Vectrix Mini-bike

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israndy
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Vectrix Mini-bike

A guy I know in my EV group built this:

I took a Vectrix chassis and turned it into a street-legal minimalist trail scrambler. It has a 3.8kWh 160v pack made from modules from a Chevy Spark, will do 0-60 in under 3 seconds, gobs of torque, and powerful reverse-grip regen (same as the Vectrix). I built a custom controller and it has a fingerprint reader for starting, a custom OLED dashboard, and it only weighs about 250lbs thanks to the chassis being almost all aluminum. It's an absolute blast to ride! I'm going to have the rear wheel redone with a knobby tire like the front.

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antiscab
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Re: Vectrix Mini-bike

very nice

when you say customer controller - is that a customer motor controller?
or are you referring to the dash?

Daily Ride:
2007 Vectrix, modified with 42 x Thundersky 60Ah in July 2010. Done 194'000km

israndy
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Re: Vectrix Mini-bike

I'll ask about his "customer" control board and let you know

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israndy
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Re: Vectrix Mini-bike

Phil responds:

I kept the same TRW motor controller and motor, but that's it. All the rest of the Vectrix electrical system is gone. I made a new controller that drives the TRW over CAN directly. However, I did keep the spiffy dual-mode Vectrix hall-effect throttle, but had to modify it to work in my new handlebars. The rear disc brake is gone, only the front remains. (rear is regen only now) I never charge my new pack to 100% SoC, so there is always room for regen.

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Ingineer
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Re: Vectrix Mini-bike

Phil here, Creator of the above Frankenbike. Thanks Randy!

antiscab
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Re: Vectrix Mini-bike

A brilliant creation, well done Phil

how much does the bike weigh now?

I have a Vectrix that's missing a number of body panels, I'm tempted to do something similar

What did you use to generate the necessary CAN signals?
Is that a little tablet PC acting as a dash?

Daily Ride:
2007 Vectrix, modified with 42 x Thundersky 60Ah in July 2010. Done 194'000km

Ingineer
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Re: Vectrix Mini-bike

It's around 250lbs with the pack. I lightweighted it as much as possible, most everything remaining is Aluminum.

I used a homemade controller based on a Silabs automotive microcontroller to replace the main controller in front, and that speaks CAN to the MC and my new instrument panel which is made with an ESP32 and a OLED display. It also acts as a wifi and bluetooth gateway for programming and diagnostics.

The pack uses modules from a Chevy Spark which fit like they were made for it, in a 38S configuration, which is 3.8kWh.

R
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Re: Vectrix Mini-bike

Nice 2nd life. A pity this is not possible in europe...

israndy
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Re: Vectrix Mini-bike

There sure does seem like too much regulation in the EU. All cars must have CCS2, all phones must have USB-C, and you can't make a naked Vectrix

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Ingineer
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Re: Vectrix Mini-bike

What would EU require for homologation? Here in California, they only require headlight, taillight, brake light, and at least one mirror. It would be trivial to add turn signals and another mirror.

cuttysark76
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Re: Vectrix Mini-bike

The law is equal for all countries in Europe but not the way it is applied.
It’s impossible to do it in the southern countries but you’ll find some examples in the northern countries…
All lights you mentioned are mandatory, plus ABS, traction control, among others.

I’m very curious with your new instrument cluster. Can you share more info?
(BMS communication? Charger communication? SOC and SOH? Lights? Traction/power modes? Cruise Control? Odometer? Maps? DC-DC management or requirements?)
Thanks and congrats!!

Ingineer
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Re: Vectrix Mini-bike

Would ABS/TC required for a retrofit? The chassis is basically still a Vectrix and has the same VIN.

My IC is using a 128x64 OLED display driven by an ESP32. It's effectively listen-only on CAN to get all the information, and can be disconnected without impact on driveablilty. (I didn't want to trust an ESP32 for critical functions)

It shows Speed, distance, power, voltage, SoC, throttle mode (I have a "beginner mode"), and state of authorization from the fingerprint reader. Most of the info comes from my custom vehicle controller, some comes directly from the MC. The custom VC uses a proper automotive-rated (fail safe) microcontroller. It receives the control inputs, fingerprint reader, and forms the coulomb-counting/SoC function.

frankenbike8s.jpg

cuttysark76
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Re: Vectrix Mini-bike

Retrofit in Europe it’s only possible with an approval from the manufacturer, so a dead end.

You can always build a prototype and ask a special permission and if it suits the mandatory requirements (2023 requirements), you will be able to legalize it. You need to request special expensive inspections.

In southern Europe (Portugal, Spain, perhaps France and Italy) the authorities are unreasonable and unreachable. It’s a vicious process and you will always get some bureaucrats in your way.

In the northern countries such as Norway, Netherlands, Sweden, etc, you can do it, regarding that your project is reasonable.

So… The holy grail is your Custom VC!

Galago
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Re: Vectrix Mini-bike

It's around 250lbs with the pack. I lightweighted it as much as possible, most everything remaining is Aluminum.

Don't mean to rain on your parade ( it does look sexy ) ... but ... how did you counter-balance the motor?
The reason the ESD charger and it's massive heat sink was mounted high and right was to counter balance that heavy off-center motor....or
do you just ride it with a lean angle? ;)

Ingineer
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Re: Vectrix Mini-bike

You can't even tell. The motor is mounted very low, and is a relatively low percentage of total vehicle weight + rider, plus it's unsprung mass. Even when I drive at the lowest speed I can still balance at, there is no apparent bias.

