RIP, Red Beastie

The Red Beastie has met it’s end……

What a horrid thing to read when I’m away from home and excited to catch my email via Wi Fi somewhere in Alaska! As I download and begin to open my EVDL fix of the day looking for uplifting EV stuff, I instead read that Dick Finley’s and my creation, Red Beastie, has been destroyed…ARGHHH! And the way it happened? Incredible!

Of course, my condolences go out to my friend Tony for the loss of more than one EV, his home, and all its damaged goods. Glad to hear he and his mom were away at the time and unharmed.

And so ends the life of the electric pickup that could :-( Today, with NiMH and LiIon making longer distance range possible in our electric conversions, a 120 mile-per-charge electric conversion doesn’t seem all that significant, but back in ‘97, Red Beastie created quite a buzz when it made it from Portland, OR to Seattle, WA and back, 440 total miles mostly at 60-65 mph speeds over varying terrain, with just four recharges during the trip! Back then, it took close to 2500 lbs. of lead, forty T-105 Trojan 6V wet cells to do the deed.

Somewhere floating out there in cyberspace, there’s my EVDL post all about that incredibly fun trip, with guest appearances from Father Time, Marko Mongillo, and Madman Rudman. Twin tow-behind gencarts converged along the I-5 freeway corridor to provide on-road charging power, one brought south towards Portland by the deadly duo, and one towed behind the Beastie on the first leg Marko and I took on our way towards Seattle. Tied together with multiple tangled cords and connectors, they provided 120 amp roadside recharges. My gencart was tame compared to Madman’s. Mine was powered by a chugging twin cylinder air-cooled Onan who’s spinning alternator gave just 120 vac output and fed a variac ‘Wayland-made’ charger. Madman’s cart consisted of a high speed aircraft alternator spun by a stressed-out liquid-cooled Geo Metro 3 banger with a bad muffler. The alternator was hooked into 3 or 4 assorted sci fi project type rectifying devices and outputted 100+ amps! The mid-point recharge extravaganza happened at radical EVer Pat Sweeney’s place, where his ‘Ugly Box’ 240 vac powered capacitor chargers teamed up with our gencarts to pump a stout 190 continuous amps amps into the massive 2500 lb. thirsty Beastie pack. I’m convinced this charging frenzy altered Rudman’s brain and was the genesis of today’s terrific Manzanita Micro PFC Charger line. Man oh man, how we could have used a pair of PFC50s (or even better, a pair of my PFC50X) !!

Today, a 500 lb. stack of admittedly expensive LiIon batteries, could not only match the range capacity of the Beastie’s 2500 lb. wet cell lead acid pack, they could exceed it. I imagine a LiIon powered Beastie type truck (well, it wouldn’t even qualify as a beast with a mere 500 lbs. of batteries) could do the ~185 mile distance between these two major west coast cities on a single charge without breaking a sweat.

80 mile jaunts into the rugged Columbia River Gorge, extended snow driving with its 3000+ watt electric heater blasting, towing a 16 ft. tandem wheel trailer loaded with the Heavy Metal Garden Tractor and White Zombie 45 miles to race at Woodburn, taking Dick’s widow Shirley and her feisty toy poodle ‘Peppy’ out for an evening to see Christmas lights….Ahhh, the memories. Now, Dick is gone, Shirley is gone, Peppy too, is gone, and full circle, so is the electric pickup that made them so happy. RIP Red Beastie, my old friend :-)

See Ya…….John Wayland

Red Beastie lives on at the Plasma Boy Racing video page; scroll to the thumbnail for the Ch. 2 news segment:

Editor’s note: The article “420 Miles in the Red Beastie” can be found at the following links:

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