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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
regerative trike questions PHOTOS ADDED!

Hello!

I just discovered this site, but I've had the dream of building an electric (commuter), trike since I was in junior high... I'm now 61! LOL!

My concept "plan" has evolved into build a high mpg "hybrid" reverse trike, (2 seat/side by side). The forward frame would be a scratch build using the engine-intact rear end of a 250cc motorcycle. The 48volt motor would be connected to an extension/adapter with the "hopes" that when in fuel mode, the engine would be using the motor as a power source to re-charge batteries. When the engine's transmission was in neutral, the vehicle would be pure electric.

Fabrication challenges are not an issue. I've been an award winning prototype designer for over 20 years and have a complete shop (machining to composites), and have fabricated (among many other things), world record land speed hand powered trikes, deep sea diving equipment for the Discovery channel and man carrying ultralight aircraft.

My focus at this "pre-designing" phase, is to find out if I'm "off-base" wanting to create this dual source, "hybrid".

We live in southern Oregon with lots of small towns separated by miles of beautiful "vista-touring" roads. I would imagine using gas to travel the higher speed roads, covering these distances and then switch over to electric while touring the towns.

Other than that, this vehicle would be more of a commuter vehicle traveling between Medford & Ashland (15 mile distance). The quaint town of Ashland would be much better suited for electric power. Maximum speeds desired are around 45mph, with mpg and use of electric power the highest priorities.

I've done a LOT of research and have enough information to get into trouble! LOL! So far, I "believe" that the regenerative factor comes from both the motor and controller? I'd also like to be able to "reverse" the electric motor for things like parking and backing out of driveways.

Any information regarding choice of motors, controllers and how they relate or are suitable for the regenerative (battery charging), feature. I recently discovered a possibly suitable motor made by Briggs & Straton, but open to other suggestions except those (like fork lift motors) that would require finding and/or converting.

Thank you to all in advance.

Richard

PS: First time posting so I will have to see if I'm successful uploading some images of previous work and a very early concept reverse trike sketch.

Oh... too bad, I can't yet post any images until I've posted more.

If you go to my LinkedIn page (Richard Jarel), or my website: www.jareldesign.com You'll get a sense of what I do for work.

Again, Thank you!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Ken,

THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! :)

This was exactly what I was looking for! (I may go with something else, but at this point, I am only in pre-designing phase...)

I just wanted to know if what I saw thinking of was possible...

I like the El Camino comparison... For me, I would like the option of fuel and electric... Mostly because I LOVE to drive (think small not so powerful sports car), just to "tool around" the country side with the stereo on, visiting little towns around our area... The distances would require more thought and designing/electrical engineering, more batteries etc... and I like the idea of not having to think about range if we get an inspiration to go see what's over the next ridge...

However, I am SO committed to creating an EV! This will be my first, but I have decades of engineering and prototype development experience and this has been at the top of my "wish to create list"...

Not sure how many posts I need to do in order to post some images, but when I do, you'll get a much better idea of why I KNOW I can create something like this, both engineering and styling... (Not ego speaking here, just in love with making "stuff"! (I go nuts in between client projects! I've designed and built so many neat "toys" around our home here....

Right now, It's 106 degrees here... I designed and built a two-stage evaporative cooler using Craigslist items and we're getting over 30 degreees difference from what it is outside... (Power bill for AC has dropped from $500~$600 to way less than $200! (Working on a 28watt solar home heating system right now and plan to have it installed this fall, including a mass heat collector designed as a "window box seat" so the heating can continue into the night....) (We live in the city on a city lot and produce more than 75% of our own food, including chickens, rabbits, quail and tilapia (in aquaponic systems)... (It's al a lot less "invasive looking" than it sounds, but most of our friends are frequent visitors just to see what new item has been added! LOL!

I absolutely LOVE this website! So cool to see so many people creating scratchbuilts and conversions....

The Salmon sculpture is about 20' tall with 3 independently moving salmon. (A LOT of aerodynamic engineering that goes unseen.)

Here's my second website... I also design, and produce RC aircraft and UAVs... I "think" in the drawing gallery, there's an illustration of a red, reverse trike I designed in the early 80's... THAT will give you a direction of where I'm heading with this old/new dream.

Again, thank you SO much for responding to my thread and sharing the info... You totally unleashed the floodgates for me to continue drawing...

(I was going to sketch everything out, but so much of my work is done in 3D... I think I'm going to use some 12" action figures and sculpt a foam mock up around it... Then I can photograph it and trace over the drawing, scaling everything based on our heights and then scaling in the motorcycle part and laying out a tubular frame from there.... (The cool thing is the model will sit on my desk and fan the creative flames to get me moving on this.)

Best to you!

