Electric Cars- Sustainability of, Build Yourself, Etc.

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KenS
Electric Cars- Sustainability of, Build Yourself, Etc.

 

KenS

This discussion started in the book lounge, of all places. [url=http://www.rabble.ca/babble/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=39&t=000177]Who Killed the Electric Car (Not) [/url]

It morphed into a practical speculation, and I just added my own post about converting a gas vehicle to run on 100% electric.

Couple quotes, with reference to an article. Then I'll repost what I said in the original thread.

quote:

In Canada, some people are taking matters into their own hands rather than waiting for the commercial manufacture of electric vehicles. In a CBC story from 2001, one man in Ontario [url=http://www.cbc.ca/consumers/market/files/cars/electric_car/]built his own electric car[/url] by installing batteries in a Pontiac Firefly, expected to last about 10 years.

quote:

M. Gregus,
Thanks. built his own electric car That was really inspirational. He is not alone, of course.
There are many backyard mechanics doing what the auto industry seems incapable of but that has, in truth, strenuously avoided.

I'm really hopeful that GM's Volt plug-in vehicle will turn that around.

I, too, have a Pontiac Firefly (presently uninsured) and would love to get a conversion kit for it - if such were available.


There are now conversion kits tailored to particular vehicles- one of them being the Firefly. The engine comes out, the transmission stays.

The electric motor in the kit has custom conversion gear that literally slides into the existing transmission.

The kits have everything you need.

[ 13 March 2008: Message edited by: KenS ]

KenS

I'm gearing up to build an electric car myself, and have become something of an expert on everything available on the Net about them.
If all goes well, my brother and I are going to build them to sell... there are scattered individuals doing that already.

Using the CBC article that people have read as a launching point, I'll attempt a very short course in the economics of coverting gas to electric.

There are brave companies making true 'ground up' electric vehicles. But they are pretty expensive for what you get, and not very versatile. For the price of a new gas car that will do everything, you get a little bubble- a glorified golf cart really- that is only allowed to go on roads with a max 65kmh speed limit, and where the only Canadian province allowing that much is BC.

It's going to be a long time before the 'tipping point' of the economics takes the true EV to the point of being versatile and mass produced enough to bring the cost down substantially.

The EV conversion is a transition animal. Because the platform is an existing vehicle, it faces no regulatory obstacles. And you start with a platform that is low cost. A body in good shape is all that is required.

The sacrifice made in relation to non-conversion EVs is that the conversions are obviously heavier. The range and speeds attainable are the same, because the conversion can pack more batteries. The article is an extreme example of how the conversions have higher attainable ranges because thay can pack more batteries. Without going into extremes you can get 30km more range in a conversion.

The fact that the conversion is heavier means it is less efficient- meaning more batteries. But the non-conversions aren't feasible for most people.

Normal ranges are 65-85km [decreases some with hills]. Can be pushed as far as 130 for some 'stock' vehicles [S-10 truck, see below] without extreme modifications, let alone something like the battery trailer option in the articles or extra battery packs IN a pick-up box.

Building for shorter ranges can shave a few thousand off of a conversion, and are appropriate for a lot of people. [Attainable speed and acceleration does not decrease.]

The point was made earlier that there is the pollution from the batteries. And only lead-acid batteries are feasible. [Ni-Cad to date and for the forseeable future is way too expensive to fit the economics of this transitional vehicle feasability.]

But lead-acid batteries can be 100% recycled. Higher end batteries with specialized uses already are. When there are any number at all of EVs out there, the same economics apply. If we do make vehicles for sale that will be true from the start: batteries retired from an EV will first be used in less demanding applications where they still have value, then returned to the original manufacturer [which is how you achieve 100% recycling].

Even if you didn't attend to 100% recycling, the overall pollution footprint of the conversion EV is FAR smaller than a gas car- let alone the vastly smaller overall emmissions foorprint [including the electricity production].

An EV conversion will last as long as a new gas car. The ecological footprint of 'manufacturing' the EV conversion is that of the very small production of an electric motor and controlling equipment; versus the HUGE manufacuring footprint for even a small efficient gas car.

Even counting the batteries which the EV 'consumes' for its whole life, the footprint for the ongoing maintenance of the EV conversion is still smaller than it is for a gas car, including hybrids.

Counter-intuitively, the fuel costs of the EV conversion are NOT cheaper than the gas car. At todays prices they are about the same. But gas prices will climb steadily if not steeply, while electricity and battery prices overall will if anything decrease slightly.

