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Old 08-30-2015, 09:10 AM   #1 (permalink)
EV test pilot
 
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Loop the Lake: 1,000+ Mile DIY Electric Motorcycle Trip





Hi Friends!

I'm leaving in just a few days to travel over 1,000 miles AROUND Lake Michigan on my resurrected Vectrix electric motorcycle.

I mean AROUND Lake Michigan. I live about 35 miles west of the lake. I will be following the coastline clockwise until I'm back home. It will be a long-range travel/camping/film-making adventure. I'll be meeting up with some other people, both to ride with and to film interviews for a documentary about what motivates DIY'ers.



This will be on my Vectrix electric super-scooter. I purchased this last winter, in completely non-working condition. It was my winter project to learn about it and how to fix it up. Then, in the spring, I purchased a Nissan LEAF battery pack from a junk yard and used it to replace the cycle's dead battery. About one third of the cells from the LEAF were used in my project. We then used the rest in a new friend's Vectrix (same make, model, year, and color!) and to another friend for his custom electric cafe racer. Essentially, we have built three electric motorcycle from one crashed Nissan LEAF.

https://youtu.be/h0dDHJKzX78
https://youtu.be/-z4o8y2RR2A

That's now a theoretical 9KWH battery pack. So far, I've managed up to 91 miles per charge (but that was over several days, at scooter speeds, in town only.) For continuous riding, I've been able to get up to 75 miles per charge riding slow on the backroads or up to 60 miles going faster.

I've also added two more chargers to the bike. Each of those was built from three Mean Well 48V power supplies, wired in series for about 1,000 watts at 150 volts. With the stock 1500 watt charger on the bike, this gives me 3500 watts of charging power. All three chargers can run on 120V or 240V. This makes it easy to charge at a J1772 public charging station, as those are 240V only. I built an adapter that physically adapts the J1772 to a standard household style electric outlet and includes the communications requirements for J1772.



On the trip, there will be plenty of EV charging stations near the cities, but once away from there, there is NOTHING. (Most of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan is State and National Forest. Lots of trees, no EVs.)
Fortunately, where there aren't EV chargers, there DO tend to be camp-grounds, state parks, and RV parks.

I built an adapter that lets me pull four circuits from an RV power connection - 3 of them at 240V (for my three chargers) and one at 120V for recharging my video camera.



https://youtu.be/h-59sR8I-l4

Right now, I'm finishing a custom back end on the cycle. It's a combination back-rest/cargo area/aerodynamics improvement. I've built this out of aluminum and will be covering it with coroplast.

So far, it's looking pretty good. I have enough room for all my gear, and the coroplast should keep it out of the weather and somewhat secure.



As of right now, it's only four days before I leave on the trip, and I still have plenty to do!

Here's how you can help:

To start with, if you live anywhere near the coast of Lake Michigan and can offer me a couch to crash on, a meal, or point me to the nearest electric outlet, please do. If you have a cool DIY clean transportation, renewable energy, or water-saving project, I'd love to stop by and see it!

Secondly, help spread the word. Social media likes and shares are great!
The entire project is being posted through my 300MPG.org web page.
loopthelake and you can find it on Facebook as well. https://www.facebook.com/LooptheLake2

Lastly, financial support is GREATLY appreciated. I'm doing all this on no budget. With no budget, I will be eating cold ramen noodles and freezing my butt off at camp-grounds in the great frozen north. With your support, I may be able to get a hot meal or a warm bed for a night! Seriously, your support means a lot to me!
Contributions can be made through: Loop the Lake - DIY Road Rally by Ben Nelson - GoFundMe
Or at: Donate

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Old 08-31-2015, 03:36 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Old 08-31-2015, 09:31 PM   #3 (permalink)
EV test pilot
 
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Oconomowoc, WI, USA
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Electric Cycle - '81 Kawasaki KZ440
90 day: 334.6 mpg (US)

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90 day: 30.48 mpg (US)

