Tough Decision time. I missed a couple of good deals on donor bikes this winter mostly because the entire Northeast was buried under about 3 feet of snow, including my trailer. Not much has come on since then, that’s a decent price, but there’s more.
I think there’s some pretty huge stuff coming down the pipe in the next year. First, batteries.
Within the last few months, Leaf cells are becoming almost common in the conversion circles. In fact, stay tuned, I’m helping some guys can-opener some Leaf packs next Wednesday. Even better are the Volt cells. I think you’re going to see the salvage market for Volt cells bust open as well. Right now I could buy a 7.5 kwh Volt pack for around $1600, and the Volt cells are rated higher – around 10C+ if I remember right – for power, than the Leaf cells. I can’t help but wonder what the next wave of cells will be, and how much more the Volt packs might drop. I just heard some gossip from a major player in the field about some huge numbers in some new cells they’re testing. Not that I’d be interested in using those, but if they do, everything else in the market will drop in price.
The second is motors. The Emrax is awesome, but it’s an outrunner – that is, the outside of the case is what you bolt the drive onto, because it’s made for aircraft, and propellers. Seimens just announced a similar motor design, but bigger, with similar specs. I can’t help but think there’s going to be a few more coming in to the market in the next year, and maybe better suited to a motorcycle drivetrain. YASA, for example.
Finally, there’s some other stuff that I still don’t have nailed down. I really want to design a battery module. What with the Tesla battery announced last night, I’m feeling like that tech is getting to the point that I can, at the very least, learn something about how it goes together from the big boys. Look at their 7.5 kWh pack. That could fit into a bike. There are some loose ends on the R5e I want to clean up over the summer as well.
So, reluctantly, I think I’m going to put the project on the shelf for now, though I’ll be working on the module idea with the express purpose of making it fit in the CBRe. It’s not like I need another bike, and really? I’d be severely disappointed if I put a ton of resources into this project and, in a year, felt like it was completely outdated.
Another piece of the puzzle, the contactor, fusing, DC/DC and other little stuff? It seems to me that needs to be modularized as well. Contain it in a container, build it so you can have various specs within that container, basically make it interchangeable and kind of universal. I’m starting to see a trend in my thinking here…
Here’s the last version of that battery module I mentioned, as a Sketchup exercise:
So, yeah. Focus on the pieces and components, and hold off on the major purchases. That’s the plan.