Electric Motorcycles

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Electric Motorcycle Links

Electric Motorcycle Links

reikiman's picture

The Douglas Pidcock 1922/1942 Electric Motorcycle -- a very early EV Motorcycle

The following information about an early early early electric motorcycle, in Great Britain, was found on eBay (http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Douglas-Pidcock-1922-1942-Electric-EV-Motorcycle-18v-Veteran-Vintage-Historic-/231786664320?&afsrc=1&r...) and retrieved with a hat tip to Ted Dillard's blog post (https://evmc2.wordpress.com/2015/12/20/the-douglas-pidcock-19221942-electric-ev-motorcycle/)

It's an 18 volt motorcycle, with 3 6 volt lead acid batteries. The speed controller is a switch that selects 6v, 12v and 18v.

According to the eBay listing, it was originally built from a Douglas 2 3/4 frame then modified with Mr Pidcocks own parts, some of which were from BSA. Mr Pidock converted the motorcycle using for a daily commute to work at a engineering company in Peterborough during the time of petrol rationing. (1942/3 === WW 2)

Max speed is 18 miles/hr. Riding is quiet with just tire and chain noise. Speed is selected by a lever 3 positions 6v, 12v and 18v and the clutch lever operating a Lucas solenoid switch to bring in the motor. The motor is a Morris lorry starter motor. I've had a new industrial charger made and the bike is fitted with 3 x 6v heavy duty rubber batteries.

The PDF attached below has the eBay listing with full details.











My new E-bike

I got my new ZEV 3600 on November 6th from DWG, here is their web site http://www.environmentfriendlystore.com/. I haven't had time to post any thing till now. I had it shipped to were I work because we have a warehouse with a loading dock. The bike arrived in a large wooden crate. I actual was the one that unloaded it from the truck. I then began to uncreated the the bike. The crate was put together very well. It took me about a hour to uncreated it using a electric screwdriver. I probably could have done it in half the time but I was being very cautious. The bike did not even shift during shipping. At least far I could tell. After inspecting the bike thoroughly there wasn't even a scratch anywhere. The bike came fully assembled and ready to drive after charging. I was surprised as from what I read about a lot of other bikes there are some assembly required. Like having to put the wind faring on or the front wheel having to be reinstalled.

Next thing I did was open up the boxes that were shipped with it. They contained the charger and a inverter box. The instruction manual for the charger was all in Chinese. No problem ill just Google it and find a translation I thought. Well it seems there is no listing for this charger. It may be a new series of the king pan chargers. The model is KP-M series Li-ion battery charger. Now what I was confused about was why a inverter was shipped. The cable that plugged into the charger itself was the same kind of connector that plugs into a lot of power supplies like computers flat screen TV's etc. The other end was a standard three prong connector (U.S.A.). It had 220v written on it. Now I have never seen a 220v connector like that. Mainly there odd shaped to keep people from plugging in a 110v device to 220v. I think there are like 15 different types of 220v connectors here in the U.S. , again being cautious I contacted ZEV to be sure that I understood correctly. That the charger was 220v and the inverter was so that you could use any 110v outlet and charge the bike. The last thing I wanted to do was damage anything from ignorance. I sent a email to ZEV with my question I got my response back in 30 min. I was correct so Then charged the bike,it was fully charged when it was time for me to leave work. So I drove it home.

I am going to back up just a bit. Many at work new I was getting a new E-bike. I had talked about it a lot. Now what I had before was a razor 300-es which I used to commute to work with. I only live like 6 blocks from my work. It served me well and liked not having to buy gas and the very low maintenance. So that got me hooked on E-bikes. So I decided to get a real E-bike. My coworkers were expecting just slightly larger version of what I had. Despite me telling them other wise,even after showing them the web site. After I first opens the crate they all gathered around and they were surprised at its actual size. It is a full sized motor cycle. It actually does have room for two standard size Americans to ride comfortably. When it was time to go home I had friend take the charger and inverter to my house since it wouldn't fit under the seat. He used to honk at me as he passed me up the hill on the road just outside of work. When he got to my house he said “I tried to catch you on that hill, but damn that bike is fast!”.
Believe it or not I have had four offers to buy my old razor from coworkers. But I am going to keep it,mainly since it was my very first E.V.

November 7th I take the bike to work and back and it being a sat. I actual got off a little early, for once. I have put about 3 km on it. There is still plenty of day lite left so get out my tools and decide to check all the bolts and screws to be sure everything it tight. My wife watched me as was doing this. She asked me what I was doing so I told her. Everything was tight no loose bolts or screws. So I put my helmet on and get ready for my first real ride on the bike. I am just about to pull out of the drive way and my wife stops me. “I found what you were looking for.” she said. I raise my visor and look at her puzzled. “What ?” I asked. “The loose nut, its sitting on the seat and holding the handle bars!” we both laughed and I gave her a kiss and off I went. I drove it around the neighborhood for about two hours. The bike did fine climbed all the hills with out any issue. There was one hill I didn't attempt because its very steep and curvy and wanted a little more experience driving this bike before going up it. A lot of cars cross the lane going down it and have caused fatal accidents.

