|   Blog, Module04 - Engine Module, WIKISPEED News, WIKISPEED Shop & Manufacturing   |   12 Comments


AWESOME UPDATE:  On Sunday, February 15,  we produced another running engine module!  These calls for help got us the velocity to the backlog we needed to develop a solution.  We have a functioning path forward and have resumed producing running engine modules, but still need your help leaning that process to accelerate it and further improve efficiency.

EVEN MORE AWESOME UPDATE:  February 26th video of Milo iterating the running engine module with a wire harness extension prototype.

We have encountered a block in our engine module development and need your help to continue.

Sadly, we’ve failed to deliver a car a running engine since car 002. Our only successful customer deliveries since have been to groups that opted not to purchase an engine module.  We haven’t been able to get stable and durable running engines in any of our cars since car number 002. Car number 002 was built by an AWESOME ASE certified master mechanic with experience at Mercedes Benz and with custom fabrication. With that success, we began taking customer orders with him as foreman of our prototype assembly line. Shortly after, he left Team WIKISPEED to found his own auto-repair shop in his home town, a dream he’d had since childhood.

Since then, we’ve hired Craigslist mechanics, tested 3 types of electric motor modules, partnered with an engine company, had the owner of an engine control system company spend one month dedicated to our engine module development, even had a group of 200 engineers at a missile systems company work on one car with just one engine module for 5 days straight with a craigslist mechanic at a workshop, and the best we’ve gotten is a rough idle or 30 seconds of engine response.

In the meantime we’ve shown we can do almost anything with aluminum and carbon fiber, rapidly iterating suspension/interior/aeroshell/safety modules for all of our customer cars in the queue. But that isn’t enough for customer deliveries.

Team WIKISPEED needs to do something radically different or 0) sink this project and kill the company.
1) Drain all remaining funds to switch to a Front engine, Front wheel drive design, and incorporate the entire drive-train un-modified from used vehicles (must be used as new FF drive trains are not sold complete and running). est $5,000 per engine module but many sprints to convert all modules to accept FF without modification to the drive train.
2) Raise funds and switch to a Chevrolet LS3 “connect and cruise” crate engine. This is the only crate engine currently on the market that is delivered with all electronics connected and a matching key. We don’t have enough money left to do this without raising funds. There is risk in that we’d have to learn how to work with the LS3. est $15,000 per engine module.
3) Raise funds and deliver each car in turn to an electric vehicle conversion shop, at a price higher than the LS3. We don’t have enough money left to do this without raising funds. Lowest risk, needs the most money. est $20,000 by the time they are done, turn-key, per engine module if ~100mi range.
4) Raise funds and hire an ASE certified master mechanic, and appoint them head of engine module fabrication. We likely don’t have enough funds to make a tempting offer without raising funds. Actual amount unknown.
5) Write in an idea here, folks.

How can you help?
1) Join the Team and help us swarm to knock out this block.
2) Share this post to spread the word to as many people as possible.
3) Donate $10 to help fund engine module development.
4) Leave us a comment giving us a high five or encouraging words to cheer us on!

Help us do AWESOME and change the world for the better

  • Jacob Boxx | Aug 8, 2016 at 3:49 AM

    You could try and run a Honda d series motor for an even greater efficiency I know the crx hf model achieved around 50 on the highway.

  • Dave Cramer | Mar 19, 2015 at 12:57 PM

    I’m unsure as to what doesn’t work ? You indicate that you have only been able to get a rough idle or 30 seconds of engine response ? Is this because you don’t have an ECU ?

    If so there are a few open source ones that already will run an engine.

    • Chris Wallace | Mar 19, 2015 at 5:01 PM


      Thanks so much for your interest in the project! We were able to overcome this block very quickly. After making our work on this block publicly visible, everyone swarmed to remove the block. (Such an amazingly AWESOME team of people!)

