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Thread: Is Electricity a Fuel?

  1. #21
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    The 24 Hours of Lemons has introduced an all-new fully electric category for their 2019 racing season. Officially called “The Lemons Electric Class Presented by AltThusiast,” the category is being touted as the first time that electric cars and internal-combustion cars are going to be racing within the same field.

    Besides the “5 1/2 Tons on Money” cash prize of 1 million nickels (approximately $50,000) up for grabs to the first electric team to win overall at a Lemons race, there are also a new set of rules—namely that the recharging of the car is done in the same area as refueling, the swapping of batteries is allowed, and that the powertrain systems and energy storage are excluded from the $500 cap.

    For those interested in the new category, the full Electric class rulebook can be found here:
    3.L FULL-EV REGS
    3.L.1 Talk to Lemons HQ in Advance. For your EV car to be eligible, you must confer with Lemons HQ before starting fabrication or filing a race registration.
    3.L.2 EVs Present Unique and Additional Risks. Full-EV vehicles may expose you and others–including track and rescue personnel–to unique, unexpected, and/or unusual dangers of fire, electrocution, poisoning, increased risk of illness, and other extremely bad things. EVs should only be built, maintained, repaired, and/or operated by those with sufficient expertise to recognize and avoid these and all other EV-related hazards.
    3.L.2 Pikes Peak is Smarter Than Us. All full-EV vehicles must meet all PPIHC safety rules for electric cars. See PPIHC 2018 Rule Book, effective 1 November 2017, section 126.
    3.L.2 Electric Drive Components Exempt.
    3.L.2.a All EV-drive-system chargers, batteries, motors, controllers, connectors, and cables do not count toward the $500 price limit. (To inquire about price exemptions for other EV drive-system components and almost certainly be rejected, contact Lemons HQ.)
    3.L.2.b All mechanical components adapted from ICE vehicles for your build (examples include motor mounts, transmissions, differentials, driveshafts, and suspension components) do count toward the $500 price limit.
    3.L.3 Win Five and a Half Tons of Money. The first full-EV racecar to win a Lemons endurance race outright will receive a purse of one million nickels. Which is also $50,000. Which is also five and a half tons of money. Which will also arrive at your shop in a dump truck.

  2. #22
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    The way I read the rule (1109) is that those cars that run on fuel, shall only run on gasoline or diesel or a blend of Gasoline and alcohol or racing gas. I do not see where it excludes the EV at all.
    Here is my argument. Electricity is the means of propulsion. That Electricity is produced by a means at the track by a generator. That generator could be powered by Diesel or Gasoline. Thus being the true means of propulsion of the vehicle. The batteries are nothing more then a storage device like a fuel tank. The fire they can produce are to be treated like any other BC rated fire. Granted a "disconnect" like any other race car should be mandated.

    I have thought many times of building a Diesel powered sports racer and running it in our enduro series. If Audi can do it why can't we?

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vince Vavrosky View Post
    The way I read the rule (1109) is that those cars that run on fuel, shall only run on gasoline or diesel or a blend of Gasoline and alcohol or racing gas. I do not see where it excludes the EV at all.
    Here is my argument. Electricity is the means of propulsion. That Electricity is produced by a means at the track by a generator. That generator could be powered by Diesel or Gasoline. Thus being the true means of propulsion of the vehicle. The batteries are nothing more then a storage device like a fuel tank. The fire they can produce are to be treated like any other BC rated fire. Granted a "disconnect" like any other race car should be mandated.

    I have thought many times of building a Diesel powered sports racer and running it in our enduro series. If Audi can do it why can't we?
    Its not that you CAN NOT build a diesel powered race car, it has been done successfully before. It is that under our our rules you MAY NOT race it at Conference events. If you want that to change get to work writing an appropriate rule set, publicize and explain it to the membership over the course of the season, and get it voted in during rule change season for review by the E-board. Every time someone makes a noise about something they think they might want there isnt a room full of Conference elves who jump to preparing a well thought out plan for making someones daydreams a reality. If an idea is truly good it will inspire someone, or a group of someones, who are truly interested in making it happen to invest some effort making it happen. The volunteer personnel of Conference have their hands full living their own lives, earning a living, and keeping the organization alive and operating. There is absolutely no point in building a race car that is specifically prohibited from racing with the sanctioning body where you want to race it so perhaps step one of construction should be the administrative step of preparing a place for it? So far no elves have magically appeared eager to take on this task. If there are people who really want to build, race, or see them at our events it is all just talk until you invest in making it possible.
    Rick Bostrom
    ICSCC #155
    Groups 1/4/5

  4. #24
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    Rick, Where does it say that Diesel cars may not race at Conference events? 1109 A. says that they can. Does it say otherwise some where else in the rule?
    What did I miss?

