The Goal of this project was to convert a classic motorcycle into a clean, quiet, electric daily driver that would reduce the amount of automobile pollution caused by my short to mid-range driving trips.
RANGE: 40 Miles
SPEED: 40mph with current sprocket setup
CURB WEIGHT: 320ish Pounds, around 50 more than original
RECHARGE COST: Less then a Penny per mile
Ahhh yes, The Electric Dream! Clean, Quiet, and best of all not a drop of Gas!
There is a lot of great information on current Electric Motorcycle Instructables, but I still ran into some snags and made some mistakes along the way. So I will do my best to cover where I went wrong to save you some time, money, and effort. When the build was over a book called Build your own Electric Motorcycle was published, Needed less to say its a resource I wish I had along the way.
Also, by no means am I an expert. In fact, the only class I failed in college was "introduction to electronics" . In saying that, I am looking forward to any comments or feedback on how to improve my project. Also follow me on Twitter or on my Electric Motorcycle Blog to keep up with my current projects and Electric Motorcycle News.
Step 1: What you need
Here is a list of what you will need and how to find it:
A Plan: This is the best question to ask yourself before going out and buying anything.
How far, how fast, how much? To get a good idea of this, spend some time on: http://www.evalbum.com/type/MTCY - its got 1000's of Electric Motorcycle conversions with pictures of the bikes and the components used to make them.
1.Donor Motorcycle or a rolling chassis - Check Ebay and Craigslist. Personally, I like to set up an RSS feed from my craigslist search, otherwise I browse for way to long when my ADD kicks in. I found my 1967 Honda Dream(ca160) on craigslist for $275, with frozen motor, but hey, I don't need that anyway.
2. Electric motor - There are lots of options out there, but I recommend a Brushed 48v Etek Briggs and Stration due to its price, power, and availability on eBay. The original is no longer in production so your options are to buy a used motor or get a clone. Also, if you have a local golf shop go talk to someone there - they are gear-heads too! These guys will like you and they will like your project. So see if they can cut you a deal on an electric motor, there will be plenty of just sitting around.
3. Batteries again, consult your plan. My plan was 30+ range, so I picked up some deep cycle batteries at walmart for $62 a piece. They are 12v 105 aH. Looking back, I wish I would have gone with some smaller and lighter batteries. I really don't need the amount of range these current deep cycle batteries provide.
4. A motor controller that delivers/regulates the energy from the battery to the motor. Think of this as a transmission. I found a Curtis 48volt 300 amp controller on eBay for $150.
5. A twist grip throttle that sends an electric signal to the controller - which determines how much energy is sent to the motor from the batteries. Most popular is the Magura Twist grip, available on ebay.
6. A battery charger to re-charge your batteries for continual (cyclic) use. I am still working on finding the best charger for my ride, but I would like to do something that could be out on board.
7. A high-current switch or Contact Buy this on eBay or at a Golf Cart shop. This part makes the loud "click" sound when your turn on a golf cart.
8. A high-current fuse to limit the amount of energy drawn from the batteries in case of a short/failure. Typically = to Control max amperage. I got a 2 300amp fuses on eBay for $19 bucks
9. A large gear ratio to reduce the amount of current required when accelerating (this can be accomplished with a large custom rear sprocket and a small front gear/pinion on the motor). My current gear ratio is 3:1, optimal would be 4:1+
Optional stuff: instrumentation, speedo, ammeter, or a way to judge batteries state of charge.