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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everyone,

My name is Alex and I am an engineer at Local Motors in Phoenix, AZ. We are an open source car company started in 2007, and we create niche vehicles with the help of our community at Local-Motors.com. We already have a car on the road called the Rally Fighter, a street legal baja racer which is powered by a guzzling 6.2L LS3 V8.

We are about to design our next car however, and we want to make it a street EV! Only problem is, we know very little about EVs. All of our engineers are ICE guys, a lot are actually ex-Factory Five Racing engineers, so lots of V8 fossil fuel people. I of course will be looking through your impressive wiki, but I wanted just to pick brains on what to watch out for, or even see whether anybody wanted to join in! Again, we create our cars collaboratively. We have Industrial designers, and mechanical engineers on our site, but very few EV savvy types.

Our previous cars:
http://www.rallyfighter.com/ (The Rally Fighter)
http://www.local-motors.com/lmBuild.php?c=11185 (The Flypmode, military concept vehicle for DARPA (Not a Humvee replacement! :) ))

Excited to hear any thoughts!
 

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You guys make some amazing cars. I'll be following this thread. I do have some ideas and I'm actually trying to get it done by myself, but what I have planned is very expensive.

The guys in here will definetely help you and you'll be able to do something amazing like your other cars.
 

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Hello and welcome!
There are a number of experienced members here who are very knowledgeable when it comes to EVs, but in order to get a better response you should comment on what exactly you need. What kind of power, what kind of range, budget etc...

One topic that you can research on this web page is the topic of AC vs. DC...as you may know most (if not all) major car manufacturers use an AC drive system, but due to availability issues, most diyers use a DC system. Given that you would like to be selling vehicles, you need to compete with other EVs that are on the market and in my opinion need to consider an AC system as well.

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the responses guys!

It is tough to put specific requirements on the platform yet, because we actually let our members determine the specs and requirements to an extent.

Understand, when I refer to members on our site, it's similar to here in that it is free and the more the merrier as long as you are polite and constructive :).

The way our design process works, we provide a space for designers and makers to create and critique each other's efforts. This is for everybody's personal benefit, but then Local Motors also runs our own development projects in a similar fashion with the community. We like letting our members have essentially a portion of control of the company and what stuff they want to see realized.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The problem is, there are not many EV guys who registered for our community yet. This makes it tough for me to go and ask them to flesh out our outline, because while we always like alternate viewpoints with our projects, we want to have some people who are familiar with the topic as well ;). Certainly, I came over here to pick y'all's brains, but I it interests you enough, you should come over to our site, get a username, and get your 2 cents in as we move this project along. We are going to have some Tiny Chats in the beginning with members to figure out the details of the design brief, and it would be good to have the input from more EV vets.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Anyway, the general project so far is this:

Step 1: EV platform
Step 2: Next Local Motors using EV platform

:) Well it's a little better than that:

We ARE tasked with developing a platform first. This platform is supposed to accommodate 3 different profiles; a coupe (think Miata), a sedan (think Jetta), and a mini-truck (think S-10-ish). Specific profiles, wheelbases, ride heights, etc. are to be defined by collaboration with the community.

The platform is supposed to have modular sub-frames to accommodate multiple motor, controller, and battery drive solutions. We are in communication with a number of the more prominent EV drive companies, and we will specifically design to at least 2 providers, while simply trying to stay modular enough to potentially use others.

This is strictly a plug in EV, no extended range (integrated), no hybrid drive.

The variant that we will prototype with be the coupe layout, and after the EV platform effort is done, we will work with our industrial design members to design a body and interior to apply to it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
We are very much in the beginning stages of the project, but I am essentially calling for help because practically speaking, this is a big task with an ICE, and I know those! EV I am not familiar with yet.

I guess I am looking for more general pitfalls and questions I should be asking in trying to produce a modular design.
 

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The platform is supposed to have modular sub-frames to accommodate multiple motor, controller, and battery drive solutions. We are in communication with a number of the more prominent EV drive companies, and we will specifically design to at least 2 providers, while simply trying to stay modular enough to potentially use others.
Ah... the modular approach. A lofty goal, indeed. Still, you have a better chance of getting there than most.

I don't know what motors and controllers you're looking at, but right now there is absolutely no contest between AC and DC technology when it comes to power. Some here may say I am biased because of my association with Evnetics, but that doesn't really change the fact that the statement is true.

Regardless of the motor/controller technology you choose, you would do well to consult with an experienced vehicle conversion shop, especially one that does high-end conversions (my very biased suggestion here would be Rebirth Auto), and the infamous Jack Rickard - http://www.evtv.me/ - even though you might need a flameproof suit. He has built a couple of Beck Speedster "356" kits with both AC and DC controllers and is working on an AC Cobra kit. In short, he has already done exactly what you are proposing to do and could be a very valuable resource, assuming you don't get him all riled up, that is.
 
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