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Battery-/Human-Powered Vehicle Idea  RSS feed

 
Michelle Schurko
Posts: 17
Location: Saskatchewan
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Transportation is an important factor for me and I've been researching/reading/thinking about it this evening:

What if there could be a decently fast battery-powered vehicle (even a small, enclosed bike-type vehicle) using a motor instead of a combustion engine, having AT LEAST 2 batteries where one could be used while the other can be charged through various on-board methods (pedal power, solar power, wind power...) and switched over when needed? The batteries would be plugged in to homestead off-grid power to fully charge before a trip. Is that kind of like a golf cart? (I definitely don't golf!)

I have extremely minimal education in these regions, so please forgive me if this is just stupid. Main questions for me are:
- pros and cons of using an electric motor
- using and re-charging battery as opposed to direct pedaling as you would with a bike
- highway usability (even side of the road like a bike)
 
allen lumley
pollinator
Posts: 4154
Location: Northern New York Zone4-5 the OUTER 'RONDACs percip 36''
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Michelle Schurko : So what you are describing is better known as an Electric or Electric Assist Velomoble. In the link I have provided

note that to enjoy maximum efficiency the Top-of- the-Line Velomobiles are all enclosed and very streamlined with interior/cargo

space reduced as much as possible !

It is also a widely accepted practice to build these Velomobiles as recumbent Bi/Tricycles to allow for the most efficient use of Leg

and 'Core' Muscles

Reduced Weight vs batteries (range and hill climbing) is a constant trade off !

For these reasons most peoples D.I.Y. Velomoble Projects Take 5 - 10 - even 15 years .

More information by Googling Velomobile or link below:

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/549931804470691274/

You may also want to review plans offered through these people! Link below :

http://www.atomiczombie.com/DIY%20Plans.aspx

For the Good of the Crafts ! Big AL
 
Troy Rhodes
Posts: 626
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E-bikes are ramping up in popularity these days. You can buy very capable e-bikes, though they are not inexpensive. Of course, compared to a car, they are pretty cheap. And the operating cost per mile is hard to beat.

Regarding your question of having two batteries, and charging one while using the other on the trip...that is largely impractical. Here's why:

If you're thinking solar, it takes a ginormous solar panel to make even 100 watts. Where do you mount such a panel? It will probably act like a sail and knock you or the bike over with a good gust.



If you're thinking of charging the 2nd battery by pedaling, a typical fit human can product 60-100 watts of electricity if you pedal like mad. That's not a ton of electricity to recharge a sizable battery. And the bigger problem is you always lose some efficiency when you change the form of energy. Thus, it will always be more efficient to use the pedaling energy to drive the bike directly. If you make electricity first, and then charge the battery, and then use the battery to drive the electric motor, you would be lucky to put 60% of your original pedaling energy to the wheel of the bike.


What you can do, fairly efficiently on an e-bike, is "help" the electric drive system by pushing the pedals around. This reduces the draw on the motor and battery and extends range.


There is a ton of how to articles on the web about how to make an ebike by converting a regular pedal bike. My wild guess is that you can build an e-bike for 40 or 50% less than buying one of the same capacity/range.

Here's a couple resources to get you started.


https://www.electricbike.com/category/build/diy/

http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-build-an-electric-bike-for-less-than-100/

http://www.wikihow.com/Build-an-Inexpensive-Electric-Bicycle

 
Burra Maluca
Mother Tree
Posts: 9893
Location: Portugal
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Troy Rhodes wrote:

If you're thinking of charging the 2nd battery by pedaling, a typical fit human can product 60-100 watts of electricity if you pedal like mad. That's not a ton of electricity to recharge a sizable battery. And the bigger problem is you always lose some efficiency when you change the form of energy. Thus, it will always be more efficient to use the pedaling energy to drive the bike directly. If you make electricity first, and then charge the battery, and then use the battery to drive the electric motor, you would be lucky to put 60% of your original pedaling energy to the wheel of the bike.



What about a system where you charge the battery on the downhill bits - could that work? I seem to wear my brakes out pretty fast trying not to zoom downhill too fast, and I've often thought it would be better if the energy could be transferred to the battery instead. Would the weight of the equipment outweigh the benefit to the battery?
 
Troy Rhodes
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Some of the e-bike controllers do provide for regenerative braking.


They will mention it in the hardware/software description if they have it since they will be very proud of the regen capability.


 
Michelle Schurko
Posts: 17
Location: Saskatchewan
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Wow! The vast knowledge and expertise of the people on this forum never ceases to amaze me! I'm pretty sure by the time I get my homestead up and running, I'm going to owe each person a giant crate of veggies for all the help!! And then I'll be able to offer the kind of information that is helping me so much!

My biggest thanks!
 
Joseph Lofthouse
garden master
Posts: 2491
Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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I bike 14 miles per day. Of that, it would be nice to have an electric assist motor for 2 miles. At the start of my journey there is a 1/4 mile stretch that has a 12% grade. Near the end there is a 1.5 mile stretch with a 3% grade. It would be nice to have a power assist for those two grades.



Batteries are like swimming pools... Just like you can add water to a pool at the same time you are taking water out, you can add electricity to a battery at the same time you are using electricity from the battery...
 
Dale Hodgins
garden master
Posts: 6672
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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I pedal mine to get up to speed after a light and to climb hills. That's the best use of my power.

I avoid fast downhill runs where brakes would be needed. I get off the power and glide to most stops. Every Starbucks along the way, is a free charging station.
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