Electro-Metro - '96 Ben Nelson's "Electro-Metro"
90 day: 129.81 mpg (US)

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Old 08-31-2015, 10:49 PM   #4 (permalink)
EV test pilot
 
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Oconomowoc, WI, USA
Posts: 4,356

Electric Cycle - '81 Kawasaki KZ440
90 day: 334.6 mpg (US)

S10 - '95 Chevy S10
90 day: 30.48 mpg (US)

Electro-Metro - '96 Ben Nelson's "Electro-Metro"
90 day: 129.81 mpg (US)

The Wife's Car - Plug-in Prius - '04 Toyota Prius
90 day: 78.16 mpg (US)
Thanks: 12
Thanked 551 Times in 332 Posts
Got some more work done today. I completely covered the tail with coroplast and taped the seams using strips of self-adhesive vinyl. Should be pretty weather resistant.



I built a door/hatch/cover to get in to the cargo area. I added a lock to it, so I can have somewhat secure storage while away from the bike.



I still need to re-mount the chargers and build a seat!

The project is starting to look like something.

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Old 09-01-2015, 08:46 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Wow, I didn't realize you were doing this so soon. Looking forward to see how it goes! Sweet boat tail too btw.
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Old 09-02-2015, 07:30 AM   #6 (permalink)
EV test pilot
 
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Oconomowoc, WI, USA
Posts: 4,356

Electric Cycle - '81 Kawasaki KZ440
90 day: 334.6 mpg (US)

S10 - '95 Chevy S10
90 day: 30.48 mpg (US)

Electro-Metro - '96 Ben Nelson's "Electro-Metro"
90 day: 129.81 mpg (US)

The Wife's Car - Plug-in Prius - '04 Toyota Prius
90 day: 78.16 mpg (US)
Thanks: 12
Thanked 551 Times in 332 Posts
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Old 09-03-2015, 07:19 AM   #7 (permalink)
EV test pilot
 
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Oconomowoc, WI, USA
Posts: 4,356

Electric Cycle - '81 Kawasaki KZ440
90 day: 334.6 mpg (US)

S10 - '95 Chevy S10
90 day: 30.48 mpg (US)

Electro-Metro - '96 Ben Nelson's "Electro-Metro"
90 day: 129.81 mpg (US)

The Wife's Car - Plug-in Prius - '04 Toyota Prius
90 day: 78.16 mpg (US)
Thanks: 12
Thanked 551 Times in 332 Posts
Tested the boat-tail. Seems to work pretty well.

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Old 09-03-2015, 02:55 PM   #8 (permalink)
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They use KPH in Wisconsin? I should move there if they have gone metric.
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Old 09-03-2015, 05:16 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Posting to subscribe, Living vicariously through you since I can't get out and ride.

I'm curious if the handling will change much once you get the gear stowed in the tail. At the Vetter rides folks had to be able to carry the 4 bags, but not sure anyone did. Figure it will shift CG rearward, but not sure how much that hits you with all the batteries and electrics up front. Hope you have a fun trip!!
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Old 09-12-2015, 12:35 PM   #10 (permalink)
EV test pilot
 
bennelson's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Oconomowoc, WI, USA
Posts: 4,356

Electric Cycle - '81 Kawasaki KZ440
90 day: 334.6 mpg (US)

S10 - '95 Chevy S10
90 day: 30.48 mpg (US)

Electro-Metro - '96 Ben Nelson's "Electro-Metro"
90 day: 129.81 mpg (US)

The Wife's Car - Plug-in Prius - '04 Toyota Prius
90 day: 78.16 mpg (US)
Thanks: 12
Thanked 551 Times in 332 Posts
I just got back. It was an amazing trip.

I have LOTS of photos and video to go through. If you want the short story version right now, go on Facebook. I only had internet via my cell phone while on the trip, so I posted photos and updates to the Loop the Lake Facebook page.

Check it out: https://www.facebook.com/LooptheLake2

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