DIY Electric Car Forums banner

1 - 20 of 34 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I'm building an art car for Burning Man. I have $50k set aside for this project. The less I spend on the motor and infrastructure, the more can be used to spend on the art/experiential side of the project. What makes this project unique:
1. The car only needs to go a max of 10 miles per hour
2. The car only needs to be able to drive 20 miles per charge
3. The car will be heavy with upwards of 15 people are chilling on it while it's driving around the desert at 5mph.

My skill level with fabrication and auto mechanics is intermediate.

I have a 2012 Ford F-250 super duty rolling chassis to build this project on already stripped and ready to go.

99% of the time this car is going to be Toad behind my RV. I'm using a direct drive shaft disconnect while towing (that seems to be the best choice...unless one of you has a better idea).

What I'm looking for help with is....knowing that the speed only needs to be 10mph and range of 20 miles...what motor would you use? What type of controller would you use?

In an ideal world, I would like for this to be direct drive to the driveshaft...but if I need to do a gear reduction, I can do that as well.

If you don't know what a burninman art car looks like...here are some examples https://www.motortrend.com/news/art-cars-mutant-vehicles-burning-man-2019/
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,028 Posts
The combination of very low speed operation and a heavy vehicle is a very poor match to using the just the axle's reduction gearing. I suggest planning to add a reduction gearbox, to avoid using a huge motor at very low rotational speed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,148 Posts
I'd buy an old forklift.

It's very common to use an old forklift motor, as you can get them for pretty much salvage prices ($200).

But in this case, you'll want the massive geardown boxes too. Your max speed is ballpark the max speed of a forklift.

Your weight isn't intimidating to a 5-ton + cargo weight on a small forklift.

If you call forklift repair or salvage places in your area and ask for the left overs, you'll probably find what you need.

Old forklifts gets stripped of:
- Batteries
- Safety equipment
- Forks
- Masts

But that's pretty much it. They're generally still driveable if you had a battery. The drivelines are beyond literally bulletproof. Gigantic 1" plate steel boxes with gears the size of your foot. The controller will probably still work.

The place I go literally gives away their carcasses for free, to the guy who comes and picks them up in the trailer for free.

I think that would be a great start.

Your problem is easy and your solution is easy, I bet you could get this done under $1000. Just a few batteries is all you need.

Burning Man is cancelled this year though, eh?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
"The place I go literally gives away their carcasses for free, to the guy who comes and picks them up in the trailer for free."



You are very lucky. I went to local forklift repair places and none of them were helpful. One place was genuinely offended and implied that I was either crazy or playing an elaborate hoax.

I had better luck on Facebook and or craigslist (although one Facebook forklift turned out to be a phantom/scam)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Yeah....Burningman is canceled this year....but that just gives me more time to make this car even more awesome.

I’ll look into an old forklift place and see what I can come up with
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,148 Posts
You are very lucky. I went to local forklift repair places and none of them were helpful.
I'm persuasive. I talk myself into a lot of things. :p

This is a small repair place, husband and wife run, one other employee, and they do training too.

There's no time value in stripping apart a forklift beyond what I mentioned, and with how little steel is worth compared to the time and trailer you need to haul them to the scrapyard, the owner just trades free forklift carcass for free carcass removal. The trailer guy picks up at his leisure and presumably makes enough spare change at the junkyard for it to be worth his time.

Lots of places have large dumpster-like scrap metal bins that they pay someone to haul away and return empty, just like construction garbage.

There's a couple places in town near where I used to volunteer a lot that would let some of us climb through their scrap bins on a don't-ask-don't-tell-the-boss afterhours basis as long as we were careful.

You can buy old junk forklifts with ruined batteries for like $400-$1,000 in most cities. They're just anchors in people's way once the batteries die. Craiglist the mast, take the battery to a special metals yard (call all the ones in town first for their spot price on batteries, some will be 3x others), you'll probably make money on it. Only trouble is how you trailer a 10,000 lb lift.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
6,157 Posts
For the OP's needs buying a working forklift - with a working battery - could be the best idea
Take the mast and forks off and weld up a frame for the 15 passengers and the looks of it

The hydraulic pump (that powers the mast) could be handy to power any hydraulics - for features - like a dinosaur jaw
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,562 Posts
Dont know where you are at, so my generic help. If you have warehouse places then you will probably have access to electric forklift maintenance places. Most of those are run by grumpy old mechanics. Some have scrap piles.