This is if you count the costs of the battery depletion- which should be counted since it is entirely determined by distance driven. Battery depletion costs are almost twice the electricity cost. Though we expect to get that down even with what is bought off the shelf now. When there is more demand for tailored batteries, the per kilometre cost of batteries will decrease.

The cost advantages of the EV conversion- and they are strong, come from the their minimal ongoing maintenance. Anyone with modest mechanical abilities can build an EV conversion. Anyone at all can do the ongoing maintenance themselves.

Compare a used gas vehicle, the same model as those used for conversions, any paying the same as one would for an EV conversion built by someone else [$10-13,000]. Then you take out the maintenance costs that are the same for both vehicles [tires, brakes, and running gear].

You are doing well if you can keep all the other maintenance costs of the gas vehicle- mostly the power train- down to $.10/km. The additional maintenance costs of the EV are virtually zero.

And the gas car maintenace costs will go UP from $.10/km, while the EV remains near zero.

There are the cost savings.

The Pontiac Firefly is one of the popular conversions.

Only manual transmission vehicles are feasible.

To date, the most popular 'donor vehicles' for the conversions are the 1990s small trucks- especially the Chev S-10. Aside from the fact that some people want the truck, they also are more efficient as passenger vehicles. Cheaper and easier to convert. Easier to make battery packs stable for crashes, batteries outside the passenger compartment [under the box even]. And less power used for heating the smaller passenger compartment.

Obviously doesn't work for families over 2- but most of those have 2 vehicles anyway.

The ideal donor vehicle is one with a blown engine or transmission, and no rust or rust that can be ground off completely. Anything requiring body rebuilding is not appropriate because the EV is not going to have a terminal mechanical failure.

bliter

I was a member of the Vancouver Electric Vehicle Association for some time but, sadly, have not attended meetings since moving from Vancouver to Delta.

I recall an excellent conversion of a Ford Fiesta done by two or three VEVA members. Have a look-see:

[url=http://www.veva.bc.ca/home/]http://www.veva.bc.ca/home/[/url]

saga saga's picture

Anybody know of a conversion kit for a 1992 BMW 318i?

KenS

The Vancouver club site is one of the best general sites I have seen.

Although I think it doesn't have links that get you to conversions- though anyone will probably get there eventually from any start. [It is the web.]

I'm going to look through my links and pick one or two best starting points; but like I said, go ahead an put your two cents in.

Not sure which BMW model that is, but I think it's one the kits fit. When I do post links- I'll be sure to point to a piece on choosing donor vehicles.

Bliter or anyone want to make any comments on my basic economics of conversions? Or puzzled questions?

I'm going to limit my two cents. I took myself off all the hot Babble discussions so I'd have time for this project. Won't do if I replace that with TALKING about electric cars.

But along the general lines [which I want to stick to probably]:

quote:

I thought the added versatility with the battery trailer was a great idea. Doubtless, for many trips it would not be required, in which case it could be sitting fully charged for when needed. One should be extremely cautious, however, in mixing fully charged and discharged batteries. Do this with ni-cad and you end up with exploding batteries. Lead/acid/gel? I don't know. Not good I should think...

To save trailer insurance costs, I think I'd rather sacrifice interior space - even add a rear bumper tray.


Yes you can't mix different levels charged lead-acid either. Noe explosions, but shortens life.

As you mentioned, the trailer would be added for trips of length required. You can put a gizzilion batteries into some vehicles, and make whatever modifications required. But it isn't efficient or sound. You have to carry all that weight all the time, expending power to move it whether you use it on a trip or not.

The trailer is a better idea. But if you really need extra long range, then unit body cars are not a good starting point. They are a bit more work for modest size battery packs- and get crazy moving beyond that.

Better a pickup with battery packs added for longer trips and quick connect / disconnect [same idea as trailer], and parked on a bed-height platform when not in use.

But this is getting into esoterica that to my mind goes against the appropriate niche for EV conversions.

For most people, 150 km per day for round trip [with an 8 hour charge session at destination] is more than sufficient. [Same vehicle could get you at least 90km round trip with no charge along the way.] An S-10 pick-up with no fancy modifications or battery packs added for trips can do 50% better than that.

And if 90% of your needs are met by less range capability than that, you build in a smaller motor and fewer batteries. Costs less to build and run, and has a smaller ecological footprint.

SwimmingLee

What do you think of the Zap Zebra mini-pick-up truck ?

[url=http://www.zapworld.com/electric-vehicles]http://www.zapworld.com/electr...

it's all-electric with a solar panel roof option.

