Francisco Shi is a fascinating man with a deep knowledge of his subject, and a passion for electrification.
I visited him at his workshop recently and was amazed at the facility and what it could produce. With a degree in electrical engineering and lengthy experience in manufacturing I believe that this man could make almost anything in his well-equipped work space.
Ever since he finished university in 1992, Francisco has wanted to build an electric car. His vision is to put motors on each wheel and have the vehicle go from 0 – 100 in 4 seconds. At that time the batteries weren’t good enough. He did play around with a Honda Civic, but ended up getting busy with other things.
After working for some time in China, he returned to Brisbane in 2017 to continue his vision of electrifying transport.
He designed and built an inline motor, gearbox and inverter which would fit between the back wheels of a vehicle. He wanted something that would go fast! He has developed a liquid-cooled power cell for fast discharge and recharge. A friend wants to use it for drag racing.
He tells me that this battery has one-third of the resistance of the batteries that Tesla uses and 10 times the cooling efficiency.
He is planning to fit these batteries into a chassis-like frame under the vehicle. I must admit it was hard to keep up with the technical specs once he got on a roll.
When he tested the battery – pushing it way beyond its expected specs – he had a fire extinguisher at the ready. He pulled 1000 amps out of 60 amp cells for over 90 seconds. Thankfully it did not explode. It reminds me of stories about Elon’s early days at Tesla.
He is working on fitting his system into a Pajero – a car he loves, with an amenable body shape for his motor and batteries. He is talking about a powerful beast – a 4WD with a range of 400 km (unloaded) and a towing capacity of 4.5 tonnes.
Once he has finished his prototype he is hoping to be able to supply kits for others to use. As an add on, a trailer could be attached which is also fitted with a battery – giving greater range and towing capacity.
He has a vision, a plan and clearly the equipment and smarts to carry it through. I am already planning to come back and visit Francisco and his creation when he is ready to show me the finished vehicle.
David Waterworth is a researcher and writer, a retired school teacher who continues to provoke thought through his writing. He divides his time between looking after his grandchildren and trying to make sure they have a planet to live on. He is long on Tesla.