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Bennothemad
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Post by Bennothemad » Fri, 10 Oct 2014, 07:08

Hi,

First things first, not an adbot. Little bit about myself - I'm old enough to be going bald but young enough to be appalled. I'm a trained monkey by trade, spinning spanners on greasy things. I've also cycled around the country. Oh, and I really hate having to buy fuel. While cycling the Nullarbor last December I ran into a High School solar team, saw a solar car built by the students, and their teachers solar moke. Haven't been able to stop thinking of a solar conversion since, so I thought I'd better start planning it. Seeing all the ecological damage around Queenstown in Tassie also made me a bit of a greeny.

I'm looking into an EV conversion with solar charging of a small 4wd, then doing silly things in it (such as the tip and the gibb river road). I'm not from an electrical background, though, and looking for some good starting guides. first of all.... What is electricity???

I have a rough idea of what I want to do, and a very vague idea of what I'm going to have to do, though, so let me share the silliness!

The Ideal: A small 4wd donor, such as a sierra or vitara, with a range of around 200km (as my missus says, the longer the better). A solar array on top able to charge it in a reasonable time, say, 3-4 hours? Towing a small trailer, holding a similar size battery pack (or maybe twice the capacity?) to the one in the vehicle, and another solar array. And a fridge. One thing I learned while cycling is how much of a luxury cold water is, and this thing won't have air conditioning.

So...How do I figure out what I need? (to answer this you can just post links)
I want to be able to move ~1600kg with the drag coefficient of a housebrick for 200km on batteries alone. Is 200km too ambitious? Where the hell do I even start?

I have 4 years for this, so time isn't an issue for 3 and a half years. Hopefully I'll have at least bought the donor by then!

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Adverse Effects
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Post by Adverse Effects » Fri, 10 Oct 2014, 07:45

1:- 200Km on battery's in a 4X4 even on the road is a lot of battery's
2:- to charge that much battery in say 4 hours you will need to take a stack of solar cells that cover the big shopping center's car park with you and even then that may not be enough
3:- put a big heavy trailer in the mix then almost dubbel every thing and add some more because you had to dubble every thing

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Post by jonescg » Fri, 10 Oct 2014, 16:26

I think a Honda CR-V or a Toyota Rav 4 could satisfy the range. If you bought about 40 kWh worth of high-end cells, you could do 200 km at highway speeds. This represents about a 240 kg battery pack.

It can be done, and Rav-4s have been converted before, but you might have to settle for a two-seater.
AEVA National Secretary, WA branch chair.

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Adverse Effects
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Post by Adverse Effects » Fri, 10 Oct 2014, 17:43

jonescg wrote: I think a Honda CR-V or a Toyota Rav 4 could satisfy the range. If you bought about 40 kWh worth of high-end cells, you could do 200 km at highway speeds. This represents about a 240 kg battery pack.

It can be done, and Rav-4s have been converted before, but you might have to settle for a two-seater.


you missed a few things he wants
Towing a small trailer, holding a similar size battery pack (or maybe twice the capacity?) to the one in the vehicle, and another solar array. And a fridge.
I want to be able to move ~1600kg with the drag coefficient of a housebrick for 200km on batteries alone

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Post by Kieran » Fri, 10 Oct 2014, 18:02

Welcome to the forum! Four years should be long enough to read everything on here and become an expert!

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4Springs
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Post by 4Springs » Fri, 10 Oct 2014, 20:55

Welcome Mad Benno - may the madness continue!
Bennothemad wrote: looking for some good starting guides. first of all.... What is electricity???
This is a very good place to start. You need to get a feel for what Volts, Amps and Watts are. Myself I learned that stuff at uni but I imagine that you can do it online nowadays if you have the application.
Bennothemad wrote:The Ideal: A small 4wd donor
so far so good (same as mine!)
Bennothemad wrote: with a range of around 200km
Expensive but very possible
Bennothemad wrote:A solar array on top able to charge it
Ok this is getting a bit mad.
Bennothemad wrote: in a reasonable time, say, 3-4 hours?
This is completely bonkers, but you did warn us!
The amount of power in a battery pack that can take you 200km is quite a lot. As jonescg says, about 40kWh should do it. That size battery pack will take many hours to charge from a specially designed high power outlet, or many many hours from something smaller. A solar panel small enough to be carried by a vehicle will supply a very very small amount of power. All those many manys and very verys add up to it taking a long time to charge that size pack from that size solar panel. My guess would be in the order of weeks.

