Michael Tyrannous (yes, the middle name is real) Kadie is a man with a dream: to make a living spending time on stuff he’s good at, and that includes designing, building, and driving really fast electric cars. His favorite creation, affectionately known as “T-Rex,” recently put on an impressive display of EV performance, by beating a Chevy Nova dragster in the 1/4-mile (check out the video after the break).
But there’s more to this story than just a drag race: according to Mr. Kadie, T-Rex has been his daily driver since 2006. (He even scored one of California’s coveted “white” carpool stickers, awarded to EVs only.) The San Diego-based engineer works with SSI-Racing, which is bringing several electric vehicles to market.
Building the Dream
On the SSI Racing website, Mr. Kadie explains why he started building T-Rex: “Battery technology had advanced to the point where it was practical to build my dream car. So I cashed out of a good job and began pursuing green technologies. I spent the next several months finding the sexiest classic American muscle car reproduction, going to school, talking to everyone I could, anywhere in the world, and doing a whole lot of math. Thus 2SSIC was born…We set a world record on our first time on a drag strip and haven’t looked back since!”
T-Rex, also known as “2SSIC”, which stands for Simple Solutions Inclusive Car Number 2, is based on a Shelby Daytona Cobra Type 65 Coupe reproduction built by Factory Five. Using a reproduction, or “kit car,” chassis allows the EV builder to focus on the details of batteries and electric motors, while still achieving the desireable good looks of a popular classic car. Quite a few of these cars have another benefit for EV builders: their light weight. (Vintage Porsches are a popular example).
T-Rex is powered by a NetGain motor, utilizes a Zilla motor controller, and an Air-Ride suspension. The battery pack is made up of 36-Volt tool batteries, and a custom battery management system. When we saw the car, it was configured for drag racing, with a smaller, 40-mile battery pack. However, a larger, 100-mile-range pack is its normal setup. Its curb weight with the larger pack is 2,050 pounds.
According to Mr. Kadie, T-Rex boasts a top drag speed of 140 MPH, and holds three (unspecified) world records. He says that the best car he ever beat was a classic, supercharged Pontiac GTO, by a margin of 3/100 of a second.
T-Rex was an entrant in the Progressive Automotive X-Prize, and the design was approved by X-Prize officials for competition. Unfortunately, SSI-Racing had to withdraw from the competition, for unspecified reasons. However, being a part of the competition provided SSI-Racing with invaluable publicity.
SSI-Racing has appeared in numerous media, including its first movie appearance in What is the Electric Car, a new feature length documentary which will trace the early history of EVs, and continue forward 100 years later, to follow the re-birth of an entire industry. Other media appearances have included four episodes of the TV show Electrified, Supercars Exposed on the SPEED Channel, and a New York Times article about electric drag racing.
Steve Puma is Director of Business Development for SABA Motors, and a sustainability writer/consultant. His work focuses (mostly) on clean transportation, including Plug-In Electric Vehicles, something he is very passionate about.
Steve holds an MBA in Sustainable Management from Presidio Graduate School and a BA in Computer Science from Rutgers University. You can learn more about Steve by reading his blog, or following his tweets.