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-   -   Getting Off Gas! (

bennelson 11-20-2008 06:05 PM

Getting Off Gas!
For some time, I have been trying to decide what would be the best Fossil-Fuel Free long-distance vehicle.

Most of this summer, I have been using electric vehicles for all my short trips, and my gasoline, 4-cylinder Chevy S10 pickup for longer trips and as-needed for work.

The electric motorcycle and car have both been great, but have limitations. The main one is range. It's just hard to go a long distance, on the cheap, in an electric vehicle.

I would rather not continue to pump gasoline into the truck, but I do need something that will let me go long distances, and preferably keep the load and towing capabilities of the pickup.

Here are a couple of ideas I have for using less, or even eliminating, my gasolline use. All these ideas assume that I would still use electric vehicles for shorter trips.

1) Find a Geo Metro or similar "ultimate-compact-car". Geek the heck out of it with every mod I can. Run it on gasoline, but get 60 mpg, more than doubling the efficiency of my truck.

Down-side: Can't tow. Can't put the electric motorcycle in the back. Still uses gasoline. Would have to go spend money to buy one.

2) Hybridize the Citicar. Add a bracket to the back of the Citicar to support an electric generator. Ideally, run it off biodiesel. Have the generator kick in as a serial hybrid for longer trips.

Downside: Still can't tow or haul. Even LESS cargo space than a Metro. Terrible suspension

Upside: Super-efficient, could be run completely without gasoline.

3) Find something deisel. Run it on Biodiesel or possibly convert to waste veggie oil. I would love an efficient biodiesel pickup truck, but small truck seems to be an oxymoron in American culture.

Upside: Would be zero-gasoline. Could tow, could also haul if it were a pickup truck instead of a car.

Downside: Expense and difficulty locating vehicle. I haven't seen any smaller deisel trucks. Any deisels I've seen usually go for a price premium. Would have to buy something.

4) Hybridize my S10 Pickup. Figure out a way to add an electric motor, controller and batteries to my existing gasoline vehicle. Drive around town on electric, use gas on the big, fast roads. Would need to figure out regenerative breaking to make it really efficient.

Could also convert it to run on E85. I know some guys working an energy co-op who are talking about making their own ethanol. Homebrew moonshine right into the engine sounds sweet!

Upside: I already have the truck. No fear of messing it up, it's already ugly and modified anyways. Retains towing and hauling capabilities.

Downside: EV parts get expensive quick. Not sure where I would install everything, there's not a lot of room under the truck as it is. I don't know exactly where and how I would rig up a motor.

What other ideas do YOU have?
Ideally, I would like to get off gasoline completely, but still need to go long distances for work, and have cargo space for tools and equipment. I would also LIKE to have towing and hauling capability, but it's not essential.


(PS - I am trying to keep this as inexpensive as I can, and would prefer the DIY attitude over buying things! So no suggesting I run out and buy a brand new hybrid car!)

PPS: Did I mention that I AM GOING TO GET COMPLETELY OFF GASOLINE? I decided that a few nights ago. It's going to happen. Less than a year ago, I decided I was going to have an electric car. I now have one sitting in my garage (the Metro) and another sitting in storage awaiting repair (the Citicar).

Right now, I am deciding to get as far off gasoline as I can. I might not be able to get completely off it. It's a tough addiction, although completely socially acceptable.

Track me down one year from now, and I'll tell you how I did. But in the mean time, give me all your ideas for going getting around, LONG DISTANCE, fossil-fuel free!

captainslug 11-20-2008 06:31 PM


Originally Posted by bennelson (Post 73645)
4) Hybridize my S10 Pickup. Figure out a way to add an electric motor, controller and batteries to my existing gasoline vehicle. Drive around town on electric, use gas on the big, fast roads. Would need to figure out regenerative breaking to make it really efficient.

A common adaptation for this is to install an 8 to 10-inch electric motor inline on the main drive shaft. You can drive around using electric only by just putting the transmission in neutral.

You also have the option of using electric to supplement the ICE if desired.

Batteries could be installed in a box made inbetween the rear frame rails (if there's any usable space under there), or in a truck-bed tool box.

bennelson 11-20-2008 06:44 PM


Originally Posted by captainslug (Post 73655)
A common adaptation

Not sure how common it is! I don't personally know anyone who has ever done it!

There are some guys in the Chicago area Hybridizing ($$$$) pickup trucks. They use a similar system.

PS - The video of my motorcycle was shown right next to that guys hybrid truck video at the begining of summer at the Washinton DC Future of Plug-In Vehicles conference.

Tony Raine 11-20-2008 07:43 PM

ok, i just had an idea after reading this. i was going to suggest the "4x4 front axle driven by electric motor" idea again (for the s-10, with the existing drivetrain going to the rear), but i got to thinking.....

hook it to a transfer case instead. find a transfer case from a 4x4 s-10 (and some parts off the 4x4 transmission). hook the electric motor to the output that would normally go to the front wheels. shift transfer case into 4x4 and transmission into N to drive on electric only. that would make a 1 speed electric for around town. shift transfer case back into 2wd to drive on gas-only.

i don't know, i may be way out in left field, but thought i would throw it out there anyway.

or (keep 2wd) and put the electric motor in the bed. chain drive to the output on the transmission. (find a way to put a sprocket in between the output flange and driveshaft)

MetroMPG 11-20-2008 10:13 PM

I think you've pretty much already answered your own question. If you really want to get as far off gas as you can, then you need go bio-D. That also lets you keep your towing/hauling capabilities.

Hybridizing anything will, as you know, only give you so much electric range/assist, and you have to subtract battery weight from your hauling/towing capacity.

Use one of the pure EV's go go around collecting the WVO. :)

bikin' Ed 11-21-2008 08:53 AM

It'll take some work,
but from what I read of your posts you are quite capable.

Use the S-10 frame as the platform. It's fairly light--for a pickup truck and the full frame wil aid in battery install. Use an electric motor to drive the truck. Use a bio diesel generator either on a trailer or portable in the bed for longer trips.

The S-10 has a lot of aftermarket stuff available to lower it--springs, drop spindles, etc., replacement parts are readily available, and since you already have it I know you have already thought of aero mods.:thumbup:

Daox 11-21-2008 09:07 AM

I'd have to put my 2 cents in for biodiesel as well. That gives you everything you want; range, towing, etc.

trebuchet03 11-21-2008 09:44 AM

The solution is obvious :)


Land Yacht :p

No gas, wind powered, can go much faster than the wind :p

Downside... no wind = no gas :/

SuperTrooper 11-21-2008 10:01 AM

Isuzu made some small diesel pickups in the '80s. I did a quick Autotrader search and found half a dozen, but none closer to you than 660 miles. The survivors look to be in good shape and the prices reflect it: $2900-5000 range.

Maybe you can locate an Isuzu diesel engine from a junkyard and transplant it into the S10?

bennelson 11-21-2008 10:02 AM

You'd think a deisel S10 would get some pretty good mileage!

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