what motor to use?

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masonsteele
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what motor to use?

Hi, this is my first time on the new forum.
I want to build an electric minivan. I have been leaning towards hub motors like the PML flightlink eWheels in order to save space and simplify design. Does anyone have any suggestions? I want to keep it under 35,000 USD.
thanks,
mason

portablestew
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hello, this is also my first

hello, this is also my first time posting on the forum.
i also plan on building a full-size EV (as soon as i find somebody with a garage, lol). from my research, if you want to simplify your design, just build your EV conversion in the "normal" way ... remove the gas engine and replace it with an electric motor, using a custom built flywheel adapter to mate towards the transmission. I suspect your minivan has an automatic transmission. If it does, you'll want to think really hard before committing to converting it to electric. If you want to save space, get better battery$$$. You might want to contact KTA (http://kta-ev.com/). Although the old man running it is retired, he's still very helpful and can point you towards other EV people.

NickF23
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I had a go one of these

I had a go one of these about a year back now. It was imported from the finish post office. I think it was quite a simple design, a modification of the gas version: An electric motor connected to 4 speed transmission. Was pretty fast (seemed faster than petrol van)

http://www.electricvanandcar.co.uk/

masonsteele
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thanks. subaru sambar?

Thanks for the feedback, both of you. I want to convert from a subaru sambar that i have sitting in japan right now in my storage container. just have to get it shipped to vancouver stripped, and then across the border to san francisco. I'm trying to figure out if its worth it to do it with the sambar, or if i should just find something else.
Stew, where ya located? maybe we can collaborate?
Incidentally, Nick that looks exactly like the van i'm trying to get over here. Is the finish van built on a subaru? i love it, because its light, small, and uses space to the maximum dimensions possible - perfect for a conversion.
Do either of you know of anyone who has ever built a street-legal EV with a custom chassis. That would be an easy way for me to use the hub motors, and save thousands of $ on shipping.
thanks,
mason

portablestew
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Hey Mason, your profile

Hey Mason, your profile says you're living in San Fran. Unfortunately I live in SoCal, so its "hella" far. If you're ever down here feel free to contact me, though. It might be cheaper to find/buy a crap minivan with engine trouble than have your sambar shipped overseas. But then again it looks like you have a bigger budget than i do ;). Lately i've also been looking into building my own little (3 wheel motorcycle class) chassis, rather than a conversion, and using AC synchronous hub motors in 2 of the 3 wheels. I have an uncle who's also been researching electric conversions, and he has an old engineless honda motorcycle frame that we might use as a test EV. I've been busy with school lately, but if we ever get around to doing this, I'll let you know what we find out.

NickF23
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Mason, They're both

Mason,

They're both subaru's. John (from the linked site) resells them and is also very friendly if you want to ask any subaru specific EV questions.

Portablestew,

3 wheel motorcycle EV, not seen one of them. Sounds like it would be great fun!

masonsteele
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word

it is far. if i get the project done, i may head down that way for a road trip in a year or twelve.
I don't want to blow a load of money on the shipping, but I haven't been able to find a microvan like it in the US; and i do have an ass-load of stuff left in Japan (just moved back in August) that I could stuff in the van. I may just go with one of the older toyota vans that pop up occasionally. I guess, as long as its cheap and and a manual, I can toy with the weight.
I thought about the three wheeler as well. It's a great design. I really want to build a tilting three-wheeler like the Aprillia Magnet concept. that tadpole design looks good. Check out the Yahoo Group called "tilting vehicles" for three wheeler junkies. Also check out a vehicle called the SUB G1 for some inspiration.
lates,
M

reikiman
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3 wheel motorcycle EV

I have a "3 wheel motorcycle EV" ... unfortunately it's not (yet) registered so I can't (yet) take it on the road (legally, wink, wink) but the bit of (ahem) driving I've done with it, it's a blast.

It's a 1980's era Suzuki motorcycle with the rear end being made from a golf cart rear end. I didn't build the thing, a guy in Napa did, and I found it on eBay for $900. He says he got the beefiest motor that would work with the rear end .. it's a 48 volt motor with a rather beefy Curtis controller, 48 volt 80 amp-hour battery pack, and real car tires.

I'm expecting it to hit 40 miles/hr and have a decent range. My regular commute is 10 miles and I can take expressways pretty easily to get there. I live in Silicon Valley and we have a decent system of expressways.

- David Herron, http://www.7gen.com

- David Herron, The Long Tail Pipe, davidherron.com, 7gen.com, What is Reiki
- Electrified Electra To

Wizard
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Welcome!

