Under the Hood
OwnerJamieson DuRette
LocationBel Air, Maryland United States map
Web/EmailWebPage email image
Vehicle1968 Chevrolet El Camino
This is "Baby", my daily driver (as long as
there is not too much snow). I wanted this
model el Camino since I was a teen, and built
this in order to have a practical muscle car
for a short (5 mile) commute, as well as a
project that my boys and I could work on
I purchased the car from San Carlos, CA in
October 2014 and was driving it by November
2017. I have tweaked a few things here and
there, but it has definitely met my
expectations for a street-legal, daily-
driveable, electric muscle car.
The only thing stock on this car is the body,
frame, and front/side windows.
MotorNetgain Warp 9 and TransWarp 9 Series Wound DC
Both motors and the alignment plate and
coupler that allows them to be tandem-
connected were purchased through LoneStar
Performance EV out of Houston, TX. The
mounting frame was fabricated out of 2" Steel
Angle and various parts that I had in the
DrivetrainThere is no transmission. From the dual
Warp 9 (Transwarp 9) motors, it uses a two-
driveshaft to go to a Quick Performance 9"
end with 3.0 gears and 31-spline axles.
ControllerManzanita Micro Zilla Z2K EHV
Purchased used from a fellow DIY EV enthusiast
in England, this Zilla controller (with
hariball) started off as just a Z2K HV. I sent
it to the fine folks at Manzanita MIcro (Rich
Rudman is awesome!) for upgrading to EHV and
system check. It can definitely dish out the
power needed to move this 4500-lb car down the
Batteries96 LG Chem Modules from 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, 396.00 Volt, Lithium-Polymer
I ordered 18 LG Chem battery modules from EV
West and arranged them in three parallel
strings of six modules. Each module has 16
cells in it and weigh about 40 lbs. The entire
pack is capable of 2250 Amps and approx 45kWh,
providing a 90-mile range.
An important part of the system is the three
Orion BMS, each one balancing the cells for
one string. They keep the cell voltage to
within +/- 5mV while charging and discharging.
System Voltage400 Volts
Charger Dual Thunderstruck TSM2500
The Fine folks at Thunderstruck EV were a huge
help in figuring out my charging requirements.
The battery charging and discharging is
controlled via an EVCC (Elctric Vehicle Charge
Controller), which is part of the dual TSM2500
charger kit. The J1772 Charging port is tucked
behind the original gas filler opening.
HeaterSeat Heater (aftermarket) only.
DC/DC ConverterMeanwell HLG600H-15A
I won't say much about the original two DC/DC
converters aside from: After the first broke a
clip and shorted out two capacitors (big bang
and smoke), the vendor replaced it at no
charge, but then the second one stopped
working (and at my first drag race, no less!).
I swapped it out on the advice of John Wayland
(Yes, THE John Wayland - builder of White
Zombie) for a Meanwell HLG600H-15A unit which
has been working FLAWLESSLY ever since. I will
be adding a relay to only connect the output
to the battery when the ignition is on in
order to keep the system from slowly draining
the 12V accessory battery.
InstrumentationSpeedHut GPS Speedometer/Tachometer combo, and
4-gauge combo for 12V battery level,
Controller temp, Motor temp, and Motor Amps.
I also use the Torque App running on a Galaxy
7 Tab 2, mounted on the center console, to
keep an eye on the pack voltage and high/low
cell levels.
Top Speed135 MPH (217 KPH)
Estimated top speed based upon 5000 RPM redline
of motors and gear ratio of rear end.
Acceleration0-60 in 4.75 on pavement with cold street tires.
It ran a 13.2 quarter at 99 MPH on the "normal"
mode (low power) in the fall of 2018.
In "boost" mode, it can smoke the tires easily
and acceleration is even better.
Range90 Miles (144 Kilometers)
I usually drive around 11 miles round trip to
work each day, and will normally charge it up
Sundays and Wednesdays. Unless I abuse the
mode or really accelerate hard a lot.
Watt Hours/Mile500 Wh/Mile
The easiest way I can calculate its efficiency
is that the full charge (396V) drops by about
1V per mile driven around town. Above 55 MPH
it reduces efficiency, but since my lowest
voltage limitation is 300V, I estimate
500mWhr/mile from a 45KW pack.
EV Miles
Current:1,500 Miles (2,413 Kilometers)
    As of 3/8/2019
Seating CapacityTwo people, but I am adding jump seats in the
back for my boys to ride.
It is a pickup, so it can haul more stuff!
Curb Weight4,500 Pounds (2,045 Kilograms)
Tech inspection at the Street Outlaws Daily
Driver Competition (the guy was pretty
impressed) allowed me to get an accurate curb
weight of "Baby". Yep, she heavy.
TiresCooper Cobra GT street radials
Conversion Time3 years to initial driveability, 4 years to full
range and power capacity. Still tweaking it, so
when does it ever really end?
Conversion Cost$33k (give or take)
Here is the breakdown:
$5k for the car and shipping
$4.5k for the motors and alignment plates
$1.5k for the rear diff
$2.5k for the controller (secondhand) and
$3.5k for the BMS systems
$1.5k for the converters (old and new)
$12k for the batteries
$2.5k for suspension, bodywork, wiring,
hardware, driveshafts, etc.
Additional FeaturesThe front suspension is a UMI system that uses the original spindles
but drops the front by 1.5" while improving the caster/camber angles.
The seats (donated by my nephew) are electrically adjustable bucket
seats from a 1985 Porsche 944.
The front dash has a set of solar panels on it to help charge the 12V
battery while it is parked or running.
I upgraded to power windows and used 2010 Camaro mirrors (designing
and 3D printing custom mounting brackets in the process).
The center console uses a B&M Shift handle for an automatic
transmission, but effectively only controls three rocker switches to
select between Reverse, Forward (normal), and Boost
I could not have completed this eccentric creation without the love,
patience and support of my amazing wife, Dawn M. DuRette.
I am also proud of Alex, my son, for sticking with me as we took
apart and converted my car into what I had envisioned. He will be the
first of my boys to drive it. Someday.

code by jerry