modular electric conversion kits

Discussion in 'Vehicle & Transportation' started by threadfather, Nov 6, 2008.

  1. threadfather

    threadfather Guest

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    How unreasonable would it be for a company to manufacture a "modular" conversion kit that fits on many vehicles to make them electric?
     
  2. TechAdmin

    TechAdmin Administrator Staff Member

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    My wife was watching The Price is Right right before I left and they gave away an electric two seater with a price tag of $7000. Small but looked somewhat safe.
     

  3. BobS

    BobS Member

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    All vehicles are different. Unless you engineer the "kit" into a specific vehicle for specific parameters, all you are going to end up with is a mess-ineffecient, short range, unable to perform at a level acceptable to you, and expensive. Take a look at SAE J688 gradeability calculations (search on Google or other search engine-it's on the web) and play with the numbers.....

    There are real, sound reasons the Chevy Volt is taking years to develop and get onto the market.

    Anyone that tells you anything different is trying to sell something...does the term "snake oil" mean anything to you?

    Best regards,

    Bob
     
  4. crinkler

    crinkler Guest

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    What if battery efficiency suddenly skyrocketed making easier to fit everything and the kit had various adjustable arms to hold things into the varying sizes and shapes of cars?
     
  5. BobS

    BobS Member

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    Did you look at and UNDERSTAND what I said about J688? Until you understand that document on performance standard calculations, nothing that you have mentioned is an issue, you will not understand what the meaning of my previous answer.

    Battery capability (not "efficiency") is NOT the issue with a so-called "kit". Never has been never will. The issue is that too many people think that a commercially acceptable vehicle is simply thrown together from a parts bin. These are the idiots that have caused more problems for building a viable electric car than anyone. Why do you think Tesla has damn near gone bankrupt several times? Are they just pissing away their money on development? What about Ford and Toyota with their hybrids? Did Toyota piss away over 3 billion dollars of development money to bring out just the Prius? It costs REAL money to develop a car. The industry average for a SINGLE car program is over $2 BILLION DOLLARS, regardless of manufacturer. Do you honestly think some backyard hack is going to be able to create a real "kit" for a real car (even if it was possible...which is not) for even LESS?????

    Be serious. Read the references I provided.

    Best regards,

    Bob
     
  6. JeepHammer

    JeepHammer Well-Known Member

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    BOB!
    Like the enthusiasm, but please ease up on the 'Learners'!
    They are asking questions because they are interested and don't know anything... So try not to 'Discourage' them!
    ------------------------

    Actually there are 'Kits' in general terms.
    You can get the motors, controllers, stuff like throttle resistors, ect. all at one time in a 'Kit'...

    You will have to do some MAJOR fabrication for battery racks, and trying to decide if you are going through a transmission, or direct driving the axle, stuff like that.

    See, there are two very different ways to convert one.
    You can do what I did, just use a DC motor and a bunch of batteries to drive that motor directly,
    (Probably the most inefficient way to do things)

    I just grabbed the drive motor and controls out of an old Cushman job site truck and converted a '83 S-10 pickup to electric drive with those components.

    It's basically an over sized golf cart motor pushing my truck around.
    It was INSANELY CHEAP to do things that way, and I was teaching myself how to do it as I went,
    BUT,
    It's slow, the motor will only produce enough RPM's to move the truck about 35 MPH, and I don't have any gears since I direct drove the rear axle and didn't use a transmission.

    OR,
    You can get an AC motor and have your battery energy converted to AC to drive that motor.
    Advantages are MUCH higher speeds, more motor control, and not nearly as much current loss at lower speeds.

    With both of these systems, brakes simply trade forward momentum for heat, just like current 'petro' vehicles do.
    The only advantages are I don't use a transmission, so checking liquid in the differential once or twice a year, and checking the water in the batteries is about all the maintinance mine has...

    I also don't have air conditioning or heater.
    The battery weight has forced me to use air shocks and stuffer springs to hold the weight up.

    The throttle isn't 'Variable'.
    It has about 5 stages and you have to pick one, so the 'Perfect' speed is never found. That can be kind of annoying in slow traffic.

