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Old 06-10-2008, 10:38 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Longtime Lurker Looking for Miles ZX40 Electric Micro van mods & information

Hi, I have finally decided to register here as my father is getting a Miles ZX40 (the original slow 2005 model)

Anyway the dealer that sold it was saying that some have been able to remove the governor and get speeds up to 45mph.

I don't believe that but I do think 30-35 would be possible and would eliminate the unwanted police attention as our town is now fighting to make it difficult to drive NEVs if they don't go the posted speed limit. (Local boneheads causing irritation due to ignorance of the law)

I have been searching for information on the Miles but can only find
that it has a Curtis 1204 controller and 5hp motor and little REAL technical information on the vehicle like I find for most others.

Can anyone here direct me to some info on how to remove the governor or at least the specific type of motor and components? I would like to find out if anyone else has done anything creative with one of these heavy steel NEVs.

The Miles is still sitting in CA until the rear seats come in so I won't get to see it in the flesh for several weeks, maybe a month

So I hope to get my plans set in the meantime, I figure drive it stock a while to get a feel, then test a few minor mods, I do not plan on updating the motor/controller for a long time but that may change (especially the wimpy 275amp controller). Not sure how reliable or temperature resistant the motor in this is either, would like to find out how resistant the motor is to slightly higher than stock voltages.

In terms of my vehicles I currently drive a little Yellow 1981 Comutacar, don't go on the highway much anymore due to sticky Ebrake but it is all I drive during the week, got a little over 3200 EV miles last year right through the winter. Working on getting a Bedini to test for pulsing will see how this homebrew 1 ampper goes once I get all the parts together and humming.

Thanx for any information
Ryan

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Old 06-10-2008, 10:50 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Hi Ryan - welcome. You're the second yellow CitiCar in the forum!

I don't know if Miles has any discussion groups of its own. I'm guessing probably not, because it hasn't sold many of them yet. (There is a Xebra Yahoo group though.)

The governor is probably a controller feature. The ZENN can be upgraded with a kit. See http://www.electric-cars-are-for-gir...your-zenn.html
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Old 06-10-2008, 10:57 PM   #3 (permalink)
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One method of doing speed governing is to add a resister in parallel with the pot so you never get to the full power... you could try and trace the wiring from the pot to the controller to see if that is how they did it.
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Old 06-11-2008, 08:47 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Well that would be a very simple fix indeed, hopefully that is all it is and not what I figure I will see. Will have to check if the ohms go 0-5? on the pedal and at the controller input.

The only issue is I don't think that would be a very reliable governor so I have the strong feeling something else is employed, perhaps a wimpy 275amp controller can't drive it any faster

Keep em coming, I really haven't found anything usefull on the Miles at all they've been around going on 3 yrs so there must be a few floating around, mine was a dealer demo from 05 with 30miles and a nice low price, not forkenswift low but around the price I would expect to pay for a decent Gem or Comutacar.

Cheers
Ryan

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Originally Posted by mattW View Post
One method of doing speed governing is to add a resister in parallel with the pot so you never get to the full power... you could try and trace the wiring from the pot to the controller to see if that is how they did it.
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Old 06-11-2008, 10:32 PM   #5 (permalink)
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OOO, hey, unfortunately I can't really help you with your question. However, I thought I would just interject that because of your post I did some research on them to see what you were talking about as I've never heard of them before, and I found that the zx40st is actually what my college uses as the grounds keeper's vehicles. I had no idea who made them, then after seeing them on the site, that must be what they are.
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Old 06-12-2008, 06:09 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Not quite the ST is a much newer and better model (well it has a souped up motor anyway though the rest is still the same)

A few colleges use them as ambulances on ground and for transport of stuff. The miles actually had a fair amount of propaganda released on it from the usual sources but none say anything usefull about the car, at least usefull as I'm concerned.

Unlike regular NEVs these are real cars, Miles opted against crash testing and also didn't buy the optional airbags from Daitsu as a result.

I still wonder if I could buy the airbags from China (in the steering wheel I believe), ship over and have installed here so I could up the ante a bit later down the road. Go for the homebrew titling process and get certified. Not really sure how that works.

