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2007 EV Motor Controller Round-Up

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Posted 02-03-2009 at 11:04 AM by rbgrn

2007 is almost over so to wrap up the year, we've decided to make a chart of all the major motor controllers that were available for purchase in 2007. This should prove to be a good reference to people still planning their EV or others who are looking to upgrade. The types of controllers covered are for DC series-wound motors and AC motors. The major manufacturers this year are Alltrax, Cafe Electric, Curtis and Zapi. We searched for information on DC Power's controllers but either they are no longer in business or they have no working website anymore. Read more to see the chart!

As far as pure power goes, the Zilla series from Cafe Electric is still king. Boasting a peak power of 640kW, no other controller comes close to being able to touch it. On top of that, it can live re-wire between series and parallel configurations for multiple motors which makes for those crazy low quarter-mile times in the drag races.

Power isn't the only thing people are demanding now. Features like programmability, inclined-start, and many safety checks are becoming essential to adoption in a daily driver. The big feature people are starting to demand is regenerative braking, which is still missing from many controller models.

Pricing is left out as MSRPs just weren't available on many controller models.

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While Curtis and Alltrax controllers all well-established, less is known about the line of Zapi DC controllers. The H3 certainly is suitable for a quick EV with its 96kW and regenerative braking. Visiting the manufacturer site doesn't show much information on the product, so any feedback from a Zapi owner of the H2 or H3 would be appreciated.

All in all, it's mostly the same players it has been with most of the same products for the past few years. Curtis has demonstrated more programmability as opposed to models a few years ago and the Zillas now have 3 different voltage-range-based models for both the 1k and 2k to help with pricing.

Hopefully this chart will help you in your controller-purchasing decision. It looks as if EV tech may be making some major gains in the next year or two so with any luck, we'll have a much more feature-rich roundup in 2008 or 2009.
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Total Comments 7


  1. Old Comment
    Another company is http://www.kellycontroller.com/

    They have an impressive range of controllers, dc-dc convertors, contactors, throttles, etc. I am thinking of ordering one of their controllers for a Fiat 126 conversion, any one have any experiance with their products?

    Posted 12-21-2007 at 04:52 AM by gregsgarage gregsgarage is offline
  2. Old Comment
    rbgrn's Avatar
    Good find. I was not made aware of these before writing the article.

    Here are the series controllers: http://www.kellycontroller.com/mot/B...ontroller.html

    I thought KD72601 looked pretty good. It can do 72v, 600a (43.2kW) and has regen!

    Let us know how it all works out!
    Posted 12-21-2007 at 01:18 PM by rbgrn rbgrn is offline
  3. Old Comment
    rbgrn's Avatar
    Oh wait, that was for a permanent magnet motor. Doesn't do many people much good (most are series-wound.) No regen on series, huh? hmm..
    Posted 12-21-2007 at 01:21 PM by rbgrn rbgrn is offline
  4. Old Comment
    I am actually looking at using the PM controller with regen with a motor from http://www.agnimotors.com/home/. The Fiat 126 is a very light car, around 600kg. A reinforced version of this motor will be used, capable of 250 amps continious and 400 amps for 30 seconds, at 72 volts. It should have better performance than the original 700cc petrol engine. Will be ordering the parts after christmas.

    My understanding is that regen is a bad idea on a series wound motor. While there are some regen controllers availble they are targeted at forklifts where the voltages are lower. Remeber a series motor produces the same tourque at 300 amps at 12 volts as at 144 volts, the difference is speed and a fork lift doesn't require speed, just torque.
    Posted 12-22-2007 at 05:01 AM by gregsgarage gregsgarage is offline
  5. Old Comment
    BHall's Avatar
    This is great info! Thank you very much.

    Posted 12-22-2007 at 01:06 PM by BHall BHall is offline
  6. Old Comment
    Mannyman's Avatar
    Don't forget BelkTronix.
    He sells his controller as part of a complete system for $2K.
    120V Controller
    Isolated DC/DC Convertor
    Isolated PFC Charger
    Battery Management System (BMS)
    Throttle Integrator (PotBox)
    Main Fuse
    Main Contactor
    Vehicle Integrator

    No one else I could find comes close to the bang for buck.
    I had him upgrade mine to a 144V system from his standard 120V.
    Mine is 500 Amps (commuter), but I read he does 800Amps as well...
    Posted 12-28-2007 at 11:19 PM by Mannyman Mannyman is offline
  7. Old Comment

    Found Bit Torrent link for Curtis 1314 Control software
    Posted 03-15-2010 at 10:45 AM by billbobagns billbobagns is offline
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