They cost about $10,000 US.

The rest of their products -
[url=http://www.zapworld.com/electric-vehicles]http://www.zapworld.com/electr...

I'll pass on the "iZap". that's for re-charging iPod's for drivers driving one of their motorcycles.

I say motorcycle because that's what their licensed as, according to one of their employees who goes to the same gym as me sometimes. The licensing is easier when a trike is labelled a motorcycle. Something like that.

[ 16 January 2008: Message edited by: SwimmingLee ]

remind remind's picture

tat

bliter

saga,

In answer to your question re: converting the -92 Beemer. If the car is operational it is sometimes better to sell it and buy one for which a kit [i]does[/i] exist and is better suited.

From Wiki, on conversions:

quote:

Most conversions in North America are performed by hobbyists who typically will convert a well used vehicle with a non-functioning engine, since such defective vehicles can be quite inexpensive to purchase. Other hobbyists with larger budgets may prefer to convert a later model vehicle, or a vehicle of a particular type.

[url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_vehicle_conversion]EV conversion[/url]

I'll check further. I'm sure there are kits for the VW Beetle,Rabbit and Golf. I prefer the latter two, they being hatchback, and with good roof areas for photo-voltaics.

ETA

Here we go. Included in the link is a short video of a 10-day conversion by teachers and students of a VW hatchback:

[url=http://www.evworld.com/guide_bev.cfm?evtype=conversion]Wow![/url]

[ 16 January 2008: Message edited by: bliter ]

KenS

Some notes on things mentioned so far, then a couple links I think are good starting places.

The wiki entry on EV conversions has been 'nominated' for checking it's neutrality.

Its pretty stilted to the personal interests of the writer- especially bikes, and with obviously a minimal knowledge of auto and small truck conversions that are both more common and more versatile.

He only refers to Canadian Electric Vehicles in BC, which has done a number of conversions. But I'd describe them as on the novelty side for personal use, or commercial conversions [which are pretty slick]. But its a nifty site to look at for what is possible. They are one of the kit manufacturers.

The Zap products would be without batteries and other items you can get anywhere. And I'm not sure they can even be fitted with lead-acid batteries. Gel is a lot more expensive. So that $10K price tag is pretty meaningless. And I'm pretty sure that Zebra pick-up can only be on low speed roads [and nowhere in Canada but BC yet]. Not totally sure on that, I'm back home and can't get the site to work on my dial-up.

I agree that the various VW vehicles based on the Rabbit look very good. I've got a Jetta I'm keeping on that possibility. It won't be what we build first for ourselves or for sale.

Which connects to bliter's point: the vehicle you have may not be straightforward for conversion, even if it's light. And such as my case, where I have a Jetta already which is good for conversion- may not be the most appropriate for what one needs in an EV.

The equipment you put in is worth 3 or 4 times the cost of a good donor vehicle with a cast-off engine.

I'd love to get one of those VW pick-ups [Rabbit with a box]- they are 500# lighter than even the Chev S-10. That's a big deal.

Here's a good neutral site with a lot of links- more than any I have yet seen elsewhere. For each of the categories- from full sized [VERY pricey] to toys, to conversions- there is usually some general stuff so you can compare apples to apples when looking at particular products.

[url=http://www.evfinder.com/evsites.htm]http://www.evfinder.com/evsites.htm[...

[url=http://www.e-volks.com/electric_car_conversions.html]Very good site for conversions.[/url] It is for one of the conversion kit builders. Lots of pictures and how-to. And their kits are among those to look at. Among their links:
[url=http://www.e-volks.com/gpage1.html]Choosing A 'Donor Vehicle'[/url] which is the best single thing I've seen on that subject, on a website.

[url=http://www.evco.ca/]http://www.evco.ca/[/url] EV Council Canada: general and gov policy stuff

[url=http://www.greencarcongress.com/]http://www.greencarcongress.com/[/url] More good general stuff.

And the Vancouver club site linked above. [VEVA]

I'd appreciate other website suggestions people may have- particularly if you think them better [or equal] to the above.

[ 17 January 2008: Message edited by: KenS ]

bliter

I found this particularly interesting, from the last link (Green congress). Perhaps we can finally look forward to more than another 25 years of auto show "concept" vehicles.

quote:

Chrysler’s Three Electric Drive Concept Cars Highlight New Modular, Shared Systems Approach
15 January 2008
Ecovoyager
The Chrysler ecoVoyager fuel cell extended range electric vehicle.