    The radio works and it will charge from solar panels in about a day, so it runs CHEAP!
    ---------------------------

    DO NOT confuse these total loss vehicles with something like a hybrid with regenerative braking and stuff like that.
    Mine is a 'First Generation' electric vehicle...
    The AC motor and 'Hair Ball' controller would be a 'Second Generation'. I'd say a Hybrid is about 4th or 5th generation.

    Someone from 1900 could look at mine and figure out the components with no problem what so ever...
    They are that common and have been used in things for that long...

    As for something like a Hybrid motor/generator conversion, that's simply not going to happen since the hybrids are a rolling battery pack, and vehicle has to be built around the batteries and drive gear.
    That pretty much prohibits any building of a 'Conversion' package for regular petro engine vehicles.

    If you were going to try to make your own, I'd say EXCELLENT LEARNING EXPERIENCE.
    If you aren't in it for the 'LEARNING EXPERIENCE', then buy a Hybrid because the first generation are NOT what you are looking for!
     
  7. BobS

    BobS Member

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    An even better "LEARNING EXPERIENCE" would be to NOT spend money without LEARNING AND UNDERSTANDING what it takes to design a safe vehicle powertrain. Otherwise you are just wasting money and possibly endangering others with a piece of crap that has no business on the road. As evidenced by the use of golf cart components in an application they had no business being used in.

    The original question was "How unreasonable would it be " and simply put (and also to get the thread back on topic), it AIN'T REASONABLE IN ANY MANNER.

    Best regards,

    Bob
     
  8. JeepHammer

    JeepHammer Well-Known Member

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    OK Bob, what ever you say... :rolleyes:

    My 'Junk' has been serving me for over 10 years with 0 (ZERO) accidents and has never left me stranded.
    But you are allowed to think what ever you want to, this is America...
    ---------------------------------

    Anyway, Like I said, it's very impractical to make a 'Conversion' kit for a vehicle chassis that is already 10 years old (The usual life span of a vehicle in the US is 11 years).
    So there won't be any mass marketed conversion kits coming.

    Something you might look into is larger, stronger batteries for a Hybrid vehicle, and converting it to a plug in vehicle.

    Hybrids, by nature, are gasoline charged electric vehicles.
    They use a gasoline engine to charge the on board batteries, so all your battery power is derived from a gasoline engine.

    By plugging the vehicle in to charge it, you are cutting WAY BACK on the amount of gasoline you will need, and the pollution the gasoline engine produces.
    (Electric grid power is much cleaner and more efficient way to do things)

    If you have solar cells charging your vehicle, the power to charge the batteries is not only free, but it's non-polluting.
    Most of the current upgraded hybrid vehicles get well over 100 MPG and will go 60 or more miles without the gasoline engine ever starting.

    Modern hybrid vehicles have advantages like regenerative braking, when you apply light brake pressure, the vehicle brakes don't actually slow the vehicle,
    The wheel motors are charged so the PRODUCE electric current to recharge the batteries!
    This is instead of normal brakes that just exchange forward momentum for heat and waste the energy.

    If you need hard braking, they still work the way 'Normal' brakes do.
    ------------------------------

    If you decide to try an electric vehicle build, start with the basics. Golf carts are a good place to start.
    They will teach you the fundamentals without breaking the bank doing it!

    You could also try places like,
    http://www.go-ev.com/ that make electric motors that accept current GM transmission tail shaft housings and drive shaft/transmission slip yokes.
    Makes switching over a GM vehicle MUCH easier!

    EVParts has a bunch of parts and can solve about any problem you might have.
    This guy also has electric off road vehicles which I'm SERIOUSLY looking into!
    I'm up to my butt in older jeeps, and this would be a GREAT way to do things! Fast and Quiet!

    Or,
    EV Tradin Post: Electric Vehicle Classifieds as an EV resource for parts, vehicles, ideas, ect.

