Puyallup Speaker Spotlight: Michael Paul Holmes, Electric Vehicle Expert

Reader Contribution by Erica Binns

Get to know Michael Paul Holmes of Paul & Sabrina’s EV Stuff.

What are you going to speak about at the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR?

I’m going to talk about how to build a home-made 144v 500amp motor controller for an electric car starting with a kit. There will also be a demonstration of a completed controller. It will be in on Sunday morning at 11 a.m. on the Mitsubishi stage.

What are you most looking forward to sharing with FAIR attendees?

I’m most looking forward to building people’s confidence so that they will go home and make their own electric motor controller, WAY CHEAP, but with no compromises. They will see how a controller can be assembled with only basic soldering skills.

What are you most looking forward to at the FAIR?

I can’t wait to meet Ben Nelson in person! I’ve known him since 2008 through ecomodder, and he’s one of my best friends.

Tell us about your background with your particular topic.

I started as a substitute teacher. In December 2008, it got really snowy… and I got really bored! I decided that there needed to be a cheap freeway capable motor controller for electric cars, since that was one of the largest expenses in doing an electric vehicle conversion. I had already done an EV conversion for around $750 (excluding the cost of batteries), but I had to settle for a very wimpy controller. My top speed was around 30 mph. So, I first made a 72v 40amp controller that I tested on my electric bike. Then I scaled it up to a 144v 500amp controller. The dang thing blew up. At this point, there were quite a few people reading about my progress at ecomodder.com. Some professionals stepped in and cleaned up the schematic and firmware. The Open Revolt open source motor controller project was born. This time, the thing really worked. I put a kit together so people could just assemble it without worrying about precision drilling or milling. The oldest one has been running for almost 2 years now in Phoenix, AZ.

Why should fairgoers attend your presentation?

Have you driven past a gas station recently?! Gas is expensive! You can convert your car to electric, with a top speed of around 80 mph for relatively little money. The controller, one of the most expensive components in a conversion, generally starts around $1500. Come find out how to make it dramatically cheaper yourself.

What advice do you have for attendees?

You are going to get some tools to allow yourselves to live MOSTLY fossil fuel free. Be brave! Go home and really try some of the things that you see at the fair. It can change your whole life for the better.

If you were stranded on a deserted island and could have only one thing, what would you choose?

I would have a cell phone that was worth $1,000,000. Then I’d call for help with the phone, and then hawk it once I got off the island.

Thanks, Paul! We’ll see you at the FAIR!