Wouldn't it be great if...

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gilesmartin
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Wouldn't it be great if...

You know, I have been really thinking about the range limitations of the Vectrix lately and while i am still completely commited to going this route (i am making the final purchase today) I really wish there were some way to combine some of the benefits of a standard scooter into the Vectrix. I was really pretty inspired by the Chevy Volts internal generator (as well as some of the reports of people carrying honda generators)and started thinking about how this could possibly be built into the vectrix. The way i see it there are three options:

1. (would not require any support from Vectrix corp) Mount a small 50cc-250cc engine on the right side of the rear wheel in tandem with the electric engine. combine this with an electric servo that can translate electronic signals from the throttle to the manual signals the engine is expecting. Mount a toggle switch that is hooked up to a relay which is then connected to the electronic throttle on the right grip as well as a standard starter switch. Essentially, when the battery gets too low you simply flip the toggle and mash the starter switch which fires up the ICE engine and allows you to ride the vectrix at 25MPH(50cc)-65MPH(250CC). In this scenario you would still keep the onboard electronics active and could still use regen braking to add charge the battery but all acceleration commands would go to the ICE engine. Additionally, you could use an alternator to charge the battery (using the same path as the regen braking electricity) with normal driving and idling. You could even build a fuel tank for the engine in front of the seat as in this picture:

BIKE01.jpg

2. (also would not require any support from vectrix corp) You could use a similar setup to the above plan but you could have the engine be connected directly to an alternator rather than to the rear wheel. From this alternator the engine would act as a simple generator and provide power directly to the electric motor when requested, otherwise it would charge the main batteries (ie: when idling or braking) using the same path as regen braking. This is most similar to the Chevy Volt i believe.

3 (would require support from Vectrix corp) The same setup could be used but the ICE engine always be active and ready using an idle stop technique. The engine would come on when more speed is needed (allowing speeds in excess of 100+) but would work in tandem with the electric motor. The engine would stay off for normal commutes but would come on and employ a hybrid mode much like a PHEV prius.

what do you guys think? would this be feasible with the Vectrix? I was thinking about contacting some of the members of the Denver electric vehicle council to see if anyone would be willing to take on such a conversion.

Caruso
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Re: Wouldn't it be great if...

I think Option 2 is the most likely to succeed at creating a hybrid out of your Vectrix.

Option 1 is going to introduce all sorts of clutch/gearing/transmission complications that it would be easier to electrify a petrol scooter using bits of Vectrix.

Option 3 would require support from Vectrix, which I'm not sure would be forthcoming???

gilesmartin
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Re: Wouldn't it be great if...

I thought that at first too but many of the smaller scooter engines I have seen have seen have had a nearly self contained engine and cvt transmission. This entire system usually mounts on or very close to the rear wheel and rear frame. In addition, the nature of the CVT is that it only engages when the engine spins so it should allow the wheel to move freely when the engine is off (this is why you can't push start an automatic bike)

R
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Re: Wouldn't it be great if...

In my opinion:

1- For the cost of converting a vectrix to hybrid (material+hours of labour), you can buy the best batteries in the world and get 250-400 km of pure electric range.
2- After riding the vectrix for 3 months, you'll forget about ancient oil burners. Before purcahsing my vectrix in 2006 I was considering very seriously about your option n.2. Now, no way!

gilesmartin
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Re: Wouldn't it be great if...

I can see where this might be the case but i really think i will miss the ability to occasionally make longer trips of 100 miles or more as i have done with my morphous from time to time. It wouldn't be so bad if the charging didn't take so long.

I was also going to check with a few of these places to see if it would be possible to install a level 2 or level 3 charger for sub-30 min charges. There are a couple level 2 charging stations in the denver area.

turok
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Re: Wouldn't it be great if...

Giles,

If you'd hope to push the 200kg+ bike with a 50cc ICE, good luck :-)

And besides, R is right, I too hate everything that burns fuel now. Really hate.

I've got a Vectrix, an electric bycicle and an electric (Li-ion) lawnmower. All powered by a 5KW solar installation :-)

Also, my next 4-wheeler WILL be electric, no matter the (purchase) cost.