I say this off the top of my head from experience and from reading about other people's conversions. Read through some of the conversion blogs on this website and linked in people's signatures. The EV Album website is also a good place to get an idea of what is possible (looking at that website will also give you a good idea of how many people start and never finish!).
Bennothemad wrote:I want to be able to move ~1600kg with the drag coefficient of a housebrick for 200km on batteries alone. Is 200km too ambitious?
No, this is fine. But much easier if you don't mind going slow.
Bennothemad wrote:Where the hell do I even start?
google. Seriously, but you'll need to spend lots of time wading through stuff. Make lots of bookmarks as you go, then go back and re-read things you've read before. Asking specific questions on this forum is also a great way of finding answers.

Good luck!

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Post by EV2Go » Fri, 10 Oct 2014, 21:15

Adverse Effects wrote: 1:- 200Km on battery's in a 4X4 even on the road is a lot of battery's
2:- to charge that much battery in say 4 hours you will need to take a stack of solar cells that cover the big shopping center's car park with you and even then that may not be enough
3:- put a big heavy trailer in the mix then almost dubbel every thing and add some more because you had to dubble every thing
As Adverse Effects rightly points out in number 3, you can get to the point where you almost create an infinite loop. The further you want to go, the more batteries you need to carry. The more batteries you carry the shorter the distance you will go because of the extra weight, so you add more batteries to counter the losses, but guess what you have just added more weight meaning more batteries...

You could conceivably add several times the amount batteries you think you need just trying to achieve the goal.

The more sensible approach would be to try choose a vehicle with minimal drag, sturdy while not being heavy, and light weight but powerful batteries.

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Post by Bennothemad » Fri, 10 Oct 2014, 22:01

Adverse Effects wrote:
3:- put a big heavy trailer in the mix then almost dubbel every thing and add some more because you had to dubble every thing
Fair enough.

Thanks for all the replies, and don't expect to see many posts from me until (iff) I start building this beast.

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offgridQLD
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Post by offgridQLD » Sat, 11 Oct 2014, 01:00

At one point I would have rolled around laughing if some one mentioned putting solar panels on there EV to charge it. Lets say you wanted to charged at a modest 3000W on a reasonable day.

3000w of pv using 190w panels conventional glass front and aluminum frame would weigh 15kg each roughly 250KG and 40mm thick a stack 650mm high.

Flexible solar panels though would be only 50kg and they are 3mm thick so a stack 50mm high. Thats a huge jump in portability.

So realistically you could stow 3000w of PV in the back or on the roof of a small 4wd or hatchback and (deploy it) when needed for charging. You can get MPPT dc charge controllers that can handle up to 250V input and 5000w output at 120vdc.

I'm not saying it isn't a crazy mad Idea but modern thin flexible light weight PV and compact high voltage high output charge controllers it sure isn't as crazy as it once was.

Kurt
Last edited by offgridQLD on Fri, 10 Oct 2014, 14:01, edited 1 time in total.

Bennothemad
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Post by Bennothemad » Tue, 14 Oct 2014, 04:32

OK, so does anyone know of any good textbooks/sites for electrical theory?

The school team I ran into had PV cells mounted on cardboard, incredibly light, for the bicycles. Their car was going to get a similar set up, but I'm not sure if they would have had to cover that in glass or clear plastic. Will have to do a bit of research to find more about that. At this point, solar is a bit down on the list of things to do. EV conversion first, then convert that to charge off solar... Or easier to do all at once?

I've been doing some research, and have now scaled back my grand design to be more aligned with what can be done and what my wallet can cope with. I'm thinking now of a mid 90's Vitara (1050kg kerb weight, 1.5t gvm, not terrible), with 100km range. Separate trailer with enough batteries for an extra 200km range, PV cells on both, and some sort of switch so I can run it from different power sources - e.g. power from trailer, PV charging car and vice versa, or run the car from both sets of batteries. Or, if by some miracle there is enough power from the sun to run the car, do that. I can draw it up on a napkin for greater detail if needed. But the trailer can come later.

Now, to go shake my little moneymaker to pay for it all...

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Adverse Effects
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Post by Adverse Effects » Tue, 14 Oct 2014, 07:18

ok you can totally forget all the stuff you saw with the school bike other than battery, switches and electric motors

all the numbers they use dont scale up very well

* none of these numbers are set by any meens *

just ball park numbers would be around a 144V 1000amp (or more) controller

or you could go the other way 700V 250amp

then you have to decide AC or DC

then you can start to get an idea of the size of the battery you need and the mass of it

then you have to put the power in to the batterys so you need to decide on just how fast you want to charge and that will give you some numbers for the charger

getting prices all the way along

then you go look in your bank account and go back to the start and rethink most of that you have planed out

i am no EE or even a sparky and electrons tend to confuse me in many ways i am far more happy with a gas axe or welder

i am not trying to talk you out of building / converting a EV i am trying to prepare you for what it could cost in time and money
Last edited by Adverse Effects on Mon, 13 Oct 2014, 20:19, edited 1 time in total.

