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Old 06-28-2007, 08:45 PM   #1
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electric vehicle (bike/motorcycle) on the cheap?

Ok, I should probably discuss this here even though it is about bikes/motorcycles, the most interesting thing is the electric aspect IMHO.

I've been looking for "affordable" electric options.

I saw this quick and dirty motorcycle conversion:
http://www.marquecornblatt.com/art/cycle.html

And I says to myself "That looks way easy". But you start pricing it out and it gets expensive, the PERM 132 is $895 (just magnets and wire, no?!?) or kits up to $2300 ( http://www.electricmotorsport.com/PARTS/parts.htm ). The junker bike is the cheap part

Even an electric bicycle is a bit on the expensive side, costing upwards of $1000. I've seen kits on ebay but can't see spending $400 on them since I still need a lot more battery (and maybe a bicycle trailer for the batteries).

And neither of these can get me to work and back (though the gomi bike batteries might just be tired).

My "requirements" are:
1. it has to schlep me 50 miles a day without too much physical effort.
2. Recharge overnight
3. be able to go 25mph if it's an electric bike, 50mph if it is an electric motorcycle.
4. would like to invest about $150 for ebicycle, $500 for emotorcycle1. Only looking for motor/batteries/controller options, not assembled vehicles or things mechanical/legal. I expect to do a lot of stuff myself to make those numbers of course.

So where do I start if I'm on a tight budget?
Can one locate and recondition used alarm system/sump pump/trolling batteries? Is there a better option?
Do they have a "wind your own" motor kit or are there other used motors available that are suitable and in surplus?
Are there simple controllers? I could probably live with full throttle only if it doesn't break stuff.

I'm sure folks have spent a lot of time trying to get to electric AND getting the cost down. Got any ideas you are willing to share?
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Old 06-29-2007, 02:30 AM   #2
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Stop searching - 50 miles is unobtainable with cheep parts and really hard with the best parts.
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Old 06-29-2007, 03:27 AM   #3
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Don't listen to JanGeo Be resourceful and you may be able to pull this off.

The most important step in being resourceful is finding a way to recharge, or partially recharge, while at work. That will cut cost & weight by reducing the battery pack size requirement.

Check this EV Album entry: http://www.austinev.org/evalbum/1207

- top speed 30 mph
- range 80 miles (!) though he doesn't say at what average speed or to what depth of discharge
- cost $670 (may be $CDN - guy lives in Thunder Bay, Ontario)

Note that $100 of that was for a mountain bike; you can get those parts for free if you scrounge. $350 was for the hub motor; you can get used hub motor kits for less if you're willing to put in the eBay time & effort.

Note also that his range is with no pedalling (there aren't any on his design). You can reasonably expect to double an e-bike's range by supplying a modest amount of muscle power.

Maybe you could even improve the aesthetics
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Old 06-29-2007, 05:19 AM   #4
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Thanks for the link, he didnt exactly beat the price curve, but interesting to know how fast and far he is going. I'd have to have pedals or license it as a motorcycle/scooter, I can imagine what the DMV would say

P.S. what's wrong with the esthetics? They follow the function pretty well IMHO.
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Old 06-29-2007, 07:13 AM   #5
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With 16lbs batteries and a 450 watt motor he has to be walking up hills and the capacity of those batteries has to be pretty low like 15ah since lead typically runs about 1ah per pound and gels are lower output. Definately an over night charge - and unless I really underestiminate the rolling resistance of those wheels to get 80 miles at 20 mph is 4 hours so he is running 4 amps at 36 volts or 144 watts x 80% eff. to the wheel - not a hill climber!!

See the problem is energy density - a gallon of gas has about 9kwh of usable energy with a 25% efficient ICE and a battery made of lead would weigh about 600lbs or more to carry the same energy. Now if EEStor gets their ultracap available then you can have 15kwh of energy in under 100lbs.
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Old 06-29-2007, 08:13 AM   #6
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Could you recharge at work?
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Old 06-29-2007, 09:57 AM   #7
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I considered that. If I make the battery holder into one of those little briefcase dolly's (like you see people schlepping their laptops and ataches on) and figure out how to drag it and the batteries behind the bike, maybe. It wouldn't hurt if the batteries actually LOOKED like an atache' on a dolly

This is gonna be cheap so it's gonna be big and heavy.

I also considered something like a cox sized engine/generator but nahh.
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Old 06-29-2007, 11:27 AM   #8
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The ultimate series hybrid! A dinky little engine running 24 hours per day to charge a battery that covers your commute...

I hope you come up with something that works well for you.
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Old 06-29-2007, 11:43 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JanGeo View Post
to get 80 miles at 20 mph is 4 hours so he is running 4 amps at 36 volts or 144 watts x 80% eff. to the wheel - not a hill climber!!
Yeah, but do it with pedals and you could reduce the battery pack by 50% (which also reduces weight and makes the bike more efficient) ... or leave it as-is and double the range. Climbing moderate hills with moderate pedalling would be no sweat, literally.

I'd love to see someone build an e-bike version of this.
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Old 06-29-2007, 02:26 PM   #10
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I have a 1hp electric motor all set to drive my front crank with a one way sprocket - just need to make the motor bracket and get the darn left crank off to mount the gear and fix the front wheel spokes. Then I get all 21 gears available on my mtb with a brushless motor drive and LiIon battery pack made from laptop cells to run it all of which I have already plus full suspension.
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