Experimental Electric Vehicles

July 26, 2010

100 EV Miles this Summer!

Filed under: Uncategorized — tonyhelms @ 10:13 pm

Over the winter I installed a new speedometer/odometer gauge on the Zion motorcycle, I installed the new Sigma speedometer because I was very disappointed with the performance of the “Veypor” motorcycle speedometer gauge I had previously installed. Because of this I do not know of the “exact total” EV miles driven so far, but a rough estimate would be in the 170-190 mile Total.

But for the entire riding season of 2010 I have logged exactly 103 miles! This is also the mileage on the new B&B battery pack, and Soneil charger installed on the Zion motorcycle. I have been very pleased with the performance of the charger and upgraded 72 volt battery pack. The motorcycle has been nothing but rock solid reliable, which is great because it gives me something to ride and enjoy while I am in the process of building the new E*Speed race motorcycle.

103 miles may not sound like a lot of miles, but it is when you find yourself fighting Michigan weather, working 8 hours a day all week, trying to finish another project motorcycle, and finding time for friends and family. All the sudden time for going out for an “EV cruise” becomes scarce.

So far riding all-electric has been quite an experience, I am proud to say that I have fun ripping around town on my ZERO gasoline, ZERO noise, ZERO tail-pipe emission motorcycle that handles and drives like a dream and never leaves me disappointed. Hopefully everyone will share the excitement of a fast, clean, and low maintenance electric vehicle similar to mine.

July 20, 2010

The “EV Bug” Bites a Friend

Filed under: Uncategorized — tonyhelms @ 12:03 am

After witnessing many people drive electric vehicles for the first time, I have become very familiar with the “EV grin”. This is always accompanied after a first drive or ride, most people have nothing but complements of how the vehicle performed and cant wipe the smile off their face. We give first time EV rides at our “EV shows” around the state, we do these to help spread the word of how real, and viable electric transportation is. The best way to convince a person is to give them a first hand experience, after that they will spread word of their amazing experience.


Photo courtesy of, Brian Bailey

A fellow racer and gear-head friend of mine, Kyle Rieth, was so convinced after riding my Zion motorcycle a few times, he knew that he wanted the same experience for him self. Kyle is also an avid energy inventor, and is always needing a “test bed” to experiment with, the electric katana will make an excellent one. After a seemingly long search he finally found a good doner motorcycle, a 1996 Suzuki Katana.

The Katana had a hard life, it was used as a stunt-bike for a while and many small trim parts were broken or missing. The gas engine was losing compression and would not start or run. But the Motorcycle had new tires, good brakes, and the frame, fork and swing-arm were all there and straight, and this is all we really cared about.


Photo courtesy of, Brian Bailey

The next day, Kyle had the entire motorcycle stripped down to a bare workable frame rolling frame. Kyle had been doing his home work, and talking a lot with me about what kind of performance and range he wants to achieve. This helps to prevent from purchasing and installing under performing parts that you will be disappointed with.

Kyle has purchased a D&D series wound motor and a 450-amp Kelly controller. To power this he has decided to use six, 12 volt, 50 Ah sealed lead acid batteries, making a 72 volt 3600Kw battery pack! The lower frame will have to be significantly modified to accept the batteries, but fabrication is his forte, so this should not be a problem.


Photo courtesy of, Brian Bailey

Kyle has made substantial progress on the Katana, and should have it ready to ride well before the snow flies, I will keep updates on his conversion as major parts are installed.

July 11, 2010

E*speed update, Motor Re-Mount & Batteries Insatlled

Filed under: Uncategorized — tonyhelms @ 11:54 pm

Progress on the E*speed has increased because I have had more time lately to work on it, and the motorcycle is inches away from road testing.

I decided it would be a good idea to test the twin motor design on the motorcycle since I have no experience with linking two motor shafts together. The motors were powered with two 12 volt batteries supplying both motors with 24 volts, this proved to spin the motors very fast, and unfortunately with a severe vibration. Disappointed I started doing some diagnoses of what could be causing the vibration, I noticed if I used some long slide clamps to hold both motor plates together the vibration was decreased. I then saw that there was enough room to install two more 1/2″ threaded rods to help re-enforce the motor plates and hold them more rigidly.

I then re-tested the new motor plate design with re-enforcements and was very pleased with to feel no vibrations what so ever.

Next was the challenge to fit all of my 24 LiFePo cells back in the motorcycle. There are a couple of goals I have when designing any battery rack.

-Keep the cell terminals close for ease of wiring and prevent lengthy power wires.

-Make the rack simple, with the least of complication to save weight.

-Bolt, do not weld, the rack to the frame, for future battery up-grades.

-Make the rack very sturdy, with a flat bottom so you can jack up on the bottom of your motorcycle for service.

-Make sure the cells can be easily removed for service or replacement.

If you can manage to incorporate all of these attributes into your battery rack you will be very pleased when it comes time to perform repair or service on your motorcycle.

I always start by holding all the batteries in place with a wood board and jack to prove that all the batteries can physically fit and still be removed.

I then got the bottom part sized and welded together.

Then I keep installing and removing the batteries to make sure the new parts I weld on will not interfere and fit properly.

After the battery rack is made, be sure to cross brace the rack where possible, this will make it much stronger very rigid.

When the battery rack is complete, be sure to properly strap the batteries down, to ensure they are very secure. You would not want them coming loose in a turn, or possibly an accident.

Road testing for the E*speed is coming quick, I will post video of the first drives.

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