Rate of EV adoption

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reikiman
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Rate of EV adoption

I noticed something Andrew said, Re: Working out chain drive, and I know he was trying to encourage John to keep on keepin' on with his project. However this struck me in terms of the rate of EV adoption.

My Lectra project took 1 1/3 yrs to get to a ridable state. Andrew says his KZ750 took two years. I remember from my days reading the EVDL that it would often take 1+ yrs to convert a car to electric. The three wheeler I have in the driveway has been on my project list for 1 1/2 yrs. And I have another motorcycle where I started the El Chopper ET design 2 1/2 yrs ago. If it's our hobby we only have weekends to work on it. It's hard to make much progress especially since "life" has a way of enticing us to go to the beach or hike in the mountains. I kinda miss doing that.

If the only way to get an EV is by building your own -- very few people are willing to put up with that, and for it to take 2 yrs per vehicle is not scalable. Okay, I've spent a lot of time reading computer industry articles. 'Scalable' means a process or system which can directly translate to a large scale. In this case 'Scalable' would mean something like EV motorcycles or EV cars are a common sight on the road.

I think that now that I've done this Lectra that I could do a motorcycle conversion much quicker. The school of hard knocks, and burnt knuckles, taught me a lot. (It's amazing how quickly crossing wires inside an EV can turn into a vaporized tool and/or a burnt fingertip) But even if I were now capable of converting a motorcycle in a month, that's not scalable.

This points in the direction of regular factory production at larger quantities than an individual could do in their garage. A place where production could be measured in the number of bikes per day rather than the number of months per bike.

andrew
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Re: Rate of EV adoption

The process of doing my conversion taught me a lot about the value of manufacturing. It allows a small group of people with specialized skills with the right equipment and resources to produce something extremely quickly and efficiently, and create a considerable amount of wealth. From my visit to the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn MI, I remember seeing one large machine that processed 40% of the world's light bulbs in the 70s when it was in operation. It's amazing how much wealth one step in manufacturing can add to the world with the right equipment.

I don't think that EV conversions stand a chance of doing much on a large scale directly. The hope was that people will see conversions and become interested and do their own conversions, and there would be a sort of domino effect. While this does happen, the problem is that the amount of resources going into each conversion is just way too much.

There's no way around using the time tested approach of manufacturing to gain widespread EV adoption. We actually do use the benefits of manufacturing to build our EVs. Now you can buy most of the parts to build an EV, but you still need to do a considerable amount of fabrication and engineering because all the parts weren't necessary designed to work together. So we are kind of in a transition phase. More, and better parts are being manufactured in higher volumes, and are more available at lower cost. The next step is setting up a manufacturing process to do the most important step. Take all of the separate parts and assemble them into one usable product. If this can be done, than a complete product could be produced in much less time. When this happens, the resources for your average joe to get an EV will be much lower.

What this is really doing is taking advantage of trade through specialization. I look at all the parts on my motorcycle and there's so many people that needed to collaboratively work together to just create any one of them. There must literally be 10,000 people or more involved in producing my motorcycle. But I had to do the most important step: I had to put it all together. The last step was different from the process used to create all of the parts. I had to do everything involved in assembly, and I had to spend so much time learning to just do it once. This last process was extremely inefficient compared to that used to create the parts.

[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

jdh2550_1
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Re: Rate of EV adoption

Massive scale, centralized manufacturing - which is what I think Andrew is talking about - is NOT the only way. It is likely the most efficient way and a good bet if you have high confidence that you can sell millions of dollars of product (and deep pockets).

However, with a car or scooter designed specifically for decentralized manufacturing then final assembly could be performed closer to the end market. What's the advantage of that? Firstly it spreads the economic burden. Secondly it spreads the economic wealth. Thirdly it spreads the knowledge. I'm talking about the idea of a small assembly factory of say 50 people building vehicles for their local market. The parts would be sourced from different vendors.

Today's motor vehicles are in part the product of the drive for massive scale, centralized manufacturing as much as that centralized manufacturing is suited to produce them. It would take a mind shift at the design stage to create a car or scooter specifically designed to be able to be assembled by someone with a simple set of tools. But it could be done.

Most likely this sort of model works better in developing nations rather than markets like the US - but not necessarily when it comes to niche markets like EVs. I think that the Bug-E by Blue Sky designs is based around this model - unfortunately I think that design is too "radical" to get a bigger adoption rate. However, the manufacturing model is a good alternative to mass-production.

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

reikiman
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Re: Rate of EV adoption

That raises an interesting question -- there were no doubt proper reasons for the development of massively scaled factories. Maybe it has/d to do with the price of manufacturing machines.

However we're heading towards a time period where computerized fabrication equipment is becoming inexpensive and extremely flexible. Perhaps the old model doesn't have to exist any longer, because the new machines can facilitate smaller production companies...?

That's some guesswork, anybody know for sure?

