On the 26th day of April 1995 the Patent Office finally granted an amended specification for Nelson's electric vehicle cartridge refueling system. From the first point of filing in November of 1990 it had taken 5 years and 5 months to achieve a certificate. This system was the backbone of the racing vehicle design conceived in 1990 which design developed through several scale models to become a physical reality on display at Beaulieu in 1993.
See the development build stage links below:
the original (historic first) battery cartridge system of the 1990s, the
latest cartridge refueling systems have come a long way. The original
system illustrated above was suitable for cars which had the height to
incorporate a tall loading servo, such as the BE1. This was replaced
with a flat-pack electric motor servo for a rover-metro conversion
demonstrator (chassis still available for research partners
For the future, it is necessary to standardize battery cartridges for compatibility, or other vehicles may not share system components. BE1, BE2 and BE3 are capable of utilizing the same cartridge pictured above. This cartridge may be configured for many different voltages and storage medium. BE1 was designed to use lead-acid batteries to keep costs down. The total development cost of the BE1 was in the region of £39,000, including a dedicated charger. A small price to pay for a world record contender that reached 90 mph using just 20kW motors - slightly strained, and eventually made it to 160mph with more power!
During the development of the BE2 the design bounced from Lead-Acid to Nickel-Cadmium, then quickly to Nickel-Metal-Hydride. The move to NiMh still meant that the car needed a bigger cartridge to supply the increasingly more powerful motors, and this is seen in the BE2 design drawings from 1996/7 below.
The BE1 EV battery cartridge exchange system: end view showing
one NiCd battery cartridge and one load servo directly above.
The BE2 was designed for NiCd and NiMh batteries, so needed a large volume
to store sufficient power, compared to Lithium, which also increased the frontal area of the
car - compared to the BE3 below - which is a much more compact design.
Note also, the offset tracks of the BE2 above.
The BE3 racing car can refuel in around 2 minutes by expelling one battery cartridge
and replacing it with another. It does not need a complicated service station to
do this. It does it with built-in load servos - so that is can turn around on the
Salt Flats at Bonneville, completely recharged ready for the best of three runs.
Don't you wish your EV could do that? It does not use the servo cartridge loading
system seen in either the BE1 or BE2 designs. Formula E racing would be much faster
using battery cartridge exchange during pit stops.
The new Lithium Polymer cells and the fall in price have changed the game. The same volume cartridge will now propel the BE3 seen below at speeds of 350+mph, so that the $ per mph ratio will improve significantly. By way of example, many solar powered electric cars use Worley Polymer cells now offering (190Wh/kg).
The Ecostar team are looking for corporate sponsors and collaborative research partners. If your company or academic organisation would like work with our group on the BE3 project, the new management team would like to hear from you.
Contact us: or phone UK:
+44 (0) 1323 831727
+44 (0) 7842 607865
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The content of this website is copyright © 1991 and 2013 Electrick Publications. All rights reserved. The bluebird logo and name Bluebird and Blue Max are trademarks. The BE2 and BE3 vehicle shape and configuration are registered designs ®. All other trademarks are hereby acknowledged. Max Energy Limited is an educational charity.