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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 1984 Honda Civic Wagovan that more or less runs and am wanting to convert it to hybrid pedal/electric power. I am basing the possibility of pedal power on Michel de Broin's Shared Propulsion Car in which he has four pedal sets on an 86 Buick Regal. I figure if he can get four people to make that car go maybe I can do the same with the Honda or even get away with less than four pedal sets.

http://www.micheldebroin.org/projects/spc/index.html

The electric would be for when I don't feel like pedaling or need the power such as on hills.

I have two welders but no experience with them. I have many spare bikes and several local resources for learning how to fabricate things, figuring out bike mechanics, etc...

Thanks for any input you have,
Craig in Kansas
 

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I am basing the possibility of pedal power on Michel de Broin's Shared Propulsion Car in which he has four pedal sets on an 86 Buick Regal. I figure if he can get four people to make that car go maybe I can do the same with the Honda or even get away with less than four pedal sets.

http://www.micheldebroin.org/projects/spc/index.html
Hahahaha! A dangerosity on four wheel!..:rolleyes:

A 12v system can be more powerful than 4 humans pedaling... because each human can barely produce 200w of power and a compact car need 5000w to 10000w to maintain 35 mph.
 

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I think you would classify that as more of a moving art exhibit or protest against car culture than a viable mode of transport. I like the quote from the site,
"With a top speed of around 15 km/h, the vehicle’s resistance to the culture of performance is raised to an unprecedented level." !!!

You're much better off with just a bike, I can hit 40km/h on mine. Converting your civic to electric drive is something people here can help you with though, what are your range and speed expectations?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Ah cool guys, thanks. :) Yes... I understand that my idea of making this "hybrid" is more fun than practical. My needs for the electric part of things is 35-45mph and maybe 20-30 miles/charge.

Right 40km/h on a bike is pretty do-able. In that regard I think designing a lightweight but strong bike that goes 40mph might be another option for me. The idea of going much over 40kmh/25mph on a bike doesn't feel safe.
 

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I would go for an electric motorcycle in your case, easy to add pedals to that and you could probably actually pedal it for a little while, and 40mph would be easy.

An electric conversion on a car will take a lot of effort and quite a bit of money but its usually about the same if you pick a really nice car or a really terrible car for your conversion. Perhaps your 84 civic wagon holds some particular sentimental value for you or perhaps its imaculatly restored but I suggest you pick a car that you will actually want to drive once its converted. I just don't want to see people put all that effort and time into something that never gets used! Maybe your 84 civic wagovan is that car :) but remember it will still be an 84 civic wagovan when you're done, just slower.... and electric powered!

I picked the mini truck because its quite uesful as a small 4x4 truck for you know, truck stuff! And it makes a bit of a statement here in Edmonton Alberta where every other vehicle is a Ford F250 quad cab 4x4 diesel.....I'm not exagerating. That said its still a 20 year old mini truck, it makes my 2004 matrix feel positivly luxurious, which is why my next conversion will probably be that car.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
That's a good point. The 84 Honda Civic actually IS the car I want more or less. Always thought they were awesome/cool looking cars similar to the Volvo station wagons and what-not. Right... the other part of the equation is that I need to cart around 2-4 other people of various ages and do it safely thus the idea of using an existing car that has the right kind of shell.

I was sort of thinking about this car: http://www.wikispeed.com/ maybe take some lessons from that and build a new frame that is lightweight but strong. Don't know... just randomly gathering info right now.

Thanks again so much for the feedback.

Craig
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
By the way Jesse, I love your mini truck. I definitely was looking at some similar things called a Zap a while ago. I like the kind of mini-style.
 

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Thanks! I'm having a blast driving it right now, light weight vehicles are a lot of fun and are easy to convert.

Check it out - http://green.autoblog.com/2009/02/06/ebay-find-of-the-day-electrified-1984-honda-civic-wagon/

Looks like a very clean lead acid conversion, I was thinking of the slightly newer 4wd civic wagons when you said civic wagon, which look a bit odd in my opinion, this one looks a bit more classic and I don't mind the looks of it at all! Is that the body style you've got?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Actually... my Honda is different and I think much cooler... like this:



Plus... the backside of it is covered in local indie music-related stickers from the past couple of decades and it has an add-on moon roof to boot. Though I do need some truck-like storage for picking up kitchen scraps from the local coop for my compost.

I'm trying to learn a bit of physics. I think that if I have this right if I can make 200 watts of power make my 200lbs (me+normal bike) go 15 mph then if I use that same 200 watts of power to try and move 2000lbs (pedal car + passengers) go... (if it was a spherical horse in a vacuum) 1.5 miles per hour. My daily commute would be 5 hours. Ouch! :(
 

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If your miles commute is only 7.5 miles and if you don't need speed higher than 35-40 mph you can probably do a cheap 72v conversion for a reasonable price.

