Originally Posted by Carbonfree
I don't see an assembly line happening where scale could be applied to EV kit conversions.
Coming from the Experimental Aircraft Market - and watching the EAA Movement in that field and certain designers and their competitors - the Experimental Aircraft Business today would not be much different if it were not for one man - one business - the Christian Eagle Airshow Biplane Kit!
Each kit came with parts blister packed stacked in a box with separators like a wine case of a sorts, and the manual for that set of parts build, and the whole thing - with a razor blade masking taped to the package inside - to cut out the parts! that raised the character of the business of the day from partially bent metal and a few off the shelf parts, to completed, packaged kits!
In the EV Conversion game - the big difficulty is the 'Jack of All Trades' style of shop, instead of picking 1, 2, or at most 3 vehicles and working them alone, so that - in shorter time - you can get a systematized approach to what is required, what is next, and what is needed, and start to Prefabricate specific components like Motor Mount Brackets - ahead of the next conversion job!
I had a couple friends over helping me this past Sunday - and the discussion lead to - is there a business in Conversions! My thoughts are - there is a business in systematizing Conversions!
We already have some vendors selling motors, and some big on adapter plates for mating to transmissions. So what if a small shop said - OK - New Motor + New Adapter Plate + New Transmission = Quicker RE & RE of this aspect? Would that not mean The Converter needs not to worry about mating the Clutch, balancing the Flywheel, and all the interesting and tricky stuff, because it was already in a package?!
Next - Whether using Prismatic or Cylindrical LiFePO4 Cells, start a separate business that is building Battery Packs for Specified Car Gas Tank Replacements - so you take out the old gas tank - remove the carpet and ad a few reinforcing plates and pickup points, and then hang the new battery pack! No Chopping and hacking up of the already designed body, just a few hard points and pickups added!
So if you could buy a ready to install battery pack as a package, Wiring Harness, Motor-Transmission package, and the respective controller, Throttle set, the conversion time could come down from a week or two, to a day or two, and after a while down to under 12 hours!
In the Kit Plane Business - we don't go out and design a new aircraft radio for each kit built - or a new Nav radio, we just buy and install! In the EV conversion business - there is very little support for such a pathway, so we still have people designing instruments by hand - one off, etc.!
Let's suggest - the whole conversion industry - each and every vendor - formed a team - and said - OK - for 2012 - we will each and every one of us work on perfecting converting a 'XXSX' (? Ford Ranger, Chevy S10, or what ever) and share skills, learning, and techniques, essentially forming a nation wide 'cottage industry' no so unlike what was done in Britain to deal with aircraft factories getting bombed out! In one year - we could have incredible progress on a single or select few models, so by 2013 - a couple new choices could be added, and in 5 years we could have experts on 10 - 15 models! All across the country!
Side Businesses of new components like custom fit, Reverse Engineered (Professionally so) CAD Designed components for precise fits with paper thin tolerances, would be able to operate better with this model, rather than trying to dance the Tango one time, the Waltz the next, and the shuffle next, as is going on today!
I took Ballroom dancing lessons 3 different times, and on the first two they tried to teach a little bit of everything - what a mess! on the third try - I had single partner - and in two - 2 hour sessions - we had a Dance routine down in one style of dance and could have nailed a competition quite well! In just 4 hours of training!! Same with EV Conversions - Pick one - get good at it first, then add another!!
OK - that's a long story - but bottom line: Focus = Progress!
Want to see some EV Conversions Versus New OEM's almost side by side? Come this weekend to EV Fest 2011
in Toronto, Ontario, at the Brick Works at 550 Bayview Avenue on Sunday, October 23rd! Just $5! From 10 AM - 5 PM