Chrysler unveiled three different electric drive concept cars at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit: the Chrysler ecoVoyager Concept, an electric vehicle with a fuel cell range extender; the Jeep Renegade Concept, an electric vehicle with a BLUETEC diesel range extender; and the Dodge ZEO Concept, a battery electric vehicle with a 250-mile range.

Chrysler envisions its electric-drive systems to be modular, with a high-level of technology sharing and component reuse. Common elements include a 200 kW (268 hp) electric motor, electrical architecture, power electronics, and grid-chargeable lithium-ion battery technology, among others.

More... | Comments (27) | TrackBack (0)


ETA

There is no doubt that many will be adding "range extenders" to their vehicles - as is the case with the GM Volt.
It could be something as simple as a small Honda generator. The do-it-yourselfer will have much choice. This, from the comments looks interesting:

quote:

There are a number of new engine designs that could be used and are much lighter than present piston types. Just to mention one, Axial Vector claims to have a 3 lb 5HP engine. They also have higher HP protos. These are smaller and lighter with higher fuel efficiency. Couple that with a PHEV and Crysler could come on fast.

[ 16 January 2008: Message edited by: bliter ]

KenS

I used the figure of $10-13,000 for a conversion made by someone else- because that fit the apples to apples cost comparisons to a similar gas vehicle.

Doing it yourself you can put together a vehicle in the higher distance ranges [more batteries, bigger motor, etc] for $8-10,000.

And as noted you can shave off couple thousand if you don't need the longer range [and the lesser weight also means lower operating costs].

You can go lower still if you already own an appropriate vehicle [worth $1-2,000] and/or are willing to do extra work like rescue a body with a lot of rust, for example.

SwimmingLee

quote:


The Zap products would be without batteries and other items you can get anywhere. And I'm not sure they can even be fitted with lead-acid batteries. Gel is a lot more expensive. So that $10K price tag is pretty meaningless. And I'm pretty sure that Zebra pick-up can only be on low speed roads [and nowhere in Canada but BC yet]. Not totally sure on that, I'm back home and can't get the site to work on my dial-up.

On the lighter products, like the Zap Xebra, my concern is safety.

One guy at the gym who has one described one of his Sunday drives. Up through the vineyards.

I have the impression that they're good for about 40 miles and about 35 mph.

I had no idea that the $10K price was without batteries. That's like selling a computer without a CPU. I do not understand.

My concern about the smaller electric vehicles is, what happens in a collision ?

I understand the desire to have a bigger car that is more survive-able in a collision.

Do any of the bigger electric cars use the motor as a brake, so they convert the energy back into electricity ?

[ 17 January 2008: Message edited by: SwimmingLee ]

Hyjack

quote:


Originally posted by SwimmingLee:
[b]

On the lighter products, like the Zap Xebra, my concern is safety.

One guy at the gym who has one described one of his Sunday drives. Up through the vineyards.

I have the impression that they're good for about 40 miles and about 35 mph.

I had no idea that the $10K price was without batteries. That's like selling a computer without a CPU. I do not understand.

My concern about the smaller electric vehicles is, what happens in a collision ?

I understand the desire to have a bigger car that is more survive-able in a collision.

Do any of the bigger electric cars use the motor as a brake, so they convert the energy back into electricity ?

[ 17 January 2008: Message edited by: SwimmingLee ][/b]


Hyjack

Sorry new to this group. what I was going to post was....
In doing some research at [url=http://www.evfinder.com]http://www.evfinder.com[/url] (thanks to KenS post) I did find something on the Xebra (currently not legal in Canada except BC) that I found interesting. The author being a test driver with some input from the owners of the Xebra. He came up with this.

ZAP is now selling a three wheel vehicle through its dealer network. The Xebra is 9.5ft long and 4.66ft wide and can seat four. It is powered by a brushed series DC motor driven by six PbA batteries (72V), using an Altrax controller, that provides a top speed of 40mph. Zap claim a range on this vehicle of 40 miles but reports from existing drivers put it at more like 15-20 miles in real world driving. It comes with a 110V charger as standard with a 220V charger as an option. Auxiliary systems are powered from the main traction pack via a DC-DC converter and their is also a separate 12V battery used as a reservoir system. Braking is provided by disks on all three wheels but there is no power assist. Carrying capacity is 500 pounds and input seems to indicate that exceeding this capacity has a huge impact on both range and hill climbing ability. ZAP is offering a six month warranty on the car and a two year warranty on the Controller. The Xebra registers as a motorcycle in most states.

