Ideas to get EVs "on the road"

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andrew
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Ideas to get EVs "on the road"

This thread is to present an ultimate challenge to you all (and myself) to explore ideas on how to get EVs on the road en mass. We don't care if it is feasible, we only care about how we will use what we have to make it feasible. Just think, if you really had to figure out a way then how would you do it?

Obviously this thread is not about blaming someone else for not mass producing EVs or stifling EV development. Please take your opinions about the oil/car companies, present administration, person x, ect, elsewhere.

I think, first off, our best hope is to innovate. Anything we can do that has not been done a certain way before will be key. Secondly, recognize your market. If you are trying to sell an EV for people to save money on commuting and it costs more vs. its gas counterpart, than how far do you think that will go? This is why I think marketing exotic performance EVs featuring a different, and unique experience is a good strategy, because EVs are just plain more expensive.

I need to figure out how to get it to people cheaper at ever stage. One way to do that is to eliminate the assembly stage. I could develop an EV, and sell all of the parts fabricated and ready to assemble, including the vehicle chassis. This would include everything, down to the last bolt, and show exactly how it goes together with step by step instructions. This would require about tens of hours to assemble, as opposed to hundreds of hours for an existing conversion.

Another way is to refine a conversion plan. Then mass produce many of the parts that are needed. For example, I could manufacture 1000 aluminum motor mounting plates, controller mounting plates, charger mounting plates & brackets, ect for my motorcycle. Then someone could buy these and install them, along with the plans. The plans would not be general ideas, but specific step by step instructions. All components would be bolt on.

Another way is to cut the cost of each component as much as possible. Scott Cronk did this with the Lectra VR (variable reluctance) motor drive system. This motor was low voltage, used no magnets, and as a result was cheap and lowered the price of the charger, and controller as they were designed for low voltage. The motorcycle sold for $5k, then came down to $4k. Unfortunately the range wasn't very good.

skooled
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Re: Ideas to get EVs "on the road"

i think unless you have the backing of a magor company, or remortgage your house, some type of conversion for an initial model is definately the key. a partnership with a kit car company, who designs their cars to meet all government requirements already. there are alot of small, light, nimble examples out there, partnered with AC induction, regen (obviously) and "Li" chem battery of your choice, your foot could be in the door for sure. from there you can look at fabricating a new design.

my 2 cents anyway

reikiman
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Re: Ideas to get EVs "on the road"

You're talking about a kitcar ... so what are kitcar people looking for? I'm not sure but it seems from having browsed the kitcar magazines and websites that there are several different fantasies that are being catered to. Some kitcars cater to hotrodders, others to recreating cars from movie or TV shows, others to classic car lovers who don't want to spend a zillion bucks on the real deal.

The reaction to the Tesla shows that if you provide a car that meets one of those fantasies, and don't scrimp on the performance, then it will be accepted. SLA driven kitcar's have been tried in the past with little success, but an Li-ION driven one should be accepted.

And I think you have the commitment level about right ... I could see getting and assembling a kit that requires 10's of hours of work, but I know that one requiring hundreds of hours isn't acceptible to me.

The approach of offering really well done conversion kits ... that's interesting, and there is an existing kit design which is exactly what you've suggested. Electro-Automotive. But it fits into the hundreds of hours commitment and while many electric cars have been built using electroautomotive's kit that commitment level kept me from following through.

- David Herron, http://davidherron.com/

- David Herron, The Long Tail Pipe, davidherron.com, 7gen.com, What is Reiki
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Dennis
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Re: Ideas to get EVs "on the road"

We need to think out of the box and find a niche that is not occupied. None of us have the funding like Elon Musk and his partners to manufacture an electric car. In terms of transportation, Mr. Musk is still thinking in the box because his company manufactures "cars". Which means it has to weigh over a thousand pounds to pass the required safety crash tests. I'm not knocking what Mr. Musk has done. I have nothing but praise for his work and vision. But, I envision something that is not available today or at least mass produced. A light electric vehicle that is more environmentally friendly simply from the efficiency gained by its light weight. By reducing the weight, less material and energy will be needed to build and operate such a vehicle, then in return the parts like tires, brakes and suspension will last longer. And I do not mean just compared to his Tesla roadster which is unaffordable but to the very rich. I mean compared to his 3rd production phase family sedan and all the other light electric vehicle manufacturers that are established today.

