Picture of How to build a 96-Volt Electric Motorcycle
Like many others I decided to quit waiting for a decent electric road bike at a reasonable price, so I built one out of a spare bike I bought off eBay for about $700. I based mine on a '82 Yamaha turbo because 1) I have the ICE version (hence the spare), 2) I like that it is fully faired so it looks 'normal' and 3) it's a shaft drive and one of my main goal was to make it as maintenance free as possible. Shaft drives weigh a lot more and are not as efficient as chain drives, but they are maintenance free. Here is a picture of the finished product. Like Stryker (who built the 72 volt version) I live close to work so distance was not an issue, but speed and performance were, as I have over 3 miles of a rather steep curvy road to go home on. One big thing to consider when doing this is the finished product. Like Stryker I am using AGM sealed lead-acid batteries because of convenience. But since I like the final product so much my goal has always been to upgrade it to some Li-Ion or Ni-MHyd batteries as soon as the become commercially available. It would shave 100 lbs off and give me twice the range, so it's an investment worth making.

Step 1: First, find a donor bike

Picture of First, find a donor bike
I have an 1982 Yamaha Turbo. It looks like this. I also had a spare-parts bike (that I bought off eBay for ~$700). It was, for the most part, complete but in pieces.

I decided that I was probably not going to use the spare-parts bike for anything so I stripped it.
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cloud91281 year ago

please guide me as I am working on converting my vehicle to electric vehicle.

Could you assist with the type and power of AC motor, Controller and pedal will be best for use. I have a sedan Honda city 2004 model


Disc Dog (author)  cloud91281 year ago
The first place to start is going to this web site and looking at some of the literature and conversion kits they offer:


Between the literature and kit descriptions you will get a better grip on what lays ahead and the amount of $$$ you can expect to spend. That doesn't mean you have to buy from them but at least you will get a quick introduction and education about car conversions. After that I can help you further along.
georgeshtc4 years ago
hello again mate, just another question about the ev conversion,

motor start and run capacitors are they not required for your conversion?

as you have not included that in your list..

Disc Dog (author)  georgeshtc4 years ago
You only need a motor starter/capacitors if you use a single-phase AC motor. DC motors and 3-phase AC motors do not require motor starters. However, a single-phace AC motor will also need an DC/AC inverter (to convert the DC power of the batteries to AC power) and a 3-phase motor does need a motor control inverter (to have variable speed control). Long story short: Use a DC motor and you don't need those things; you only need a DC motor controller.

How many amp hours do the batteries have?

SachilB10 months ago

would solar charging be a good idea

Disc Dog (author)  SachilB10 months ago
A most excellent idea, you just have to figure out how many panels you need based on how long you have to charge and how much charge you need.
JamesA9 Disc Dog4 months ago

I think that would take days to charge with hundreds of pounds/dollars worth of solar pannels

pink3436 months ago

I hope thats not the battery you plan to use in picture 2. :)

so I been looking through forms and DIY stuff like this. My goal is to make a go kart that can get highway miles. But prices on electric motor and stuff is not cheap compared to going gas route and getting 250cc bike and taking parts from there. Is there any cheaper way?

Disc Dog (author)  joseph.borrelli11 year ago

You will never be able to buy new or used EV conversion parts as cheap as gas conversion parts...never. If you only goal is to make it as cheap as possible, and couldn't care less if it runs on electricity or on gas, then go the 250cc route. That being said look for a good, used motor & controller on ebay or craigslist if you want to go electric.

rtysor1 year ago
You can get the batteries from electric bicycles on e-bay ,but they cost a lot
gluvit1 year ago
This is awsome
npaisnel6 years ago
Shame you guys in the USA only use 110 as household for the majority of items. Over here in Europe/UK it is all 240v AC
Disc Dog (author)  npaisnel6 years ago
It really is a crime. The only reason they set it up that way was to make money off the consumer. It's less efficient and the hardware needed to move that twice the amps cost more. But most of use have 220 going to the house and garage, so for EVs we can get by on 220 for overnight charging.
Saftey is also a major concern. 110v is most often not lethal, while 220/240v is far more deadly. It makes sense that most standard household appliances use a voltage that is safe for people. Ive been shocked a number of times by faulty appliances. If they ran on 240v, I might not be here today.
its not the volts that are as deadly, as much as its the current, hence why more people than you would think survive lightning strikes.

actually its the modulation and the phase of the power. tesla had over 1 thousand amps going thro his body during one of his events. and it didnt even hurt him. and that was ac current as well. since its cheaper to run UN-modulated current thro the lines. if it was modulated it would be more pricy but safer then.

220 is a high enough voltage that it throws you back away from the electrocution.

110 is a low enough voltage that it doesn't, allowing the electricity to clamp you to the hot wire.