If I'd need the range, I'd just go for the best LifePO cells I could find..

greetzz

"doing nothin = doing nothing wrong" is invalid when the subject is environment

gilesmartin
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Re: Wouldn't it be great if...

I can definitely appreciate that Turok and after a week of riding the vectrix (almost 300 miles logged) I feel pretty much the same way. unfortunately, I still wish I had something that could give me the nearly limitless range I had with a traditional ICE scooter. Previously if I wanted to make a long haul trip to Texas or California in the summer I could easily do so as I was only limited by my wallet. Now that's not so much the case. There are other ways around this of course. Most Nissan dealerships are installing electric quick charge stations so if you could plan your trip around that AND install a quick charger in the vectrix it would work.

You are correct that a 50cc wouldn't push the V by much but a 250 certainly would (my Morphous was just 100lbs lighter and did great) however, I would think that if directly connected to a generator a 50cc would be adequate to turn the electric motor and charge at stops.

As far as what electric car I am really leaning towards the Chevy volt for much of this same reason. I would never need to use gas on my regular commute or around town but if I wanted to visit family in new Mexico or Georgia the generator is on tap for that. To a lessor extent the PHEV Prius could do this but it's lower EV range is definitely a negative.

HarryS
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Re: Wouldn't it be great if...

You may look up a post I placed 2 years ago with pictures, carrying a small Honda inverter based generator with me. It weighs 46lbs and is quiet and compact. It does charge the Vectrix quite well. If you are adventurous, you could tap into the DC of this generator and via a dc-dc converetrconnect it via a diode to your battery terminals for charging while riding. Alternatively, you can buy a 150vregulated power supply ideally about 10A and connect it to the generator as is.

http://visforvoltage.org/forum/5406-has-anyone-charged-his-vectrix-small-portable-generator-such-honda-eu2000i

Someone commented that the generator makes a good back rest. Ha ha..

israndy
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Re: Wouldn't it be great if...

I have mentioned this before, but not on these threads, so again I am curious how it is that Vectrix had a plan to put a fuel-cell generator in the trunk of the original V's. I have seen pics of the design. Perhaps it was designed so that when you stopped, the generator would charge it up while you were inside, because otherwise it would have to bypass the generator to charge while you ride and that would confuse the computer. I wonder if you could mount the Honda under the seat like the fuel-cell one would have gone, perhaps modify the back seat or the box so that you could run the generator for the time you are in shopping so you come back out to a bike that can get you home...

For $1000 the Honda might be worth getting, but I have been keeping an eye out for a cheap bike trailer too. Would allow me to get the bike from place I wanna ride to another. I already have an RV with a 2500 watt generator that I use to charge the bike and get it home when it strands me, just requires moving the RV, whereas having the generator under the bonnet would allow me to keep on driving wherever I want to go, stopping at gas stations to fill my one gallon tank... Can't get most RVs to the next gas station on just a gallon of gas, and it requires two people to get you home when the bike fails.

-Randy

Also own a 2018 Tesla Model 3 and a 2000 Honda Hybrid Insight

gilesmartin
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Re: Wouldn't it be great if...

That would be a pretty good idea. I think you would definitely have to have the generator power the electric motor directly rather than charge the battery and have the battery run the motor. As long as you had a way to bypass the battery when the throttle is active you could easily have the generator charge the battery while braking or idling. It might be possible to wire a battery isolator between the motor and the battery and use the generator as the input.

Essentially under this setup you would have a large switch to disconnect the normal battery line and switch to the generator line. The generator would run a line to the battery isolator (typically used in cars with two batteries) which would then break out to a charging line for the battery and another line that runs to the electric motor. The large diode in the isolator would keep the two paths separate.

This would allow you to completely deplete the main battery (30-40miles) and then fire up the generator and flip the switch for an some amount of miles and once the battery was charged again you could shut down the generator and flip the switch back to normal mode for another 30-40miles of zero emission riding.

myvectrix2008
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Re: Wouldn't it be great if...

I have a copy of the official Vectrix PDF brochure I saved back in October 2009. Can email it if anyone wants copy. I can only guess the project was cancelled very late on.