There are many examples of lighter electric vehicles being manufactured today, but why do most of them weigh over a thousand pounds. An exception is the Twike which weighs in at about 600 lbs. But why did they design it as a side by side seater like a car? I just saw a concept picture by Accelerated Composites on http://www.edmunds.com/reviews/list/top10/118693/article.html. Their Aptera Hybrid is more of what I have in mind in terms of styling. May be they can offer an electric plug in model with tandem seating and in a more aerodyamic body and add leanable steering? See picture below. I guess I may not have to wait for Dahon to manufacture an electric vehicle if Accelerated Composites keeps their estimated price close to $22,000. These are pretty exciting times for electric transportation. It's almost like the early 1900's when the Wright Brothers were developing their flight machine along with all the other contenders. Our only advantage today is the free flow of information which should aid in accelerating the evolution of electric transportation. If I only had a billion dollars, then I would really have fun.

Well, all I have for now is what my meager salary can afford, and I am gradually learning more through my many test rides. see attached picture:
IMG_0236__Large_.jpgPicture_143__Large_.jpg

fixitsan
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Re: Ideas to get EVs "on the road"

I absolutely agree, once people start converting and EV's become more widespread and some even become surprising to the uninitiated, then the motor manufacturers have to follow suit.

The conversion doesn't have to be anything major, I'm looking to making my own car a plug in hybrid just by adding batteries and fitting a motor to the gearbox so it can be driven from electric and from petrol.

A few days in a good gearbox remanufacturers would give you soem experience of which gearboxes would be easy to machine up to take another input drive shaft.

I'm looking to get just 20 miles of EV useage, but thats abotu 70% of my daily mileage, adn still retains the engine if required..

Chris Barron

skooled
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Re: Ideas to get EVs "on the road"

still, motors are not the problem. battery and EV infrastructure are. these need to be addressed before anything big could really take off

fixitsan
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Re: Ideas to get EVs "on the road"

Are batteries really a problem though ?
Modern lithium batteries could run the EV1 for 300 miles.
I don't think we have a technology issue, maybe a price issue though, because high performance lithium or NiMH batteries aren't cheap.
That said, some of the RAV4EV's which have travelled over 100,000 miles are still using their original batteries, which shows that if you pick the right batteries they can become cost effective when they have a long life.

As for the charging infrastructure, something does need to be done. But in the meantime a plug-in hybrid is a great stop-gap solution.

Petrol and all conventional liquid fuels have such a high power density that it may be unreasonable to expect to be able to find a direct replacement with one iteration of the technology advancement process, there may need to be 'in-between steps'.

Some way of carrying a top-up charger is a good idea, or even a fuel cell trickle charging the main batteries as used in the Vectrix motorcycle is an example of the sort of step I am talking about taking.

Certainly there is no off-the-shelf solution at this point, but I see many opportunities to exploit various technologies in ways we don't immediately associate them with being used, adn we will be on the right path until we do find a high power-density battery to compete directly with liquid fuels, but then again, we may not need one by then !

Chris

Chris

andrew
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Re: Ideas to get EVs "on the road"

skooled:

battery and EV infrastructure are. these need to be addressed before anything big could really take off

I more or less agree. How do you think it can be done?

Remember that change does not happen all at once. We need to figure out how to make small changes that lead to bigger changes. You can't implement a decent EV infrastructure overnight. Nor will the perfect battery come out tomorrow, be in mass production the next day, and mass distributed for a decent price.

What we have today are literally billions of small NiMH and NiCad cells produced annually. As fixitsan pointed out, NiMH have potential. A way to take advantage of these is to develop a versatile battery management system. We also need versatile NiMH chargers. If someone sold these on the DIY conversion market, they would make conversions a lot more practical.

Dennis:

A light electric vehicle that is more environmentally friendly simply from the efficiency gained by its light weight. By reducing the weight, less material and energy will be needed to build and operate such a vehicle, then in return the parts like tires, brakes and suspension will last longer. And I do not mean just compared to his Tesla roadster which is unaffordable but to the very rich. I mean compared to his 3rd production phase family sedan and all the other light electric vehicle manufacturers that are established today.

I agree. Also, if you can classify it as a motorcycle, then there are relatively few regulations when compared to a car. So then, the question is, how can you produce and sell it cheaply with relatively few resources to start with? I just had an idea...

