Electric Motorcycle

Lets face it, riding a segway or any other electric scooter just doesn’t get quite the respect that we’d wish. Eliot pointed out this video of an excellent electric motorcycle conversion in action. It’s a such a clean looking conversion that I couldn’t resist posting it. The major components to do the conversion were six SLA batteries with a DC converter that acts as a speed controller. I think it sounds like a giant R/C car rolling down the road.

I’ve been meaning to build an electric bike myself. I think there’s a huge potiention for EV home builders and bikes. The component cost is significantly less for a bike, and it’s just ideal for one-off development. Perhaps the day of the dorky EV is ending? [via kneeslider]

[Update: Calling this a motorcycle is a bit generous. Since it’s a 50cc chassis originally, it’s technically a converted moped. Still, I wanna see Woz charge one of these with his segway…]

27 thoughts on “Electric Motorcycle

  1. Near twenty years ago a little place in Fontana (SoCal) called Eyeball Engineering built the KawaShocki, an electric drag bike. If I recall correctly it had 16 twelve-volt lead-acid batteries. Upon (near silent) take-off eight were powering the motor (which connected to the wheel via a Harley Davidson 2 speed trans). About halfway down the track the rider punched a button on the handlebar that “plugged-in” the other eight to continue the ride.

    Enough memories, I googled it. See http://www.nedra.com/rannberg.html for this monster. I love this line; “…you’ve got to be more than curious about what happens when you apply 192 volts to a 96 volt motor…”

  2. So he has one of the gauges working but what he really needs to do is have the other display the Amps being used. THIS would be a worthy hack in my opinion. Only trouble is the meter would have to be wired in series with the circuit and would not work well.

    (That is right. We discussed this in my electronics lab as to why we could not use the inductance probe and had to wire it in for the DC circuit. Please correct me if I screwed up)

  3. Electric bikes and scooters are everywhere in Shanghai, deadly buggers as you can’t hear them comming and they get to speed real fast, according to my friend who had one it got a range of 50km from an overnight charge, but most traffic there moves slowly and I saw most of them doing about 20Mph – they may have been able to go faster, but they were not fitted with speedos, instead the thing that looked like one was actually a battery charge display. for sale at less than $200 (or 100 GBP)

  4. It’s actually a lot easier than that. Since there is no transmission, all he has to do is count the rotations of something on the drivetrain (the chain, the rear sprocket, the motor) and then figure out how many rotations per one turn of his tires.

    or, wire up a GPS and figure out your speed based on that. Nice and hacky, eh?

    Although… more useful would be something that displayed amps or a voltmeter. But this is a good idea. Motorcycles are a lot easier to park, and they weigh less so there is less bulk to get moving on them so they are more efficient.

    I’m really liking this. I think I need to look for some ‘broken’ motorcycles around here.

  5. Maybe just wanted to point out that 50cc doesn’t make it a ‘moped.’ It is still a motorcycle in design. A moped is a very small displacement vehicle with provisions for foot pedaling as well as engine power.

    Pretty sweet idea anyways, I bet it could be made to be a lot faster than with originial 50cc gasoline motor.

  6. On further investigation it would seem that my understanding of ‘moped’ is different from most of the world’s..so nevermind on that.

    But to me it defintely doesn’t look like what youd call a moped.

  7. coolest thing i ever have seen was just wondering about the legal side of this does it need tax or mot orlicence. pleas let me no because i would love one of these things.such a cool project.thanks hackaday

  8. IANAL. With that said, the laws in my home state are pretty clear and easy:

    If the top speed of any motorized bike (2 wheels or less) is LESS than 20MPH, then it does not require a license. It can also NOT drive in the street, or any highways. But it doesn’t need turn signals, or lights. It is essentially classified as a ‘bicycle’.

    It if can go faster than 20MPH, but not faster than 30MPH then it will require a moped license. It can NOT ride on the sidewalk, and must have turn signals as well as lights if you are going to be riding after ‘dusk’. If you are under 18 you are also required to wear a helmet, and observe all additional local safety laws concerning pads if present.

    If it can go faster than 30MPH, then it requires a motorcycle license, all that stuff above, with the addition of the helmet being DOT Approved for Motorcycles and you can drive on the highway if you can meet the minimum speed, which is 40MPH most places.

    Also, all these rules apply if it only has one wheel. I don’t want to see the unicycle that can go 30+MPH… And if it has three wheels, then no matter what speed it can go, it requires a special ‘Trike’ license, which is essentially a Motorcycle license with the need for a braking system that can stop the trike from 45MPH.