Richard

PS: COOL! I was permitted to post some images! I couldn't find the individual images, but the image sheet that has the side view of a red low riding trike is where I was styling-wise back in the 80s... (This one was purely fuel, not electric, but the next one will definitely be a hybrid... wanting to have the flexibility of swapping motors and batteries to gain better range within the 25mph~45mph speed range... The rear end will be higher and serve as a very low "station wagon" cargo area above the motorcycle component while providing a roof for a nominal solar panel for trickle charging and to keep the aerodynamics as sleek as possible.

OK... Working on a Spider-man prototype and I want to complete it today... So close! (I might even take the night off! LOL!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
nimble,

Wished I could see it... Went to your link and found no images but what I think was a video? A "mime" file? Have no idea what that is, but my computer doesn't support the format according to the message I got...

Would love to see it and learn more!

Best,

Richard
 

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You must have an old browser that doesn't support HTML5,
hard to believe those still are in use.

nimble,

Wished I could see it... Went to your link and found no images but what I think was a video? A "mime" file? Have no idea what that is, but my computer doesn't support the format according to the message I got...

Would love to see it and learn more!

Best,

Richard
 

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Hi Richard
Your proposed design seems quite sensible and doable
(which is more than I can say for the "Indy One")
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Nimble:

YES! It's an extremely old computer (LOL!), my work computer is off line getting programs installed and some upgrades. I have to have at least one computer up and running for client contacts...

Duncan: Thank you so much for the support... I thought my idea would work and I was pretty sure the components were out there, but I didn't even want to draw anything out until I found out for sure... The next part will probably be getting some idea as to what motors to design the frame around to be able to mount a variety (being able to start with a few candidates and have the space to not worry about mounting them.)

Geeze! From sitting in the back of my mind for what seems like forever to actually getting started has brought me to a state of obsession about this project!

=D

Richard
 

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What made you lock in to 48 volts, and are you certain that it should be hybrid? Lithium comes in really small sizes of 3.2 volt batteries, so you may be able to pack a higher voltage pack into a small space.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
EVMETRO:

THANK YOU SO MUCH for "challenging" my choices! Rest assured that I use the word "challenge" in the most positive, supportive, teaching and thought provoking way! :)

Although I have quite a diverse and multi-skilled background (including RC batteries, controllers, LiPo and brushless applications), my knowledge about EV design (especially with the power/drive components is only enough to get into trouble... Probably a LOT of trouble!)

Let me begin my reply with what I "think I know" about my choices... I definitely want a hybrid system based soley on how we plan to use this vehicle which for us, could mean putting on 200miles plus driving around the countryside. I don't want to be concerned about getting back home if we decide to keep driving further away from home if something over the horizon interests us (LOL!)

With regards to building from scratch rather than converting an existing vehicle? Well, that's where my "ego" steps in and acknowledging to myself just who I am and my dream of building what most might consider a Detroit or Euro class "concept vehicle" worthy of being put on display at an auto show... (I absolutely LOVE my job and thrive on designing, engineering and fabricating! It is probably one of my GREATEST joys!!!)

Now with regards to voltage, battery and power system choices...

Where I began this "journey" in earnest, I found that what I was designing was more of an electric bicycle trike: using hub motor wheels and using 12 volts. I then stepped it up to 24 volts (based on what I "think" I learned regarding higher voltages being ore efficient)... That led to needing a more robust frame which led to more weight which led to more power requirements. (I run into this a LOT regarding designing electric powered aircraft/UAVs... More weight, more power, more power more batteries, more batteries, more weight and the cycle continues until some "acceptable compromise" is met.

As I continued to research more on the internet, I learned more about electric motorcycles... again, more voltage, more batteries, more power etc... Since I knew I wanted a hybrid (on the electric "bicycle, I was considering 50cc~100cc 4 stroke engines.), a motorcycle with an electric start would allow me to switch from electric to gas at the flip of a switch. The larger engine would allow me to push a larger/heavier vehicle and hopefully, re-charge drive batteries while giving more flexibility in design, weight and performance...

I had intended to stick with 24 volt until I read that using 48 volts was a lot more efficient (?), and opened up choices for better motors, controllers and performance...

Drive style:
I'm absolutely not looking for a high performance speed demon... My version of "high performance" is seeking versatility of the vehicle (the updated styling design will require me to extend the rear arms for the motorcycle wheel and extend the rear portion of the body for aerodynamic reasons as well as separating the fuel/drive train below what will become a side accessed "station wagon" cargo area capable of carrying groceries, and items up to about 4' long.

Performance goals:
I'm hoping for about 45mph (maybe just a hair more: 50mph) under piston drive, covering most of the highway speeds that are around here. Under electric power, I'm shooting for 25mph~35mph covering most of the "city/in-town driving speeds.

Regarding gas usage, my first goal is to top 100mpg (This would include leaving home with a fully charged set of electric drive batteries. I'm "assuming" that additional charging while under piston power would increase fuel consumption, but hopefully, charging electric drive batteries would offset that.

