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-   -   The Zing! (Custom-built prototype hybrid tadpole trike) (https://ecomodder.com/forum/showthread.php/zing-custom-built-prototype-hybrid-tadpole-trike-19843.html)

NeilBlanchard 12-19-2011 11:32 PM

The Zing! (Custom-built prototype hybrid tadpole trike)
 
I'm glad to come across another enterprising person who has built a very efficient car, Ken Fry; who has a working "proof of concept" prototype for The Zing!

http://cr4.globalspec.com/PostImages...07D6F3F1D7.JPG

A great interview by a budding reporter / saleman:
[youtube]QObVpXgr92E[/youtube]

Ken was going to the X-Prize, but didn't for various reasons. Here's more info on The Zing! Ken Fry driving it:

[youtube]b2TIfp0teac[/youtube]

Order a Zing!
Zing! News
The Zing! - ApteraForum.com - Unofficial Aptera Car Forum

Frank Lee 12-20-2011 12:28 AM

:thumbup:

kach22i 12-20-2011 11:54 AM

Cool looking, but I would want something taller to be seen in daily traffic, and a back seat would be nice too.

NeilBlanchard 12-20-2011 12:48 PM

This is the "proof of concept" prototype -- the intent is for the production version to be 2 seats in tandem. Ken Fry mentions on the Aptera thread that they are mocking up the 2-seat chassis now. It will be ~2' longer and ~5" taller, which is still pretty compact.

The intention is for the production version to have a 7.2kWh lithium pack which will have a maximum electric-only range of ~70 miles and about 40 miles for everyday driving. Then the genset starts up and you can keep driving.

JasonG 12-20-2011 03:04 PM

Sweet !

Frank Lee 12-20-2011 04:23 PM

Still not a fan of the gen-set idea but oh well. My POV on it is, when I go out of what would be an attainable electric-only range, I really go out of it, so the bulk of the trip would be on gen-set power, which I think is kinda dumb. It boils down to usage patterns and cost and complexity of putting the ICE power to the ground vs sticking a gen-set in there.

mcrews 12-20-2011 07:59 PM

nice design!

cfg83 12-20-2011 08:51 PM

Frank -

Quote:

Originally Posted by Frank Lee (Post 275526)
Still not a fan of the gen-set idea but oh well. My POV on it is, when I go out of what would be an attainable electric-only range, I really go out of it, so the bulk of the trip would be on gen-set power, which I think is kinda dumb. It boils down to usage patterns and cost and complexity of putting the ICE power to the ground vs sticking a gen-set in there.

Is there a lesson-learned here from Aptera, aka DO THE ICE first?!?! That way they'd have something on the road ASAP and would be able to test the rest of the components under real-world conditions.

CarloSW2

NeilBlanchard 12-20-2011 09:10 PM

Ken Fry seems to know what he is doing on the drivetrain. The genset in The Zing! weighs 49 pounds, plus a little more for the fuel tank. The engine he has in the POC is 25% efficient, and I think he said they will get ~32% efficiency in the production units.

See post #3: The Zing! - ApteraForum.com - Unofficial Aptera Car Forum with more info throughout the thread.

Frank Lee 12-21-2011 12:13 AM

The engine might be 32% but it's putting the power to the ground via generator then battery then electric motor then transmission(?) then wheel vs engine/trans/wheel. I could get behind a gen-set strategy if the usage for it was, say, just to get a tiny bit beyond how far electric only would go, like if an EV could go 70 miles on a nice warm day but now it's winter and rolling and air resistances are way up and you're headed into a vicious headwind on your 70 mile trip so you need a little help on the tail end, occasionally.

For me, if I'm gonna go somewhere out of town, I transition from a few miles of in-town puttering around, to 100-350 miles one way trips. Batteries ain't gonna cut it and since I like to go straight through, I won't plan on stopping somewhere for a recharge either. For that putting the ICE power to the wheels seems like a no-brainer.

Frank Lee 12-21-2011 12:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cfg83 (Post 275555)
Frank -
Is there a lesson-learned here from Aptera, aka DO THE ICE first?!?! That way they'd have something on the road ASAP and would be able to test the rest of the components under real-world conditions.

