MidNite Solar's Electric Car - In the Beginning
MidNite Solar displayed a revolutionary inverter system at Solar Power International 2016, the B17.
It was received as one of the most innovative inverter systems yet devised. (Beta systems will be
available in 2019.) David Katz, a respected engineer in the solar industry suggested it would be
awesome if some of the B17 slots could accept lithium batteries as well as inverter/charger and
MPPT controller power modules.
David and I have been friends since the early 1990’s and I am well aware that when David
has an idea, you are best to listen. I should mention the MidNite KID came out of a
conversation I had with David years ago. David has great insight into everything solar.
MidNite has a large engineering department.
In 2017 the engineers were preoccupied on other systems to work
much on the B17 battery. In 2018 we started taking it very seriously moving many people to this project.
Bob Quarterman, a mechanical and electrical engineer as well as a race car designer/driver became the
mechanical guy while Scott Payne, a former OutBack owner and electrical engineer volunteered to be the
We thought about adapting the B17 module slots to accept Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries. After analyzing
all the parameters it was decided the best option was to create a battery pack that would reside underneath
the B17. The size and design of the battery pack will match the style of the B17 Inverter System. In keeping
with the B17 theme, we will have hot swappable modules with round analog meters just like the B17 inverter system.
One feature lacking on most lithium batteries is communications. We are adding that too and while at it,
building in a fuel gauge. Fuel gauges for lithium batteries are tricky due to the relatively flat voltage
from full to almost empty. We will also add a battery health status indicator so the user will know what
shape the batteries are in. That is another difficult element to get right.
To showcase our new battery system we’ve decided to take an old 57 T-Bird and completely restore it to
a show piece powered by MidNite Solar’s Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries. The car came to us with no
glass or gauges or interior, it just had the rusty horrible sheet metal. We had the car media
blasted removing all the bondo and fiberglass patches. Here are a few pictures of some of the rust.