November 9th the start of a bad week. I went to register my bike with the DMV. I got there before they opened and was 6th in line. I had all the paper work and expected to get out of there fairly quick. Well first they said I had to have the bike inspected because it was from out of state. So they gave me the inspection form. Which had to be filled out by any police officer municipal,county or state. So I took the bike to my cities police department. I figured I would have them inspected it since that is were I will be driving it mostly. They looked it over making sure all the lights worked etc. They wanted me to drive around the parking lot so they could hear it run. Well they were surprised when there was just tire noise. They filled out the paper work and back to the DMV I went.

Now the line is fairly long so it took me about 1 ½ hrs to get back to a representative. So again I hand over all the paper work and they enter all the information in. But the system keeps kicking it out. After repeated attempts she goes to the supervisor and they try. The system keeps kicking it out. So finally the head of the DMV gets involved, and says “Well he has all the proper documentation we have to register it.” . She calls the states main office. They want a state inspector to look at it do a etching of the vin and take pictures of it. I end up having to come back the next day for the state inspector to look at it. He looks over it does the etching and photographs the vin. He said “I have inspected 1'000's of vehicles, this is the very first all electric I have seen.”. Another 3 hrs later I finally get it registered and a tag. With multiple calls from the inspector and head of county DMV. Apparently this was the very first all electric vehicle ever registered in the county, perhaps the state. So they had to modify there system to take it. Now if some one goes in to register a e bike they wont have to go through this.

November 11th I was on my way to work as I headed up a small hill the bike shut down on excelaration. Ice put about 55km on the bike now. I watched the voltage meter and it goes quickly into the red under full throttle. OK time to recharge it. After work I get it home being sure it never goes into full red for the shut off. I put it on charge.

November 12th- - 15th Bike fully charged headed to work and kept getting shut downs. Even on level ground, so I contacted Zev during lunch. They replied again very fast but didn't receive the response till I got home. I received request for voltage readings and a reassurance that they have all parts in stock to resolve any issue. I did the voltage readings on the batteries while siting still,under charge, and while the motor was running. There was a constant low voltage on one battery. We figured that the battery was the issue but want to be sure it wasn't a charger issue. So I received the pin outs of the charger which was paired with which to do the voltage test. But with out any load the charger didn't show any output. So I figured I would swap the batteries around and then eliminate the charger issue. When doing so the battery that had the constant low voltage was swelled. So we found the issue. Another issue popped up though. After swapping the batteries the lights no longer worked. We decided to to see if it was the low battery that caused that. I requested that the battery was sent overnight which I would pay the shipping. This was totally optional and at my request.

November 17th - 20th I revived the battery on the 17th and installed it. How ever the lights still did not work. I contacted Zev again and received the complete wiring diagram for the bike. After studying the diagram I checked various voltages and found that the DCD (direct current divider) in the diagram was receiving the proper voltage but was not outputting the 12 volts to the system which supplied all the power for the lights,horn and turn signals. I once again requested that it be shipped overnight and pay shipping. I received it on the 20th installed it and everything worked.

November 22nd after recharging the bike I drove it around for about a hour then took it up the big steep hill. It being a Sunday no traffic at all, It went up it with no trouble and even excelirated on that hill.
I am very pleased with my bike despite some of the inconveniences that did a cure. Some may wonder why I requested the parts overnight. The answer is that I wanted it fixed as fast as possible. Many companies will promise things and not follow through. Zev told me they had all the parts in stock and not to worry. Well by having them send it overnight they have proved to me that they do. I have driven the bike daily, its my main source of transportation. I get from 70km to 75km from a single charge which is roughly 40-43 miles. About 10 of those miles is with lights on, due to the time of year. Top speed of the bike is really just above 40mph. But that has a lot do with terrain and my weight as with any e bike. After the holidays ill get a gps to validate the speed and range along with a helmet camera to show the terrain.

ZEV (Z Electric Vehicle Corp)


An electric vehicle company making motor scooters from 2000 watts to 8,000 watts. The major advantage of a ZEV is in the robustness of the parts, the two year warranty, the unusual performance, and it is made in the USA. The company has a USA VIN number and does all final assembly in the USA so the bikes can be test driven and the quality more controlled.

