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Old 06-11-2008, 10:14 PM   #1 (permalink)
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one cylinder EV conversion?

ok, so I am very new to this website, and in the process of trying to figure out the best thing to do to save on fuel on a low budget.
So I was thinking, how efficient would an electric vehicle be if it had a one cylinder diesel, say out of a lawnmower or something, to charge the batteries? I don't that would be to expensive to build, except for the controllers? The batteries and motors shouldn't be too bad, but I don't really understand how to price/match a controller to a EV setup.
Let me know what everyone thinks. Thanks

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Old 06-11-2008, 11:29 PM   #2 (permalink)
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i dont know how efficient that would be, but i have heard of some "hybrid" setups like that where you only use the gen for longer trips where you need to charge the battery.

im sure someone more knowledgeable will step in though and share from theire vast knowledge.
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Old 06-11-2008, 11:56 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Have you looked at the prices of small diesel engines?
Be seated when you click this link.
http://www.northerntool.com/webapp/w...llpartial&N=76
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Old 06-12-2008, 12:40 AM   #4 (permalink)
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You'd be better off with a single cylinder gasoline engine with a high MTBF, like Honda or Onan. In addition to increased range, you'll get just the right amount of heat to warm up the cabin in the winter!
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Old 06-12-2008, 01:23 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I really like the alternative fuel aspect of a small diesel, but I cannot help but think it is most efficient driving a wheel more or less directly, and not driving a generator driving a motor driving a wheel, at least on the hiway.

It should probably be sized so it can just maintain hiway speed, but could also be clutched to a generator>battery>motor in parallel for improved acceleration around town and regen braking.
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Old 06-12-2008, 11:46 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Mother Earth News magazine did this a long time ago. First they looked into a guy who had done it on his own time in an Opel GT(!?), then they rolled their own with a Subaru compact. They had good results with their own, using a compact diesel engine. Google "homemade hybrid car" and find the result that points to Mother Earth News and read up.

It isn't difficult if you set it up strictly as a series hybrid - the engine is there strictly to supply power for the batteries, never to drive the car. For everything beyond the short to modest trips, you've got the dinojuice, but for the short stuff, the ride is blissfully silent, and worry-free that you might not have the amp-hours to get home.

Add solar panels on the roof (yes, I know they're expensive) and hood to charge the batteries while parked, and use the engine even less. Don't go anywhere over the weekend, and the batteries gain a significant level of charge by Monday morning. That's remote charging - really remote! Like, 92 million miles remote. Love it.
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Old 06-12-2008, 03:00 PM   #7 (permalink)
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elhigh- you said EXACTLY what I neglected to mention. It would be my plan to have the diesel engine power the batteries ONLY, and never actually use the engine to move the vehicle. My thoughts on the efficiency are from experience...I used to work at a heavy diesel shop that rented excavators, bulldozers, etc. Now these machines get fantastic fuel economy. Not by how many MPG, but they are rated at gallons per hour, or liters per hour. And the engines are always being at WOT, and they move the hydraulic fluid, which actually operates the machines. So instead of moving hydraulic fluid, I am thinking of using the engine to keep batteries charged, which THEY would operate a car.
Its actually an easy setup to DIY. The only part I'm not experienced with is the electric motors, and controllers. Not really sure how to incorporate that into a vehicle, but I'm thinking of starting this as soon as I sell one of my cars. A rolling body should be cheap to buy, and those engines brand new from northern tool aren't too bad actually, although I would have to do some math to figure out how much power I would need in a diesel engine to charge some batteries.
I also like the idea of solar on the car too, I was even thinking of putting a removable helix-style wind turbine on it too. Obviously it would be a tiny guy, but it would add up.
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Old 06-12-2008, 03:04 PM   #8 (permalink)
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also, is there anyone here in the RI area that has made an EV car? Maybe I could talk someone nearby and maybe even check out how it was done. Thanks
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Old 06-12-2008, 04:17 PM   #9 (permalink)
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A lot of compact diesel manufacturers will provide a BSFC chart for their engines, and you can set up your generator system to run right in the engine's sweet spot for the best effect. I like Lombardinis; they're available in either air or water cooled models, have lots of market presence and are widely recognized as reliable, flexible powerplants.

As to the wind genny idea, skip it. There's insufficient wind down low to do much good, finding the perfect spot to park your car would be prohibitive, and it would take up an enormous amount of space inside while driving. Besides, one curious fool could easily poke a finger in there and lose it to the blades, and you'd be liable for having presented an "attractive nuisance." At least with solar, all you have to do is park in a sunny spot and have done. Mount the wind genny at the house where you can put it up off the ground some, and wire it up to the car for charging where you have some control over the latent risks of whirling bits of metal.
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Old 06-12-2008, 05:37 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
First they looked into a guy who had done it on his own time in an Opel GT(!?)
Actually a sensible choice. The car had a great body, but the engine was apparantly designed by demented muskrats. One choice feature was the absence of locknuts on the (manual) valve lash adjusters. So you would adjust the valve clearance, but there was no locknut on the adjuster screw to keep it to where you put it. I never had one, but heard lots of stories from people who did, briefly.

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