The text reads...

"The fuel cell hybrid maxi-scooter features a fully-integrated 500-watt Protonex NGenTM fuel cell system that
continuously charges the battery pack, which in turn provides power to drive the motor. The fuel cell shuts
off automatically when the battery pack is fully charged."

"THE ADDITION OF FUEL CELL TECHNOLOGY INCREASES
RANGE FROM 110 KM (68 MILES) TO 250 KM (155 MILES)
AND ELIMINATES THE NEED TO RECHARGE THE BATTERY
PACK FROM A FIXED ELECTRICAL OUTLET."

Mik
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Re: Wouldn't it be great if...

Wouldn't it be great if....the ads had been true?

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gilesmartin
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Re: Wouldn't it be great if...

Hmm... I never knew vectrix got that far with the project. It does however mean that you would have to have to get support from Vectrix Corp which I doubt would be an easy task. Currently the motor is disconnected if a charge begins so you would have to override that.

I wish we could find a way to tap in to the batteries the way Vectrix did with this model. Fuel cells are a pretty terrible idea (in my opinion) because there are pretty much zero places to fuel up other than through a home fueling station which, at that point, why bother? Gasoline is still king for the time being. If we could find a way to do this with a gasoline engine we would make the Vectrix practical for a lot more people and remove one of the main barriers to buying (range). With time most buyers would realize that they have very little need for the gasoline engine and would likely remove it. Either that or it would at least hold most people over until there is better (and cheaper) battery tech, an abundance of fast charging stations or hydrogen fueling stations.

Caruso
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Re: Wouldn't it be great if...

I've got a Vectrix, an electric bycicle and an electric (Li-ion) lawnmower. All powered by a 5KW solar installation :-)

That must be quite some setup for the solar power! I'd love to know more?

mikemitbike
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Re: Wouldn't it be great if...

As far as I understood the Flyer of the FuelCell Hybrid: The motor requires 1,4 Kw, 0,5Kw come form the fuelcell, the missing 0,9 Kw come from the battery. At higher speeds more power is used by battery as the fuelcell can´t provide a higher output. If the fuellcell is connected AFTER the currentsensor of the motorcontroller, only the energy used from the battery would count down the fuell gauge. By the way the extra range was certificied at 40Km/h (as the 100Km range of our bikes) but who wants to ride 255 km at 40 km/h :-))

Greetings Mike

gilesmartin
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Re: Wouldn't it be great if...

Now that makes more sense. It seems that they pretty much had it set up in a pretty similar way to how I have described. Basically the fuel cell is powering the motor directly with the battery wired in parallel to give an assist. This also works backwards as any energy not used by the motor will go to charging the battery.

I would think the same thing could be accomplished by attaching a small engine to the right side support arm for the rear wheel and having it directly turn an alternator. I know that alternators can pretty much be custom made for just about any type of voltage or amperage. Anybody know if it would be possible to do this?

HarryS
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Re: Wouldn't it be great if...

With reads to feeding power from a gas motor or fuel cell to the bike without confusing the computer, the place to do so would be through the regen feed. The motor control wires that transfer the regen current back to the battery actually go through the computer as you can see on long declines with even actuallly adding bars back on the display. The generator would have to feed a constant 150v DC at whatever current it can sustained.

HarryS
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Re: Wouldn't it be great if...

With reads to feeding power from a gas motor or fuel cell to the bike without confusing the computer, the place to do so would be through the regen feed. The motor control wires that transfer the regen current back to the battery actually go through the computer as you can see on long declines with even actuallly adding bars back on the display. The generator would have to feed a constant 150v DC at whatever current it can sustained.

kingcharles
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Re: Wouldn't it be great if...

Last time my bike was serviced I could see Fuel Cell items in the management software that was used by Escini. I think they might have developed more than we think. And with the way the other earlier Vectrix plans are being executed (VX2, VX3) maybe we will see the fuel cell come some day...

Once you go EV, Gas is history!

antiscab
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Re: Wouldn't it be great if...