How about designing a fiberglass chassis? You can base your design on an existing chassis design, such as the Corbin sparrow. Build a few, test them and refine it. Then sell the plans and all the materials pre-cut. Fiberglass is very easy to work with and cut. This means you could buy a lot of material such as "Fibergrate Dynaform" from usplastic and cut it in your garage. Then sell the pieces, with some fiberglass repair (or whatever is used in industry) to attach the pieces. The stuff is light, so shipping would not cost a lot, and almost anyone could assemble it, the process just requires more time than welding (which is why steel construction is preferred for industry). Then you'll need to source the rest of the parts which could be the same as those used on cars i.e., steering linkages, seat, wheels & bearings, ect. They could then buy these from a local auto parts store. A lot of the conversion process of an existing car is stripping out the engin/tranny and getting rid of a lot of junk and restoring the vehicle (which includes hunting down a lot of hard to find parts). Meaning, building an EV of this sort wouldn't be much harder than doing a conversion. You'll also need to sell the vehicle body.

I wonder how much range you could get out of a three-wheeled design with a fiberglass chassis. Instead of focusing on new battery technology, this way you are focusing on getting more out of existing technology. How much more practical would a vehicle be that gets 50 or 60 miles with lead-acid? We just need someone to build one, do some testing, and sell the plans/materials. There are lots and lots of plans of this sort for aircraft which make purchasing personal aircraft possible for about a tenth the cost.

So get busy! Or come up with a better idea...

---
Avatar taken from http://www.electricmotorbike.org/
Anyone got one they might want to sell?
My KZ750 Project: here E.T.A. 1 mo

[url=/forum-topic/motorcycles-and-large-scooters/587-my-kz750-electric-motorcycle-project]KZ750 Motorcycle Conversion[/url]
[url=/forum-topic/motorcycles-and-large-scooters/588-fixing-my-chinese-scooter]900 watt scooter[/url]
Pic from http://www.electri

skooled
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Re: Ideas to get EVs "on the road"

i'm seeing it now.....
i'm in my brand new 3wheeler, and the power guage is low. i pull up to the "E" station down the road. i pull into a parking spot, i hit the battery eject button and the hatch opens, and the battery clicks out of position. i pull out the pack, insert it into the empty bay, swipe my credit card. the old battery dissapears, and a new one pops out, fully charged. this has taken me 30 seconds in total, and i am away for another few hundred miles.

now this could happen. another idea is coating the craft in "quantum dots" the replacement for your standard PV solar cell. on the fly charging, however small, along with your regen braking will add to the toal also

GrooveConnection
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That's it...you nailed it!

It is clear to me that with all the knowledge combined that we own (across all humanity that is) we have arrived at the moment of feasibility of what SKOOLED has so aptly envisioned. Actually we have been there quite a while ago, we just did not know it ;)

En detail:

My battery eject / replacement system is actually positioned UNDER the vehicle and fully automatic.
A robotic swingarm rises up under the vehicle, locates the hatch, opens it, removes the pack and slides the new one in.
Those new batteries are all completely safe Nano - Lithium Batteries with amazing specs, 500 mile range etc. and the cost of them is - free.

Wanna go a little further??

Most all food products have been re-converted so they don't use oil at all, they use derivatives of switchgrass, corn, seaweed and other substances.
Genetic technology has been strictly confined (better guarded than nuclear technology) to hangar -size perfectly monitored growth farms for GM organics which are solely used for energy production, not human - or animal - consumption. They have been engineered to grow without the need for photosynthesis or irrigation.
Since most urban sprawl has been reformed into self-contained communities, the crime rate has dropped to unprecedented levels.

Walking has been re-discovered and most HMO's are now being re-schooled for other, related professions because the average american has lost about 60 - 80 lbs.

In a chinese village a little boy points towards a small plume of smoke, that he can see from a distance of more than 10 miles.
The HOLLYWOOD sign is clearly visble from one of the hills of Catalina Island.

Since the resources are plentily available, wars have mostly vanished.

I am not dreaming. Neither are you ;-)

andrew
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Re: That's it...you nailed it!

