The Rezistor

jstept's picture

The project has begun! Might as well blog as much as I can.

A friend brought over the Vespa 50S frame last weekend. The purchase also a new front fender (nice!), a new horncast (plus the old one), a new headlight, the seat, rear shock, engine access door, and both 10" wheels, including hubs, brakes, rims, and fairly worn tires. He also gave me the gas tank. Maybe I'll turn it into a trophy for one of my club's future rallies.

The frame is at least 35 years old and has acquired quite a few coats of paint as well as some rust and not a small amount of dirt. I spent some time today just scraping chunks of clay/road grime/2-stroke exhaust off the engine compartment and the underside. I bought the basic Vespa repair manual, although half of it I won't need since it deals with the engine.

I bought the brushless 3-phase Mars motor on ebay from Team Delta, and also bought a Sevcon controller. They both arrived Thursday. I also got a contactor from them, since it seems like a good idea, and that arrived today.

I ordered two 36V 20Ah LiFePO4 batteries from Sam at Yesa. I asked him to reconfigure one of them so it would fit in the frame better, and he said it would be no problem. He let me know on Thursday that they shipped from China. I plan to hook them up in parallel.

I ordered the Secrets of El Ninja, since I haven't built anything like this before, and I want to make sure I don't miss any important details. It hasn't arrived yet.

So far it looks like everything will fit, although I don't think the engine is going to fit completely within the engine compartment. I think I'll have to leave the engine access door on the right side off and let the motor hang out. Probably better for ventilation anyway.

The major task ahead is building the swingarm (still might try to use a dead smallframe engine case if I can find one). Once that's in and I get the drive system working, I'll have to spend some time working on the suspension, brakes, and other bits. Then I'll take everything off again and have the frame sandblasted and painted. It's going to be a long project.

before comments


when I first saw the pic I thought it was some kind of low to the ground drag racing scooter with tiny wheels, was only when I read the text that I realised you were doing a Vespa

Vespa's are beautiful machines, there's a few round where live and sometimes their gorgious curves catch me unawares and momentarily distract me from everything else going around me. This is the first Vespa EV converion I'm aware of so I'll definatly going to be watching your blog. I can't fault the quality of the parts you've chosen, it will be interesting to see how it all works together. Word of warning with these chinese lifepo4 batteries, its worth checking to see if the BMS is doing its job properly rather than assuming it does what it says, eg check the individual cells on charge and discharge to see they're not overcharging or overdischarging, let it prove itself before relying on it.

jdh2550_1's picture

Good luck with your conversion. It sounds well thought out. I hope to start my first conversion (also with inspiration from Bidwell's book) in the next couple of weeks. I'm using a 1973 Honda CB750 as the glider. Unfortunately the brushless Etek and Sevcon combination doesn't have quite enough grunt for my project - I'm going to go with a brushed Perm 132 with an Alltrax 72V 350A controller. I'll probably buy these as a kit from Electric Motorsport.

Are you planning on wiring up regen breaking? If I remember right your controller and motor will allow that. Regen isn't really a viable option for me - and other than "bragging rights" it's probably of questionable advantage anyway.

FWIW, I agree with the ventilation of the motor. If it turns out you can hide the motor behind the door then you might consider some form of "air scoop" underneath. That way you can still keep your motor cool without affecting the aesthetics of the Vespa. Currently I'm planning on an outside mount of the Perm - like El Ninja.

Please keep us posted!

John H. Founder of Current Motor Company - opinions on this site belong to me; not to my employer
Remember: " 'lectric for local. diesel for distance" - JTH, Amp Bros || "No Gas.

This is rad. I was wondering how one would go about making a vespa electric, as there's no exposed chain like a lot of motorcycles, I am really curious how this turns out and will be following it!


Hey! I hope you're doing well. I just wanted to check in and see if you've had a chance to work on the Rezistor some more. I'd love to see video of her on the road once she's done!

Best of luck!

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