Where are the electric cars at?

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Where are the electric cars at?

Postby headhonchoII » 16 Apr 2012, 09:10

I'd be interested in a stripped down cheap electric car that fits in between a scooter and a regular road worthy car. Thats because with kids I need a car but also most of driving is around the city. I would need to own two cars though in this situation and then we would ditch the scooter. But what I an envisioning is a type of souped up scooter that you are not permitted to drive on the highways.

A super electric buggy!

Actually Taichung is well laid out for introducing electric scooters as the roads are pretty wide and straight in many parts. I have seen a lot of electric scooters in Guilin also. I know the commies have started regulating them as most are classified as electric bikes but much more powerful and ridden badly, buts let's hope the commies don't make yet another mistake in trying to emulate the West in the wrong way.
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Re: Where are the electric cars at?

Postby Pingdong » 16 Apr 2012, 23:40

that link isnt htem, but i guess the ones I saw most looked like this one: http://www.alibaba.com/product/jiangjin ... ar_EV.html

similar size and that though.


I'd be interested in a stripped down cheap electric car that fits in between a scooter and a regular road worthy car. Thats because with kids I need a car but also most of driving is around the city. I would need to own two cars though in this situation and then we would ditch the scooter. But what I an envisioning is a type of souped up scooter that you are not permitted to drive on the highways.

A super electric buggy!

Actually Taichung is well laid out for introducing electric scooters as the roads are pretty wide and straight in many parts. I have seen a lot of electric scooters in Guilin also. I know the commies have started regulating them as most are classified as electric bikes but much more powerful and ridden badly, buts let's hope the commies don't make yet another mistake in trying to emulate the West in the wrong way.


ya man, thats about how im looking at things as well. We sould keep our car for travel, but want something more than a scooter for around town.
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Re: Where are the electric cars at?

Postby pengyou » 25 Apr 2012, 04:53

I have seen some of the electric cars being made in China now, and am not sure I would want to risk my life in them. Because of the weight of the batteries, the car is made of super thin tin foil, doors are really thin, side panels thin, etc. Yes, practically speaking, they only go 40 mph or so but trees don't move at all, and, if you wrapped one around a tree it would probably be left there (with your dead or maimed body in it) as a warning to others or as a Christmas tree ornament, depending on the season. They would not pass the safety laws for either the U.S. or Taiwan, far worse than a Yugo or Xiali made in Tianjin.

Electric cycles work well on flat terrain. I live in Miaoli county so have ruled them out for now. Most electric cycles have a calculated range as opposed to "let's put a 200 pound foreigner on it riding full throttle and see how far it goes" range. A stated 50 km range will probably yield a 40 km or less range at full throttle, which is how people usually ride them :lol: If I were to try to ride the average ebike to my school, on the other side of a mountain, I would only get 10-12 km out of a 40-50km battery because of the climb. Also, with the SLA (sealed lead acid) batteries, after a hundred charges or so your maximum range will start to diminish...the batteries are heavy - I had an ebike that would cruise at 20 mph for about 40 miles and it weighed about 150 pounds. 80 pounds was for the battery alone. It might not sound like much until you have an accident and you find the bike falling on you - it happened to me :(

FWIT, the most useful ebikes I have seen (in terms of range and speed, without spending your life savings) are bicycle conversions with some kind of lithium batteries. You can buy a kit that contains a real wheel with motor mounted, the controller, battery, etc and swap the parts out in less than a couple of hours. The advantage to these is that you can also pedal, as you would a normal bicycle, run on human power only, pedal assisted mode, or completely electric. They don't have the storage that you get with a scooter but you can always buy saddlebags,etc to make it work. Some kind of Lithium-ion battery is a must to reduce weight and improve range and lifecycle. They are expensive up front, but if you calculate the per charge and per mile cost they can actually be cheaper than a sealed lead acide battery. They usually will outlast 3 sets of SLA batteries, and each charge will usually take you 50% farther, given the same battery parameters.
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Re: Where are the electric cars at?

Postby finley » 25 Apr 2012, 08:20

I'd agree with pengyou's post. There are ebikes and there are ebikes ... or, more specifically, there are ebikes made in China, and there are the others. Likewise with cars, of course.

However ... "some kind of" lithium battery is often no better than SLA. They're usually consumer-grade lithium-manganese or lithium-cobalt types, which degrade noticeably after 200 charges or so. I think I mentioned elsewhere the E-Moving bike, which is the only one I've seen that uses lithium iron phosphate and has a proper, chunky motor in it instead of a 300-500W waste of space. SLA's are also much more frequently recycled than lithium types.

As for lack of grunt ... bike manufacturers have painted themselves into a corner by insisting on low-voltage motors, which means you're restricted to low power levels unless you use ridiculously expensive power components and huge cables. A respectable DC bus voltage would be >200V. In theory an electric scooter should have loads more torque, especially at the low end, compared to a petrol engine, so climbing hills shouldn't be a problem. In theory. It's just pure bad design that produces the travesties currently on the market.
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Re: Where are the electric cars at?

