Any one here use an electric vehicle regularly?

Any one here use an electric vehicle regularly?

Joe
Joe

June 15th, 2011, 9:56 am #1

I simply can no longer afford petrol. What can handle regular use around town? Im interested in the bicycle conversions, scooters, etc.
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defiance
defiance

June 15th, 2011, 1:16 pm #2

Yes, I read beyond the subject and I know you're looking for smaller EVs, but I was all excited to answer after reading the subject so I responded anyway

Unfortunately I haven't dealt with any of the smaller electronic vehicles. I seriously considered an electric conversion to my road bike when I was working
Anyway, about the time I decided to really dig into it and figure it out, my company got bought out and in the shuffle I ended up across town with about half the drive on interstate, so a EV bike wouldn't really cut it anymore.


If you do start thinking about a car though, I could definitely recommend the leaf so far... But they're pretty near unobtainable for now There were 20,000 initial orders when Nissan opened the reservation system, and they "think" they'll get 12,000 cars built in 2011. And they're still only selling to initial state residents (OR, WA, CA, AZ, TX, TN, HI).
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Danny77
Danny77

June 15th, 2011, 2:24 pm #3

Charging up a battery at your home (from the amount I've heard) seems like it would be more expensive even if gas is 4 bucks a gallon. Maybe it depends on the price of electricity and gas in your area?
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smorizio
smorizio

June 15th, 2011, 4:15 pm #4

you have to find usage data online to see how many kilowatt hours to bring the unit to full charge.from there you find your local cost of power for one kilowatt hour. if the car took two kilowatt at .13c you be looking .26 divided by your mileage.if you a few of your town folks are thinks of going green look into grant funds to place a few charging stations in town.some of them are now solar powered.
if not there are a few companines that are making parking/charing station where you paid for power at the meter as your shopping.
also when you do the caluating between a gas power car and eletric you have to put in the cost of replacing the batteries. as this is new tech they could last a user from one year to 10 years. there no real failure data yet on how long the battry packs will last. on reading the cost for the leaf is around 10,000.
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Solar
Solar

June 15th, 2011, 7:26 pm #5

I simply can no longer afford petrol. What can handle regular use around town? Im interested in the bicycle conversions, scooters, etc.
I'm driving a Benzhou electric scooter for half a year now. Rated for 45 km/h top speed, 50 km range.

It handles the 13km round-trip to and from work beautifully, and has done the odd 40km-trip now and then. That's about the maximum I would use it for, as the battery starts to degrade quite noticeably at that point and I don't feel like "stranding" a couple of klicks from home.

There are other models from that manufacturer, including higher speeds and longer ranges.

Manufacture quality is what I would call "standard issue" for scooters, perhaps a little bit sub-par. (Some parts started rusting right away once they got wet the first time, but I was able to counter that with some spit, polish, and a regular coating with some oil.)

Power consumption is roughly 6 kWh per 100 km, giving me a cost of 1,80 Euro / 100 km, which compares quite favourably with the ~5 Euro / 100 km for a petrol scooter (or the much higher cost of a car).

BUT...

Since any electric vehicle you could get your hands on at this time is always more expensive to buy than a petrol alternative (simply due to market forces), the best you can hope for is to achieve some kind of a break-even.

The scooter did cost me 1300,- Euro on eBay (including top case, shipment), while a regular scooter would cost about 600-700 Euro here (Germany). The chances of breaking even, on my 8000 km / year regime, are slim.

BUT, pt. 2...

There are many upsides, IMHO, to an electric vehicle. You get the better well-to-wheel efficiency. You get a next-to-nonexistent noise emission (gliding through a residential area at night, thinging about the hubbub your average petrol scooter generates, is *cool*). You get less moving parts, no engine oil - translating to higher life-expectancy of the vehicle and lower maintenance cost. You safe the trip to the gas station (which might be a factor for you or not). You get lots of turning heads... and you can rest easy when they talk about rising gas prices (again).
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Snowtroll
Snowtroll

June 15th, 2011, 9:04 pm #6

But my route is 30Km one way(23Km off-peak hours as I can take a shortcut through a tunnel, then. Driving the tunnel at peak hours is suicide... It's the straightest 2.7Km around, and with people hurrying to reach the jams on the road into town... )

They've recently put up a 'charging station' on a parking spot outside the office(well, a couple of outlets, really), so I guess I might be able to use that.

My favorite fishing spot(a bridge on the Atlantic Ocean Road...) is almost exactly 30Km away, and there there's no possibility of a recharge.
What is the weight-carrying capacity of one of those scooters?
(If there's spare capacity it may be possible to add an extra battery or two... )

Some companies that like to show their 'green' profile are also setting up charging stations in their parking lots. IKEA is one of them.

