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Old 05-17-2020, 03:41 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Introducing The Minion

A friend and I over the last two years had been working on a custom build at his shop. I designed an aluminum body for my custom-built KMX-framed velomobile until I came to the conclusion that it was going to be too heavy for my application. We decided to build a car off of my design.

Semi-recent photos:





Earlier photos:





Regarding putting this together, my friend did the vast majority of the work, while he was generous enough to allot me some shop space for me to work on my velomobile project. This car is not yet driveable, as we're still waiting on components to arrive. For the prototype, it uses a 1500W 5T wind front-mounted Leafbike motor in the rear wheel, and 19" motorcycle wheels all around, with a 250A Kelly controller. The front suspension is from a Yamaha ATV. The plan is to run it with a 72V or higher battery pack. It is not expected to perform fast, perhaps golf cart-like acceleration with a 60 mph top speed. 60 mph in this may end up being scary on the first design iteration. We expect this first prototype to end up with a CdA around 0.3 m^2 while weighing in around 200 lbs ready to drive(just add driver), and as a result only consume around 50 wh/mi when it is driveable. The ones after this will be much more efficient.

This platform is intended to spawn both car and velomobile designs from us once we know what we are doing. Even though this vehicle is not a velomobile, the vehicle itself was inspired by velomobiles, and the goal is to get mass and drag figures as close to that of a velomobile as possible while allowing safe and stable operation at highway speeds.

Once all the bugs are worked out, the idea is to build it into an all-wheel-drive 3-wheeler that makes more than 1 horsepower per pound of vehicle weight using a hub motor in each wheel with its own controller and slip detection system. That may not happen until the 2nd or 3rd design iteration. If we can keep the chassis light enough, this performance goal will be doable with ebike motors/controllers, further helping to keep the weight down. I like to imagine such a vehicle ending up with a top speed around 100-120 mph, reaching it from a standstill within 4-5 seconds at full throttle. The technology to build something like this has been around for more than 5 years now, and is only getting better.

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Old 05-17-2020, 07:12 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Nice...



Looking forward to updates.




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Old 05-18-2020, 02:18 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Very cool!
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Old 05-19-2020, 10:56 AM   #4 (permalink)
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If you can find a way to inboard the shocks (beefier upper wishbone extended past the pivot point and have the shock/spring mounted on the other end inside the body vertically, cantalever style?), you could put teardrop profile cover over those arms and cut down on a surprisingly large amount of trike drag. Even if you had to widen the body a bit to achieve it, I think you'd make a significant reduction.

Or maybe a tried and true pushrod style inboard shock setup?



Obviously just thoughts for a later iteration

This project is super cool.
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Old 05-19-2020, 10:22 PM   #5 (permalink)
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This is a super-economical way to move people around. If it's just going to be you and no passengers or cargo, a tidy little ultralight scooter will do to get you where you're going.

One thing I learned the hard way riding a recumbent tadpole trike, bike wheels on bikes aren't stressed like bike wheels on trikes. You get off-center loading on those hubs in turns and things can go badly wrong. You'll have more capacity built in using motorcycle wheels, but still - something to bear in mind when spec'ing parts.
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Old 05-22-2020, 10:40 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I would guess as a three wheeler it would be considered a motorcycle. Will you be able to get it tagged in Missouri? Might want to check this out if you haven't seen it before.

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Old 08-06-2020, 05:58 PM   #7 (permalink)
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My friend got the steering operational:

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Old 08-07-2020, 12:00 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Great to see progress being made! Looks like there's a good amount of Ackerman in the steering, too.

It really does look like a motorcycle velomobile.

Will it eventually have fenders, too? Or maybe just disk covers?
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Old 08-07-2020, 12:50 PM   #9 (permalink)
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The plan is to make fenders for it that cover the front wheels, like the Aptera 2e.

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