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Road Legal StreetQuad conversion

83456 Views 216 Replies 24 Participants Last post by  Firehuntah

Been lurking this awesome forum for nearly 2 years now, gathering information about all the components for a conversion and I think it's time to slowly get started on my first project.

First let me introduce myself. My name is Rob, I'm almost 24 years old and I live in the Netherlands. Currently I'm working as a maintenance mechanic for a cable company. I'm really into cars and anything else on 4 wheels, always have been. It's only since 2 or 3 years ago that I really started to like electric vehicles though. I think mainly because of the performance of the Tesla Roadster, never thought an electric could go so fast while not emitting anything. Little did I know back then. :)
The more I started researching electric cars after that, the more I started to like them. And now I'm at a point where I really don't want anything else than electric anymore. Sadly for my job I'll still have to stick to gas since it's a company car. But for driving in my free time I'm planning to get a quad bike converted to electric. And maybe in the future a car when I have some more experience.

So, moving on to the project with the quad bike I'm planning.

My skill level: Not that great, but I know the basics since I studied for car mechanic for a few years, I just ended up doing something else. As for fabrication, I don't know how to weld and stuff like that so I'll probably have to get motor mounts and battery boxes made. Or I could start learning how to weld. :rolleyes: Fabricating small things like copper plates for battery connections shouldn't be a problem though, have the tools for that.
Range: I'd like to get a range of at least 80km (50 miles) at 80% DoD, which I think should be possible since the quad bike I'm looking for weighs only 170kg (375lbs). Not sure how aerodynamic it is, it is pretty low to the ground though. Make and model of the quad bike is a JLA Loncin Streetquad in case you want to look it up since I don't have any pictures myself yet.
Performance: The top speed has to be between 85-100kmh (53-62mph). Also want decent acceleration, compareable to the original 250cc motor. Not sure how fast that would be though since I haven't driven on one yet. Max 8-10 seconds to top speed I guess.
Budget: I want to spend around 6.000-6.500 euros ($7.800-$8.400) max for the conversion. Any more than that and I'm not really sure if it'll be worth it for a quad bike.
Parts I've already considered:
GBS 12v 100Ah pack x4 (for 48v system) + BMS and display
LMC LEM-200 127 Motor (contacted LMC, they suggested I use a LEM-200 D95B instead but I'm not sure which would be better)
Alltrax AXE4844 Controller (LMC suggested the Sigma PMT445 if I'd go with the D95B Motor)
Curtis PB-6 Throttle
DC DC Converter (not sure how much watt I would need)
Charger (not sure yet, needs to fit in the small frame where the gas tank currently is, do want to get a full charge within 6 hours or so though)

With these parts I expect to be around my budget price, I'm just not sure if these parts will be good enough to get the performance I want, especially with a 48V system. Was looking for 72V as well but I'm not sure which batteries I could best use for that since I can't really fit 72V with prismatic lithium cells. The A123 pouch cells would have been nice but I guess it's not really possible anymore to get them from a reliable source.

Also, being in the Netherlands it's pretty hard to find good parts for the conversion since there has to be a CE mark on all of the electric components I'll be using to avoid an EMC (or EMI) test for road approval, which would cost 1.300 euros ($1.700).

That's about all I know right now, hoping to get some feedback on the parts I've chosen. Or suggestions for other parts that are better suited and not too expensive. :) And if it's possible to do this conversion with a 48V system or I should go higher to 72V with different batteries.

Thanks in advance!
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Re: Planning a road legal Quad bike / ATV Conversion

Finished the electric wiring diagram today. Also made the whole 12V diagram since I'll be renewing that as well. The Chinese 12V system isn't that great. :)

I still have to include the BMS but I'm not sure yet if I'm going with MiniBMS and how to wire it all up if I do.

I'm pretty sure about everything, except the reversing contactors. To get it road approved here there have to be 2 things that you should operate before you can reverse. First will be a forward/reverse switch ofcourse. For the second I chose to use the clutch lever, it already has a switch built in.

Now the thing I'm wondering about with my wiring diagram. If the switch would be set to reverse and the clutch lever isn't pulled, would this be a problem since the motor (either + or -) won't be connected at that point? Or would I even be shorting the controller through the reversing contactors? The reversing contactors I'll be using is the Albright SW202B, not really sure yet how to wire it up since I can't find any diagrams of it.

Also please do let me know if you have any better suggestions for this. I just thought this would be the easiest way, if it'll work that is.
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I finally received my first few parts for the conversion last weekend.

The Soliton Jr. Also thanks Evnetics for the free shirt! :)

I also must say that I really like the quality. Already knew it was good but it's still better than I expected. I also know it's way overkill for this conversion but it's the only one with the needed certification. Would cost me more to get the quad bike EMC tested with any other controller.