    Here is another one with EV calculators, ect.
    Uve's EV Page

    Always keep in mind,
    No matter if you don't have the 'Latest & Greatest' version,
    If what you have serves your purposes and doesn't cost much to operate, it's not 'Junk' or 'Crap'...
    I see lots of guys with brand new cars, trucks, tools, ect. that have NO IDEA what to do with them!
    (Those same guys have usually been married two or three times, so it obvious they don't have any idea how to operate a woman either! :D )
    ---------------------------------------

    And the reason the GM 'Volt' has taken so many years to develop is there isn't any demand in this country for it...
    Now that gas prices are hovering around $2 a gallon again, the SUV's and Huge trucks are flying off the car lots again, and we are only screwing ourselves....
    And now GM is going down the toilet because they were so far behind the curve when fuel prices went up and the dollar value went down!

    Countries that don't have subsidized oil companies
    (and that is your tax money doing the subsidizing the most profitable single corporations in the history of the world)
    That has $8 and higher a gallon fuel prices already have fuel efficient vehicles...
    Smaller commuters, electric and hybrid vehicles, ect.

    GM, Chrysler & Ford all crank about 'Devlopment', but Toyota had three extremely fuel efficient Hybrids on the market, and Honda has a fully electric vehicle on the road competing directly with our 'Gas Guzzlers'...
    And WINNING!

    Chrysler's idea of a 'Hybrid' is electric motors built into the transmission assisting the gas guzzling engine, which NEVER shuts off.
    GM took away perfectly fine EV cars and CRUSHED them to keep the technology out of private hands,
    And you wouldn't believe what Ford calls a 'Hybrid'!
    -----------------------

    As far as safety of a conversion goes, You will have every safety feature you had in the orignal vehicle.
    Battery protection will be up to you,
    (Personally, I feel better in knowing that I don't have 30 gallons of EXPLOSIVES behind me...)
    And I armored my battery compartments pretty well...
    I use 'Leak Proof' caps and watering system so even if the vehicle is up-side-down I won't have a cap leaking.

    Someone will have to hit me hard enough to distort the frame and crack a battery in an armored box, and that will take a pretty hard hit!

    If you had safety bumpers, seat belts, air bags, ect. all that stuff is still there... You only swap out drive train components,
    So don't let the advocates for big oil guzzlers scare you off...

    The current crop of factory EV's and Hybrids are just as safe as any other vehicle out there.
    They have to do the same crash testing, and pass the same DOT safety standards as any of the gas guzzlers...

    And remember this, It wasn't the EV's and Hybrids that were flipping over because they were so heavy their own tires couldn't support them,
    It wasn't the EV's and Hybrids that were blowing up from fuel tanks mounted OUTSIDE the frame rails where they weren't protected.
    For the size/weight, EV's and Hybrids are actually SAFER than gas guzzlers.... Honda and Toyota consistently get top marks for safety in class!

    Now, if some moron driving a 12,000 Pound SUX with a Hemi-PowerStroke-DuraMax engine vehicle over the top of you,
    And you are driving a little, fuel efficient vehicle of any kind, you ARE going to get the worst end of it....
    I'm not saying that.

    I'm saying the guys with really small weenies and overcompensating with giant SUX vehicles want to use those vehicles as weapons, then there isn't much you can do about that anyway...

    Same with Soccer Moms driving giant SUX vehicles while putting on makeup, talking on the cell phone, and reading a romance novel when she's supposed to be driving...

    For the rest of us, reasonable sized vehicles that get better mileage won't be the ones complaining when the gas prices shoot up to $5 a gallon next summer!
    Everyone around me was cranking about gas prices, but with about a 40 mile range and free 'Refills' from solar panels, I just smiled and wondered with I was going to have lunch that day!
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2008
  9. BobS

    BobS Member

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    Yes, "whatever" I say is based on over 30 years of consulting in this business...not jerking off myself and others thinking junk yard parts picking is engineering.

    That is the difference between someone that knows what can be done and getting it right the first time, instead of floundering around trying to invent a perpetual motion machine.

    Read and UNDERSTAND the Bosch Automotive Handbook, before you try to argue vehicle design. As Ron White once said....You can't fix stupid.
     