The choice to go with 220V in most of the world is for exactly this reason - its harder to die accidentally with 220V than 110V.

Nonintuitive, eh?
I got shocked by 220V two times, the first time when I was about 10, the second time about 16, and I am still here, w/o any problems.
What he said!

on yr ev boat project. dont thro the motor away. dissemble it. sell it 4 parts or whole but never junk it. that motor might pay 4 half or whole of yr conversion set up.

kennsm011 year ago
you put this up a while ago. very impressive. how about an update?
Disc Dog (author)  kennsm011 year ago
In a nut shell moving back on our sailboat put an end to my garage tinkering. I found her a good home outside of Philly to a Vectrix owner who wants to upgrade her batteries. In the mean time I am gearing up to convert my sailboat to all electric and I'll will write an Instructable about it. It will be very much like this one.

Thanks for you inquiry. I appreciate your concerns.
Ares2522 years ago
you should make a solar charging station :)
trustsushi2 years ago

would this motor work?
Disc Dog (author)  trustsushi2 years ago
I'm afraid not. Two reasons: It's an AC motor and needs an AC controller that runs on DC (battery voltage) which are big and expensive, but the bigger reason is that its only 1/2 a horsepower; not enough ponies to even get a bicycle down the road. You are looking for a DC motor that is rated at 72 volts DC (minimum) and at least 3 or more horsepower. It looks to be a 'big' motor but its not. It's designed to run a bench grinder, that's all.
lawsonrw2 years ago

Did you use a DC/DC Converter? I see on similar instructables that others are using them, calling it safer. Whats your take?
Disc Dog (author)  lawsonrw2 years ago
I checked; it's on page/step 5.
Disc Dog (author)  lawsonrw2 years ago
Yes, there is a DC/DC converter in there. There has to be to run the 12VDC systems off the 96VDC. Look for it somewhere in this instructable.
Jimichan5 years ago
Hey Kentucky-bum; Ever hear of a tri magnum? Google it! Converting your bike to a trike would give you room for a lot more batteries.
Disc Dog (author)  Jimichan5 years ago
Jimichan, I have heard of them before, and actually helped a buddy build one (gas, about a zillion years ago :-). I had given your suggestion some thought, and I see where Honda has introduced a 3-wheel bike similar to the Bombardiar Spyder, so I suspect that 3-wheel EVs based on that idea are just around the corner. Me, I plan on converting my Toyota Spyder for an 'extended range' EV. I don't mind 20 miles range on my Bike; I only live 5.5 miles from work.
jerhpk Disc Dog2 years ago
3 wheeled electrics already exist. Not to hijack, but look into Myers Motors. It's not a traditional trike, but it is a three wheeled electric. rqriley dot com also has plans for sale for the 3 wheeled options (tri magnum already mentioned).

Like the job, just can't do it myself.  I work about 20 miles away, and don't have access to outdoor plugs at either work or home.  find a way to incorporate solar panel charging, and I'll be there!  Will definitely keep this in mind, it's already bookmarked.
wooders3 years ago

I have just seen some battery parts for sale on ebay, Would be pretty easy to make a 96v pack.

swordsmen7 years ago
Why don’t you use boat batteries instead of wheelchair batteries? Boat batteries can be recharged like wheelchair batteries and they hold more power.
ac-dc swordsmen3 years ago
Given same battery tech, what it is used for and called is fairly irrelevant, they are basically different battery sizes or different plate thickness to arrive at different capacity.

Similarly you can buy a thick plate (deep discharge) battery in a wide range of sizes regardless of what they are called, though it is often the case that the most popular sizes used cost less.
I'd imagine that lifespan is an issue. Boat batteries may hold more power, but you won't be able to recharge them as many times as a wheelchair battery before they'll stop holding a decent charge. I would imagine that wheelchair batteries are designed to be as hassle-free as possible (since a disabled person in a wheelchair probably won't be able to do most maintenance of their own chair), while basic boat maintenance requires you to check your batteries on a regular basis anyway. But I'm not 100% sure about these statements, it's just conjecture on my part.
Disc Dog (author)  kagenin6 years ago
Kagenin, Most large, industrial deep-cycle batteries are lead-acid, but not sealed; they are what is commonly referred to as 'flooded'. On average they deliver about 30% more power than a sealed lead-acid battery but require routine maintenance. You must check the water level in them regularly or they die a premature death. But contrary to what you said, you also get about 30% more charges out of flooded batteries (vs. SLAs). I chose SLAs (sealed lead acid) because of the lack of maintenance knowing full well that they will not go as far, nor last as long, as flooded batteries. (The price of being lazy :-)
Ah, thanks for clarifying.
If this is a direct drive, that means you can not coast, correct? And that high speed will always equate to high rpms?
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