PS these are selling fairly cheaply for virtually unused vehicles, good deal if you can find a 2005/2006. Sadly though they use lowsy glass mat 12v's not my first choice at all but I guess they have a few advantages, though range and longevity is not one.

Another issue is because they are real cars they are also steel and like every other vehicle will enivitably rust (I hate rust) My C-car can't rust and is much better on that regard, maybe a good ol zeibart and truck bed liner on the bottom to prevent rust through.

Cheers
Ryan

Quote:
Originally Posted by NoCO2 View Post
OOO, hey, unfortunately I can't really help you with your question. However, I thought I would just interject that because of your post I did some research on them to see what you were talking about as I've never heard of them before, and I found that the zx40st is actually what my college uses as the grounds keeper's vehicles. I had no idea who made them, then after seeing them on the site, that must be what they are.
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Old 06-28-2008, 02:01 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I recently found a website miles35.com but it seems that most of it sounds like BS. All he did is put a resistor of some type over the field (field weakening).

Am I missing something? Any ideas on what type of exotic metal he would used? I thought all of the old coiled resistors had little resistance until there were higher amp values presented and they heated.

Also, he is saying the miles only goes 19mph, I didn't think that was true but can't find anything that says one way or another.

I should have it by July 14 blast this is taking a long time.

Any help is appreciated.
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Old 06-30-2008, 12:54 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Waiting for back seats to arrive?

In the beginning of your first post, you noted you are waiting for the back seats to arrive...huh? I've also been milling the zx40 around, because of its relative affordability, but wish it could carry a couple of small kids. Have you figured a way to squeeze a back seat in there? The dealer is adding this? Let me know if I'm reading this right or if I'm dreaming...it is after midnight! Thanks. I'm new to the community, but keep us all posted what you think of the zx40 when you get it.

Duh...it really is late. I've been looking at Flybo and stumbled on this blog and are mixing apples and oranges. I told you it is late!

Last edited by rodneydiller; 06-30-2008 at 01:01 AM.. Reason: I'm a moron
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Old 06-30-2008, 06:19 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I don't have it yet but I am getting feedback from those who deal with them, take this as a grain of salt until I can form my own oppinion anyway flame on...

The Miles SHOULD ALWAYS COME with rear seats, sadly I can't find how you get the bench seat available for the Daihatsu here, so it seats 4 as is with buckets. I don't think there is such a thing as 3rd row and I doubt there is room unless you can scrunch the seats in line with little leg room, to do this I would assume you would have to take a 3rd row seat from a junked van, suburban or minivan and maybe mod it a tad.

Also take care when considering purchase as many internet specials are 2 seater cargo type vehicles, not sure why, must not be demand for them. Anyway with the rear seats your range decreases somewhat but not sure how much as I don't have the vehicle yet. Also miles won't just sell you seats they want you to bring it to them for installation, if I was the one doing it I would want to beat the crap out of them given the seats are supposedly removables in most models.

Also before you buy any EV made by a manufacturer be sure to test drive it. The guy at

http://www.miles35.com said he has been converting many miles zx40's of various flavors because of their extreme underpowered nature and he seems to be geniunely angry at miles for the as he says dangerous charger (dumb kind, open housing?) and poor cheap heavy batteries. The actual vehicle he says isn't bad but he seems to be scathing about the poor ride (which I doubt is that bad)

My guess is that the flybo would take off faster than a Miles but it is cheaply built (might as well get a c-car) Anyhoo the Daihtsu's are the so called mini trucks you see floating around all over the country as OFF ROAD ONLY. To get a slight feel take one of those out for a test drive. I am told they ride rough but the people I get the reports from I don't think have driven a C-Car. The Miles ZX40 is a real vehicle in China and Japan and probably is better built than most every NEV but again they are small and probably feel like any subcompact 2200lb vehicle.

Many are scathing about the performance of the vehicle, I personally could care less about accelleration but many do and that comes into play. For the price I paid I could afford to upgrade mine but I have no plans on updating the motor or controller until the original is just about worn. I may pump more volts through or put a resistor over the field with a contactor to boost the top end but I will report EXACTLY how it is once I get it. (top speed is a worry to me, if it can't go 24.xx like most nev's I will be somewhat frustrated)

Be warned I am used to slow underpowered vehicles so I will try to state numbers including my 1 small hill for hill climbing, what I figure on the charger and the range. Because I can tolerate poor accell I may not be a good source on that, range and reliability however are another issue.