CarloSW2

Or EV first? I don't know if that matters as much as not putting a bunch of money-grubbing fast talkers in charge. That doesn't seem to be the case with Zing.

NeilBlanchard 12-21-2011 07:58 AM

Frank,

I understand the issues of a series hybrid, but they have advantages that outweigh the problems I think. A mechanical drivetrain means that the RPM of the engine must be varied, and it must idle. The engine in a series hybrid runs at a single RPM into a fixed load, so it only needs to meet the *average* load; not the peak. So, the engine itself can be much smaller to begin with, and this then saves weight and size on the related systems.

Ken Fry talks about only having to run the engine half of the time while driving; even when starting with say only 30% charge at the beginning of the drive. Running the engine for *half* the drive at it's peak efficiency the whole time sounds like it is going to be a lot more efficient to me.

user removed 12-21-2011 08:02 AM

Grandfather on my mothers side grew up in a dirt poor family with practically no education. He would pull the engine out of the car on Monday and put it in his dead rise, work the water all week and put it back in the car Friday night. He could only afford one engine. After a couple of years he saved enough to get a Chrysler engine for the boat.

Make it so you can run either or power units together or independently. Plug and play separately or together.

regards
Mech

Rokeby 12-21-2011 08:39 PM

Old Mech,
Great story/memory. Thanks.

Darn few of the folks out there have any idea what a (beloved) deadrise is.

I hope you don't mind If I hep them to a little understanding. ;)

http://lh5.ggpht.com/-V7z7X0njDdQ/So...w/P6040512.JPG

The Chesapeake Bay deadrise is a type of traditional fishing boat
used in the Chesapeake Bay. Watermen use these boats year round
for everything from crabbing and oystering to catching fish or eels.
Traditionally wooden hulled, the deadrise is characterised by a sharp
bow that quickly becomes a flat V shape as you move aft along the
bottom of the hull. There is a small cabin structure forward and a
large open cockpit and work area aft.

The deadrise design was developed around the 1880s for sailing
vessels such as the skipjacks of the Chesapeake Bay. "Deadrise"
refers to the line rising upward horizontally from the keel rabbet
(the point where the top of the keel connects to the hull) to the chine
(or sideboards). It rises on each side of the keel in a straight line, or
"dead rise," creating the flat V shape of the bottom of the hull.
A V-bottom is easier to build than a round bottom. It also has a
shallow draft of two to three feet, making it ideal for the shallows
of the Bay as well as being very forgiving when the Bay turns rough...

Chesapeake Bay deadrise - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ken Fry 12-21-2011 09:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kach22i (Post 275492)
Cool looking, but I would want something taller to be seen in daily traffic, and a back seat would be nice too.

Thanks, Kach22

The production version will be the about the same length and height as a Corvette, and will seat two in tandem.

Ken Fry 12-21-2011 10:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Old Mechanic (Post 275612)

Make it so you can run either or power units together or independently. Plug and play separately or together.

regards
Mech

Wonderful story!

The electric and gas operation are independent... kinda. You can run it on electricity alone all the time, if you have a consistent routine, and drive less than 15,000 miles per year. You can also start out with nearly dead batteries and drive it on gasoline alone, with the genset set charging the batteries and supplying the steady-state motive power needs. (In this mode, in suburban/urban traffic, it gains about 1% charge per mile driven.)

This is where the "kinda" comes in. For good performance, the batteries have to supply more power (briefly and occasionally) than the very small engine can deliver. The batteries also absorb energy from regenerative braking. So, while I can make the Zing! go with the batteries entirely disconnected, it really needs the batteries for good performance.

Thanks again for the inspiring story.

Ken Fry 12-21-2011 10:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Frank Lee (Post 275593)
Or EV first?

It really doesn't matter too much. The important thing is to decide to do something... and then do it.

Regards, Ken

Ken Fry 12-21-2011 11:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cfg83 (Post 275555)
Frank -

Is there a lesson-learned here from Aptera, aka DO THE ICE first?!?! That way they'd have something on the road ASAP and would be able to test the rest of the components under real-world conditions.