You both forgot about the super death ray weapon that was invented. Vaporizes human flesh from 10,000 miles :jawdrop:

Not to mention advanced artificial intelligence that is used to control human form robots. They can jump 50 feet, run 40 miles per hour, are powered by your super batteries (so no need to worry about the batteries crapping out), and they cannot be damaged by any conventional weapon due to super strong exoskeleton composite material constructed by nanobots.

This is after the world population was decimated (killing 99%) three times by nanotechnology used to engineer deadly airborne nanobots that kill humans.

The weaponry advances all started in 2050 when crude oil supply was falling rapidly. The world powers initially launched conventional warfare to seize control of the middle eastern region. One super power developed a failsafe defense from nuclear attacks, and launched an all out nuclear war.

So much for utopia.

---
Avatar taken from http://www.electricmotorbike.org/
Anyone got one they might want to sell?
My KZ750 Project: here E.T.A. 1 mo

[url=/forum-topic/motorcycles-and-large-scooters/587-my-kz750-electric-motorcycle-project]KZ750 Motorcycle Conversion[/url]
[url=/forum-topic/motorcycles-and-large-scooters/588-fixing-my-chinese-scooter]900 watt scooter[/url]
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Dennis
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Re: That's it...you nailed it!

Since you are straying off topic, I will gladly join the fray :). Your doomsday scenario may well be our future fate, if we let the darkest of our animal survival instincts control us. If we use our gift of intellect for the good of mankind, then there will be no limit to what we may accomplish. But to achieve this, we first will need to provide the entire planet's population with the essentials of life and give them the education needed to keep the human race from overpopulating the earth which will in turn hopefully end the need for war. War is just a way the human animal makes room due to over population like any other animal's territorial fights to the death. It may seem that this planet we live on and our sun will be there forever in our short sighted lives but we do eventually need to cooperate with one another to accomplish our ultimate goal.......And have fun while doing it :).

NickF23
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Re: That's it...you nailed it!

Amen to that!

andrew
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Re: That's it...you nailed it!

I was just being melodramatic for fun. I agree with Dennis. If we can see it and believe it, than who knows, maybe our future is as bright as you say.

If we use our gift of intellect for the good of mankind, then there will be no limit to what we may accomplish.

I agree. Thats not a bad mission statement btw.

---
Avatar taken from http://www.electricmotorbike.org/
Anyone got one they might want to sell?
My KZ750 Project: here E.T.A. 1 mo

[url=/forum-topic/motorcycles-and-large-scooters/587-my-kz750-electric-motorcycle-project]KZ750 Motorcycle Conversion[/url]
[url=/forum-topic/motorcycles-and-large-scooters/588-fixing-my-chinese-scooter]900 watt scooter[/url]
Pic from http://www.electri

skooled
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Re: That's it...you nailed it!

En detail:

My battery eject / replacement system is actually positioned UNDER the vehicle and fully automatic.
A robotic swingarm rises up under the vehicle, locates the hatch, opens it, removes the pack and slides the new one in.
Those new batteries are all completely safe Nano - Lithium Batteries with amazing specs, 500 mile range etc. and the cost of them is - free.

is this real, or fiction as i read it? if so, do share, as i see this as the quickest way towards the future

Dennis
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Re: That's it...you nailed it!

I know Andrew stated no complaining or whining about the oil and car companies that have a strangle hold on what is available for our transportation needs :). Sorry, I can not help myself.

Quote: Those new batteries are all completely safe Nano - Lithium Batteries with amazing specs, 500 mile range etc. and the cost of them is - free.

We can safely say that statement is fiction for now, especially the free part. A123's nanophosphate litium batteries are safe is the only real part of that statement and it's safety is yet to be fully tested out in the real world.

Look out!! Here comes the whiny part of the reply, so if you are Andrew look away now!! ;) .

A123 nanophosphate batteries are only available in developer packs and Dewalt power tool battery packs that use them. There is a good thread in the battery section of this forum about the Dewalt battery packs. I do want to wait for larger battery cells to be available before I purchase any A123 batteries. I wonder why they are so slow to manufacture larger cells for the mass market. Does the interest of the oil companies and car companies have anything to do with the way they are dragging their feet or is it due to the technical problems related to the manufacturing process of nanophosphate litium batteries? The heavy investment by GM does concern me and who knows who else is pulling the puppet strings for that A123 good old american boy network corporate company. Big money talks unfortunately.