Here with Rebbl's EMC casing on it. Too bad this is necessary here, can't see anything of the good looking Soliton Jr anymore. :(

Sorry it's so dirty, it came like this and tried to clean it but it doesn't come off. :rolleyes:

Also got the charger kit (Elcon 1500) and pretty much all of the cables I need from them. You probably all know how that looks like anyway so won't have to post pictures of that. ;)

Now I'm still waiting for the motor to arrive (LMC LEM-200 D127) before I can actually start. Want to have some motor and controller mounts made first but for that I need the motor here as well.

Also decided to go with the CALB CA60 cells after all, the SE70 wouldn't have been possible to fit with battery boxes around them. Still haven't ordered them though, kinda want to test the motor and controller first with some 12V batteries.
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Certify it with minimum parts
Without the:
DC - DC - just use a 12 volt battery
BMS (I'm not sure it is needed anyway)

Then once it is certified you can add all of the extra bits
That's actually a great suggestion. Would indeed be a lot easier to pass it then. Though I'm not really worried since I'm using mostly the same parts Rebbl uses and they seem to pass all of their conversions too.
The BMS doesn't have to be certified from what I've heard, I'll probably use MiniBMS. Don't really want to go without a BMS since this is my first conversion. Rather be safe than sorry for now. :)
Made some progress. Received almost all the parts now, except for the batteries.

The EMC enclosure for the Soliton Jr is pretty much ready to be installed now. Ended up using cable glands since the pass through rubbers didn't really fit. So this is what all Soliton's should look like now in Europe:

Too bad it completely covers up that good looking controller but well, it's the only way to pass that road test. ;)

Also received the LEM-200 D127 motor, really like how compact this thing is while still being able to deliver so much power. Trying to see how it fits on the rear swing arm. From the side it fits great, some space left even.

From the rear however you can see that it'll be a real close fit.

But it's either like this or having a custom rear swing arm made so I can place the motor even lower. This will probably be too expensive though.

Now I just need to get some mounting plates made for the motor and controller and I can start with all the cables, contactors and stuff. :)

I also tested the controller and motor today with 2 12V batteries in series, just couldn't resist seeing the motor spin for the first time. :D I limited it at 13V 10A since I used very small chinese wire. But I did see 16V going to the motor and 18A on startup, 6-7A when turning at the max speed for that voltage. It's still pretty hard to imagine how it will go at 72V and 400A since I already had some trouble keeping the motor in place with one hand. ;) Here's a very small clip I took. It was a bit longer but something went wrong with filming it seems so I had to cut it.

Already got a taste of the EV grin without even riding. :D I've seen all these videos on youtube and all these projects here but to actually see it working with your own eyes is so awesome!
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The Soliton Jr. Also thanks Evnetics for the free shirt! :)
You're welcome ;)

Here with Rebbl's EMC casing on it. Too bad this is necessary here, can't see anything of the good looking Soliton Jr anymore. :(
That is pretty hideous looking... Not to suggest anything illegal, but... perhaps just keep the shielding installed when you get your registration (from the RDW, right?). Then remove it afterwards. I can assure you the controller works perfectly fine without all that claptrap attached.

That said, more EU citizens need to complain about these EMC rules to their elected officials. I'm not saying that minimizing EMI isn't a worthy goal, but the requirements are just too stringent - they essentially apply the same standard for noise emissions to a 150kW EV motor controller as to a 20W car stereo...
Have you considered anodizing that EMC cover? It still won't look as good as the Jr but should look better than it does now. Google "DIY anodizing" if interested.
I won't be anodizing it, seems like too much work and I don't have all those things you need for it. I will probably just spray it black and hope it stays on nicely. Otherwise I will probably go with Tesseract's suggestion and remove it completely after it's road legal. ;) I really want people to see that controller and not some silly box that's built all around it. :rolleyes: I'm sure it'll work great without it, haven't heard of any problems because of it from all you converters in the USA. Not that I'd care anyway if I drive by and someone's radio goes dead. :D

Also I don't believe complaining to the officials about the EMC rules is going to help, it is such a small market here. Especially here in the Netherlands, they won't care if like 0,1% of all people will complain about it. The RDW is very strict also, last few years they have made everything for the DIY's so much harder, not just the EMC rules. Just have to accept it or try to work around it somehow. ;)
Not sure if it would help in your region. I don't know the CE rules for the Netherlands. But everything we build in our shop has to be CE compliant. If you want I could mail you some CE stickers! Like I said, don't know how strict they are there. But if it would help I'll always help out another DIYer! I'll be following your project, looking for a donor quad of my own.
For the initial test to get it road approved I don't think it'll help since they don't really look at the CE mark but at the documents that came with the parts. Like with the Soliton controllers, they don't have a CE mark but they do comply with the automotive standards according to the document from Rebbl. There's no indication on the controller itself. For the charger and some other parts I'm not sure though, they're all CE marked already and didn't come with any documents.
And after the road test it doesn't really matter since quad bikes don't have the safety check every year here (called APK here) since they're in the category 3-wheeled vehicles. Weird I know, it obviously has 4 wheels. :rolleyes: So then only the police officers could check for it. But they most likely don't know anything about electric vehicles here yet, what to look at etc. :rolleyes:
But I'm not really worried, I should be able to pass the test with all the parts I have now since I'm using almost all the same parts that Rebbl uses in their conversions.