Do not buy pump motors, identified by a lack of male shafts protruding out of one end unless you also get the pump and want hydraulic options.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
297 Posts
If you want a big vehicle like this to haul a bunch of drunk buddies across the desert and you got an F-250 Super Duty you likely either have a Dana 80 or Sterling 10.5" rear end. Knowing the axle ratio will help with determining the speed you can expect. You can get the ratio from the axle code tag on the axle itself. You'll definitely need gearing. If the truck already had a standard transmission then you are golden. All you need to do is build an adapter plate to bolt the motor of your choosing to the front of the transmission bell housing. If it has an auto try to sell it for a used standard transmission. If it already exists don't try to create it with a custom gear box. Go to the EVAlbum and see what folks have used. I have a 1988 Mitsubishi Mightymax (http://www.evalbum.com/756) that I put a 9" series wound DC motor (like from a forklift drive motor) and I used the existing standard transmission. My truck could pull about 20,000 lbs at 5 mph in granny gear at 5 mph (if I had a gooseneck hitch in it). Otherwise a 9" series wound DC motor with 1000 A controller will break the tires lose in 3rd gear in the 4000 lb truck.

You'll want a Warp9 motor from George Hamstra at Netgain for about $2k
A Zilla 1K LV (144 volt)motor controller from Rich Rudman at Manzanita Micro for about $2500 (maybe less if you tell him I sent you and you tell him what you're doing it for).
For 20 miles on a truck that heavy you'd probably need about 40 each Deka Intimidator Group 31 AGM batteries at about $300 each ($12K total). Probably get a quantity discount if you look around.
You'll spend a little building that adaptor plate and maybe another $2k in wiring connectors, contactors, switches etc.

I think you could build a running 20 mile, 5mph, F-250 chassis for about $20K if you had installers that knew what they were doing. $30k would make the rest of it awesome.

I've been doing electrics for so long I actually have 3 each F350 frames stripped down just like you that I'm doing the same with except I'm going old school diesel, no electronics, all mechanical. Maybe bio diesel in its future. This one will be EMP proof, unlike all my electrics. Whereas one could be free and clean to run, the other will run on just about anything that burns. (Haven't started on the wood gas version yet, maybe after this project.)

If you want help with your build you can find me at Kuna Engineering in Anchorage Alaska. I do electrical engineering for a living.

Mike
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
297 Posts
No offence to MattsAwesomeStuff, but I would NOT spend $50K on a project to haul out to Burning Man with a $200 used forklift motor on a 10K+ lbs F250 float. If you want votes (meaning it works the whole time and people will like it).

And there is nowhere you will find the amount of batteries you need to make that thing go 20 miles on a charge for under $1000. If you do I'll buy you a box of donuts, and Matt too.

It would be way less embarrassing to only spend $30K on the Show and $20K on the Go. You could go $40K on the Show and $10K on the Go, but then you might become "the" show.

I just spent $6K making a 1974 Harley Golf Cart go 30 mph that would only haul 2 people and "maybe" 10 miles. But it was a Harley, and the owner made it look cool, and it runs. And I've made a 1972 Pinto do 12.5 second 1/4 mile at 102 mph with 1 person, for $50K (racing range 1 mile, daily driver range 20 miles).


Mike
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
297 Posts
...
There's no time value in stripping apart a forklift
...Period.

I've done 2 forklifts that I bought outright. There are 2 I've pulled motors off from the forklift salvage yard for $50 each. One I ran "as-is" in the kids Junior dragster until they oversped it and blew it up. The other $50 one I pulled apart, beefed up and rebuilt under direction of Jim Husted. Its still running in the car. But with the amount of time on it I could have bought a brand new D&D motor for $600 that would be better and I would have been 10x in time money ahead. For the Harley Cart paying customer he got a new D&D motor, not a $50 take out from a forklift that took me about 4 hours to remove.

Tearing down a forklift completely and disposing of the parts you don't want costs you more in time than buying the dam motor. And I can tell you stories about having to dispose of batteries. But its about a 12 year long story on some lithium metal polymer batteries and probably belongs in another thread.

Just buy the Motor, Controller and batteries new. You can salvage all the other peripheral parts, but that's almost not worth it either. If you want something classy at Burning Man, don't skimp. It costs you enough just to get there. Don't need any embarrassments. ;-) :D

Mike
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
6,157 Posts
Hi Electrabishi
Do you have something against the OP?

I have seen lists of project suggestions with bad ideas in them - but seldom as many bad ideas in the same list as you managed

AGM batteries ?
New DC motors ?
A Ford truck when he wants to go slow with a LOT of weight ?

What did he ever do to you?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
297 Posts
Quite the contrary my friend. I would like his project to succeed with brilliance! Just look at the link the OP posted about what an Art Car is at Burning Man and if you can honestly tell me that you would only put a $200 used forklift motor in a 10K+ lb vehicle and expect that poor little motor to make it 20 miles then I will bow out of this conversation.

Or.... if you can show me that you can buy enough batteries for $1000 or less, that would push that beast for 20 miles, then you my friend I would buy a box of donuts for as well. $1K worth of batteries won't even push my Mitsubishi pickup for 20 miles. Ask me how I know.

The OP already said he had an F250 frame stripped ready for the project. He also asked for motor, controller and battery recommendations, for which I gave him my professional recommendation. He also asked for people who knew that could make recommendations. I'm giving him mine based on my experience from the motors I've blown up, the batteries I've fried, tools I've welded to battery terminals, busted knuckles, $$ paying to dispose of crap I don't need to get parts that barely worked.