Also available is the Xebra PK which is a pick-up truck version of the Xebra. The PK has the same electrical specifications as the Sedan but seats two people in a drivers compartment that is slightly narrower than the sedan. The vehicle comes with a truck bed that can be tilted up from the front to reveal the battery pack which now sits below the truck bed. ZAP also offers an optional higher capacity battery pack for the PK that can offer a genuine 35 miles per charge.

Note: We now have some performance data coming in from users and it does appear that the Xebra doesn't handle large hills very well so you may want to take this into account when making a purchase division. Also, keep in mind that his car is built in China and while ZAP has done a lot to try and keep quality at acceptable levels there have been several vehicles that have had problems. ZAP is working hard to expand its dealer network and contract with independent service facilities but until this network is expanded I don't recommend the purchase of a Xebra unless you live close enough to a dealer to have them do any required repairs, or you are both willing and able to do the repairs yourself.

In regard to using the motor as generator when the brake is applied (known as regenerative braking) a brake generator would act like a brake and charge the batteries a few amps. The increased range received from this regenerative braking is not worth the bother or extra cost on a series DC setup.

bliter

On SwimmingLee's question:

quote:

Do any of the bigger electric cars use the motor as a brake, so they convert the energy back into electricity ?

This is referred to as "regenerative" braking. It's equivalent has been applied to advantage in vehicles doing lots of stop-and-go operating such as buses, and uses a heavy flywheel that continues to spin at high speed when the engine is stopped or idling. It works better with the flywheel in a near vacuum.

Many electric vehicles are driven by what some would term "dyna-motor". As the name suggests, it acts as a motor and generator. When the power is cut off from the motor, as in: foot lifted from accelerator, and the vehicle is still moving, power is being returned to the batteries.

This doesn't mean, of course, that regular brakes are not required. As can be seen, with the correct driving technique, the brakes would acquire very little wear at all while considerable power saving results.

[ 17 January 2008: Message edited by: bliter ]

contrarianna

The Voltsporsche AC 914 Kit from Electeo Automotive sounds interesting,
and claims regenerative braking:

"This is an AC version of our custom Voltsporsche kit specifically designed to fit all years of the 4 cylinder manual transmission Porsche 914 (and ONLY the 914 - no other models). It uses the original manual transmission with a 144V pack of U.S. Battery 8V batteries, and includes regenerative braking. The motor/controller system is manufactured by Solectria/Azure Dynamics. This car has a top speed of 100 mph, and a range of 150 miles under optimum conditions. It represents the ultimate combination of performance, range, and affordability. "

Here is a blog on it:
[url=http://914ev.blogspot.com/]http://914ev.blogspot.com/[/url]

bliter

contrarianna,

A couple of things concern me here. If one does not own this car, I suspect that it would be extremely expensive to acquire one for conversion to a plug-in EV. And if one [i]did[/i] own one, unless one was extremely attached to it, it would make much more sense to mothball it as a collector item or sell it in favor of one of those more popular vehicles that lend themselves to conversion.

quote:

This car has a top speed of 100 mph, and a range of 150 miles under optimum conditions. It represents the ultimate combination of performance, range, and affordability. "

That is very impressive, and you can probably give that Mustang driver the finger at the stoplight on the takeoff, but I doubt that range will be anything like 150 miles with the pedal to the metal for any length of time.

EVs require a whole different driving strategy if we are to adopt them, don't you think?

KenS

bliter summarizes well the main point about that Porsche conversion.

I would add to his that if you look at the blog you'll see a transmission dropped out of the car. That's not the kind of work you get into in a normal conversion.

You do have to pull the engine out, but the trans gets left in place.

The normal approach to conversion is that if the transmission needs work, you are using the wrong donor vehicle.

Hyjack

In a perfect world the donor vehicle would be. Manual shift, no power steering, light weight, good payload over the vehicle gross weight, little or no rust, and an engine blown.

SwimmingLee

In order to spur the transition to EV's, it would be helpful safety wise if they didn't have to share the road with SUV's and other large vehicles.

Though easier said than implemented. If a city or province sets up designated EV lanes, that is an investment in transportation infrastructure. Funds which could be spent on mass transit.

Somehow I can't see an SUV-ban being accepted in some American states, like Texas.

bliter

The only way EVs will become widely acceptable is if they are able to smoothly merge, at the posted speeds, with the vehicles around them.

