Battery Boxes

Finally! This saturday I took my bike on a trailer to the welder (Stadin Metalli) so that we could make the battery box connection tabs that can be attached to the frame. We didn’t have time to finish the boxes on saturday, but yesterday I got the finished boxes. Thanks Sami! They are both made from pretty thick (4mm) aluminum sheet and seem to be a really tough construction. (They look like they could withstand a nuclear war.) The lower box will be bolted to the original engine mounting points with 10mm threaded rods and the upper box is bolted to the lower box with 10mm bolts. The lower box also has a tab that is bolted to the motor adapter plate. This is mainly to support the motor plate to the boxes (not the other way around) and should make sure that the motor mount is stable. There are also some additional tabs on the upper box that will be used to mount the fiberglass fairings (still to be done) to cover these clunky things from prying eyes. And the upper box will have a fiberglass cover that will be latched on top of it.

Late yesterday evening I drilled some holes to act as cable conduits and cut them open upwards. Then I used steel wool to roughen all the surfaces for painting, washed them dust-free and then layered the black primer paint in several passes. This morning I went to see how they were, and as they looked really great, I layered the final glossy black paint on top of the primer.  And this evening I will cut an adhesive rubber mat that will isolate the lower compartment battery poles from touching the upper box and will make sure there won’t be any kind of possibilities for any other unwanted “special effects”.

I’m hoping the boxes will be dry enough this evening so that I can finally start placing the batteries inside the bike. And maybe even take a first test drive! (We’ll see.)

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Assembly Required

Just a quick update. Yesterday I managed to acquire some scrap aluminum plate (recycling some of our company’s old aluminum logo backgrounds) and bought some extra material, bolts and nuts etc. which I’m going to use to install the electronic components inside the bike. And next thursday I’m taking the bike to the welder so that he can weld the attachment tabs for the battery boxes. He should have actual boxes ready by then. Then it’s up to me to drill some holes for ventilation and the cables. And I’m going to paint them black.

I’ve also managed to get a proper length 530 chain and the motor adapter plate is also now installed securely. The reverse protection diode arrived too, so I can finalize the wiring setup. If the rear sprocket finally arrives next week I should have everything I need to finally put everything together and see if we can get the bike moving…

A Beginning of an Electric Motorcycle Conversion

A while ago I used to write this blog about electric mobility, mainly concentrating on my experiences with my electric scooter and other electric vehicles I’ve bumped into. Eventually there was so little to say anymore, that I decided to quit the whole thing (and deleted the blog). But this lovely little scooter of mine is still around and I’m currently using it for my commuting. Just over a month ago I got it from the storage and started driving it again. Ahhh, summer.

But to get to the point… I’m now about to sell my scooter, as I’m starting to convert a gasoline powered motorcycle into an electric motorcycle to replace my scooter. And this will certainly consume a lot of space in this blog. I’m hoping to do the actual motorcycle conversion during the following summer, after I’ve obtained the full motorcycle driving licence, as I’ve already started taking the safety classes at a local driving school (the scooter I’ve been able to drive with my car driver’s license). When done, in the future, I’ll continue customizing the bike to my own liking, maybe into some kind of electric cafe racer or bobber/chopper. It’s a pretty big project, but it should be fun.

I’ve already contacted two separate professionals. One that is going to manufacture (CNC) my motor mounting plate (the part that connects the electric motor into the frame of the bike) and the another one, a professional aluminum welder who is willing to manufacture my battery boxes to my specs. I will have 25pcs 40Ah CALB cells inside the battery boxes, bottom-balanced and charged to 87.6 Volts (72V nominal). The motor & controller kit that I’ve just ordered, includes motenergy ME-1003 electric motor combined with Alltrax AXE7245 (72 volts and 450 amp) controller, both of which have proven their worth in many garage conversion around the world. This should provide a decent package to become the power train of my daily commuter. The bike should have 40+km range and enough top speed to cover all the required speeds in our neighbourhood (up to 100km/h). I could easily aim for more range or speed, but that would require higher voltages, bigger battery pack and more expensive 96V controller.

So I want to keep it in budget – and at the same time fill all my personal transportation needs. And this package should be more than good enough for me, while being a lot cheaper (about 1.5k€ for the bike plus up to 4k€ conversion) than the cheapest Brammo Enertia (8850€), which apparently is discontinued in any case and replaced by the way more expensive Enertia Plus (13880€). I actually considered the cheaper Brammo, but it’s still way too expensive in my opinion. (And my own conversion will be way more cool. Not to mention easier to maintain and upgrade as needed.)

The bike frame itself is still undecided, but I’ve already contacted one guy selling his 1972 bike. We’ll see how that turns out… In any case it will be a 1970’s or early 1980’s naked 500-750cc street bike (most likely Honda, Kawasaki, Yamaha or Suzuki). The former engine compartment will be filled with the electric motor and battery boxes. To “make it pretty”, I’m planning on fabricating some sort of shaped fairings (like these) to cover the angular battery boxes. I want it to look like it’s a sleek design from the past, not a “frankenbike” from the Mad Max movies. I was actually thinking of modelling the fairings in Softimage XSI and having them 3d printed by Shapeways (which I’ve got plenty of experience in my RC related projects). If printed light and thin, I could reinforce them with fiberglass cloth and epoxy resin very easily. No need for molds or plugs. And I could leave the printed models inside the fiberglass cover. Same for cafe racer seat pan. I only have to see how much it would actually cost to print them and how I could spare some of the printing costs by design. But going 3d printed would be cool enough to justify the bit higher costs.