      One issue was we did not have matching pairs of ECU’s and keys for the Honda Civic R18 engines we are using. There were also a few issues with spliced wires not being reliable enough to get consistent performance. We now have a used Honda Civic purchased by Scrum Inc which will allow us to reprogram the ECU/key pairs at a Honda dealership. We’ve also been iterating on sourcing and/or manufacturing wire harness connectors to keep from having to splice into the existing wire harness. Some pretty good progress has been made here but we’re still looking for a few specific connectors for the ignition wires. If anyone want’s to help us knock out this block, I’ll personally buy you a big, giant, two hands required beer!

      As far as open source ECU’s go, Fred Cooke of FreeEMS spent a few incredibly productive weeks in the Lynnwood shop adapting his board to the Honda R18 engine in Car #001. It was spectacular! We are seeking ways now to continue development of Fred’s awesome work.

      • Fred | Jun 22, 2016 at 11:23 AM

        Chris, I’d love for you guys to continue that or even just to facilitate in my continuing it from afar! Last I heard the hardware that I built in those incredibly productive few weeks was damaged, but I don’t know how badly, and haven’t been able to get pictures of it or a status report. If you can furnish me with that, that’d be splendid. As I understand it, a manual transmission was swapped into the car we worked on. That should have been enough to drive on the system, if it were in a servicable condition. The tune was rough, but probably good enough to drive on. Cheers! Fred.

    • Sean Keys | Feb 25, 2016 at 1:12 AM

  • charles | Feb 5, 2015 at 2:03 PM

    Have you given any thought to a hydraulic system? Using a gas engine to efficiently create pressure using a variable displacement pump. Each wheel could have its own hydraulic motor creating a four wheel drive. The engine can be located anywhere and smaller in size. It can also run at constant speed ranges increasing efficiency. I don’t know if this idea will be of use to you, but truly hope it can help. I send my best wishes to your success!

    • Chris Wallace | Feb 10, 2015 at 4:28 PM


      Thanks for the AWESOME comment. I am definitely not the team expert on the engine module. However, I have read that Marcin Jakubowski’s group, Open Source Ecology, is working on adapting the WIKISPEED car to use their Power Cube, which is a hydraulic motor run by a small gas powered engine. I was under the impression that hydraulic motors lack the efficiency we can get from a gas, electric, or hybrid engine, but that shouldn’t stop anyone on the team from developing an awesome prototype to validate the idea!


  • Urs Riggenbach | Jan 29, 2015 at 11:36 AM

    At your stage in development, have you considered raising investment? Your company could continue to develop WIKISPEED in open source, but leapfrog the technology quickly.
    Then setup local workshops across the US and the rest of the world where people can come in and build their own cars, essentially making revenue off the manufactoring process of the car, not the development of the technology itself.
    This kind of model has been demonstrated by Local Motors, and could be taken to the next level with the open source paradigm.

    Urs Riggenbach
    GoSol – Solar Energy for All

    • Chris Wallace | Feb 11, 2015 at 8:20 PM


      Thanks so much for your comment and insight! Currently, WIKISPEED is almost completely funded by people donating $10 a month through the PayPal link on the website. We have just entered the Local Motors ARPA-E LITECAR Challenge with a top prize of $60,000. Do you have any specific suggestions or ideas we may try?


  • Miguel Angel Rivera | Jan 9, 2015 at 12:44 PM

    Hi, my name is Miguel Rivera from Perú. I don’t know how much cost to hire a mechanic there in United States. But here in peru , we have very good quality mechanical , mechanical experts , obviously they charge very very comfortable to develop your proyect, if you send someone to investigate professional or technical people could reduce costs and get the same results. I’m happy to share with you this information cause i love the idea to create things. 🙂 GO AHEAD!! 😉

    • Chris Wallace | Jan 9, 2015 at 4:47 PM


      Thank you for this AWESOME comment! I would encourage you to join Team WIKISPEED here, This will get you access to our Google Group, Scrum board, weekly Standups, and other resources the team uses to communicate. I’ve shared your comment with the team. We hope to see you soon!

      Chris Wallace

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