While your car will operate [i]normally[/i] with the gas gauge hovering near empty your EV should give you great concern before your batteries near quarter charge.

Two or three stalled EVs throughout a city could create monumental, pollution-creating gridlock that could give the whole EV drive a black eye and do much to defeat the EV's purpose.

Reportedly, Chrysler is unveiling, at the Detroit Auto Show, the Dodge ZEO (Zero Omissions Operation) top speed 210km/h and 400 kilometers between charges - with lithium-ion.

Will try to get back with link. I doubt any but wealthy celebrities and a few others will be able to afford it.

Sorry I'm late. Here we go:

[url=http://www.canada.com/theprovince/news/driving/story.html?id=8d637a28-d0... Muscle[/url]

[ 18 January 2008: Message edited by: bliter ]

KenS

quote:


The only way EVs will become widely acceptable is if they are able to smoothly merge, at the posted speeds, with the vehicles around them.

While your car will operate normally with the gas gauge hovering near empty your EV should give you great concern before your batteries near quarter charge.

Two or three stalled EVs throughout a city could create monumental, pollution-creating gridlock that could give the whole EV drive a black eye and do much to defeat the EV's purpose.


It is neither desirable or necessary for EVs to plug into the existing system as if nothing is changing.

They DO indeed need to blend into the existing transportation system as it is. And meeting all the standards of safety is simply a requirement for being on the road. This is why for the forseeable future EV conversions make more sense than "pure" EVs: they ARE an existing vehicle and meet all safety criteria.

Since conversion EVs have acceleration in the normal range, and can reach all posted speed limits, they do indeed "smoothly merge, at the posted speeds, with the vehicles around them."

Yes, an EV out of power can create havock. On the bridges over Halifax harbour poor people and space cases create havock by running out of gas.

Certainly, it is a lot easier to run out of power with an EV. But heedless people can't drive EVs in the first place.

For example. Running out of power with a cost effective current technology EV doesn't just inconvenience you. The depletion of your battery pack over time is by far your biggest operating cost. And any more than several times of running the batteries to zero will shorten their life and cost you.

EV driving is mindful transportation- as all transportation should be given it's huge impact on the planet we depend on.

EV mindfulness starts with the range you choose for the vehicle. The range you choose and pay for should be sufficient for your needs, plus a considerable margin.

Because of that mindfulness, EV driving isn't for everyone. But we can aspire to saturate the 10% who can handle it even now without an infrastructure to support it.

And long before we saturate that 10% super-charger stations will appear, moving up the 'saturation bar.' Places where people stop for from half an hour to a few hours, and can plug into chargers that use technology too expensive for the home user to get a fast boost, paid for with debit or credit card.

I know tons of people who never go anywhere new without Mapquest. It will be simple to add the option of people calculating percentage of power that will be used in the trip at speed limits and given their vehicles performance specs.

Plenty of us can do the rudimentary calculations in our head. You only drive current EVs in your known territory.


quote:

Reportedly, Chrysler is unveiling, at the Detroit Auto Show, the Dodge ZEO (Zero Omissions Operation) top speed 210km/h and 400 kilometers between charges - with lithium-ion.

EVs will be designed and built that can fit right into the existing unchanged transportation systems and personal habits of drivers. But there is no reason to view them as any more than novelties that some people will buy.

Transportation systems will have to shift away from being built ENTIRELY around the personal vehicle that does everything.

EV design evolution should be viewed as converging with transportation systems that develop flexibility making personal vehicles a rel necessity for ever fewer people. The EV evolution in this scenario will be helped on the 'supply end' by improving and lower cost technology, on the 'demand end' by fewer demands being put on it as the personal vehicle becomes one among a mix of feasible transportation alternatives.

The straightforward EV conversion is our ready at hand bridge to that future. The increase in their numbers will bring in its wake a public EV refueling infrastructure that will incrementally make EVs more versatile.

EV conversions will themselves evolve. With any number at all of them on the road, manufacturers will begin doing relatively simple modifications to offer tailored platforms that are finished in nearby small scale independent plants.

[Which won't even cut into the automakers business. They are all moving to being just assemblers, with even entire powertrains built by independent suppliers. Build them without engines, radiators, etc: fine. Put a tailored smaller and simpler transmission in a lot of them: fine.]

And the conversions themselves will help the evolution of the matured 'pure EV', and begin to fade from the scene.

[ 18 January 2008: Message edited by: KenS ]

bliter

KenS,

Don't misunderstand. I wasn't arguing against EVs when I referred to stalled vehicles contributing to gridlock. On the contrary. As must be evident with what has already been written, there is no bigger booster.