Thanks for your offer though, I will keep in mind if I do need them. Also nice to know you're following this project. A quad bike is a great vehicle to convert, would be nice to see another quad bike conversion. :)
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May I suggest looking at mounting the motor below the swing arm? gives clearance to the shock without modifications and lowers teh centre of gravity. I'd only be weiry of ground clearance then. I susspect ou could 'scallop' the swing arm to move the motor higher up too, and teh motor mounts can be welded like an upside down u (n shape so slot motor up into) and would provide further rigidity to the swingarm having teh motor bolted in there. might leave some room for batteries above the motor in front of the shock also.

Looks like a great build! Keen to see the packaging, an electric quad must be great fun!
Thanks for the suggestion but like you said already ground clearance will be a problem like that. The quad bike is already pretty low to the ground and we have a lot of high speed bumps here in the Netherlands. So letting the motor stick out below the frame probably won't be such a good idea. Could end up losing the motor like that. :p
Another problem is that it won't pass the inspection test like that since the electric components are not allowed to be the lowest point of the vehicle (not counting the wheels ofcourse).

Also the shock has more than enough clearance. It's hard to see in the picture since it's not connected to the swing arm there but I did test this and there's no way it could hit the motor so it's safe there. :) I will take some more pictures soon so it's easier to see. The main reason I went with this type of quad is because of that rear swing arm and position of the shock, it's just a perfect mounting place for the LMC or Agni motors.

As for the fun factor of electric quads, can't tell you yet but I sure hope I can soon. ;) It's already taken long enough to receive all these parts so I hope to at least get the wheels moving within a few weeks. I'm sure it will be great though, especially since I've already seen what 300W can do while I tested the motor and controller. Just imagine 80 times that (~25kW) on a 200kg quad bike. :D
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Finally some progress again. The motor plate has been made and as I hoped it fits perfectly on the rear swing arm. Also no problem at all with the suspension.

I also tried with the chain and it has enough clearance with the frame to be placed in a straight line.

Next step are the mounting blocks for the motor plate which will be welded on both sides of the swing arm. The adaptor for the front sprocket and custom rear sprocket is also being made. Will probably get both next week already.

I've also started playing around with Sketchup and I really love this program now. So easy to work with and it really helps when actually making the real things. ;)
Here's the complete motor mount, can see the mounting blocks here. Also tried to make the motor look close to the real one since I was a bit bored waiting for parts. :p

I also made the batteries and the boxes already. Will have 5 boxes since I can't fit the batteries in any other way in the frame.
I started making all the components: Battery, straps, bolts, lugs, cable gland, emergency switch, MiniBMS cell module and some wires.

And then I made all the boxes and wires between them. Here they are still opened.

And here they are closed. :)

Still isn't done yet but it does give a good idea how it will actually be like inside the frame.

I do have a question though. Is it okay to use the emergency switch mid pack, and also the fuse and sensor for EV Display? Or is it actually better to use them on the positive wire from the whole pack? The reason I want it like this is so the pack is split when I'll be working on it or when the fuse blows. Two packs of 36V are a lot safer to work with, whenever I have to. And overall it just seems safer since the whole pack would be disconnected instead of just the positive. Or do I see this wrong?
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Waoow happy to c this , i'm also slowly starting up a similar project.
I'd like to make my PGO 500 electric , i also read luigi fiat 500 + agni 95r article.

so i have a few questions , where did u get your motor and why did u choose that one and not the agni or a fork lift motor ( that tread is sooo long ) ?

anyway i still have to strip my PGO from its gasoline engine, and get to the bare state before i start buying parts.............

so i'll follow your tread cause i do need some help , some being an understatement
That would also be a cool vehicle to convert, good luck with it. :)

I got this motor directly from LMC ltd. in the UK. It's around the same price as the Agni's. I chose for this one (D127) since it has lower RPM/V than the Agni's with the same power. This way it'll be easier to gear (3.66:1 ratio with the LMC D127 vs 6:1 ratio with the Agni 95-R) since I wasn't sure if I could fit such a big rear sprocket and I don't want multiple sprockets and chains. Only time will tell if it was a good choice though since I read more RPM/V is a bit better performance wise and somewhere else I read that it doesn't matter at all.