Something for certain: This will be a test bed (performance-wise)... A "prototype" that I can adapt to, modify etc... I am planning on making room for more batteries, larger motor etc as my understanding of how all of these systems work. (I'm still learning and intend to continue learning!)

Priorities:
1: Low cost for electric drive components. (We have so much going on in our lives (I'll share more later), that I can't put a lot of $$ into this project. (I don't even have a budget figured out yet!) (Very early stages of design/development. I know I can fabricate most of the vehicles other components, body, frame, interior etc...)

2: Efficiency (long range following the above performance parameters). Both in electric mode (I hope to have around 30 to 50 miles available on batteries, but would be ok with 25 to 30 miles). Again: I don't know so much! :)

I plan on re-gearing the piston drive train sprockets taking into account that I am not looking for quick starts to hurry up and wait for the next red light :) while at the same time relying on gear shifting for more torque (hill climbing), needs and not over-straining the piston engine.

As of now, I have no idea what the total gross weight will be, but I'm taking a stab "in the dark" at 800lbs without passengers. I have no idea if the electric power system that was linked to me will manage that and I understand the need to reduce weight. I'm very experienced with composites, Kevlar, Carbon Fiber, Fiberglass, foam and plastics (2 vacuum formers in my shop... Planning on having a LOT of fun designing and fabricating the interior components.

Aerodynamics is something I would consider myself as being somewhat of an expert with many years of designing award winning aircraft and world land speed record vehicles...

I really need to get back to the shop and get some more work done before leaving later this afternoon for a BBQ at a friends home...

I REALLY want to thank you for questioning my choices!!! THIS is the time to take the voltage, battery and motor choices (as well as design/engineering issues), into consideration.

I do need to share again that cost is a true factor in this project (which I'm sure will have an influence on my ultimate starting choices for components), especially since I will be building this vehicle from scratch...

One of the "other" challenges I'm looking at, is the front end/steering and suspension assembly... Safety is a HUGE consideration (Ex-Firefighter)... I've been looking at front ends from VW's as being a potentially easy and safe way to go, yet I'm concerned about the weight. on the other side of the coin, there is so much involved with calculating geometry regarding steering/handling as well as machining to higher strengths, that I would probably rely on someone who fabricates scratch built frames (dune buggy), to fabricate this components if I go that route. It would be nice to be able to use smaller automobile rims/tires etc and with the VW assembly, all of these matters could be taken care of. (Your thoughts?)

I would LOVE to learn more from you about voltage, motor battery choices, ANYTHING! :) I've tried to share as much as I can here regarding where I'm at with this project and my goals.

As much as I "know" that I "know a lot", what makes me certain that I know a "whole lot", is that I approach projects like this with an open mind and a belief that I "know" NOTHING! LOL!

Besides sharing information, suggestions with me, I welcome and appreciate questions as well! I'm sure there are things I know nothing about that I haven't even considered yet!

Thank you again!

Best Regards,

Richard
 

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A few points to ponder:

A motorcycle Trike or a Delta bicycle have 1 wheel in the front and 2 in the rear. Better for carrying loads, simple steering geometry.
A motorcycle Reverse Trike or a Tadpole bicycle have 2 wheels in the front and 1 in the rear. Much sportier, great on corners, simple drive train.

With lot of stop and go, or hills..weight is the enemy.
High speed, or side by side seating... air resistance is the enemy.

Lead acid batteries, cheap, but heavy and don't last as long.
Lithium, more expensive, but energy dense and longer life.

Used components, cheap, but heavy, less adaptable, unknown reliability.
New or fabricated parts, more expensive, but lighter, more adaptable to fit your design.

DC motor-controllers, cheaper, less efficient, more upkeep.
AC motor-controllers, more expensive, but more efficient and less maintenance
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thank you again!

All of what you share makes total sense.

Reverse trike (I REALLY LOVE the design/styling options and the ease of adapting the frame and rear swing arm/drive system to this type of trike. As for Load carrying: The back cargo section will be for lighter/bulkier loads and any heavier loads (4 grocery bags? will be loaded forward behind the seats... Traveling with my wife, I have to have side by side seating... We're truly each others best friend... and, she's totally supporting my efforts to create this project! Batteries (for now) will be located just outside the passenger area on both sides or under front "hood" just ahead of the windshield with additional cargo area for heavier loads.

I've always understood the weight penalties as well as side by side wind resistance as well as the stop and go aspects of torquing the electric drive train and using up power and understand and embrace this as another "barrier" of achieving my goals... again, compromises sometimes need to be made.

Batteries: (Cheap is good, but I also know about lifespan, weight etc.... Could you share any links for inexpensive alternative sources for better batteries and any info on what is out there? LiPo, sealed/jell, better lead/acid or others? (I'm fine doing the research to learn more... I don't want to load you down with too many favors), just curious as to what's out there.