I just wanted to stress that, of necessity, on switching to an EV different driving habits will be required - much of that, of course, common sense.

KenS

[url=http://www.eaaev.org/eaalinks.html]Good site with a lot of links from home page. Electric Auto Association, across North America.[/url]

[ 23 January 2008: Message edited by: KenS ]

The Wizard of S...

I can't imagine building an electric car from scratch. I started building a full-size functional R2-D2 two years ago, and $3,300. and countless hours into the project, it's still only half done. All it does is sit there mocking me with an electronic farting noise and whenever I try to extend the third leg it topples over. I had envisioned it as something really cool, that I could send to the 7-11 around the corner when I didn't feel like going myself. I got the idea from some website that made it look relatively easy. It's not.

KenS

People were pioneering EVs at a similar level over 20 years ago.

And it's got WAY beyond what is really experimental.

But persevere on the robot, and be sure to send us pics! Get it to take pics of you!

bliter

Wizard,

R2-D2? Had to look it up. Not exactly an EV but perhaps a good intermediate step to give some technical hand-on experience.

[url=http://www.google.ca/search?hl=en&q=r2+d2&btnG=Google+Search&meta=]It might pass on roller blades[/url]

Building an EV might possibly be [i]easier[/i] even.

Haven't done it (yet) but have seen it done. Having chosen your body and removed the engine, you will need to fit a plate between the transmission and the electric motor. You might be able to buy a custom plate or drill one to your own template. The plate also, of course, supports the motor.

I don't know whether they are still available, or the cost, but some EV builders were using jet starter motors for their vehicles.

[ 23 January 2008: Message edited by: bliter ]

SwimmingLee

quote:


Originally posted by The Wizard of Socialism:
[b]I can't imagine building an electric car from scratch. I started building a full-size functional R2-D2 two years ago, and $3,300. and countless hours into the project, it's still only half done. All it does is sit there mocking me with an electronic farting noise and whenever I try to extend the third leg it topples over. I had envisioned it as something really cool, that I could send to the 7-11 around the corner when I didn't feel like going myself. I got the idea from some website that made it look relatively easy. It's not.[/b]

You just need a partner. Do you have a website for your R2D2 ?

There's a crafts fair in the Bay Area, kind of a family affair where Children of Techies go to show off their CPU's made from recycled pop-tops, or whatever. That, and Burning Man, are 2 places that come to mind, as places to advertise for an R2D2 partner, if you decided to go that route.

bliter

So much on the "greening" of the auto industy in the auto section of the paper, today, that one is almost encouraged to believe that things may be turning around: [i]European carmakers back move to going green.[/i] [i]GM to build new hybrids in Shanghai.[/i] [i]Saturn Flextreme highlight of GM's green offering.[/i] All that plus (mentioned elswhere] an article on the purchase of hybrid buses.

Can it be long before we have auto writers giving us articles on EV kits for do-it-yourselfers and some of the finished products?

KenS

This is an interesting and useful site.

[url=http://www.evalbum.com/type]Electric Vehicles by Type and Make[/url]

I've only looked at the ones for conversions. Many have lots of pics of the construction. Everyone puts in their costs, and major components they used.

bliter

KenS,

What an incredible site. Cars,trucks,scooters,bikes and boats - with much technical detail.

I already have a 1hp 24-volt permanent magnet motor.
The thing is, now, to build a vehicle around it. So much to choose from,

KenS

Here's a site with a ton of categorized links.

[url=http://www.eaaev.org/eaalinks.html]Electric Auto Association[/url]

I clicked on their New Chapters link and was referred to this kind of homey, but technically spiffy bulletin board for:

[url=http://www.localestore.com/forum/]Electric Auto Association Michigan Chapter. Embrace the unexpected.[/url]

KenS

bump

KenS
KenS

here it is [img]smile.gif" border="0[/img]

Noops

Little bit of trivia here.

Do you know the world-renowned late violin virtuoso, Jascha Heifetz built his own electric car in the late 50's or early 60's?

As if he wasn't talented enough on the fiddle!

KenS

Last summer after a great deal of horse trading the US Congress passed new fuel economy standards, with Canada quickly indicting the expected “us too”.

The North American Big Three whined that the proposed fleet average of 35 mpg would require huge price hikes on cars that consumers would not pay, etc, etc.

The legislation went through regardless. That is 35 mpg AVERAGE of ALL vehicles sold. The most significant change being that huge loophole of excepting trucks and SUVs is gone.