    Obviously, you might not have the same laws where you live. I would check with your local law enforcement office. Mine was super helpful, once I stopped asking about ‘electric motorcycles’ and asked about ‘electric bicycles’

    So it’s pretty clear, AFAIC. Now all’s I got to do is get a frame and a couple hundred dollars worth of parts. I’m sure my dad would love to help me with this.

  9. I got a chance to ride one of these Aprilia conversions (they’re done a few miles up the highway) at a local EV convention last year.

    It was kind of a downer because they had failed to recharge the batteries so it was down to less than a third charge. And there wasn’t a whole lot of room in the parking lot to play with it. Still, I’m a heavy guy and with depleted batteries still got my arse up to 30 reasonably well

    They do different battery/motor/controller packages depending on if you want speed or range. The motor alone is $800 and the controller another $500. If you’ve already got a RS50 or RS250 they can set you up for around $2000 more. Otherwise you gotta crank out the $2000 extra.

    They also did a couple pocket bikes and mini choppers for fun, but the motors had a nasty tendency to cause serious frame flex under even medium acceleration which would cause the chain to skip badly.

    Since you can get the RS50 with full lights and signal indicators, and it has a VIN, you license it like you would any motorcycle.

    Course I’m already getting 40 mpg highway with my $400 Ninja 600cc, so I can’t justify the expense to buy one-can’t take the electric bike on the Interstate very well. Places EV’s still in the pampered college set or rick boys’ toys category.

  10. I hate you blogsmith, and your arbitrary intollerance of less thans and inability to automatically conver them to amp lt;
    A friend of mine has a moped and is well versed in the laws here in Georgia. He tells me that here the *only* qualifications for a moped is < 50cc, < 35 mph, you don’t need a license. (And you can go on surface streets.)

    Of course, the cops don’t know the law anyway and his GF got pulled over and ticketed because the cop thought that a moped had to have peddals, which is definitely not in the laws here (according to my friend).

  11. What we want to do is build a delta trike (2 wheels rear, one front) with a recumbent posture, social (2 seats side by side) an 8 hp continuous (25 hp surge)permanent magnet dc motor, and a fairing. This will go fast and far, and ride in the car pool lane as it is a motorcycle if it weighs under 1500 lb. With 2 riders up, 350 lb., and a trike weight of 750 lb., of which 375 lb. are batteries, thus 1100 lb. gross vehicle weight, it will go to 60mph in 7 seconds with 2 riders up, and top out at 90 mph or better (drag limited).

  12. Kind of stumbled in here after looking at the Enertia electric motorcycle. This conversion is absolutely amazing. It’s just a shame the video doesn’t provide a bit more information, eg. range, charge time and home much the conversion cost.

    EV is the way to go I think (anybody see that documentary, Who killed the Electric Car I think it was called). Electric motorcycles have an advantage in that they are simpler and lighter. Imagine, using light weight materials – carbon fiber, plastic, aluminium… regenerative braking etc.

    The future is potentially very interesting… if only more people were aware that this is a very real possibility!

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  14. Fot the guys wondering about the spedo, that is manual on MOST bikes, there is a connection for a cable to transfer the revolutions from the front wheel to the speedometer, the only electricity needed is for lighting on that, I know the 84 interceptor im converting to electric is built this way and most (crotch rockets) are speed metered this way also. As to the speeds capable by a 72 volt bike, it depends on rear sprocket, but best one out there will do 100 MPH and has a range of 90 MILES, this may be better than the gas powered one which only gets about 70 miles on a full tank, also the weigh gets dropped depending on batteries, my 427+LBS interceptor will weigh about 300LBS when im done. Also with the right inboard chargers, you could have fresh batteries in the time that takes you to pull into waffle house and eat, if on a road trip.

    My project tho is to incorporate what is called a PERENDEV magnetic motor to a 48V 50AH alternator, and only one 6V battery to run my lighitng and electronic indicators all the while generating my own evergy as the magnet motor forces the alternator to give me AC power then transformed into DC, at almost double the original output, FOR THOSE IN THE KNOW HOW, im taking the upper sine wave through a rectifier circuit, the lower sine wave through transformer, the right transistors and controller will do the rest for me, please add comments , questions or correct my crazy Frankenstein of a brain to GAIJINNINJA@MSN.COM

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