Bennothemad
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Post by Bennothemad » Wed, 15 Oct 2014, 02:52

Yeah, after some quick and dodgy computations (1+1=3, right?)... I'll need ~14,000 rofldollars of batteries (LiFePo's) to do what I want to do. That leaves me approximately $6,000 for everything else.

Time to re-spec back to reality. Maybe a few years on lithiums will be cheaper, and solar more efficient.

Also, I'm a knuckledragging trained gorilla of a mechanic. Electricity is like magic. This is me the last few weeks researching this stuff...

Image

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offgridQLD
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Post by offgridQLD » Wed, 15 Oct 2014, 03:08

You can purchase Imiev's (2010 models) for 15k purchase two of them and take the RWD drive units and batterys out of both gives you 16kwh x 2 - 32kw of battery's and x 2 50kw - 100KW of AC motors. That sure would get a little 4wd moving with a reasonable range and OEM quality parts Image

Just as you do in with the traditional internal combustion car projects. Often scrounging around with OEM parts (motor swaps) drive line upgrades it's often cheaper and great outcome to scavenge oem parts of other cars.

Out of all the EOM EV's I think the Imiev would be the easiest to hack/ use the parts from.

Kurt
Last edited by offgridQLD on Tue, 14 Oct 2014, 16:10, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Bennothemad » Wed, 15 Oct 2014, 03:22

Yeah, I'm in no hurry. As I said, I've got 4 years before my long service leave kicks in, which will give me enough time to become an "expurt". And increase the allotted budget.

Also, googled I-Miev parts.

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offgridQLD
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Post by offgridQLD » Wed, 15 Oct 2014, 03:33

That's funny when they list ICE parts for a EV model what a stuff up (most likely because they also sell more all less the same car called (Icar) with a petrol motor.

You wont find any parts or wrecks as the numbers are so small in Au. You would need to purchase a complete car.

Kurt

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Post by Richo » Wed, 15 Oct 2014, 21:18

For 200km 40kWh would be very marginal.
I would be looking for at least 50kWh.
For these size packs you wont be using LiFePO4.
As Chris suggests you will need one of the newer mixes such as LiMn2O4.
Even now for 100km+ I would probably still suggest LiMn2O4 or similar.

If you had a 3000W PV system this still only represents ~16kWh for a full day of charging - worse in Tassie.
Which would be less than half charging the battery pack.
In all not very practical. (charge all day - drive 80km)
I'd be suprised if you could fit more than a 1000W to a trailer AND car and still be driveable.
Perhaps look at PV as powering the auxilury systems only. (fridge/radio etc)

So at 23kWh and using the prismatic LiFePO4 3.2V 160Ah that is a minimum of $10,544.

As just a matter of a starting point perhaps look at Red suzi:
http://www.evalbum.com/1149
So the short answer is NO but the long answer is YES.
Help prevent road rage - get outta my way!

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offgridQLD
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Post by offgridQLD » Wed, 15 Oct 2014, 22:13

I think he has already wound back his expectations to meet a realistic target/budget. I would have to agree the lifepo4 prismatic blocks are not the best when it comes to volumetric efficiency or energy density weight.

For some reason when people think "mobile solar charging" they picture a stack of traditional aluminum frame glass front panels 15 - 17kg each for a 200w panels designed to go on a house.

4200w of them looks like this in a 6x4 trailer. at 315kg
Image

I mentioned it before you can get flexible mono cell panels that weigh 3kg for a 200w panel and are 3mm thick. I'm sure you could carry 10,000w of them on a trailer at 150kg - 75kg for 5000w. That is a game changer to take the idea from totally crazy to achievable. Deploying them from there stacked arrangement in the trailer so you could actually use the would be a different story. Image

Paper fan comes to mind with one or two pivot points. Kind of like swab samples in a paint shop. It sure would take up some ground space Image

Fridge, radio and so on is to much of a push over. One piddly little 200w panel will cover that. Mobile charging a EV is a challenge. Image
Last edited by offgridQLD on Wed, 15 Oct 2014, 11:31, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Adverse Effects » Wed, 15 Oct 2014, 22:21

thos "flexible" cells are made that way so they can be mounted on uneven surfaces and will not take manhandling over and over again will destroy them so you couldnt "pack them up" and take them with you much at all as they would start to fail in no time

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Post by offgridQLD » Wed, 15 Oct 2014, 22:36

I have a little 60w one that has been beaten to bits the backing is quite strong.

Perhaps we are talking about something different, the ones I am referring to are semi flexible. Similar flexibility to a thin sheet of aluminum.

It's been around Au A few times in the back of the ute with all the other crap 1000's of Km of corrugated roads (just used as a extra top up PV to complement the fixed panels on the camper. take out and face the sun with a fly lead. So man handled lots of times.If anything was going to break it that would have .

If treated with a little bit of respect I dont see durability being a issue at all.

