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 Machine, who have joined forces to build the first formula car with a motor from a washing machine.
Haier is a Chinese appliance company, and, while I originally didn’t think we got them in America, commenters have scolded me and reminded me that, oh, yes, we do, and 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 percent 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.