The Quest for 200 MPH on Batteries Turns to Kickstarter and Facebook For Assistance (w/videos)

MAR 25 2014 BY MARK KANE

The SR-37 Electric Dragster for “Big Daddy” Don Garlits, who aims to pass 200 MPH in the quarter-mile run just like he did in an internal combustion engine dragster in 1964, needs your support.

The team released a Kickstarter project to finish the SR-37 and needs $25,000 by April 14.  10 backers have already pledged $576.

As it turns out, the prototype of this vehicle has been developed for some time – here is video from 2012:

But the new one will have much higher levels of performance and will need power of up to 1,500 kW to break 200 MPH.

SR-37

SR-37

If you don’t have cash for spare, you can at least add some “likes” on Quest Dragster Facebook page to help convince the sponsors.

UNCLE SWAMPY WANTS YOU! PLEASE READ!

SR-37 is a very different dragster project. It is definitely not a “build-tune-race” type of car. The advanced technology of the battery-electric drivetrain alone represents a very large cost that is being funded out of pocket. The 2014 campaign we are planning is also very different. This is a rolling technology demonstrator that will likely have to pay its own way to events.

There are interested prospective sponsors who are waiting to see what kind of audience we can deliver to them. We must build an audience right here, on this page, before we can get them on board. The prospective sponsors are looking specifically at our ‘like’ number. Our growth goal over the next 3 weeks is a total of 5,000. If you can get 2-3 interested friends to ‘like’ and follow the public page right here at questfor200mphonbatteries, we will exceed that goal. Will you help us to get the ‘LIKE” out for SR-37?

We are also still working on a kickstarter.com project to underwrite the cost of the 2014 battery package and to offer exclusive merchandise to our supporters. We are working on the last (2) pieces of merchandise design and the kickstarter page itself. There will be an announcement right here when kickstarter goes live.

The SR-37 team sincerely appreciates all of your support!

Project description on Kickstarter:

The Quest for 200 MPH on Batteries is a drag racing technology project aimed at 200 MPH in the 1/4 mile using 1500 kilowatt batteries!

In one smoky run down the dragstrip on August 2, 1964, a young “Big Daddy” Don Garlits became the first drag racer to officially exceed 200mph in the timed ¼ mile. Garlits supercharged Top Fuel slingshot eclipsed the hallowed ¼ mile of asphalt at Island Dragway, NJ in 7.78 seconds with a high speed mark of 201.34 mph. The 200 mph barrier was forever broken. Garlits remarked that “It’s like being in another world”. Indeed he was…and still is. For nearly fifty years that mark has stood as one of the watershed events in drag racing history.

The drag racing world of rapid speed has always been one of internal combustion engines powered by dangerous chemical fuels. In the rapidly evolving transportation world of fuel-battery hybrid vehicles, fully electric vehicles, and a newly born E-racing series one must wonder; where is the next frontier of powered speed on the asphalt ¼ mile to be found. Can a dragster function as a symbol of current renewable battery-powered road travel? Even more so, can a dragster be the embodiment of the inevitable future of battery-electric, instantaneous power, highly-controllable, high performance automobiles?

Now fifty years after that milestone 1964 feat, a team led by respected dragster builder Mike Gerry is constructing the challenger to the next frontier. The sleek, night black, glistening arrow of high speed Quest Dragster is designed to break through the 200 mph using high-output battery-powered technology. The dragster is to be driven by none other than the original record breaker, Don Garlits. The Quest Dragster will combine a Brad Hadman dragster chassis design, state-of-the-art safety features, a slippery alloy body, and a distinctive high rear wing typically associated with high-speed dragsters. The driver will sit snugly in the tubular steel-wrapped cockpit with the difference in this drag machine nestled directly behind. Rather than the violently explosive nitromethane used to power a Top Fuel car, this rocket will be launched with the instantaneous power delivery of a 1500 kilowatt lithium polymer battery power system generating a maximum 3600 amps of electrical current and an equivalent horsepower rating of over 2000 hp! The powerplant will be completely enclosed in aerodynamic side pods and a motor shroud that is faired gracefully into the monostrut mast for the high rear wing. It is a striking masterpiece of brutish battery power wrapped in a beautiful and highly-efficient envelope of straight line speed. The SR-37 Quest Dragster will indeed challenge the future frontier of drag racing!