On the sunny side, the genie is out and there are other competitors that will circumvent their stalling tactics and end up winning the game in the end. It will be disastrous for all these short sighted greedy companies' bottom line if they continue in their path of no good and try to postpone the transportation evolution. In fact, it is illegal to conspire to hinder progress that is good for our country. And we all know good will triumph over evil ;) .

GrooveConnection's statement in my opinion is wishful thinking but wishes often come true :) .

zx12r
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Re: That's it...you nailed it!

Still we are on the right track

the only way to get your hands on an electric car here in Australia is to build one
Currently the laws dont allow electric cars to be sold here (second hand im not real sure about)
and the laws wont allow this anytime soon as they (the government) is protecting its income stream (petrol tax)

so if someone in Australia was to come out with a full kit and instructions
telling me what make and model car i need to buy
I would of brought one already, im sick of paying for petrol, its a resource we just dont need for short commutes

How terribly ashamed i am to be living in a country where the ability to help global warming is staring us right in the face
and we dont have access to it unless we are A: Rich B: smart enough to design and build one ourselfs C: lucky enough to pick one up second hand

Im really angry at the Governments unwillingness to allow this technology
Telsa for me is not the answer, even if it were available here in Australia it would be well and trully beyond my current price range
all i need is a little car to get me to work and back and then allows me to plug it into the wall (its easy to understand why the government doesnt want this to happen)

my ebike conversion kit arrives at 9.30am tomorrow, for now that is the best my finances can manage
but if a kit came along that was 10 grand and the recipient car was cheap (15 grand) i would immediately go to the bank and rustle up some cash

I just wish i had the money and the smarts to start such a venture
zx12r (really fast motorbike :) )

skooled
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Re: That's it...you nailed it!

another aussie.... awesome. well with 2 people, organising a kit would be great. there are plenty of small cars to suit, and there is ways to get them legally on the road. send me a message, and we'll chat...

steamboat
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Re: Ideas to get EVs "on the road"

I think we should teach everyone that pedal E-bikes must be treated exactly the same as regular bicycles in all states per federal law. Jim
Public Law 107-319

superior_tech
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Re: Ideas to get EVs "on the road"

Is does seem that A123 Systems is stalling but
Altairnano is not. Check out the new Phoenix motors truck
that uses the Altairnano batteries! http://www.phoenixmotorcars.com/
I am waiting for EEstor to begin production on their Capacitor/Battery!

andrew
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Re: Ideas to get EVs "on the road"

how much does that cost?

---
Avatar taken from http://www.electricmotorbike.org/
Anyone got one they might want to sell?
My KZ750 Project: here E.T.A. 1 mo

[url=/forum-topic/motorcycles-and-large-scooters/587-my-kz750-electric-motorcycle-project]KZ750 Motorcycle Conversion[/url]
[url=/forum-topic/motorcycles-and-large-scooters/588-fixing-my-chinese-scooter]900 watt scooter[/url]
Pic from http://www.electri

spinningmagnets
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Re: Ideas to get EVs "on the road"

I recall reading a while back that someone started an EV conversion company that took Geo Metros (crash-rated, fairly light, reasonably aerodynamic) and made them into lead/acid 45-MPH NEV's.

This configuration sounded like a reasonably affordable EV for most people who were interested in one. You could upgrade the battery pack to Lithium later, to get more range or higher speed, if you wanted either enough to make it worth the price. Sadly, they went out of business after several dozen sold (don't know why yet).

I think there are two groups that are interested enough to spend serious money on an EV or pedal/EV. First is someone who wants a crash-rated car that can travel freeway speeds (Imagine a used 2-seat Honda Insight Hybrid that is converted to pure EV with Lithium when the NiMH's wear out).

The second group (the most cost-effective business to start) would accept a two-seat/tandem three-wheel Pedal-Tadpole-Trike with a 50CC ICE option or an electric option. Something resembling the "aero-rider"

http://www.aerorider.com/

I've been interested in tadpole trikes for sometime, pedal or powered. There's a loophole in the law (for now) where a powered three-wheeler can be classified as an experimental motorcycle even if its enclosed. Plus, in most places, a bicycle is allowed in the flow of traffic without any crash-testing.

Forget carbon fiber composites, you can have that as an option for the bodies, but don't tie up too much money in inventory. Make CF and Lithium a "pay-in-advance" special order.