    And I guess the point I was trying to make is that ICSCC does not have a rule that prohibits the racing of EV's. It simply states that THOSE cars that are powered by gasoline or diesel or blends there of but shall not be solely fueled by alcohol or methanol or the use of Nitro-methane. Now because this is both a E & C rule, maybe it should be cleaned up a bit and made a bit clearer then the ambiguous wording that it has now. Clearly stating what fuels or means of propulsion a race car may have would be the best and will rule out any question.
    Last edited by Vince Vavrosky; 18 Mar 2019 at 06:06 PM.

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vince Vavrosky View Post
    Rick, Where does it say that Diesel cars may not race at Conference events? 1109 A. says that they can. Does it say otherwise some where else in the rule?
    What did I miss?
    Because 1109 says "will run only on gasoline or a blend of gasoline and alcohol[,]" you can't run on diesel. If it doesn't say you CAN, you can't.
    My favorite racing quote: Jan Magnussen, when asked by a reporter how he could be "so brave" on the racetrack, replied, "I've had hospital food; it's not so bad."

  6. #26
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    If you turn to the next page (46) it actually says "Diesel and bio-diesel fuel will be allowed for use in diesel engine powered cars". It's all part of 1109A, the page break is just in a spot that makes it look like the section ends on page 45

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Adams View Post
    Because 1109 says "will run only on gasoline or a blend of gasoline and alcohol[,]" you can't run on diesel. If it doesn't say you CAN, you can't.
    Last edited by db1; 20 Mar 2019 at 04:30 PM.
    What would Johnny Canuck do?

  7. #27
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    Good catch, but then I'm confused: WHY, per Rick's comment, aren't diesel cars allowed to race with Conference?
    My favorite racing quote: Jan Magnussen, when asked by a reporter how he could be "so brave" on the racetrack, replied, "I've had hospital food; it's not so bad."

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by db1 View Post
    If you turn to the next page (46) it actually says "Diesel and bio-diesel fuel will be allowed for use in diesel engine powered cars". It's all part of 1109A, the page break is just in a spot that makes it look like the section ends on page 45
    That is a very good catch! Thanks for pointing that out. I made the mistake of stopping at the first sentence.

  9. #29
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    I'm guilty of the same thing - I thought from there was no language allowing them in the ICSCC Competition Regulations and it is clearly mentioned on the next page. I still have some concerns on the matter though - gasoline is not a very good lubricant when spilled - diesel is more slippery. I've been around diesel most of my life but I admit I don't know how it is cleaned up on a racetrack. Does it evaporate fairly quickly like gasoline or would it require oil-dry like an oil spill? I know it is easier to ignite and has more energy than gasoline per unit of volume. Does it require any special fire fighting skills or equipment that we don't currently possess?

    I completely support and reinforce Steve's comment - If it doesn't say you CAN, you can't. When writing rules the idea is to make them as simple and easy to understand as possible without venturing into endless descriptions of examples that are NOT allowed. This generally tends to make the rulebook ridiculously thick and provides lots of potential loopholes because someone is able to say "this is a lot like what you disallow but not exactly what you disallow so therefore it must be legal, right?"

    Fuel rules are a slippery slope. I traveled with fuel testing apparatus to every single race as Steward and thankfully never had to use it as there was plenty to do already. What we are discussing here has the potential to create a lot of work that the membership generally thinks they want but expect to have accomplished by volunteers and really might result in almost no entries in the near future. If you are passionate about this now is the time to get it written up and start circulating it for comment and revision.

    I'm not trying to discourage anyone or dissuade them from proposing rules to accomplish what they desire to be voted on by the membership at rule change time. Spend the time doing detailed research, write a well thought out and complete proposal, and be prepared to talk to as many drivers as you can over the course of the season to explain and promote your idea. If they vote for that proposal it will end up in front of the E-Board because it has the potential to affect our ability to maintain an insurable level of safety at out events so make sure you include research into the impact on safety for presentation to the E-Board.

    As for electric and hybrid vehicles, I am seeing some things recently sent by past Conference officials that are making me believe we don't have as good a handle as we might think on the potential safety issues there.