SR-37 drivetrain

SR-37 drivetrain

THE POWERPLANT

The “Quest for 200mph” team is preparing for the next step of this historic challenge. The rolling chassis, cockpit, and body are all constructed and complete. At its current home at the Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing, the car has been fitted with its 2014 6-pack of record-attempt GE motors and Big Daddy has been fitted with his new custom Garvin Motorsports race seat.

The next step for this ground breaking project is literally, “power up”. The team is preparing to complete the assembly of the 2014 lithium-polymer battery power system and install batteries and motor control systems into the car. The team is using this step to create an opportunity for technology enthusiasts and drag racing fans around the world to be part of the Quest for 200mph on Batteries. Participants will provide a timely contribution to the completion of the car’s powerplant and the preparations for the history making 2014 anniversary dragstrip appearances. This opportunity will directly fund the advanced technology costs of the powerplant system.

SR-37 battery

SR-37 battery

The SR-37 Quest Dragster 2014 battery plant is being engineered and produced by Derek Barger of HighTech Systems LLC of Littleton, CO. The battery plant will consist of four (4) packs, (2) on each side of the car mounted in the distinctive SR-37 side pods. Each pack is comprised of 300 lithium polymer cells, 1,200 for the total powerplant. Those 1,200 cells must be selected for compatibility and maximum performance from a lot of over 3,000! The cells for each pack are assembled in a 12-parallel, 25-series configuration. The cells are built so that neither supplemental cooling nor heating is required. This system produces full power, on demand, at ambient temperatures. The cells are engineered for the rigor of this special project and are designed for utmost safety. Each cell is monitored with an HTS Battery Management System (BMS) that keeps them in balance and prevents overcharging. Each of the 1,200 cells require over 1 hour of intensive test and assembly labor, over (30) man-weeks of lab and shop time! The cells are screwed together for maintenance and replacement with 2,400 stainless fasteners. They are contained in a custom polycarbonate case selected for this specialized use and designed to prevent any track debris from damaging the assembly. The net weight of each small cell is 154 grams. The total weight of the 1,200 cell battery system including connections, hardware, and case is approximately 500 pounds; roughly the same as a fully equipped Top Fuel engine.

Each 105V pack is connected to the next in series for a total of 420V maximum and maximum current of 3,600 amps. The power is run through a 4/0 copper feeder cable, about 1″ in diameter, and comparable to the cable size used for power equipment on a large office building! Current is distributed to large power relay contactors and then to 3 very stout – and appropriately named – Manzanita Micro “Zilla” 2k motor controllers. The throttle is three 5k “potentiometers”, fed to the “Zillas” at the same time, and controlling the massive power output to the 6 custom-built GE motors. This is, far and away, the most powerful battery package that has been produced for BEV racing. The completed HTS battery package will produce a power output of 1500 kilowatts – 1.5 megawatts if you prefer – an equivalent total horsepower rating of over 2000 HP!

The basic battery technology and motor/control integration has already been tested in an early configuration prior to full completion of the dragster (see video).  The dragster launched very hard off the line with times comparable to a Top Fuel dragster, 60 feet in less than 1 second!

Derek Barger, HTS Principal, is enthusiastic about the future race worthiness of this type of mega-cell battery, “Tesla is producing their power system at about 1-to-4.5 (288HP from a 1,323 pound system). The power-to-weight ratio of the complete SR-37 HTS battery will be over 4-to-1 (2000HP+ from 500 pounds). HTS is producing a system that may be multiple generations of power output beyond the Tesla roadster. It is, quite simply, a very advanced technology. With adequate funding and continued development, it could move premier racing series’ into their futures, not to mention the potential for heavy capacity trucking, industrial and defense applications”

The HighTech Systems LLC SR-37 Battery Package is a very large powerplant, engineered and produced to propel the largest name in drag racing to 200 MPH in the 50th anniversary year of that first 200 MPH record run. The technology awaits.

Let’s plug in and make it happen!

SR-37

SR-37

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