What the public wants is for someone else to do the engineering to end up with a balanced and good performing product, on the parts that the average garage enthusiast would have difficulty doing.

Most people don't want to weld or lay-up fiberglass. However, in order to get a well-designed product at a reasonable price, they are willing to perform some assembly (like "Ikea" furniture stores).

Most people just won't pay $7,000 for a one-seater, and a second seat isn't expensive or wasted, you can show a dog or a two bags of groceries in the rear seat in the advertising.

My son once bought a 50CC scooter (easily converted to propane) and he found a high-compression 70CC cylinder kit with a free-breathing carb and exhaust that was cheaply available.

You could sell it as a tandem pedal-trike, with a host of upgrades (with lots of factory mount points for common accessories), as long as you have made space allowances from the factory for the obvious upgrades.

The two front wheels would have wide enough forks to allow the fattest tires on the market. The front brakes will be discs, and the one rear would have factory mounts for the easy addition of a disc.

The rear fork would have several features that are uncommon (at least all in one product). The front pivot point would be as wide as the body would allow (24"?) like on the "Jackalope" so a left drive sprocket (ICE or electric) could be positioned exactly aligned with the pivot.

The rear fork dropouts would be wide enough to allow a 9-gear sprocket on the right, and a large freewheel sprocket on the left (spacers available for narrower wheels). It would be deep enough for a 26" wheel with a fat tire, but will be sold with a 24" wheel (the shock height is adjustable).

If you're standing on the left, a common disc caliper will mount onto the 9 O'Clock position of the left sprocket.

Though most would mount a 750 Watt, the motor mount space will accept an Etek, PMG 132, or an ICE up to a 125cc one-cyl motorcycle engine (the advertising will only mention the 50cc).

The 3-piece body (front, solid right side, and left-with-doors so you can reach the drive-through window) can evolve over time, but the mounts must always stay the same.

In the beginning you would only sell the hard to make parts such as the custom frame, rear fork, and body. The spec sheet on the website would list compatable components for the rest from mild to wild, and affordable places from which to order them. The use of common interfaces would allow someone to use parts from existing bikes to save on costs.

spinningmagnets
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Re: Ideas to get EVs "on the road"

Here's a leaning tadpole similar to what I imagine

http://www.maxmatic.com/Graphics/soohoo4.jpg

Here's the body

http://www.aerorider.com/

Here's the front of the swingarm (third pic down clearly shows the swing pivot point being aligned with the center of the motor sprocket center)

http://www.endless-sphere.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=867&st=0&sk=t&sd=a

The custom bits such as the main frame and swingarm, could be steel, aluminum, or carbon fiber, so long as the mounting points are exactly in the same spots. The wheels, sprockets, seats, handlebars, brakes, etc, could be bought new or scavenged from existing bikes.

MarshallMiller
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Re: Ideas to get EVs "on the road"

I think one underlying issue is the infrastructure around electric vehicles. Even if you had a choice of highway speed dream vehicles if they aren't made by a major auto maker then where are they being sold? Electric car makers wont be selling cars direct to the public for the most part. A dealership will need to exist to lay down large car orders. There may be public demand but that needs to translate to electric vehicle dealerships being established. So its a catch 22, no cars means no business the size of a dealership can exist and no dealership means a lack of demand to support the cars.

People also need service done to their car even if it is electric. Batteries will have problems and need replaced. People will curb a car taking out a hub motor or two. Technicians trained for high voltage systems will need to be at these dealerships taking care of the cars.

All the technology in the world wont get things like these in place faster. Its simply a risky investment thats necessary.

reikiman
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Re: Ideas to get EVs "on the road"

the infrastructure around electric vehicles..A dealership..no cars means no business the size of a dealership can exist and no dealership means a lack of demand to support the cars

There's another way of looking at this.

I read once about how the major steel manufacturing in the U.S. died. They relied on massive contracts and large production runs. There were "minimill" companies formed who wanted to get into steel production but didn't (yet) have the infrastructure to match the major U.S. steel companies. But due to their small size they found a niche of servicing small contracts and generally being nimble. The article I read claimed this was a clear strategic decision on their part. Rather than taking on Big Steel directly their strategy was to start in niches where Big Steel didn't want to compete, and to build their business in the niches. Eventually the minimills took more and more of the business of steel production, with Big Steel kind of ignoring them because of size differences, and over time the Big Steel companies collapsed because the minimills grew big enough by starting in niches.