  10. Publius

    Publius Member

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    Bob, I am not going to be as insulting too you as you were to Jeep, but you need to be not so anal. Yes you may have engineered things for 30 years, but guess what? I'm an engineer too. My dad is too. The difference from me and my dad is he's a perfectionist anal retentive engineer. Nothing is ever right. He OVER engineers everything he touches. Now when you work for a car company like Ford, that can be a good thing, but that adds cost. Me I'm a KISS engineer. Sometimes people look at me and say, "Why didn't i think of that?" I'm not so rude to say because you're anal, which is the truth of most of them, and I see you may fit that category quite well. Jeep is just trying to let folks know what a DIY person can accomplish. No it isn't going to be a cool or slick as a commercial product, but if it works for him then good. If he cranked out a 10 more of them and tried to sell them, he may get some takers, but for me it would be a second or third car, not my primary mover, so I may NEED more range or speed and would cobble something else up. Check this out and say it doesn't work. 21 PONIES: Save your gas!

    You ***** about good automotive engineering, well some of my former colleagues need to read that book. They suck and mostly that is what the corporate culture wants. They don't get right the first time either. I can list the vehicles if you want.

    No one said anything about perpetual motion either, most people with a brain know there ain't no such thing. Sure Jeep may be able to go 35MPH for 40 miles, but SO WHAT! Check this out. Less range and speed than Jeep's conversion. Global Electric Motorcars Look at the price too. They ARE cool, but they are no better and less safe than Jeep's. You probably consulted on this too!

    Depends on what commercially acceptable is. Right now I agree with you, there isn't one in existence, but if commercially acceptable becomes the GEM mentioned above, then yes you could "throw something together from a parts bin." People have done it. Jeep claims better range and speed, and even though he doesn't have heat, it would be warmer riding in his vehicle in the winter where he lives.

    People change what is acceptable all of the time. Their paradigms change. From SUV's to smaller vehicles. That is why the Big 3 are in trouble now. SUV's are NOT as acceptable as they once were and now profitability is threatened. Maybe they need to market it to change peoples minds. Before you say it can't be done, I say it already has been done MANY times. Look at some of the cars sold in the past. What the hell would compel someone to buy some of that crap? Marketing pure and simple. Microsoft tries to sell Vista this way. People will defend this OS too.
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2008
  11. JeepHammer

    JeepHammer Well-Known Member

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    I meet guys like him all the time that think there has to be a 'PERFECT' solution to any given problem, so in the mean time they aren't going to do anything.

    Like I said, the electric motor and control system came from a utility truck about the same weight as my S-10, and both had similar load carrying capacities.

    I beefed up brakes for the extra weight, and things have worked fine for about 10 years, but the batteries are starting to fail after all this time.

    Being 'Gas Free' has had it's advantages, namely, not shelling out to the oil companies.
    The disadvantages are the limited range, and somewhat inconvenient lack of Air Conditioning.
    Heater and Defroster are both 12 volt units, and somewhat shorten range, but it's not been a problem so far.

    The two things I've often heard come to mind,

    1. DON'T JUST DO SOMETHING!
    STAND THERE AND LOOK STUPID!

    &,
    2. The mistake people make is thinking only doing a little won't help...

    While he's standing around thinking about how what a great education/source he has.... All the while accomplishing NOTHING...

    The rest of us are doing something a little at a time!
    Take note of the wind generators popping up here, solar cells there, hybrid or electric cars showing up all over...
    WE ARE DOING SOMETHING, not just sitting around waiting for the 'PERFECT' solution to be presented to us!
     
  12. JeepHammer

    JeepHammer Well-Known Member

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    Oh, I almost forgot, I'm an SAE Master Tech, Hold patents for everything from Key Indicators to vehicle suspension parts that Ford & GM both use and I have an EE degree also....
    Owned and ran my own hometown engine Rebuild shop for 20+ years after apprenticing for some of the larger names in racing.

    So stupid doesn't really apply, but thanks for letting us know what kind of guy you are!