The company uses Chinese bodywork so the bikes look similar to some Chinese bikes. But the frames are much different, more robust, gusseted as they are used as taxi hauling sidecars in some countries and as delivery vehicles pulling trailers and the company owners are handling freaks. The brakes are bigger than any other scooter on the road compared to the weight of the vehicle The motors have cooling built into them. With motors to over 8,000 watts and motors on prototypes to 12,000 watts, with some bikes able to run right to 100 mph, the bikes offer far more performance than any other electric bike.

racermike39's picture


Well another 3 weeks have passed, I am still not riding YET. Other, more important things have taken up every spare minute. The garden is in,
my oldest graduated from high school
went to Cedar Point Park in Ohio,
and I was heavily involved for almost a week in the moving of our work place. Now I have a 6 mile commute to work. :) AND my youngest son broke his arm at Scout camp. He is expected to make a complete recovery. Mostly his pride hurts more than his arm ;).
So finding time to work on the bike has been difficult.
Here is the current status:
2 weeks ago, I went for a short test ride :). My batteries were very low, and everything was hooked up temporary, kind of hanging all over the place. The bike was slow, but I was able to test the low speed handling and balance. I was very happy. A big EV grin :). In the process of changing out some of the bad batteries, I shorted out the controller to the frame, and fried the controller :(. A major rookie error, but that is part of the reason I took on this project, to learn by doing. I have since learned that I MUST disconnect the B+ connection from the controller BEFORE servicing the battery pack. What this has done however, is give me time to complete the balance of the work on the bike, while not being tempted to just ride it, and worry about finishing the "little" things later.
A few days ago, I started the final installation of the body work.
Thursday, July 3rd, I finished the main charging station.
I used a 9 pin trailer style connector, and installed the female side on the main cowl of the bike.
July 4th it was raining here most of the day, so I was able to work on the bike all day. I finished the dash by installing a cycle computer and the Pak-Trakr.
I really like the Pak-Trakr. It is an amazing little tool. For the cycle computer, I chose a Panorama v-12. I used JB QUICK WELD to attach the magnet to the bike wheel. The sensor tie wraps to the fork, and the fender covers it all up so it is protected, and not visable. The display will be attached to the face of the dash with HD velcro.
I have finished the installation of the 2-Power Stream 36 Volt onboard chargers. They fit nicely under the tank. The batteries balanced out pretty well while charging. The Pak-Trakr was very helpful during the testing of the on board chargers. I am in the process of making the extention cord storage area in the tank, so the cord will come out of the gas cap.
So now, as soon as my controller comes back (hopefully by July 12th) I should be able to ride with everything functioning and complete.
That's it for now. I hope my next post is with speed and range information.
I just wanted to thank all who post on this forum. I have used a TON of info from this site. Many of you deserve much thanks. Thanks for the encouragement along the way, and thanks for taking the time to check out my project blog.

reikiman's picture

The three wheeler could be running soon

One of my vehicles is a three wheel motorcycle...


I got it 1 1/2 yrs ago through an ebay auction, meaning I did not build the thing. I started to register it last year but during that process the thing stopped working. So for the last 9 months it's been sitting idle while I've focussed on the Lectra. It's been this big white elephant sitting in the driveway to walk past and occasionally think about and get frustrated. I tried several times to get it running but.. no luck.

This afternoon I decided to wire up a controller to the motor completely bypassing the existing wiring. And.. it runs. Yay.. meaning, now that the Lectra is pretty much finished I can spend a few cycles on this trike and get it running too.

Let's see how many electric motorcycles I can own...

reikiman's picture

Re-Lectra Success, and so fracking close it's not funny

I made a major milestone this evening and wanted to share with y'all the status.

I'm working to rejeuvenate a Lectra motorcycle. Look back in my blog postings for previous status updates. This motorcycle is gonna be way cool when phase 2 is finished. At the moment though I'm still working on getting phase 1 finished, namely to have the motorcycle functioning and running on the road.

I had recently been posting about the DC-DC converter etc.. those questions are settled. The DC-DC converter from Powerstream is doing the job excellently. It's a 12.5 Amp unit which will be giving ample power for the light system. Then for a combination of emergency disconnect and manual contactor, I have two huge switches. One has a big red button, the other has a lever that also functions as a key. Both are rated for well over 500 Amps continuous and will be more than sufficient for this motorcycle. I haven't yet figured out exactly where they'll be mounted.

The major success this evening is the lighting system. I've been puzzling over the maze of wires as implemented in the original wiring harness... and.. while Lawrence promises me the original wiring harness was perfectly functional, I couldn't figure it out. And I could see ways to simplify the wiring harness. So... I cut the old wiring harness out, and have wired up the simplified harness for the lighting system. As of this evening the headlights, horn, and turn signals are working, and the tail/brake lights is within reach to do very quickly.

The other thing I'm working on right now is a box to hold the speedometer and paktrakr display. What I'm planning is a plexiglass box which will mount on this post between the handlebars which held the previous dashboard. The box is about halfway finished.