If you're the Millenium Falcon do you directly take on a Battleship? No, at least not in a shooting fight. Instead you find a way to dodge around and do something that lets you hide from the big guy.

For example an interesting niche to think about is the short range delivery vehicle.

There are a zillion of these on the market.. The Post Office for example has a zillion, and there are shops that use these. Why do they have to be a gas-burning truck? Okay some of them have a large delivery radius. Given that EV's tend to have a short range an EV delivery van would have to be for short range delivery.

Domino's Pizza has tried several times to use EV's for pizza delivery. The pizza-butt Sparrow came into being because Domino's thought the Sparrow would make a fine pizza vehicle, and they specified a hatchback into which they could put a pizza warming oven. I used to deliver pizza's (not for Domino's) and recall that Dominos had an aluminum 'oven' in which there would be a can of sterno burning to keep the pizza's warm. I think Domino's recently bought some Xebra's to try them on the same idea. And UPS also recently bought some Xebra's to try out.

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

MarshallMiller
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Re: Ideas to get EVs "on the road"

I know what your saying David. For a business to survive today it has to be disruptive to the mainstream. Thats why you don't see gas car startups, but lots of electric startups. They are hitting a untapped segment of the industry. Finding a niche by avoiding competition with the big boys.

andrew
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Joined: Tuesday, November 28, 2006 - 17:21
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Re: Ideas to get EVs "on the road"

Very true. If you could market effectively to the post office, than the potential is huge. If you could convert existing postal vans, than streamline the process and increase efficiency by doing the same conversion over and over.

A big problem with a conversion business is that the time and effort is always going to be intensive for a random conversion because of the unknowns. It's like one is doing a pre-production alpha vehicle every time, and expecting everything to work (which just doesn't happen often). But, if you know the vehicle, than you can build a sort of kit and get large orders of quality custom parts much cheaper. You could tailor your parts to the vehicle to be more cost effective and better suited rather than just buying random off-the-shelf parts. And you will know how to install everything and how it all can go together in a manner that is almost sure to work well.

I think you could start by offering to buy old USPS vans that are no longer practically serviceable. Then offer to sell them back fixed up and converted for cheaper than new vans. This could start out as small as you like, because the EV postal vans could have an on board charger requiring a recharge at night when parked (requiring no investment besides the van). Eventually, with more postal vans, than they could set up fast charging stations, and integrate the service required into their own shops. Initially, it could be tested and made as reliable as possible to reduce the need for service to mostly just changing the batteries, and you can offer to do this for a small fee.

The components I envision are:
● Sealed AGM batteries
○ Don't emit hazardous gases, or smell bad
○ Don't leak or spray corrosive acid
○ Better cold weather performance
○ Overall, just much better for a commercial EV application than flooded lead-acid

● ADC motor
○ Well proven to be reliable and robust
○ Don't require any service for about 40,000 miles
○ Replacement brushes available and cheap
○ Will be run under max rated voltage to increase brush and commutator life
○ Motor will be over-sized to reduce heating

● Curtis controller
○ Proven to be fairly reliable
○ Need to be run under rated peak system voltage, to increase the life and reduce incidence of controller blowup.

● ect. As you can see, the goal is to chose reliable components, and use them in such a way to reduce stress on them and increase life. In this way, the vehicle could be made to require almost no service of the electrical components.

The initial design could start with a low system voltage, like 60v with a planned top speed of about 55 mph. In this way, the batteries could be bank charged because this appears to be the best way to make the system as reliable as possible. The range could be about 30-40 miles.

I can project a total cost for the vehicle to be about $8-10k with prices dropping as quantity in production increases.

[url=/forum-topic/motorcycles-and-large-scooters/587-my-kz750-electric-motorcycle-project]KZ750 Motorcycle Conversion[/url]
[url=/forum-topic/motorcycles-and-large-scooters/588-fixing-my-chinese-scooter]900 watt scooter[/url]
Pic from http://www.electri

chas_stevenson
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Joined: Wednesday, December 6, 2006 - 17:14
Points: 1309
Re: Ideas to get EVs "on the road"

I have been following this post and thought I'd jump in with a thought or two.

1. What if you open a Green dealership and made a deal with several of the big boys to sell the available hybrids as your main sales, maybe your dealership would gain acceptance by Joe public.

