Students at a high school just north of the Canadian border are in the process of turning an ‘89 Toyota pickup with a blown engine into a drag racing EV.
The lucky kids at Delta Secondary School of Ladner, BC have been working on the project for two years, and automotive instructor Casey Mynott says it could be ready to race in as little as four weeks.
“We started with the idea of a combustion engine racer like all other schools,” said Mynott. It’s true: many schools in the Vancouver area have drag racing programs to teach kids about technology and racing safety. Delta’s, however, is battery powered. “After seeing some videos on YouTube, I got the idea for a very different electric version. I presented my findings to the students and the project that is currently running today ensued.”
The students went wild for the project, as most of them had never seen let alone worked on an electric vehicle. “Students are totally blown away when they see under the hood,” Mynott said. “They are equally blown away to watch the rear tires move with no noise.”
Mynott’s team got most of the drivetrain from sponsors, including the DC motor that couples directly to a custom-built aluminum driveshaft. In the back are 20 lead-acid AGM batteries providing 240 volts of power. The batteries are ideal for drag racing because they allow for deep discharges but also put out lots of amps right off the bat. “We may increase this in the future but 240 volts is a starting point,” Mynott said.
As far as mileage is concerned, the truck is tuned for racing, not range. “Based on our current setup, the trucks 60 foot time should be very quick, and do the quarter mile in under 14 seconds,” Mynott said. “We should have about a 40 mile range driving normally. But, our goal is to race so this decreases the range of the vehicle. Until we do some testing we will not know the actual numbers.”
A 14 second quarter mile isn’t going to break any records, but it’s just a starting point. “Race projects are never finished,” Mynott said. “They are an exercise in team building and continued revision.” In the future, the team will look at different batteries and a dual motor setup. “If we break something, like other drag racers out on the track, we will enjoy the adventure of the repairs and continued experience of pushing in a different direction,” Mynott said.
Photos: Casey Mynott