Also Remember mine is a 2005, there were some major changes to the Miles over the years but apparently the top speed has reduced as power has gone up due to the type of motor selected.

This is all 3rd hand speculation though. I still reserve my oppinion until I drive it a while.

Back onto my current needs, anyone know much about

"FIELD REDUCTION"

I am looking to see what metals work the best as described at miles35.com with a low starting resistance that grows as current increases, I thought nichrome did this but I may be wrong.

Good Luck to all on their ecomodding ventures

Ryan
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Old 08-28-2008, 11:25 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Well, I have to post on the Miles ZX40 situation

I finally got my car at the end of LAST month but did not get a title.

After calling around I found out that Miles itself had some sort of fire sale liquidation and screwed up the title transfer process, my title probably won't come until November!!! Ah well at least I know this is legit and I will eventually get it on the road.

Anyway I have been quite fearfull of driving it without plates and title as the police are real *******s around here. But I have done a few preliminary tests.

Acceleration is as expected underwelming but for my purposes acceptable 2 of my 4 batteries are shot so I will not state performance until I get things straightened out. It also appears the guys who welded the non-removable rear folding bench seat in place damaged the embedded voltmeter/fuel guage. So initially I was getting BS battery error/failure messages that were inaccurate. I will have to put a real ammeter / volt meter into this unit before I really start to drive. (stock has no ammeter, to me that is a travesty!, every EV I have ever had has some sort of ammeter to guage how much pedal to put on to conserve power, not to mention if I upgrade to prevent motor failure!)

The ride to me is quite a pleasant change compared to most NEVs but if you want the best range and speed you need to overinflate to 40psi and then the ride is rather craptaskic but still better than my Jetta TDI has been lately. Front of vehicle is better riding than in the rear seats.

As for the range test I went around in circles at the full 23-29mph until my speed dropped one mph. (I was in a OOB parking lot, lots of fun and strange looks) I went approx 10 miles and the two front batteryies were at 11.9 volts the rears were at a normal 12.3v. My father added water to AGMs after a battery guy told him to, something seems wrong about that also.

Miles says if I cycle the batteries enough they will come back, we will see. For now 10 miles is sufficient for many of the tasks as my folks are landlocked in town near work and near their grocery store so I may have them keep the batteries until they really have failed. Main issue is they NEED a voltmeter that accurately states the real voltage.

I also have gotten some of the tech manuals from miles and I found that the ZX40s have 4 speed trannies locked into 2nd with the linkages removed. Speed regulation is because of the motors back emf in this gearing, no actual speed regulation is employed. I'm not sure if anyone is familiar with daihtsu happy messenger trannies here but if they are and can possibly direct me to a transmission reenable after looking at the rebuild tech manual for the tranny I will send it to them. It seems if both the internal and external linkages are attached, the lock is removed and the cup holder is removed and a shifter replaced I should have a working tranny.

Based on the calculations I have done from the tech manual
1st should give me about 16-18mph (maybe a little more but at high RPM with lots of power)
2nd - Default
3rd - Slow up to about 36mph
4th - lots of amps but theoretically 56mph w/ losses I would assume about 45mph but I would need an ammeter to accurately monitor amperate so I do not burn it up, motor is quite durable but the controller is not, luckily the unit has sensors to drop current to the motor if it starts to overheat)

As for speed on flat ground it goes 26mph, with any type of incline, even ones that are almost unnoticeable you can easily accelerate to 28 or even 30mph. Up hills speed never dropped below 18mph, these were not mountains but they were relatively steep. Acceleration was good up to about 20mph everything past that was gradual I would say 1/5-1/4 mile to full speed but 0-20mph was good

I will keep everyone posted on my progress. There are always speed bumps when you get something for much less than you should

Cheers
Ryan

PS if anyone wants a fixer upper Miles ZX40 there may still be some left over from the fire sale. Main issue will be batteries and fading of the dash plastic, along with dust and dirt. Take care if you have someone install rear seats as it apparently is easy to disable the onboard voltmeter.

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