Forget about the 2-3% of help in power provide by pedaling and focus on remove weight from your car (so, forget about lead battery).
Some sub 100 lbs battery pack can acheive your goal.
A good exemple here: http://www.evalbum.com/3550
 

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Also, you mentioned quite a bit of glass in your car... Get replacements in Lexan or similar type of plastic, a lot lighter, yet strong.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Well, I looked at two interesting objects today: a 3 wheel cushman electric gold cart and a Raymond forklift. The gold cart was in great condition but was $800 which is much more than I'd like to spend. The forklift turned out to be nearly 13' tall which drove the towingcost up to $525 or more. The forklift is 36v and has 3 motors. I offered to strip the forkliftof it's electrical components as well as for a charger for $200. Probably could have gotten it for less. :( But that price felt fair.

I'm still not convinced that an electric car is the way to go but it's the best option I canthink of so far. Problem is making my cross-town commute as short as is legal, so that rules out bicycling very often.
 

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I wouldn't replace the glass for a number of reasons:

1. The glass is curved. The replacements won't be. That's a problem. Unless you want to make wooden bucks and have an oven big enough to mold your replacements over them, they'll never fit right. The windows won't roll up and down properly.

2. The windshield isn't worth doing, especially without a molded exact replacement available. Also, it won't be DOT compliant for road use.

3. Polycarbonate is not that much lighter in the same thickness. If you go thinner on the plastic, you have to re-engineer the seals and mounting system (like adding rivets) to be water and air tight.

4. Polycarbonate scratches easily. Percy's Speedglas is much better, but expensive and harder to work with. Side windows of lexan that roll up and down will look terrible in no time at all.

5. Most Polycarbonate isn't UV stable, and even the "UV Stabilized" stuff will ultimately yellow, fog, craze and embrittle in the sun, just like the headlight covers on most cars.

On balance, replacing the side windows with lightweight plastic is one of those great ideas that turns out to be a ton of work, very difficult to make air and water tight, and ends up being FAR less durable and functional that OEM glass- even if it doesn't leak or whistle. If you had a kit car, or an old car with flat glass mounted in steel frames, then it would be worth looking into, but on a modern car for which curved Speedglas replacements are not available, its just not worth doing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks TomA for tge advice on the glass replacement. I'm quite a ways from even considering it since I'm just getting some motors and other electronics from a forklift this weekend. In the past when thinking about weather proofing a bike/pedicab I had thought of using parts of a tent including the clear-ish plastic windows. But never got to the trial stage on that one.

Thanks!
Craig
 

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If you are still interested in pedal power, I have 2 pedal > electricity devices I made out of exercise devices. Like this:

http://www.amazon.com/Sunny-Health-...0149&sr=8-1&keywords=electric+pedal+exerciser

The motors are DC output, and you can light a 100w house light bulb by hand by pedaling it; ie - motors==generators. They are 0-300vdc depending on speed.

You have to take them apart and strip out the electrics.

Here's what I ended up doing with them:

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=444606295557353&set=vb.100000239590466&type=2&theater
 

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If you were to do pedal power, here's things you need to know:

You will need fans to cool the pedalers, so you're not going to be left with a lot of output. Without good airflow, you get hot in a hurry. People generate about a half HP for extended periods. Not enough power for a car. Add solar panels and you will get a boost, but you'll still have to keep the weight WAY down.

In many large cities, they rent 4 person pedal cars. These are like 4 wheel bicycles. San Diego is one city I know of. Give one a try and you'll see how ineffective pedal power really is for actual driving in a lightweight 4 wheel vehicle. 4 individual bicycles work better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Ok, a little update: I got two motors out of the forklift. Took quite a bit of maneuvering to reach all of the bolts involved. At one point I had to open an access door which happened to cause a hydraulic line to crack and leak quite a bit. Luckily the seller was nice about it and used oil-dri to soak it up. Tomorrow morning I will get the third motor, the controller and whatever other electronics I can scavenge. I was worried that the largest motor would be nearly 250 lbs but it was quite manageable.

I'm a little confused about the motors though because the motors don't have a drive shaft that sticks out but rather an 'inny' that a gear fits into. It seems that there is a hydraulic component that fits into the motor. I'm not sure if I need to grab those bits or not. I'll likely grab 'em if I can manage.

I also got a big 3-phase charger that I won't likely need due to likely using golf cart batteries. Talked to my friend at the forklift repair place and he'll give me something for it so I can just drop it off there instead of trying to find a place for it at home.

I'll try and post some pictures soon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
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