I have nothing against the OP. I want to see his rig on the list of Burning Man's Art Cars the next time they do hold the EVent.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
6,157 Posts
If you read my suggestion it was much simpler than that
Just build onto a complete forklift
You may have to spend $6K on an operational forklift with a decent battery but it will EASILY do the 20 miles

Why mess about with motors and chassis to do 100 kph when he only wants to do 10 mph!!

There is no point in spending a fortune on bits that are completely WRONG for his application
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
297 Posts
Hi Electrabishi
Do you have something against the OP?

I have seen lists of project suggestions with bad ideas in them - but seldom as many bad ideas in the same list as you managed

AGM batteries ?
New DC motors ?
A Ford truck when he wants to go slow with a LOT of weight ?

What did he ever do to you?

Duncan, the OP proposed the Ford Truck. Look at what he's trying to build, and where he wants to take it. Have you ever chintzed on a used motor and had it blow up on you in public? I have. Its my recommendation that the OP consider his audience in what he decides to use as materials.

And BTW, what is so bad about a new motor or AGM batteries or even a new Zilla controller that would make the OP not want to consider them? Its not the first Zilla thats been on the Playa.In fact the "builder" of the Zillla DC motor controller is a frequent visitor to Burning Man. I'm giving him his options. I would challenge you to do the same. I'm a big boy and can take the criticism. I've been doing it on this list as long as you. But after all these years I've found its not about you, or me, its about the people that want to know what we know.

So please, if my ideas are the worst you've ever heard , then why don't you tell him why instead of criticizing me? He asked and I decided that after all these years of abuse I wanted to help again.

If that's the kind of treatment I can expect from an Admin on this list I'll certainly just take off.

Mike
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
6,157 Posts
If he was making a road vehicle then your advice makes some sense
(Except the batteries that makes ZERO sense)

But he is not making a road vehicle - he wants 10 mph - not 100 kph

And the rest of it
Why spend $2K on a motor when you can get a better one for a tenth of that ?
I do quite like the Zilla - but I prefer my P&S

If you want to help read what the guy asked for
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
80 Posts
AGM batteries are functionally obsolete for EVs now there's a flow of Lithium OEM EV salvage batteries. OP could get a Chevy Volt battery, or a couple of batteries from PHEVs etc.

Spending 12k on lead-acids in 2020 is a bit of silly idea given you can get far superior batteries for a lot less.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
297 Posts
There is no point in spending a fortune on bits that are completely WRONG for his application
Have you looked at what the "application" is? OP posted it.
https://www.motortrend.com/news/art-...ning-man-2019/

He also said he wants to flat tow it, to get it to Burning Man. Not doing that with a Forklift.

His choice of frames is perfectly applicable and the suggestions I gave him are perfectly relevant.

Use of a stock standard transmission will be the least expensive and time consuming to get the gear reduction he needs. Maybe he only runs it in 1st or 2nd gear. But its a done deal gear box and he can shift to 2nd to get somewhere or 1st to tool around. He doesn't even really need the clutch, except that its already a built in function of the bell housing.

He can certainly take the other recommendations and scavenge a used forklift motor. He could even build a contactor controller which I could send him drawings on how to do. And he could go get dirt cheap used and abused batteries. But I would not recommend that to anyone unless you wanted to tool around your yard on a go cart. This guy wants it to go to Burning Man.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
297 Posts
AGM batteries are functionally obsolete for EVs now there's a flow of Lithium OEM EV salvage batteries. OP could get a Chevy Volt battery, or a couple of batteries from PHEVs etc.

Spending 12k on lead-acids in 2020 is a bit of silly idea given you can get far superior batteries for a lot less.
Give us the prices then of the ones that you've bought. About 6 years ago I replaced the 1200 lbs of AGM's in my Mitsubishi (That cost $2K new 10 years ago) with a set of LiFePO4 batteries that doubled the range and cut the weight to 500lbs. They only cost me $2k to buy because they were new old stock (5 years old) from a project that didn't happen. They really cost $8000 if I were to buy them new now. They work. They're lighter, I get more range, but I've had 6 cells die already barely before getting them on the road. And I won't buy them again new (yet) BMS systems are not simple, and they are not cheap ether.

Sure salvage parts can be found, but my advice to the OP is that if you are trying to build something for show (such as you are) and you want it to work, don't buy a cheap used Prius battery and hope a cell hasn't been punctured. Because the only reason its cheap is because the car has been wrecked.

Have you bought old Volt packs before. If you have and they work well I'd love to hear about it. But my recommendations will still stand.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
6,157 Posts
Volt packs are superb
All of the "used production EV" batteries are orders of magnitude better than "new" lithium Ion - as well as being a LOT cheaper

Lead is dead - for road vehicles
 
1 - 20 of 34 Posts
Top