They have until 2020- which in the world of auto manufacturing means they have to make the changes implementing pretty much only technology that is production ready now.

Partly based on all that industry whining, and how European manufacturers already meet that 35 mpg average, the consensus was that it would be achieved largely through broader use of hybrids and quite a bit of downsizing “mid sized vehicles” and outright dropping of the biggest hogs.

As it turns out, the amount of planned hybridization was beeing underestimated. The race is on particularly between GM and Toyota. “We’re going to hybridize everything.”

Combining what is said with some reading between the lines, this is what you get:

• Hybridize everything: options available on all models. As well as lowering fuel consumption averages, the huge jump in production will lower costs of hybridization.

• Move quickly on making large lithium ion batteries [now ubiquitous in cell phones and power tools] cost effective. This will further make hybrids, especially “plug-in hybrid” options cheaper to offer and therefore chosen by more consumers.

• Meanwhile, gasoline costs continue to climb. Combined with the drop in hybrid equipment and battery costs, it is reasonable to expect consumers will make these option choices in droves.

By these means the auto companies can lower fuel consumption significantly without having to change what overall resource hogs the vehicles are.

Sound familiar?

Pure electric vehicles are already feasible, and the improvements in lithium ion batteries will make them much more so.

As noted in the thread above, the ranges available to EVs with present limited technology are sufficient for the needs of a BIG chunk of consumers- for at least one of their vehicles. And a great many would happily take the lower sticker price, lower operating cost, and greater sustainability as tradeoffs for a vehicle that doesn’t have the mindless range we have been made accustomed to.

[We are not talking "low speed vehicles" such as the Zenn car. We are talking vehicles that meet all safety standards and do not look any different than standard present compacts and sub-compacts.]

And that potential large market niche of consumers that would flock to EVs, only gets better as vehicle sized lithium ion batteries become practical. By the time auto manufacturers could put pure EVs on the road, those improved batteries will be available and will increase the ranges of the vehicles at relatively low cost [way under the costs of gas or hybrid vehicles].

So far, no auto company appears headed there. I don’t doubt that when the improved batteries are available- and especially after competitors begin filling the niche of providing pure electric vehicles- they’ll all throw something that way too.

But with only one possible exception- not a one of them is making a directed move to pure EVs.

Even the Chevy Volt is not a pure electric vehicle. It is going to be the first production vehicle where the electric motor is the only direct powertrain drive [they are backup or auxiliary in hybrids]. But they will carry and use a huge on board generator as big as a regular engine- so that there are NO limitations in range.

The Volt is just a small logical projection from hybrids. And ‘ecological footprint’ wise, it is NO different than the hybrids and the role they will play in Big Auto once more bringing us more and more of the same.

eggbert

You guys should check out that new electric car company just started in Kentvile - of all places - [url=http://www.switchcurrent.ca.]www.switchcurrent.ca.[/url] It is the Switch Current Motorcar Company.

There's not much info there right now but it seems cool and a welcome site.

wwSwimming

I'm not a big fan of Wired Magazine because of the "we are cool - technology is great - support the War on Terror" gestalt of the magazine - but they have written a decent expose of Zap.

[url=http://www.wired.com/cars/futuretransport/magazine/16-04/ff_zapped?curre...

KenS

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epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

The Shanzai Electric Car Revolution in China

Michel Bauwens

3rd June 2011

In China, you can get Shanzai (‘knock-off brands’, i.e. the illegal but tolerated version of open and shared design) electric cars for about $3,000, less than a tenth of the price of normal ‘IP’-augmented electric cars.

Eric Hunting writes:

“Very nice video discussing the explosively growing phenomenon of ‘shanzhai’ electric cars in China. I learned of this recently while shopping on the increasingly popular Alibaba international trade site where I was surprised to find this huge variety of astoundingly low cost electric powered vehicles from largely unknown companies in China. This is a very interesting situation in the context of the impact of what you could call ‘rogue’ manufacturing pushing a larger trend in more environmentally responsible technology and forcing government to scramble to catch-up. “

Shanzhai Electric Cars

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DZrsn83LODw&feature=player_embedded

 

outwest

Does anyone know what's happened to the Zenn made in Quebec? It might be a "glorified golf cart" as someone earlier wrote, but that's all you'd need to drive around a lot of smaller Canadian towns and cities.

http://www.carswithoutborders.com/2008/02/16/zenn-0-emissions-no-noise-c...

NorthReport

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