If you’re like most people, you wake up most mornings and immediately check your Telex machine to see if there’s been any announcements that someone has finally built an open-wheeled formula race car that is powered by the motor from a washing machine. Most mornings end in bitter disappointment, with no washer-powered racer news and just raw, uncut rage to fill the hole. Until now. Yes, your long nightmare is over, thanks to the team of Craft-Bamboo Racing and Haier Washing Machines, who have joined forces to build the first formula car with a motor from a washing machine.
It shouldn’t surprise you that the motors used in these washers are electric, not gasoline-powered, so this car is an all-electric race car. Hong Kong-based Craft Bamboo developed the Formula Haier car around the direct-drive washing machine motor, which makes 660 W of power (that’s about 0.9 horsepower, pretty damn good for a washing machine) and an impressive 45 nM/33 lb-ft of torque.
That’s a good bit less than most race cars make, but it’s enough to do something with. As you can guess, weight savings and good aerodynamics are important when you’re dealing with a powerplant with the power of 80 per cent of a single horse, but the decent (again, for a washing machine) torque numbers do help.
Craft-Bamboo made an informative video showing how they did it:
As you can see in the video, the motor, normally mounted directly to the washing machine’s drum to eliminate the need for belts, is a remarkably small unit, about the size of a thick frisbee.
Instead of running the motor on its normal 230V AC wall power, it’s being run from a large 12V battery, which is then converted to single-phase AC, and then to a motor controller unit.
They seem to have adapted their existing Renault gearbox for this application, too. No mention is made of top speed or acceleration or range, but I wouldn’t expect any of those numbers to be particularly impressive, outside of the context that the car is powered by an appliance.
I’m excited to see this thing in action! I hope eventually this merges into its own Formula Appliance series, so I can finally stick that blender motor into that old Formula Vee car I saw on Craigslist.