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

andrew
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Re: Rate of EV adoption

I don't know for sure, but I can see your point. If the cost of tooling can be lowered, than the cost to set up a manufacturing process is reduced, and this reduces the number of parts needed to be produced to get any profit. All of the costs are reduced, and that means you don't need big bucks, or very high volume to be in production.

But, what I'm talking about is not so much tooling or the equipment necessary to do fabrication. I could have most all of that done somewhere else by just buying large orders of parts that are already available, and ordering custom parts that I would need (like a custom dash display for instance). I would have to have the money up front to set up the tooling for the custom parts, but no doubt, someone who is more experienced in that could offer more value for their resources. What I need, if I were to set up an assembly plant, is skilled workers.

Unfortunately computer controlled assembly robots are probably very expensive to have set up. So the assembly would need to be done the old fashioned way---elbow grease. But I can set up the assembly process to be very simple and quick. Maybe take jdh's idea, the assembly would be done with a simple set of tools while taking marginal skill.

This way you could pay unskilled workers, and the capital expense for the assembly plant would be low.

I have some ideas. This is largely based on my experience with my motorcycle project. I don't know how to weld very well. I did some, but I'm just not that good with my hands, so I don't really care to spend the time learning. So what did I do? I used composites and resin and attached it to the frame. Composite is low temperature labor intensive work, that just requires patience. Sure, you can't stick 10 parts together in one minute and have them cool in 5 minutes and be done with it, but you could use unskilled labor.

In fact, most all the parts on my bike are bolt-on if you look closely. I could place orders for thousands of each of them very cheaply. If I could source one of the same chassis that Kawasaki uses, than it would be very cheap in quantity. And with all the parts, than its mostly a bolt together job. In fact, I used all of the existing chassis bolt holes. I didn't have to drill into the chassis once.

This is just an example of kind of what I envision. I guess I'm not very focused. I'm still in the idea phase where stuff keeps shifting around and spurting out of my head. I guess I'm not really talking high-volume manufacturing that takes high capital investment initially. I'm talking about buying lots of parts and figuring out an innovative way to put them together easily with unskilled labor. That way the process could be low-cost to set up and the laborers doing the assembly could each do one step or a few steps and increase efficiency so this would be much more logical than having the end user doing the assembly. Granted, this would just be a steeping stone. The more money you make the better and larger manufacturing equipment you can buy to turn out higher volumes, and the better the work force that you can employ.

Just my worthless random incoherent spiel.

[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

jdh2550_1
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Re: Rate of EV adoption

andrew - we're on the same page. The crux of distributed manufacturing would appear to be design for simple assembly in the first place and then use unskilled labor to complete the assembly. IKEA managed it for furniture - so, how about an IKEA for EVs?

;-)

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

smace
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Re: Rate of EV adoption

In the PBS show
PBS / NOVA "Car of the Future" Tuesday April 22nd
there was a section that talked about using preformed composite body parts to make a light strong body ( light = less power and so on). The guy talking this up pointed out exactly what you are looking at, the body parts were light enough to be oved by one guy with maybe a lift and could be put together with out all the standard hardware of welding and robot moving. Maybe this is where you need to look.

andrew
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Re: Rate of EV adoption

It was by the Rocky Mountain Institute: http://www.rmi.org/

The guy talking was Amory Lovins. Here's a slide show he did on the "Hypercar".

Their Hypercar venture changed it's name to Fiberforge in 2004, and they would be the ones to contact for high-volume orders of necessary composite parts. Feberforbe website

This is a great concept. It would be perfect for setting up a low capital cost assembly plant. What's not clear is if the goals of Hypercar were also to replace the steel chassis. I don't know if that's a great idea. The huge advantage of ferrous metals (anything with iron) is an endurance limit. Meaning, they will not fatigue crack if stressed below a certain limit. Aircraft which use aluminum run into this problem of fatigue cracking.

[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: Rate of EV adoption

Aug '08, A company in England (fuel being $8/gal) feels theres a market to sell a delivery van (think FedEx/UPS) that is an EV. And they're polling potential US customers (Manhattan).

http://www.modeczev.com/

Britain has made it increasingly difficult and expensive to drive in major cities (London, etc) and is embracing a business model where the ubiqitous 18-wheeler delivers its goods to an outlying warehouse, and smaller more enviro-friendly delivery vans handle the "last mile".

Nothing especially new, except...

The battery pack is leased, instead of purchased with the van. Busineeses often lease equipment like vehicles, but concern over battery pack life has resulted in this new business model, which I think will be a big help.

Can you imagine buying a used EV after the 5-year loan is up, and you have no idea if the battery pack will last one more year, or 3? (rebuilding a gasoline engine might be $3,000, a new lithium battery might be $10,000).

The van contains a smart charger with a pack charging "use and charging" history. The new buyer and the used buyer both pay the same amortized monthly battery pack use payment. When the battery pack dies, a new one is installed at no extra charge.

I think this is a good idea, I hope it works. Battery pack replacement cost is my personal biggest bottleneck to EV adoption. (The US Post Office should be ALL OVER this!)

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