As for a fork lift motor, I would not have been able to fit one of those in the rear swing arm, they are too big. That's also the main reason I wanted a LMC or Agni motor, it's a perfect fit.

Cool to hear that you're following this thread but I'm still a beginner myself really. :) So I don't know if you'll get much help since I still need help myself sometimes. ;) Would probably be a better idea to start your own thread, might get more help that way.
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Time for some updates again. :)

The mounting blocks for the motor plate were made and TIG welded on the rear swing arm.

The adapter for the front sprocket was also made and fits nicely. It also has 2 small channels for the RPM sensor. Still have to make a small mounting plate for that.

Here you can see how much I was able to take off the original chain. So nice that I could fit the motor there. It's a lot better also since chain tension will always be the same. If it were mounted in the frame it would constantly change because of the suspension.

And here I shortened it and tensioned it. Pretty nice to finally have this attached, first step of the build-up completed. :)

The sprockets aren't perfectly aligned though, so I will still need to get some sort of adapter made for the rear sprocket as I can't move the front sprocket more outside because of the frame that's in the way. :rolleyes:

I also finally received the CALB batteries today. I got them from a different company though, here in the Netherlands (New Electric) as there was a delay in the shipment to CALB's Europe office and I would have had to wait even longer which I didn't really want. These were also delivered with the braided straps and nord-locks which I already wanted to get anyway so it's pretty nice.

I measured the voltage of them all, numbered them and put them back in the box again untill I'm done with mounting the other components (controller, charger, reverse contactor).

11 of them were at 3.286V and the other 13 at 3.287V so that's very nice. I'll be top balancing them though and using MiniBMS to keep them balanced and protected.

Still have to see if I can actually mount them all how I've drawn it in Sketchup. Then I can order all the ABS plates and make all of the boxes. Should be fun. :rolleyes:

That's all for now. More updates soon hopefully.
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Did you consider a belt drive? Why ratio is your chain drive? And what size are the tyres please? Working out what motor speed you will be using and how much mechanical advantage you get.
I am really impressed with your build. Though I can't wait to see you for those batteries in. They will be the deal maker.

Why did you not want more power dense cells? Kokham are supposed to be good, not a123 good, but next best thing. And power dense too meaning more cells and more volts and higher c rating for acceleration.

I look forward to the progress.
Hello Tyler, thanks for your kind words and helping out.

Yes I did consider belt drive and I might still try that in the future as I like how silent it is and maintenance free. For now though I want to try with chain since it's a bit easier to play with the ratio to get the speed and acceleration I want. After that I might switch to belt drive. There's just not much space for a wide belt and I'm not sure if the smaller timing belts that are used in gas cars are going to hold up. I can only find pictures of these motors being used with pretty wide belts.

The current sprockets are 12 teeth front and 44 teeth rear so 3.67:1 ratio. I'm hoping to get a top speed of around 85 km/h with good acceleration like this. Will hopefully see if it's possible soon. ;)

Size of the rear tyres is 270/30 R14. I'll be replacing them right away though as these are specially made oval shaped chinese tyres. :rolleyes: I will probably get 225/40 R14 tyres.

I can't wait either till those batteries are mounted in the frame, hopefully won't take long. :) I chose these CALB CA's since they can give all the power I need without any troubles. The motor can 'only' handle 72V with 200A continuous and 400A peak which is easy for these cells. And as seen on EVTV they perform very well, even in cold weather. Also not much voltage sag. I really like these brick type cells anyway, easier to install. Especially with the size of these 60Ah's.
Besides I'm not only focusing on performance. It's nice to have some decent acceleration but I also want to be able to drive around for a while and not have empty batteries within 10 miles or so. ;)

And some update again.

Today I tried fitting the batteries in the frame and to my surprise they fit even better than I had hoped. Instead of 5 boxes I will only have to make 4 now.

So now I can order all those ABS plates and make the boxes. :)
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Very nice Firehuntah. Can I suggest covering the terminals on the batts as you don't want to short one!

Great to see them in there! Fit very well as you say.
Don't worry, I'm very careful with these cells and they're already back in the box again. :) It's pretty hard to short these cells on the frame anyway since the vent sticks out between the 2 terminals and there was no metal directly in front of them. ;)

Once I start connecting them I will cover them up though, and isolate my tools as well.

By the way, I still don't know if I should connect the sender unit of the EV Display, the main fuse and the emergency switch mid pack or on the positive line to the controller. What would be better/safer? I'd like to place them mid pack since between the batteries I can use different wires without shielding while the positive and negative of the whole pack will be shielded wires so they're harder to work with. I also like the fact that if anything happens and the fuse blows or I have the use the emergency switch that the pack will be split into two 36V packs.
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