Ingineer
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Re: Vectrix Mini-bike

What amazed me was they started with an excellent all-aluminum chassis, and then bolted on a bunch of heavy steel crap to hold all the scooter plastic. I don't see the point of having an on-board charger either, it's not like you are going to take a trip across the country in a Vectrix and need to charge all over the place. (And if you did, just bring it with you)

Sadly CCS doesn't officially go down to the voltage ranges needed for a Vectrix, but I have seen some chargers that specify 100v as the low limit, these should work. Then you could add DCFC without much of a weight penalty. I already can do 3.3kW charging which is plenty fast for me.

Galago
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Re: Vectrix Mini-bike

I don't see the point of having an on-board charger either, it's not like you are going to take a trip across the country in a Vectrix and need to charge all over the place.

no; but, it helps to keep from stressing the battery.... In the summer I regularly travel 30+ miles (on a ~~12kw battery) then recharge ....
vs traveling 60-70 miles before recharging ( My battery will easily do this but it ends up somewhere in the neighborhood of 70-80% DOD).

(And if you did, just bring it with you)

.... that is kind of the whole point of having an on-board charger.... so you don't need to pack it! ;)

israndy
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Re: Vectrix Mini-bike

"I don't see the point of having an on-board charger either, it's not like you are going to take a trip across the country in a Vectrix and need to charge all over the place."

I used to take the bike to work and it was only a 20 minute commute, but it had me arriving home w/ just enough charge. So on days I wanted to take the bike to get lunch away from work I had to find an outlet and plug in. I was able with the built in charger to plug in just a short amount of time during lunch so if I had taken a smaller more manageable charger with me that wouldn't have been long enough. I think the solution they provided was perfect.

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Ingineer
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Re: Vectrix Mini-bike

I would have made it separate and removable. The OBC is also one of the less reliable parts on any EV, so that would make service easier. They really screwed up making the power supply suck down about 8ma continuously when the bike is parked, if your OBC dies, it will kill your pack pretty fast. Also; When you compare what riding my version feels like to the original, anyone would greatly appreciate the weight loss. It could have been designed such that it would be removable and when not on-board, you'd have more storage options if desired. Then it's the best of both worlds.

Galago
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Re: Vectrix Mini-bike

When you compare what riding my version feels like to the original, anyone would greatly appreciate the weight loss.

I'd love to take your bike for a spin!

It could have been designed such that it would be removable and when not on-board, you'd have more storage options if desired.

Seems more of a PITA .... I agree with israndy.... even with it's inconsistencies the OBC is a better solution (than not).

israndy
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Re: Vectrix Mini-bike

I do like your points, Ingineer, about it being a failure point and making it removable turning the space into covered storage.

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Ingineer
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Re: Vectrix Mini-bike

@Galago, if you are ever in the SF Bay Area, you are definitely welcome to!

Ingineer
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Re: Vectrix Mini-bike

@IsRandy, yeah seems like both the OBCs on the Vectrix are unreliable, then you have to have someone take it apart to install a new OBC.

israndy
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Re: Vectrix Mini-bike

Battery Pack is pretty bad too, need to figure out how you fit the Chevy batteries in the space as my Leaf solution failed completely

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Ingineer
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Re: Vectrix Mini-bike

The Chevy Spark modules are a little smaller than the ones used in the Volt, and are the perfect width to drop down between the rails. I started with 3 individual 16S modules, and combined them into one large 16S + 8S + 14S module for a total of 38S. They are pouch cells and somewhat modular, so it wasn't too hard. The final large module fits in the Vecrix well almost perfectly in all dimensions:
Finished Pack in frame

I used bolted connections to replace the original spot welds where I made the splice points (sadly, no pics). I also removed the liquid cooling channels, gaskets, and flanges. Given my use-case and the pack's pretty low internal resistance, I don't need liquid cooling/heating. The modules are through-bolted with 4 M6 threaded rods, that terminate at each end into steel end-caps. I also used a large nylon strap at the top for extra compression.

Here's the first 8S combined with an additional 16S:
Finshed Pack in frame

Here's the other 14S added to the end to make the full 38S:
Finshed Pack in frame

israndy
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Re: Vectrix Mini-bike

Wow! That's excellent.

So then you cut off the rod and somehow lifted it into the bike, somehow wired the cells together and then just trust they will stay balanced or did you add a BMS? I know you did a bunch of custom work on the computer so perhaps you made you own BMS?

I got my Leaf pack in the bike by putting the bike on it's side and lifting one end of the pack into the well and then lifting the other end and sliding the whole thing into place. With the weight on the side of the well it was easy to move around so I put the wood blocks in to keep it in place and then lifted the bike up by the handlebars.

Surprisingly easy compared to my old KZ1000 cop bike, the VX-1 weights more, but the foot pegs are positioned such that the bike rolls up onto it's tires so it's not much effort. I eventually learned how to get the Kawasaki on it's wheels after dropping it on the ride home from buying it. Had to face away and lift with my legs, not obvious.

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I also own a 2018 Tesla Model 3 and a 2012 Mitsubishi iMiev

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