You may look up a post I placed 2 years ago with pictures, carrying a small Honda inverter based generator with me. It weighs 46lbs and is quiet and compact. It does charge the Vectrix quite well. If you are adventurous, you could tap into the DC of this generator and via a dc-dc converetrconnect it via a diode to your battery terminals for charging while riding.

your average 120v inverter generator has an internal DC-bus at around 170vdc.

if you bypass the governor (so no fuel restriction) and direct connect that DC-bus to your battery, no dc-dc is required.

the downside is you need to de-rate the generator rating to 130/170 (or 76% of what is rated to)
so a 2000W genset becomes 1500W.

The upside is you only need a cheap inverter genny, as you are basically throwing the inverter part away.

Matt

Daily Ride:
2007 Vectrix, modified with 42 x Thundersky 60Ah
Vectrix 60Ah Lithium Tyres Fuel Registration Insurance cycle analyst 2 x TC Charger & MC
conversion

HarryS
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Re: Wouldn't it be great if...

Thanks Matt,
I know relatively little about inverter based generators. If the genie produces 170v DC, one could easily use a much smaller version. Honda and generic make 1000Watt models which are really small and light. One may be able to stuff it under the seat. Direct connection through a diode to the battery terminals and one is good to top off anytime.

Mik
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Re: Wouldn't it be great if...

Thanks Matt,
I know relatively little about inverter based generators. If the genie produces 170v DC, one could easily use a much smaller version. Honda and generic make 1000Watt models which are really small and light. One may be able to stuff it under the seat. Direct connection through a diode to the battery terminals and one is good to top off anytime.

I have an old 650W 240V petrol generator that gave up the ghost and sent smoke signals years before I got the Vectrix. I'll have to check if I can make sense out of it's innards and get it going. The ICE did still run and produced enough electrical power to send smoke signals, so there is hope....

650W / 120V = 5.4A charge current. That's within the limits of the wiring and fuses I already have in place, but I need to check the rating for the diode at the negative battery end.

This information may be used entirely at your own risk.

There is always a way if there is no other way!

Anderson
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Re: Wouldn't it be great if...

What about using an inverter generator with a microprocessor controled motorized Variac, this way you could control the rate of charge and at the same time benifit from the advantages of the inverter generator which is that it can optimize the engine's RPMs to the electrical load. I haven't tried this it's only a theory.

antiscab
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Re: Wouldn't it be great if...

What about using an inverter generator with a microprocessor controled motorized Variac, this way you could control the rate of charge and at the same time benifit from the advantages of the inverter generator which is that it can optimize the engine's RPMs to the electrical load. I haven't tried this it's only a theory.

variacs are quite heavy, but I get what you're after.

A better solution might be to still connect direct to the DC bus, but gain access to the voltage regulator, and mod it to regulate to ~140v or so.

That will get your power back up to full rated, though the alternator will run into temperature issues if you keep it up for more than an hour.

Matt

Daily Ride:
2007 Vectrix, modified with 42 x Thundersky 60Ah
Vectrix 60Ah Lithium Tyres Fuel Registration Insurance cycle analyst 2 x TC Charger & MC
conversion

Mik
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Re: Wouldn't it be great if...

...
...

A better solution might be to still connect direct to the DC bus, but gain access to the voltage regulator, and mod it to regulate to ~140v or so.

That will get your power back up to full rated, though the alternator will run into temperature issues if you keep it up for more than an hour.

Matt

I don't understand the power de-rating for the generator.

To me it seems like an inverter has less than 100% efficiency, therefore the wattage that the generator is capable of producing should be increased if it directly charges a battery with DC.

I'm sure that you know what you are talking about and that I am missing something here, but what is it, please?

This information may be used entirely at your own risk.

There is always a way if there is no other way!

R
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Re: Wouldn't it be great if...

The vectrix was build to work with a fuel cell. Somewhere, inside the vectrix, you may be able to plug in a generator, and the vectrix firmware would automatically turn it on/off...

marylandbob
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Re: Wouldn't it be great if...