What's left?

Besides the dashboard... As I said, there's the issue of mounting the manual contactor. I'm thinking to make another plexiglass box, mounting it in the place which would normally have the gas tank. The contactor could be mounted on that box, and I've got a couple other meters and whatnot which can be mounted on this box. Like the keyswitch. And the wiring needs to be cleaned up, and tied down properly. And the body panels need to be remounted. And I have to get it insured, and once it's insured I need to go to the DMV to reinstate the registration.

reikiman's picture

Bleah, not enough amps

Dang. The Lectra is still so close I can taste it.. but... The two major pieces left before it could be taken on the street is a) wiring the manual on-off switch I mentioned before, and b) getting the lights to work. I got the switch and am pondering choices on mounting it on the bike. But today I wanted to get into the lighting system.

The lighting system is a mess of wires in a wiring harness, and include in-line fuses and turn signal relays etc. Probably the existing wiring harness works but it looks like a mess and I keep thinking I want to cut it all out and start over. In any case I need to work out which parts of the harness go where etc.. at the end it might be a simple enough matter to find two wires for a 12v connection and the whole thing lights up. But so far it hasn't been that simple.

Anyway I tried connecting the lights directly to the DC-DC converter just now to make sure they're all working... and it gave me a chance to measure the amp load.

Wiring the lights directly was successful and the lights do indeed light. However....

The headlamp (a normal incandescent headlight) draws 4.6A @ 12v (or about 45 watts). The turn signal I hooked up (an LED unit) draws 0.6A in normal mode, and 1.5A in turn signal mode.

The DC-DC I have is home built from two individual DC-DC units. Each are 2.5A so the total capacity of the DC-DC is 5A. If you add up the amperages above it's well above 5A, powering the headlight and running lights will draw over 8A and close to 10A if a turn signal is on. Doesn't sound like I'll be able to put a stereo system on this bike... }:)

Bleah.. my DC-DC doesn't have enough amps.

The options I can think of are:

  1. Find an LED headlight that requires fewer A's and is still DOT approved
  2. I have two more of the DC-DC units, so I could wire them in and make the total be 10A
  3. Find a bigger capacity DC-DC unit.. EVPARTS has some which might work
reikiman's picture

My Lectra project

DaveB mentioned my Lectra project, and it struck me I haven't written much of anything about it. Unfortunately I don't have pictures handy and in any case the pictures I have are just showing a frame with a mess of wires hanging all over the place.

The Lectra Motorcycle is quasi-historical. They were made by Electric Motorbike (EMB) during the 1990's and that company was later bought by ZAP. I remember seeing them listed on the ZAP website for awhile, and I remember attending a ZAP shareholder meeting where they unveiled the VR36 motorcycle. The Lectra was a 24 volt design and somehow they reworked it to be a 36 volt system. But that vehicle never reached the market, and ZAP kinda mismanaged the product to death. There were about 100 Lectra's made.

I bought it a year ago as a bare frame .. no batteries, no controller, but with a motor and the original wiring. This is a link to the evalbum entry for the previous owner of this bike You'll see batteries in the picture etc, they were Delphi 8v batteries which were basically dead, and Lawrence removed all of them along with the controller before selling me the bike.

I've bought a battery pack of Powersonic 12v 26ah SLA batteries. I chose them because of the bike's geometry. To get to a 60 volt pack there's a section just in front of the motor, where EMB had installed the controller, but into which I'm putting batteries. Those 26ah batteries are skinny enough to fit there. The pack is 10 of those batteries, wired as buddy-pairs so that it's a 60 volt 50ah pack. The pack weight is a bit over 200 lbs.

It has a 72v 400A Alltrax controller which I'm mounting under the seat. The motor is not the original Lectra motor, but an Advanced DC A89. (EVPart's listing for the A89 replacement)

What's wired right now is the batteries, controller, solenoid, throttle, a key switch, a DC-DC converter, some switches to control the keyswitch input on the controller, and the horn. What's left to wire is the headlights and turn lights. Oh, and I need to replace the solenoid because it appears to be ON all the time.

I have original Lectra body panels from Lawrence. But he also sold me something else which is really intriguing.

I've mentioned Craig Vetter and his full fairing's before. He ran a contest for several years for the highest miles/gallon rating that could be achieved with a motorcycle. The winners used a full fairing around the motorcycle, as well as pulling a few tricks like using a "small" (250cc) motorcycle with a motor jimmied for high mileage.

Leaning against my garage wall is one of those fairings. The idea is to cut the plastic bubble to the desired fairing shape and bolt it into place on the motorcycle frame.

So this is rather exciting really. Some portion of that high miles/gallon rating came from the fairing. Motorcycles are, after all, horrible at being streamlined. Having the Lectra streamlined should make for great range improvements.


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