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Snowtroll
Snowtroll

June 15th, 2011, 9:32 pm #7

I simply can no longer afford petrol. What can handle regular use around town? Im interested in the bicycle conversions, scooters, etc.
Throw together a frame of some sort, stick on 3 or 4 wheels, one or two electric motors and a stack of batteries.
(Try to avoid using too much steel. Aluminium, fibreglass, lexan and such is good)
Then hit the DMV for a 'single vehicle registration' or whatever it's called.

4-wheeled is more stable than 3-wheeled, but a 3wheeler has less rolling resistance, and may also have a somewhat simpler design.
(A trike with a single steering wheel is very simple... A 3weeler with two front-wheels and a single rear wheel is cool... )
And you want a motor for EACH drive-wheel. Preferably placed in the hub.
No driveshaft or chains, no differential, no gearbox.
(This is the primary issue with 'rebuild' Electrics. They've just pulled the Gasoline engine and connected the electric to the gearbox or driveshaft.)

If you stick in a decent voltmeter and keep track of how far you drive on each recharge, you don't need advanced electronics onboard. Just a decent charger in the garage, og stuffed in the back, ready to hook up wherever there's an outlet.

As you get it running, you can slowly improve on it; adding regenerative braking(using the electric motors as generators when stopping), proper power management and so on...

Then, later on as it works good, you pull half the batteries and put in a small gasoline or diesel-powered generator, and turn it into an 'Extended Range Electric' also known as a 'plug-in Hybrid'.
(Runs completely off of batteries for short trips, and runs the generator to extend the range for longer trips.)
The generator doesn't need to be powerful enough to completely power the car.
Say the car uses 8KW on average while driving at 40Mph, and you have batteries for half an Hour?
If the generator delivers 4KW, it will add a range of 10miles to the 20 you had power for. Except... At the end of those additional 10, it has again added more power.
And when was the last time you kept an even running, excpt on the freeway?
Every time you stop for a red light, or to 'unload' some coffee, or whatever, the generator is still running happily...
These numbers of course change with the power-requirements of the motors, the size of the generator, battery package and so on.

I don't have a workshop, or even a carport, so I don't have any place to tinker. Otherwise...
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Tohri
Tohri

June 15th, 2011, 9:52 pm #8

I simply can no longer afford petrol. What can handle regular use around town? Im interested in the bicycle conversions, scooters, etc.
Your best bet is to use less of it. www.motorbicycling.com has a TON of information on gas engine bicycle conversions.

I have one of the kits on my bike, and after extensive tuning, fiddling and general reworking, it winds right up to 35-40 MPH, and gets 80-90 MPG. Mind you, that's not 'Advertized' MPG, that's what you get if you're a maniac that loves screaming down country roads at wide open throttle all day.

Meanwhilst, electric kits all seem to be prohibitivly expensive, and offer limited range. Not to mention limited power and top speed. Has to do with the whole 'storing energy in a battery' thing.
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attic rat
attic rat

June 16th, 2011, 4:53 am #9

you have to find usage data online to see how many kilowatt hours to bring the unit to full charge.from there you find your local cost of power for one kilowatt hour. if the car took two kilowatt at .13c you be looking .26 divided by your mileage.if you a few of your town folks are thinks of going green look into grant funds to place a few charging stations in town.some of them are now solar powered.
if not there are a few companines that are making parking/charing station where you paid for power at the meter as your shopping.
also when you do the caluating between a gas power car and eletric you have to put in the cost of replacing the batteries. as this is new tech they could last a user from one year to 10 years. there no real failure data yet on how long the battry packs will last. on reading the cost for the leaf is around 10,000.
One bit to keep in mind is that putting a KW into a battery won't get you a KW back out.
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defiance
defiance

June 16th, 2011, 1:55 pm #10

Charging up a battery at your home (from the amount I've heard) seems like it would be more expensive even if gas is 4 bucks a gallon. Maybe it depends on the price of electricity and gas in your area?
In my old vehicle I was getting about 21mpg, which works out to around 20c per mile. A nice hybrid might get you close to the 10c per mile range, but at $4/gallon (we're in the $3.90's here) that needs >40mpg.

I'm currently getting about 3 miles per KW/h drawn from the box. The rates here are right at 6c per kw/h (crazy low, I know).

On one hand most of the US has much higher electricity rates (in the 12c range), so you're looking at about half the economy I am...

On the other hand, a lot of the guys on the leaf user forums are talking about getting much better economy than I am (most are in the 4mi range, some approaching 5)


So best case is 1.5c per mile-ish (6c elec, 4mi efficiency), worst case is around 7c per mile-ish (20c elec, 3mi efficiency)


And beyond that, it's a great car to drive. REALLY quiet, nice and peppy under 40 (you can feel the lack of power above that, but below that the full torque at 0rpm more than makes up for it... which is probably a lot of the reason for my low efficiency :p ). The interior space is more than I expected - easily more room in the front seats than my old WRX, and similar rear room.

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