in Hampstead each year, the Spot Festival.  A Spot is a fish that is caught off our local waters, and each year thousands of visitors come to enjoy music, fun and most of all, the delicious Spot dinner.  The event is a local fundraiser for the schools and fire departments, so everyone comes out to support the community.
  We had a good showing as usual and fielded plenty of questions about the vehicles.  The team did an excellent job as always.  The festival is usually our first major display and the students were ready for the task.  We get the same questions year after year, but we have noticed that the general public is becoming more aware of electric and hybrid vehicles. This is a good sign, and it also helps that gas prices are pretty high right now, making more people think about alternative fuel sources.

Friday, September 28, 2012


Every year at the homecoming game, we get the opportunity to lead the homecoming court around the track during halftime.  This year we had both vehicles and were announced over the public address system in front of a crowd of over 2500 people.  Sometimes exposure like this is invaluable.  It is the first time younger kids or visitors get to see the EV's in action.  Hopefully we are planting the seeds for the future.  Very proud to be associated with the THE EV program and the students that help make it possible each year.

Battery Heaters!

    We finally got around to installing battery heaters in the truck battery boxes today.  The heaters are a rubber pad that consumes .58 Amps at 120 Volts and produces 70 Watts of power.  We tested them first and found they have an internal thermistor that opens the circuit at around 115 degrees and closes it back when the temperature falls to below 100.  The pads are very flat and we were able to install eleven of them under our 16 Trojan T-145 batteries.  We monitored a pad under a 12 volt battery we have for 6 hours and found that during that time, the electrolyte rose to about 100 degrees.  We should have better results when they are in the insulated boxes and all the batteries are grouped together. The process took most of the day and also allowed the new EV 13 team the opportunity to learn how to wire a parallel circuit, crimp wires and check the specific gravity of the cell electrolyte.  The install was completed and the heaters work great.  It takes quite a while to heat the cells, but it will be a welcome addition when cold weather hits. Kudos to the new team that showed up to perform the work on a teacher workday!

   On a side note, we have not had to water the cells for over 6 months because of the Water Miser Vent Caps from Flow Systems.  The caps have done an exceptional job and we only had to top off the cell levels slightly, using only a half gallon for 16 cells.  

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Atlantic Tool & Die Open House

We had the opportunity to display our vehicles at one of our largest and supportive sponsors, Atlantic Tool & Die yesterday.  The event was their annual open house, held at the facility on Hwy 210 in Hampstead.  Company president  Hugh Highsmith presented the Topsail EV class with a sponsor donation check of $1000!!!  Wow, we really needed that to help us reach our $10,000 fundraising goal this year.  There were more than 50 people there for demonstrations and of course food.  The class was able to tour the maching manufacturing facility and gain valuable insight into the world of machining and the equipment used to produce very precise parts.  Thank you Atlantic Tool & Die for helping our program continue to excel.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Spring Raffle! Buy yours now

The Topsail EV Team is holding their third annual Spring EV Raffle, and this year is better than ever!  Over $2800 in prizes and a 1 in 15 chance of winning.  If you win a smaller prize, you still get your name put back in for the Grand Prize drawing of an iPad 2.  We will have an EV open house on the day of the drawing, June 7th at 6:30 at the EV shop behind Topsail High School.
  You can buy the tickets from one of the EV students.  The price is one for $10 or three for $25.  Thanks for your support!

  • iPad 2 $430
  • Hampstead Furniture Vinyl Outdoor Rocker - $300
  • Sonicare Toothbrush - $130
  • 5 Yards of Mulch Delivered from Hidden Pond Mulch and Landscaping - $200
  • 2 Organic Lawn Applications from Landscapes Unlimited - $250
  • Car Detail - $200
  • Topsail Greens – 1 Round of Golf (x4)
  • Oleander Golf Center - ½ hour Golf Lesson- $40
  • Ohana Paddle Sports – 1 hour Stand Up Paddle Board Lesson and 4 hour Stand Up Paddle Board Rental - $125
  • Prima Day Spa - 5 Spray Tan Sessions - $100
  • Cardinal Lanes Beach Bowl – (x2)
  • Poplar Grove Basket – 2 Tour Tickets and Handcrafted Products - $50
  • Sushi Party - $250
  • 5 Oil changes from O'leary's - $100
  • Carrabba's Grill - $50 Gift Card
  • Lotus Thai Grill - $50 Gift Card
  • Kornerstone Bistro - $50 Gift Card
  • Shuckers Grill and Oyster Bar - $40 and $20 Gift Cards
  • Longhorn Steakhouse - $25 Gift Card
  • Atlanta Bread - $20 Gift Card
  • Carolina Cafe - $10 Gift Card
  • New York Corner Deli – Two Free Meals
  • Fox and Hound – Free Appetizer, Hour of Pool (x3 of each)
  • Fuzzy Peach T-Shirt and gift card - $30
    Gift Cards and Other Products
  • Music Loft Gift Card - $100
  • Isadelight Plus - Priceless!
  • Repeat Boutique - $50 Gift Card
  • Google T-Shirts - $100
    Napa Shop Light - $50

    Thanks for your support!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

9 time EV Challenge Champs!!