2. Then find say 3 vehicles that would be good for conversion, like the Chevy S10, Chevy GEO, etc. which you could offer as pure BEVs. This might make the conversion process more like an assembly line type of production which could elevate some of the production problems Andrew talked about. Some of the vehicles could be built for short range delivery and sold or leased by local businesses. A leased vehicle could also be used to advertise your dealership.

With the backing of the big boys you might be able to use some of their parts, like their batteries, for the conversions which might give you a leg up on other conversion shops.

Just a start,
Chas S.

SPEDcial Forces
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Points: 45
Re: Ideas to get EVs "on the road"

Hi. I read through the thread, but alot of tit is how to market EVs.

Basically, I think it would be a smart move for An EV company that made small, lightweight cheap EVs to team up with a rental car agency and offer a number of free rentals with the purchase/lease of a small EV.

People have been convinced by car companies that they need gas cars, large trucks, and SUVs. Got a baby coming? Grab a suburban so you you can haul all thier friends around. Live in somewhere that gets a little bit of snow in the winter? Better have 4 wheel drive, because you might have to drive cautiousely and slowely down to the store, wait for them to plow, or get off your ass and throw some chains/snow tires on there...we can't have that, can we? Also there is a slight chance we might need to buy potted plants...that Ford F-350 is just what you need to get them home....you get the idea.

Now changing peoples minds is something that shouldn't be a requirement for a sucessful product. So just let people get free rentals with thier EV, and market it as the best of all worlds. You get practically free transportation day to day, your SUV when the blizzard hits, your truck when you need potted plants, your sportscar when you have a hot date, your regular gas car when you have a 4 hour buisness trip. I think it could really sell, and although you still have all those other gas guzzlers around, they are on the road MUCH less.

And maby when people see how little they need thier SUVs, trucks, and gas cars, thier minds might change about how awsome EVs are. Maby they'll like the idea of buying something for about the price of a midsized sedan yet having acess to trucks, SUVs, Luxury cars, and Sportscars whenever they want...I don't really know, but if but I'd got for it in a heartbeat.

gushar
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Joined: Wednesday, July 2, 2008 - 12:53
Points: 361
Re: Ideas to get EVs "on the road"

Well, here's my take on the original question...with an example.

Take me and I'm sure thousands of other older Mazda Miata owners. We're not all electric experts...in fact probably not most of us. However, many of us are pretty good do-it-yourselfers if we have the detailed instructions, sourcing info for parts, etc.

If I could purchase a detailed, clear and precise manual describing how to convert my SPECIFIC car (Miata) to electric I would buy it immediately and start the conversion. I believe so would alot of others. And as gasoline increases that number would as well increase. Sure I've seen several conversions of the Miata...but these are "home brews." I'm talking about a road, real life tested conversion that is explained step by step and in detail. The battery market is getting to the point where there could even be one basic alteration to enable the same battery positioning, location, etc....without any cutting metal, welding, etc. I only mention Miata here because...I own a 1990. It is lightweight, has space for batteries, very popular small car, and there are many aging ones...that could be reborn electrics.

I know from my research there is some company in CA that is touting kits, etc. for Miatas and other Mazdas...but they only seem to be "hype" and not much more. As well, their conversion interest seems to be "having them do it for you" more than kits. Also, their rhetoric seems to indicate that a kit from them would be very costly comparatively.

But back to the point. I'd like to see this type "manual/parts sourcing" provided for a number of popular autos that could be reborn electrics. That could put alot of electrics on the road right now...electrics that "work" and have a reliable source of replacement parts. The parts are out there from the research I've done. And the companies that make them are not "fly by night." So parts could be continuously available. The key is the conversion "manual" that is absolutely step by step, etc.

Gushar

Gus

krawler
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Re: Ideas to get EVs "on the road"

andrew, I agree with your comment " I think marketing exotic performance EVs featuring a different, and unique experience is a good strategy"
I have been working on a new E- transportation platform that will hit the streets this Summer.
We believed that if you can make Green Transportation Fun abd safe, Americans will use them.
We have made a scooter type platform that gives the feeling of surfing, Skiing, or Boarding with no experiance needed.
It is easier to ride than a bike and goes 30 miles at 15MPH on a single charge.
The most important thing is We are doing it different.

Your thought of thinking outside the box is the key.

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