AC vs DC... This is where I know absolutely nothing about AC! Within the size and performance parameters of what I'm looking to build, is this a worthy option to research? I'm imagining a MUCH larger expense (?) and a LOT of batteries to get the voltage up(?) Again, I know nothing about AC EV and honestly, have never researched this as an option. (Again, really just starting out with researching and learning about the specifics of EV propulsion. I know so much more and understand better, DC systems.

I like that the DC units are cheaper and I don't mind the maintenance (for now...) again, this will be my first EV, an evolving prototype and will probably be huge part of my "education" in E Vs as I proceed... I'm hoping to complete as much learning to make as wise a collection of choices as possible before committing to systems and components, but as a blue water sailor, I know that a boat is NEVER totally ready to leave port and most of us can rarely afford to purchase all the right equipment before venturing out... At some point you just have to cast off! LOL!

I'm wondering if my choice for going hybrid and thinking that I'm not asking too much of my electrical drive system (25 to 50 mile range at lower speeds), if efficiency would be that high a priority for me to justify the added expense and lack of understanding AC systems?)

Since discovering this website, I am becoming OBSESSED with learning more even faster to get this project "rolling"... Sorry for the pun... Oh, not really! LOL!:D

I really should turn off the alarm that tells me I have a new email. I can hear it from where I'm working!

Ken, thank you again!


Richard
 

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AC v DC
I like DC it's cheap and cheerful - I can get a LOT of power for a small amount of money
BUT you will need re-gen for your project
So that knocks DC on the head!
On the other hand you don't want gobs of power so a cheap AC system will be fine

As far as your front end is concerned you need light but strong
Any car system will be over-strong and heavy

I suggest you look up "Locost" - and think about making your own double wishbone front suspension
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks Duncan,

Can you explain why regenerative would knock DC off my choice? (Again, I'm still learning.)

Is "Locost" a company name? or just thinking Low cost?

I'm in agreement with you about an auto front end (even VW probably being over-kill)... I'd just have to find someone who knows what they're doing, explain what I'm after and have them fabricate it... They'd probably end up being the same people that bends and welds up my frame.

Thanks!

Richard
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I just did some research and price checks for LiPo batteries...

HOLY SMOKES! Super expensive! (Still not crossed off my list, but considering that there may be some serious changes (before and after my build, I may go with lead acid for starters... If I switch to a higher voltage, I'd like to start with fresh LiPos that have the same charge/discharge history instead of mixing them up... I did find two great threads that were from this forum (One was on lead acid batteries and the other on Lipos... I saved them and will come back later tonight or tomorrow to read them thoroughly.

(God! I wish I could be researching full time... My wife is in the kitchen preparing our contribution to this BBQ and she's already been fine with me working AND sitting here replying to posts and researching more about the power system options for this project... I'd like to keep it that way! LOL! :D

Thanks again everybody!

From a recent post I did become curious as to AC options, brands, models etc suitable for my particular project, maybe even a link to a thread further explaining AC applications to smaller EV projects? (I'll do a search here and see what I find.

Happy 4th of July!!!

Richard
 

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Thanks Duncan,

Can you explain why regenerative would knock DC off my choice? (Again, I'm still learning.)
A large number of DC motors available are Series wound; the Field and Armature coils are connected in series inside the motor case. These can not be used for Regen.

A small number of DC motors are SepEx (Separately Excited); The Field and Armature coils are totally separate, which allows for Regen with the appropriate controller.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks Ken!

I'll be looking at that distinction regarding DC motor options!

Ha! I'm still here researching Lipos... weight will be a huge concern! (Sure that's nothing new to everyone here...

I'm catching up though... as fast as I can type and click my mouse!

I REALLY have to just turn this computer off, go shower and get ready to leave!
LOL!
 

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http://www.diyelectriccar.com/forum...#/forumsite/20977/topics/159210?postid=639458

Maybe a bit of overkill for what you want, but that DMOC 645 would be a nice regenerating setup to push your trike... dunno if it can be flashed/programmed/whatever to drive the AC24 motors he is also selling? ~20 hp continuous would be more than enough for a steady 65mph cruise.

Minimum voltage for the controller is 100v though.
 

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Cheapest practical batteries are Volt an Leaf packs out of a wreckers. Yours will be even cheaper as you don't need the whole pack to meet your modest range needs- you can sell or keep the rest as spares.

AC isn't that much more expensive than DC unless you salvage a motor and build your own controller. Buying both? AC is the way to go. Check out HPEVS- there are many distributors and good data about choices, power/torque versus speed and current curves etc. on their website.For your project, regen is the biggest reason but you can do regen with some types of DC motors if the controller can do it.
 
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