Tuesday, 19 March 2013

back to it!

Well, here I am back again after a long hiatus.

For a while I got quite discouraged from the EV project due to difficulties in finding information about suppliers of parts and shipping to middle earth! in many cases the shipping was to cost more than the item itself!

A couple of things got my motivation Mojo flowing again.

  1. About a month ago I had the privilege of riding in a Nissan LEAF, loaned to a local electrician on the island to be shown off as part of the 'tread lightly tours' that I did some photography work for.
  2. Whilst in Sydney for a holiday I read a report (whose title and source escapes me now) that predicted petrol prices would likely reach $4.00 per litre by 2018, meaning $5+ here on Waiheke
  3. I realised that some of my friends had the relevant skills that I lacked in the metal fabrication and mechanical arts,
  4. I found this new supplier, Earthling Environs, who could potentially supply me with the EV parts I needed. 

Great thanks to plugin.org.nz, an initiative of APEV, the Association for the Promotion of Electric Vehicles for providing this resource.

So now all that remains is for me to pull my finger out!

I have pretty much decided on a 120v system, with LiFePO4 batteries, in a light car with a good amount of under bonnet space, no power steering and no air conditioning. for my first project.

I need to find the perfect donor car, and organise a workspace (as where I live has none.)

Thursday, 11 October 2012

The Plan

The first thing the ebook I bought said to do was plan. I don't have a donor vehicle yet, I am going to trawl trade me to see what I can find, and what I like, after I work out what my modifications will weigh!

So the requirements for my Waiheke EV.


The highest speed limit on the island is 70km/h, and that's only on one 3km stretch of road. The rest of the island is 50km/h. So speed is not a big concern. I don't therefore need a high voltage motor, so I can keep my costs down. A 144v motor set up could get my car to 130km/h, but when will I need that?

However, there are lots of hills on the island. So when EV secrets tells me that a 48v motor can get my car to 50km/h, I think that would be less on a hilly island.

So: I think I will design myself a 96v or even a 72v system.
(an electric motor)


The island is small. after looking it up on google maps

View Larger Map

There's really no need for me to have a range of more than 30km.


So, with a range requirement of only 30km, if i were to use Lead Acid batteries I would need to install a battery capacity of 60km, as those batteries do not like to get below 50% charge.
Lead Acid Battery

If I were to use the Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries, I would need only to build a 40km range, as these can discharge down to 20%. These are however much more expensive. yet lighter. the trade off.
a funky LiFePO4 battery pack

The donor car

this is an important decison, and one I can make only once I've decided on the other parts, because the gross vehicle weight of the car once all the parts are in (and the passengers) cannot be exceeded.

What will I choose?

It must be:

  • no rust!
  • light, with a GVM able to hold the weight of the batteries.
  • no power steering or air conditioning!
  • looks nice
  • of a make where an adaptor plate already exists (Ideally)

Once I have the donor car sitting in front of my house, then I'll feel like I'm truly on my way.

Please share your thoughts.

A Electric Vehicle Journey Begins

Well, not really. It will be a long time before I actually make my first EV journey, but perhaps this is my journey to my first EV journey.

Yesterday I made the decision. After dreaming and talking for years I finally decided to get started on my DIY EV project.

I am not a mechanic, I am not an electrician, and while I may feel way out of my depth at times, I am reassured by Gavin Shoebridge that with only a small amount of knowledge, anyone can make an EV.

Here's a link to his own EV journey, chronicled on youtube  well worth a watch.

What I do have is a sharp mind, the ability to learn quickly, and a desire to do something myself. I will probably make a lot of mistakes in my first EV, but I'm hoping to do more afterwards.

This will be an exciting journey.

The first part will be the planning. Choosing the motor, the battery type, size and capacity, and the donor car.

nb, before any of the negativity often associated as part of the myths against electric vehicles begins, I present +Robert Llewellyn's very well presented WebTV show's fully charged to explain the environmental impact, as well as the geopolitical reasons behind my motivation and support of EVs.