There are two kinds of upgrades that can put your unique mark on your personal transportation vehicle (PTV): A style enhancement, such as custom seat covers or a rakish front-end cowl; and, secondly, a performance enhancement that delivers more useful (and pleasurable) performance, such as lithium batteries or conversion from a DC to an AC motor.
In the second category—and a DC to AC conversion—comes a new product from the Canadian company, SilverWolf Motors, based in Waterloo. Currently the conversion kit, tradename TEEKON™, is compatible with Club Car Graziano 10-spline transaxle. The company will be soon offering products compatible with E-Z-GO which come with Dana 19 spline transaxles.
The TEEKON™ is one of the newest of a family of power/performance upgrades using permanent magnet AC (PMAC) motors. I feature the TEEKON™ in this article, but you can research similar PMAC upgrades on the web that are compatible with Club Car and E-Z-GO models.
It’s about overcoming limitations
PTV upgrades are not all together about hardware and looks. It is also about a mental upgrade, signified by addressing your vehicle as a “car” rather than a “cart”. The change in mental perspective (by dropping the “t”) is not only a good thing for us, the consumer, but perhaps even more important for the dealer. A significant proportion of dealer income comes from service and installing add-on features. There is a clear incentive for dealers to embrace and promote vehicle upgrades that make sense.
SilverWolf’s TEEKON™ is an upgrade that makes sense. TEEKON™ will appeal to PTV and golf car owners whose vehicles have DC electric motors, quite possibly outperforming the newest product offerings from Club Car and E-Z-GO. Its performance advantages include:
- Higher speed;
- Greater torque;
- Longer range between charges
- Wireless performance selection and control.
Let’s look at these features more closely.
Higher speeds—getting there faster, sooner
The TEEKON™ has five, built-in speed settings, or “Profiles”, which SilverWolf characterizes as:
- “Turtle mode” for low speed;
- “Long Range Mode” designed to maximize range, by limiting speed, acceleration and torque;
- “Standard Mode” provides stock golf car performance levels;
- “Standard LSV” delivers greater speed up to 25 MPH; and
- “Sport Mode” delivers maximum speed and torque although it requires a waiver to activate.
Options for higher speed are also matched with greater acceleration. Together, speed and acceleration add up to a more pleasurable and exhilarating driving experience.
Another great feature is the customized, “on-the-fly” Bluetooth smartphone app, which allows you to easily change operating modes to fit the driving environment you may be facing. More about this feature below.
Greater torque—extending the vehicle’s hill-climbing capabilities
Not all gated communities are in the flatlands of Florida, so, if you are residing in hilly terrain of, say, western North Carolina. You will find the TEEKON™’s increased torque options a welcome upgrade. Groundskeepers and the turf maintenance crew may also benefit from a TEEKON™-equipped vehicle for greater load and towing capacity.
Advanced engineering provides a unique feature in torque generation in the TEEKON™. Specifically, TEEKON’s greater torque capabilities translates into significantly better acceleration, a smoother ride and reduced power fade.
Wireless performance selection and control
Performance selection and control, as well as system monitoring is at your fingertips through the Bluetooth smartphone app. (If you are not good at apps, be sure to take your eight year-old grandson or granddaughter along on the ride to help you out.)
What makes the TEEKON™ better?
The TEEKON™ gets this better performance through three key components: A 12 hp permanent magnet AC motor, the 840 amp super large capacity controller, and smartphone app allowing on-the-fly programming changes and system monitoring.
Advantages of the permanent magnet motor
The permanent magnet AC motor (PMAC) is a clear upgrade from conventional DC and AC induction motors. First, permanent magnet motors are more efficient. Greater efficiency is derived from the fact that a PMAC creates its own magnetic field, derived from the rare earth magnets used in them.
Once magnetized, a rare earth magnet remains magnetized and does not require re-magnetizing via an electric current, as do the magnets in conventional electric motors. This reduces drain on the battery pack, a factor of some significance, given the stop-start technology of the typical golf car-type vehicle. In addition, the PMAC avoids line loss across the copper windings which is encountered with the re-magnetizing requirement of the conventional electric motor.
Two additional advantages: The PMAC motor is smaller and much lighter than the conventional AC (or DC) motor, thus taking up less space on the vehicle and the weight factor lending to greater distance per charge.
The TEEKON™ 840 amp controller
The controller has a very high peak rating of 840 amps, as noted. This directly relates to the extra power and speed the system provides. The relationship between the motor and battery voltage is critical to high performance, and it is the controller that regulates this relationship.
Once the type of motor and battery voltage has been determined the current or power rating of the controller needs to be considered. This is based on the size and weight of the vehicle (including the load), the speed the vehicle needs to move at, and the environment in which the vehicle is intended to operate.
In a golf car-type vehicle we are dealing mostly with 48 volt battery packs, with some models, primarily utility vehicles and off-road electrics, at 72 volts.
The TEEKON™ 840 amp controller is programmed to optimize the battery/motor relationship across a variety of operating conditions. Even better, as operational conditions change, or are anticipated, you are put in control of the adjustments.
User interface with the TEEKON™ system
In the past, modifications to vehicle performance characteristics usually required a visit to the local dealer, unless you happened to be an electrical engineer or one of the rare breed of DIYers with a scientific bent.
In the case of the TEEKON™ system, a unique component is the newly added Bluetooth smartphone app, noted above, which utilizes the built-in operational “Profile Settings”. These settings were listed above and are essentially speed settings. With this app drivers can easily switch between individual profiles, optimized for different driving environments.
But you can do more by programming your own preferences. Given the fact that there are probably an infinite number of driving environments and driver predilections, the TEEKON™ offers even more individual choices.
Along with the pre-set Modes there is an “Advanced Setting Mode” button at the bottom of Settings Screen. In this Mode there are 6 sliders that can be adjusted to change the performance of the Vehicle. The new settings can then be saved as a New Mode with a new name.
The image above indicates the sliders you can choose from. This will appear on your smartphone, having downloaded the app. (Note in particular the “Maximum Speed” and “Power Output” sliders through which you can adjust for the speed and torque you want and need.)
What can you expect in better performance metrics?
SilverWolf claims three areas of performance upgrades over your DC- or AC induction-powered vehicle, plus easy installation:
- 20% greater distance, based on tests against the Club Car, DC-powered Precedent/Onward;
- 56% more speed and acceleration;
- 60% less weight than alternative AC conversion kits;
- Greater torque when needed via on-the-fly adjustments through Bluetooth connected smartphone app;
- Plug ‘n Play installation through easy connection to existing wiring harness.
Better performance is also the result of a fully-integrated system. Other options on the market offer somewhat piecemeal conversion; that is for example, swapping out either the motor or the controller, whereas the TEEKON™ offers both, assuring better efficiency, smoother operation, and better communication between the two.
Plug ‘n Play from the dealer’s perspective
The package is also quite affordable, coming in at an MSRP of just under $2,000 but dealer pricing is available.
Finally, for those interested in an excellent technical paper on permanent magnet motors, here is a link that gets you to it: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2214993715000032 . The paper also discusses research on rare earth substitutes.
Contact the Author: Steve Metzger at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or check out our website at www.smallvehicleresource.com, where you will find an extensive database of vehicle models and can make side-by-side comparisons of vehicles based on a full set of specifications.