The Electric Motorcycle: A DIY Primer: Page 5 of 5

Advanced

Inside this Article

The finished electric motorcycle.
The finished electric motorcycle—road-ready for miles of fun.
1984 Honda VF500F Interceptor donor bike
This 1984 Honda VF500F Interceptor donor bike has its frame stripped and primed, ready for paint.
This 1984 Honda VF500F Interceptor donor bike.
This 1984 Honda VF500F Interceptor donor bike has its frame stripped and primed, ready for paint.
AC brushless motor.
AC brushless motor.
PMDC brushed motor.
PMDC brushed motor.
BLDC hub motor.
BLDC hub motor.
The controller, contactor, and fuse.
The controller, contactor (lower right), and fuse (upper right), with everything neatly laid out, will be hidden under the old fuel tank.
Charger and the controller.
Both the charger and the controller generate some heat, but airflow around the aluminum mount will keep things cool. Note the two chargers: one is a 72 V charger for the main pack. The second, smaller one is a 12 V charger for this bike’s separate 12 V system battery.
Battery mounts.
Battery mounts are another place where hefty design and redundancy are wise.
Motenergy ME0709 motor.
An example of a basic motor mount with a Motenergy ME0709 motor. The mount bolts to the frame at the top and bottom, and a bar counters the rear pull of the chain.
Testing component placement.
Using duct tape to test component placement.
Battery mount.
This mount has three sets of hold-down brackets, able to handle the 90 pounds of batteries.
Two 12 V SLA scooter batteries.
Two 12 V SLA scooter batteries, wired in parallel to give enough capacity for lights and a horn.
The Cycle Analyst display.
The Cycle Analyst display tracks vehicle speed and the propulsion batteries, including voltage, power consumption, and remaining capacity.
Klll switch.
The kill switch operates the main battery contactor to cut power in an emergency.
The throttle.
The throttle, which is electrically connected to the controller, is used to increase and decrease the power that goes to the motor.
The newly converted electric motorcycle.
The author’s son Tyler takes a spin on the newly converted electric motorcycle.
The finished electric motorcycle.
1984 Honda VF500F Interceptor donor bike
This 1984 Honda VF500F Interceptor donor bike.
AC brushless motor.
PMDC brushed motor.
BLDC hub motor.
The controller, contactor, and fuse.
Charger and the controller.
Battery mounts.
Motenergy ME0709 motor.
Testing component placement.
Battery mount.
Two 12 V SLA scooter batteries.
The Cycle Analyst display.
Klll switch.
The throttle.
The newly converted electric motorcycle.

The Final Product

Our medium-sized motorcycle gets up to 15 miles per charge, more than enough for my errands around town even with some aggressive curve-riding on the way. It takes about two hours to recharge with a 72 V, 8 A battery charger. The bike weighs about 300 pounds, including about 95 pounds of SLA batteries, about 150 pounds less than the original stock motorcycle. The total cost was about $1,200 (including selling some of the original unneeded parts), and it took roughly three months of evenings and weekends to complete. With the same size and weight of lithium-ion batteries, that range (and cost) will more than double.

It’s turned a few heads, too. One older Harley-riding gent, after taking it for a spin, came back with a huge grin. “I’ve GOT to build one of these things!” were the first words out of his mouth.

Access

Ted Dillard is a 40-year veteran motorcyclist, editor of The Electric Chronicles (www.evmc2.com), author of …from Fossils to Flux—A Basic Guide to Building an Electric Motorcycle, and an incorrigible electric vehicle evangelist. He’s just completed his latest bike, the R5e, a 1971 vintage road racer restored and converted to electric power, and is back to scouring the classified ads for his next “roller.”  

General Info/Groups & Forums:

Battery University • www.batteryuniversity.com

CompGoCarts’ Sprocket Calculator • www.compgoparts.com/TechnicalResources/SprocketCalculator.asp

DIY Electric Motorcycle • www.electricmotion.org • EV calculator

ElMoto • www.elmoto.net

Endless Sphere • www.endless-sphere.com 

EV Album • www.evalbum.com

Juiced Drag Racing • www.juiceddragracing.com 

Noah Podolefsky’s GSX-E • www.gsx-e.com

V is for Voltage • www.visforvoltage.org

Suppliers:

Cloud Electric • www.cloudelectric.com

Cycle Analyst • www.ebikes.ca/drainbrain.shtml

Electric Motorsport • www.electricmotorsport.com

EV Parts • www.evparts.com

EvolveElectrics • www.evolveelectrics.com

Thunderstruck Motors • www.thunderstruck-ev.com

Part Fabrication Services:

BigBlueSaw • www.bigbluesaw.com

First Cut • www.firstcut.com

Classifieds & Used Parts:

EV Tradin’ Post • www.evtradinpost.com

Other References:

Asphalt and Rubber • www.asphaltandrubber.com

Build Your Own Electric Motorcycle by Carl Vogel

Electric Vehicle Technology Explained by J. Larminie

...from Fossils to Flux by Ted Dillard • www.evmc2.wordpress.com 

Hell for Leather • www.hellforleathermagazine.com

Motorcycle Handling and Chassis Design, the Art and Science by Tony Foale • www.tonyfoale.com

PlugBike • www.plugbike.com

Comments (2)

jerryd's picture

The one thing missed and the biggest factor in EV MC range is aerodynamics. A standard MC has the aero of a brick!! And that at over 25mph just sucks power.

But fairly simple aero mods can double range. Also lowering the seat as much as you can helps lower frontal area.

Even a box behind the rider with curved front corners wider than the rider and gently curving back inward before being chopped off cleanly plus going down to the axle level can seriously cut drag and give lockable space for shopping, etc, by cleaning up the airflow, thus cutting drag.

I'm building a complete aero cabin on my MC to make it a long distance cruiser at 70 mph. Just got the chassis running on it's own power as should be finished by mid Feb with the aero cabin.

Ben Root's picture

Awesome points you make about aerodynamics. Once, back in my bicycle racing days I heard that, at 30 miles per hour, a cyclist is using 90% of their energy just pushing the wind, and only 10% moving themselves and the bike. (or, if there was a 30 mph headwind, they'd be using 90% of their energy just to stay upright). I'm guessing that an MC will have a similar aerodynamic profile...if not worse.

Another thing to remember is that (like the wind turbine guys say), the power in the wind is a cube of its velocity. I assume that it's the same ratio working the other direction...pushing through the wind. So as your speed goes up, the energy that it takes to push through the air is going up at a cube of that. IE going from 20 mph to 30 mph is a 150% increase in speed, but a 337% increase in required power (1.5 x 1.5 x 1.5 = 3.375). So, reducing speed is the best way to reduce required energy. Albeit, who want to slow down on a motorcycle.

We'd love to see you completed aero-bike.
Ben

Show or Hide All Comments

Advertisement

X
You may login with either your assigned username or your e-mail address.
The password field is case sensitive.
Loading