Welcome! Mason and Portablestew
A memeber of my local EAA group http://www.eaaev.org/eaachapters.html does conversions as a business and has some imformation on his site you might be able to use. He is at: http://www.ev-blue.com/ .

The specs page tells you the parts he uses in a typical conversion that he does.

I wish I had the know how to build but I just buy already built ones.

Mark Higley

They are here and they don't even know it.

Mark Higley

http://www.midwestev.com

They are here and they don't even know it.

portablestew
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That sounds like a sweet

That sounds like a sweet ride! And a great find for $900. That's not exactly what I had in mind by "3 wheel motorcycle EV" though. According to the DMV, a three wheeled electric vehicle that can reach 45 mph and weighs <2500 lbs is a motorcycle. How does it steer/brake with so much weight in the back? I'm also curious about the registration process for such a vehicle. Is it difficult? I'd love to build my own chassis, but I'm afraid the DMV won't let me register it, or it might be difficult to insure.

reikiman
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Dunno

As I haven't yet taken it to the DMV I don't know what they'll say.

According to what I read at the CA DMV web site .. what they're going to look at is DOT approved lights and brakes and I'd say the quality/sturdiness of the frame construction. The lights and brakes are fine, the vehicle is very sturdy (so far as I can tell) and most of the components are commercially built.

The only concern I have is actually the brakes. There is no parking brake. So how can I park it anywhere without it rolling? This being California there's little flat land and while Silicon Valley has plenty of flat land the DMV might not be too keen on a vehicle that doesn't have a parking brake.

The brakes are the typical motorcycle brakes - one on the right handgrip, the other at the right foot. So I'm thinking to use a strap to hold the right handgrip brake squeezed, and go to the DMV with that plan. The other thought that came to me this morning - since it's a golf cart rear end, perhaps the golf cart people have a parking brake solution that I could adapt.

In any case I have no idea what the process really is about getting the DMV to register a custom built vehicle. The website talks about an inspection and more or less what the requirements are but .... what is it that happens in practice?

- David Herron, The Long Tail Pipe, davidherron.com, 7gen.com, What is Reiki
- Electrified Electra To

reikiman
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DOT Certified?

Mason, one thought on importing a vehicle --- I'm pretty darn sure that to get it registered the DMV requires it to be DOT certified. That means the manufacturer would have spent a zillion bucks on crash testing and certification etc.

- David Herron, http://www.7gen.com/

- David Herron, The Long Tail Pipe, davidherron.com, 7gen.com, What is Reiki
- Electrified Electra To

masonsteele
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does it matter without a motor?

I'm pretty sure that if you bring it across without a motor, then it foesn't need to be certified. I could be wrong. Will definitely check before I ship it over; if I ship it that is. I'm leaning towards trying to by something similar here. I could probably find something for the cost of shipping alone.
Do you have any pics of your three-wheeler?

portablestew
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The CA DMV vehicle code

The CA DMV vehicle code turned out to be easy to find online, and I found this:
http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d12/vc26450.htm
So apparently, you don't need a parking brake for a motorcycle. For inspections of rebuilt, non-custom motorcycle (when you apply for title), somebody shows up at your house and checks whether your brake lights work and other trivialties. But for a custom build it'd probably be much more thorough. I'm going to read the vehicle code a little more now.

reikiman
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But then what are you going to do

Okay, you could get it into the country .. then what? How are you going to register it if the state refuses to register non-DOT vehicles?

- David Herron, The Long Tail Pipe, davidherron.com, 7gen.com, What is Reiki
- Electrified Electra To

masonsteele
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good call

I think i might go the three-wheel route too then. I was trying to avoid building a custom chassis. Don't even know where to start there. Do you know anyone in Japan that wants a used sambar?
m

emini
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Re: what motor to use?

Gday mason
I am half way through converting a mini to electric, I am using the following setup
- Standard mini subframe which has been modified slightly to mount a suzuki swift/Geo metro 5 speed gearbox in
- A Netgain Impulse '8' motor which adapter can be purchased for at evparts
- zilla 72-156v controller
- 12 optima yellow tops 51r's (12kg each)
- custom drive shafts (swift gearbox to mini uprights)
- 8.4 inch front disk brakess

With your budget you could make something which has outstanding performance and range.
My setup will cost around $15000 AUS if you did the same type of setup and spent the change on some lithium iron batteries instead of AGM's the car would be awesome

Phill

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