Remember this: If the VECTRIX draws 50 amps at 125 volts when cruising at 50 MPH, and you desire to keep going at this rate, you must have a generator or other power source to supply at least this much power, (6,250 Watts, or about 8.5 Horsepower)just to "Break Even", leaving nothing to recharge the battery! If you are thinking of a Hybrid solution, wherein an engine driven alternator would recharge the Vectrix battery while in motion, you should think about an engine rated at around 20 horsepower or more, with an alternator capable of 8 Kilowatts or more! If a gasoline, piston type engine were used, typically an engine of at least 250 cc would be needed, and the engine/alternator combination might weigh around 300 pounds!--WHERE would you put such an assembly on a Vectrix? I do not know of any 50-150 cc enging capable of reliably turning a alternator powerful enough to operate the Vectrix motor at 50 mph cruise, and simultaneously charge the battery. Under hard acceleration, the Vectrix requires almost 30 KW of electricity, which would typically require a 40 horsepower or greater generator set, weighing over 400 pounds!-Bob C.

Robert M. Curry

R
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Re: Wouldn't it be great if...

If the VECTRIX draws 50 amps at 125 volts when cruising at 50 MPH, and you desire to keep going at this rate, you must have a generator or other power source to supply at least this much power, (6,250 Watts, or about 8.5 Horsepower)just to "Break Even",

This is not entirely true. The power is suplied by the battery. The generator helps to extend the range, by adding power to the engine, but mainly by raising the battery voltage: With this rise you can obtain more energy from the battery pack.
But I still don't see the point.
Instead of getting 60 km at 70 km/h, maybe you can get 80 km at 70 km/h. but with noise, smoke and vibrations. Better batteries will add this extended range..
marylandbob
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Re: Wouldn't it be great if...

Yes, a "Flea Power" generator, solar panel, fuel cell, etc. with less than the 6,000 watts or so required to operate the Vectrix at highway speed WILL somewhat "Extend the Range", but if the power source is LESS than what is being used, you will, nontheless, eventually come to a STOP, as the battery WILL run down! To prevent DISCHARGING the battery while riding, the auxillary power device must equal or EXCEED the power used by the vehicle, something that is not easily, or cheaply, done on a Vectrix. I do believe that my earlier statement WAS, in principle, "entirely correct."(as an example, if you had a 1,200Watt generator installed, and continuosly charged the Vectrix battery while riding at 50 miles per hour, you could expect to possibly go 20% further than if you did NOT use the generator, provided that adding the generator did not significantly reduce range/increase power consumption because of its WEIGHT and DRAG on the vehicle.)--What is needed is a SMALL,very efficient, about 1 cubic foot or less, 12KW generator, weighing less than 40 pounds! Such a device would easily power the Vectrix or similar vehicle, and also charge the battery while traveling at highway speeds, allowing unlimited distance travel as long as the fuel for the generator held out. Power for accelleration and hillclimbing, which might exceed 25 KW, would come from the battery, and be quickly restored by the generator in this case.-Bob C.

Robert M. Curry

HarryS
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Re: Wouldn't it be great if...

I still think that this concept deserves consideration as a backup source to get you out of a bind. My post above with the pictures of the small Honda generator were simply an approach to recover the bike should I get stranded with an empty battery because of an inaccurate range estimate or simply a construction site requiring a detour that was not factored into your route. The problem with the Honda is that it is 46lbs and quite bulky. If you could use a much smaller 800 watt generator directly charging the battery, it may fit under the seat until needed. Yes, it would take a half hour to add a couple of miles to the range but that may just get you home, FYI, the Honda I used generates 1 mile for every 4 minutes charge time, not bad at all.
I do agree that the use of a hybrid defeats the purpose of a clean bike. In fact, charging from a generator gives you worse fuel economy than buying a bike with a gas motor.

R
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Re: Wouldn't it be great if...

What is needed is a SMALL,very efficient, about 1 cubic foot or less, 12KW generator, weighing less than 40 pounds! Such a device would easily power the Vectrix or similar vehicle, and also charge the battery while traveling at highway speeds, allowing unlimited distance travel as long as the fuel for the generator held out. Power for accelleration and hillclimbing, which might exceed 25 KW, would come from the battery, and be quickly restored by the generator in this case.-Bob C.

Mmm...
wouldn't it be easier to buy a traditional petrol scooter, with that marvellous unlimited range?;-)

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