The acrylic front on some of the less expensive ones is most likely only good for 5 - 10 years in the sun all the time. Though there are good and bad versions different material make up.

That said they would have a more intermittent exposure in a mobile car charger.


Kurt
Last edited by offgridQLD on Wed, 15 Oct 2014, 11:46, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Adverse Effects » Wed, 15 Oct 2014, 23:18

is it about 1.5Mt long X 800mm wide attached in a string to others the same getting put in and out of a trailer and folded and unfolded every time you want to charge? (thos sizes are just a guess of the full pannel size)

i can carry a 12 inch square of glass around with me for years and not brake it but make it 8 times the size and attach it to 40 others the same and i bet it would brake the first time you use it

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offgridQLD
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Post by offgridQLD » Wed, 15 Oct 2014, 23:44

No that's not what I am talking about thats old school. You don't roll it up.

Picture a traditional solar panel without the extruded aluminum frame so its only 3mm thick acrylic front not glass.
A stack of 10 of them would be 30mm high. one on top of the other .

The one I have is medium quality and 3mm thick and a little less flexible.
This is like the one I have

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Xos6MX97WU


This style its only 1.5mm thick! and you can see it can be man handled.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BD4AxqkPwhE

I didn't say it would be super practical particularly on a 4wd ev (heavy car to start with lots of drive train drag being 4wd and shaped like a brick probably chewing 200whr km average) But a efficient ev (one that can average 100whr km or so) just 15 - 200w 3kg panels at (45kg total weight) 3000w should give you a good 2000w average charge rate. Good high voltage charge controller (for a home build as you could charge the battery directy)Though a buffer battery and AC inverter is needed for oem ev (unless you want to hack the car). Sure the footprint is large but a park , paddock, strip of grass, some place quite to lay it all out on the ground.

Perhaps I just need to do it with my imeiv and put this one to rest. In fact I am putting together a mobile charging station to bring to ev shows just to demonstrate the concept of ev charging from PV. So as I sit around the car I can rest in the shade and top the car up (all be it at a slow rate) but demonstrating the concept is the point in that setup.

Perhaps even some kind of EV challenge (drive the Imiev from Brisbane to Adelaide solar charging each day and drive 100 - 150km in the evening....I like a challenge and have the time on my hands.

Kurt
Last edited by offgridQLD on Wed, 15 Oct 2014, 13:28, edited 1 time in total.

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Adverse Effects
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Post by Adverse Effects » Thu, 16 Oct 2014, 00:27

yes i know the type of pannel you are talking about my point is the bigger it gets the more stress its under when moving due to its own mass

a 12" square has less mass and will not bend/sag under its own mass but a 1.5Mt x 800mm made of the same stuff will sag and flex

i dont care what metal or metals its made with they all stress and brake after some duration

and on the numbers he gave in the vid

200W = 3Kg so to get say a 10Kw stack to charge a car your looking at 150Kg not including any wiring connectors , the meens in how you join the pannels the converter and its wireing and that is there lightest pannels what would a 10KW and all the other gear needed cost? $7K $8K $10K that is a hell of a lot of lugging them around and charging only off them just to brake even

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offgridQLD
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Post by offgridQLD » Thu, 16 Oct 2014, 00:34

You don't build ev's to save money! buy a 2nd hand Diesel run about if you want to save money.

PV charging and EV is the ultimate sticking it to the man and it feels great. Making that some how portable is freedom to in s (not so practical way) take your Ev anywhere you like as long as you have time to kill.

I think that concept would appeal to people who have the time and satisfaction of being able to do so.

The leads are attached to the panel and included in the weight.

10,000w was a rev up.I wasn't suggesting actually doing that. 5000w would even be over kill.

I wasn't suggesting having it as a one structure arrangement. Boy two stacks of 8 panels and lay them on the ground would do.


Anyhow I will just do it and show you how it works.

kurt

Last edited by offgridQLD on Wed, 15 Oct 2014, 13:47, edited 1 time in total.

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Adverse Effects
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Post by Adverse Effects » Thu, 16 Oct 2014, 00:39

ok a 200W panel laying flat on the ground will give you (depending where in the world you are) any where from around no watts to 160watts and that would be a peek number

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Post by offgridQLD » Thu, 16 Oct 2014, 00:52

I know how PV reacts to positioning and what it takes wo fill a EV from the sun without the grid. I do it every day.

That's why I said 3000w of pv for 2000w of output.

Hey your going to have 5 - 6hrs on your hands charging a ev at 2000w so Im sure that's time enough to fiddle with the panels and prop them up tweak them to face the sun.

Find a embankment facing north problem solved. just be creative rather than saying it wont work.

Kurt
Last edited by offgridQLD on Wed, 15 Oct 2014, 13:56, edited 1 time in total.

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