Postby pengyou » 25 Apr 2012, 19:57

Yes, the motors have lots of torque to climb hills...but the batteries will not keep up with them. Most of the bikes sold in China have poor quality motors, whether 300 watts, 600 watts, etc because the laws say no faster than about 20 mph. My bike had a 500 watt, 48 v motor and yet my bike easy only slightly faster than a 250 watt, 36 volt bike...go figure! Since lithium iron, etc have become popular, a lot of manufactureres try to skimp on the concentrations of chemicals in the electrolyte. They still may be true lithium iron (or whatever) but weaker concentrations, so yes, they do not have the miles or number of recharges that a quality lithium battery will have. There are also ways to skimp making batteries so that they do not recharge as well (though I don't understand how)...it is amazing how competent companies are at finding ways to cut corners and make a piece of trash that looks good in the shop but doesn't do much when it is rolled out the door! 48 volts is too low, but 72 volts, a far cry from 200, makes a very respectable power source for a motorcycle. Beyond that and you need to buy a hecka long extension cord to keep the motor juiced up.
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Re: Where are the electric cars at?

Postby finley » 25 Apr 2012, 22:50

Indeed. I get the feeling that the problem - as usual with stuff like this - is government subsidy. Established manufacturers who have greased the right palms can effectively get free money from the government for selling something that looks vaguely like an electric scooter, but is in fact a pile of useless scrap metal and electronics which will be at the bottom of a landfill heap within 12 months. Worse, the government does not have any real standards for petrol-engined scooters, and doesn't enforce the ones that do exist. So petrol scooters are much cheaper than they ought to be. And then there's the problem of charging points, which have been talked about for the last five years or so but still haven't materialized.

The upshot is that very few people are attempting to design top-notch electric scooters, because there is no economic incentive to do so.

Yes, 72V is not too bad, but that still limits you to (roughly) 1000W motor power if you want to keep the cost of the power electronics reasonable. The charging (mains supply) voltage is unrelated to the DC bus voltage. If the required charging voltage is higher than the mains supply, the charger simply incorporates a boost converter. You have to have a switcher on the front-end anyway; it doesn't make any difference to the cost whether it's a boost or a buck. 115VAC would charge a battery pack with a nominal terminal voltage of 150V, without boost.
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Re: Where are the electric cars at?

Postby roui0105 » 29 May 2012, 17:10

Ford was nearing bankruptcy when it turned itself around in 2006. The car maker responded to wishes for additional fuel-efficient vehicles, and that has become the focal point of its climb back to success. Now, Ford will now be dedicating its red-brick 285,000 square foot research facilities in Dearborn, Mich., to developing more affordable fuel-saving technologies. Ford zooms to the lead in fuel economy.
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Re: Where are the electric cars at?

Postby Ducked » 31 May 2012, 15:24

Always thought it was a pity there wasn't some way one could use the starter motor independently of the engine, for inching along in traffic jams.

Seems like it'd be a fairly trivial modification, though idiot-proofing it to stop people stranding themselves with a flat battery/burned-out starter might be tricky.
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Re: Where are the electric cars at?

Postby sulavaca » 31 May 2012, 15:42

Ducked wrote:Always thought it was a pity there wasn't some way one could use the starter motor independently of the engine, for inching along in traffic jams.

Seems like it'd be a fairly trivial modification, though idiot-proofing it to stop people stranding themselves with a flat battery/burned-out starter might be tricky.


The starter motors, wiring, and batteries which are presently fitted the the majority of road cars are not up to the task of actually providing enough power, to propel a vehicle. The starter motor itself cannot handle enough current for an extended period, and isn't fitted with the correct type of gearing to perform such a task. The flywheel is also only designed to handle, basic starting requirements. Most automatic gearbox designs can't transmit torque, through such a low cranking rev range to the wheels.

It is sometimes possible to get a manual car going, from stationary, whilst in gear through the starter motor, but it causes severe wear and tear to the electrical and mechanical starting system, and can only be used as an emergency method, if for example the clutch mechanism fails and the clutch becomes permanently engaged.

There are plenty of stop/start systems on modern cars, which kill the engine at the lights to conserve fuel.
A system which actually powers the wheels and relies on electrical power only though is a dramatically different type of system, and is generally only found on hybrids and electric vehicles.
These various technologies are all quite different, and so it isn't quite as simple as hooking a starter motor up to a stop-start electrical signal, and expecting this to work well. It won't work well at all I'm afraid.

At some point in the future however, as electrical vehicles become more cost effective, more common, and more convenient to use, we might see the present old tech systems begin to diminish in popularity. That is, unless there becomes a more effective, easy to fit HHO system, which can be installed on present old tech cars. This latter system is the one which is sparking the greatest interest from shed-inventors right now.
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Re: Where are the electric cars at?

Postby pengyou » 31 May 2012, 15:49

There are a number of mega hub motors out there that would power almost anything on the road - some 10K watts each. There are some kits that come with an entirely new wheel with the hub motor installed in it, including regenerative braking. That is one of the easiest conversions I have seen. The down side of that is that without a transmission, power powerful (and heavy) motors have to be purchased than would be necessary with some kind of transmission. There is a performance car - I think it is a Porsche - that comes with one mega hub motor in each wheel...so people are looking into this option. Each motor puts out a ridiculous amount of horsepower, like 400 hp each.
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