We have done it again, placed first overall at the EV Challenge final event.  This year we had a low point total of 12 with 10 being the lowest you can get(like a golf score where lowest total wins).  We placed first in every category except for the Range event with the Modified MR2.  The Ranger placed third overall and finished one point out of first place with 22 points.  The EV12  team has been an amazing, tight knit group and has proven to be leaders among their peers. 
Here is the press release:
   It is my pleasure to announce that the efforts of my EV12 class has resulted in an unprecedented 9th consecutive National Championship in the EV Challenge competition this past weekend at the NCCAR facility in Roanoke Rapids, NC. 
Winning isn't everything, however success doesn't come without hard work and dedication.  I am very proud of the team this year for their character and maturity.  They were complimented this past weekend by everyone from the executive director of the program to the "breakfast lady" at the hotel.  Please take the time to congratulate the EV12 Team on their success.  They placed in every competitive event.
The team won the following awards:
1st Overall (Toyota MR2 team)
3rd Overall (Ford Ranger team)
1st Vehicle Design (Modified Class) 
1st Vehicle Design Truck Class
1st EV Jeopardy (Toyota MR2 team)  Ryan Mowrey, Hannah Fennell
1st Troubleshooting  Dylan Karach, Shelby Sessions
1st Autocross(Modified Class)  Dylan Karach
1st Acceleration (Modified Class)  Parker Hollingsworth
1st Oral Presentation (Toyota MR2 team)  Michael Castoro, Roman Starodubtsev
2nd School Initiative Overall
2nd Range (Modified Class)  Roman Starodubtsev, Shelby Sessions
2nd Range (Truck Class)  Ryan Mowrey, Parker Hollingsworth
2nd Autocross (Truck Class)  Shelby Sessions
2nd Oral Presentation (Ford Ranger team)  John-Eric White, Parker Hollingsworth
2nd Acceleration (Truck Class) John-Eric White
3rd EV Jeopardy (Ford Ranger team)  Aaron Banks, Alex Dougherty
4th Troubleshooting  (Truck Class)  Matt Underwood, Ryan Berkey

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Vacuum forming terminal covers

So, when you order from China, sometimes you do not get what you need.  When we originally ordered our Thundersky cells from the distributor, we did not get studs, washers or terminal covers.  After several failed attempts to contact the distributor, we finally decided to take matters in our own hands and make our own covers.
  This year, the EV Challenge officials have required that each cell in a battery pack must be covered.  A single cover over all batteries/cells will not suffice any longer....thus the need for cell terminal covers. A couple of students took it upon themselves to surprise me one day with their creation of a DIY vacuum forming machine.  Crude but effective, they are in the process of forming the needed 48 covers for our lithium cells.  We are using .62 thick thermoplastic from Professional Plastics, a vacuum form box made from 2x4's and a shop vac.  Works like a champ!

Spring break fun and sun?

  Well, normally, any right minded teen or teacher living in coastal North Carolina would have taken advantage of the beautiful weather during our recent spring break. You would think so....but not the Topsail Electric Vehicle Class! We worked Friday through Tuesday on the vehicles making changes and modifications needed to be ready to compete in the upcoming EV Challenge final event April 21-22.
  Up to eight team members showed up each day bright and early to help change out batteries, create new terminals, wire the BMS and remove a strut among other activities.  We had an epiphany of sorts when we looked at the calendar before srping break and relized that we only had 18 class periods before competition!  The students made a decision to dedicate a part of their vacation time to help work on the car and truck to insure that we are ready for competition.  Dedication and preparation breeds success.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

BMS Wiring aplenty

We are trudging our way through the BMS wiring as you can see.  There are many wires that need to be terminated correctly and hidden as well as possible, since we always believe half the battle is aesthetics.  The cell level terminations are coming along nicely, but the wiring harness wiring is another story altogether.  We found that the wiring had been done "backwards" from the diagram, if that was not bad enough, during testing of the harnesses, a ground lead accidentally touched a high voltage lead causing quite a spark, so we are getting a new set of harnesses and connectors.  Lessons learned!