    This discussion is a good start.
    Rick Bostrom
    ICSCC #155
    Groups 1/4/5

  10. #30
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    I can't take credit for this one, it was sent to me by a past Steward who went looking for some info while considering this discussion which I greatly appreciate. I was going to hold onto it but I think it is probably better to get it out there for review and discussion. I had heard some concerning things about battery fires in the past but hadn't really gone looking for anything definitive in black and white. Modern battery technology is what elevates electric vehicles from a novelty to a workable transport or race car. Those same advanced batteries that provide those benefits would appear to hold some challenges as well. The following isn't exactly an engineering journal or technical piece but it raises my level of concern.

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/artic...bout-fiery-evs
    Rick Bostrom
    ICSCC #155
    Groups 1/4/5

  11. #31
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    Just to get this "together" with the link Rick just posted, I'm reposting this link that Bob Mearns posted early in the thread: https://jalopnik.com/watch-volunteer...-fi-1819665352
    My favorite racing quote: Jan Magnussen, when asked by a reporter how he could be "so brave" on the racetrack, replied, "I've had hospital food; it's not so bad."

  12. #32
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    Last week at ORP I was lucky enough to be there while Palatov was doing their first track test of their new Pikes Peak Hillclimb car. Their goal is to set the overall record....quite a goal!
    The car is impressive. But it only has to travel 12 miles up a mountain.
    Also present were engineers from the vendor suppliers. Naturally I brought up this subject about Conference sprint races with a battery electric car. The consensus was that a detuned version could last the full 30 minutes of a sprint race, and there should be enough time to re-charge it between qualifying and the race.
    I've enlisted their support to help put together the safety guidelines and Conference rules for electric cars. I hope to start circulating those here in a few months and have them ready for the rule change process.

  13. #33
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    From the few articles I've read on fire in EV batteries, anyone racing one had better be prepared to watch it burn to the ground. Professional fire departments with proper trucks and hundreds, even a thousand gallons, have been unable to put these fires out. The first fire they have will likely be their last. None of the club level rigs have more than 100 gallons on a truck.
    Rob "Grandpa Pettybone" Jacobsen
    TPFD

  14. #34
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    Thank you all. Very good information.
    And thank you for clarifying the fuel rule as I had read it.
    I do think that a written rule stating the exclusion of EV's at this time until safety measures can be set into place to fight the fire potential should be done.
    This will help explain why and what needs to be addressed prior to someone wanting to race one.

  15. #35
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    one of the things im working on is an all electric open wheel car. right now im just in the design time but, im going to build it at some point. it will have replaceable battery packs that can be charged off of 110 and light enough for a person to swap out. it will have emergency pull chords that will cut power from the batteries to the vehicle. anything that needs to develop to be safe for the works I want to incorporate all safety things needed.
    E. BLOIS
    SPM, FIP, ST, ITE #92
    E30e, E36m

  16. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vince Vavrosky View Post
    Thank you all. Very good information.
    And thank you for clarifying the fuel rule as I had read it.
    I do think that a written rule stating the exclusion of EV's at this time until safety measures can be set into place to fight the fire potential should be done.
    This will help explain why and what needs to be addressed prior to someone wanting to race one.
    As stated above - if the rules don't say you can, you can't. Electric vehicles are already excluded by their omission from our rules. It is hard enough to get people to invest the time required to write or modify rules that are actually needed and apply to cars already being raced with us legally. There is no pool of "professional rules writers" currently employed by Conference waiting to spring into action to codify the musings of imaginative parties. When the technology matures to the point that there is someone passionate enough to feel we have a real need to include electric vehicles in our events I am sure they will invest the time creating or borrowing a ruleset and then overcoming the problems and objections to get them voted in. Writing "bans" or "preventative rules" leads to loopholes that allow unintended consequences. Writing tightly defined and restrictive rules defining exactly what IS allowed still has potential interpretive consequences but is much less likely to allow something that was never intended. We won't be "banning" electric cars, we just won't be including them until there is a strong ruleset in place to allow them.
    Rick Bostrom
    ICSCC #155
    Groups 1/4/5

  17. #37
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    I was going to clutch it however I think it is likely better to get it out there for audit and arynews talk. I had heard some concerning things about battery fires before however hadn't generally gone searching for anything complete in highly contrasting. Present day battery innovation is the thing that raises electric vehicles from a curiosity to a serviceable vehicle or race vehicle.
    Last edited by DONOVAN; 11 Oct 2019 at 03:06 AM.

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