CarloSW2

The Zing! was first powered by an ICE for the reason you mentioned. There is an axiom in building experimental aircraft: An experimental engine in a proven airframe is OK; an experimental airframe with a proven engine is OK; an experimental engine in an experimental airframe is asking for trouble.

The 4 wheel Aptera is probably the best indicator of the overriding problem at Aptera -- they were unable to commit to a project and see it through. Even before having a production three wheeler, they were working on giving up on three wheels for four, and planning to compete with Detroit and Japan.

It's as if they came into it with the software attitude: we'll build something cool, get some buzz, and figure out how to monetize it later.

Ken Fry 12-22-2011 12:13 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Frank Lee (Post 275592)
The engine might be 32% but it's putting the power to the ground via generator then battery then electric motor then transmission(?) then wheel vs engine/trans/wheel.

For that putting the ICE power to the wheels seems like a no-brainer.

Hi Frank,

The Zing production version has 40 electric HP. But it doesn't need anywhere near that to cruise along at 60 mph (where it uses about 8HP). It uses 40 hp to accelerate really hard and to and go up steep hills. Most of the time, the motor puts out very little HP, which it can do efficiently -- that's the key advantage of an electric motor.

An engine, however, does not operate at light load efficiently. This is why a Lamborghini, a very small car, gets rotten mileage: in ordinary driving, where it is using 2-4% of maximum power, the efficiency is awful: 6%, 7%, 8%, etc. Thus the 12 mpg rating in the city. A Prius of the same weight gets 50 mpg, due mainly to hybridizing.

The hybridizing idea is to make a very small engine run at or near full load, where it is most efficient. In the Zing! the engine runs at full efficiency or not at all. If I had a 40 HP gasoline engine (like a detuned Geo Metro or Daihatsu) I'd spend a lot of my time operating at less than 20% power, where efficiency is poor (around 12%).

You are right that there are losses in the generator, motor, and controller. (The batteries are mainly out of the picture at a 60 mph cruise). With the Zing!, I get efficiencies of 32%(eng) x 90%(gen) x 98%(cont) x 90%(mot) = 25.4%. So I'd expect that the Zing! would get 50 mpg with a 40 hp gas engine, and about double that as a hybrid, using an engine that operates at 8HP continuous.

Obviously 8 HP is not enough for good performance... thus the batteries, which permit 40 hp outputs for hill climbing and acceleration.

Where does all this fall flat? Suppose I want to drive across the country at 85 miles per hour, the Zing!'s top speed. The engine is not large enough to support that for hours at a time. Your average cruise speed needs to be more like 65. Plan in advance for really big mountains -- this is why the Volt has a mountain mode to accumulate charge before you get there.

Frank Lee 12-22-2011 02:11 AM

Thanks for the data. I know people have their reasons for employing/liking gensets, but as I've stated, I have my reasons for not warming up to the concept. I am fresh off a 350 mile drive and so had time to think about it.

Ken Fry 12-22-2011 09:03 AM

I appreciate your input, Frank. I have yet to see the vehicle that suits the needs of everyone. Until the end of 2012, I'll be happy if one-out-of-a-million buys a Zing!

Thanks again, Ken

gone-ot 12-22-2011 11:10 AM

...reminds me of an automotive-version of the F117 "Stealth Fighter" with it's faceted-surfaces.

jamesqf 12-22-2011 11:48 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ken Fry (Post 275740)
The hybridizing idea is to make a very small engine run at or near full load, where it is most efficient. In the Zing! the engine runs at full efficiency or not at all. If I had a 40 HP gasoline engine (like a detuned Geo Metro or Daihatsu) I'd spend a lot of my time operating at less than 20% power, where efficiency is poor (around 12%).

Another consideration is that you get "free" cabin heat out of the engine. I can't help but think that when outside air temps are in the neighborhood of 0F, your pure EV version is going to be using more electricity heating the cabin than moving the vehicle - especially when stuck in traffic. Even my Insight takes 5-10 miles of 55 mph cruising on level ground before the heater really kicks in.

euromodder 12-22-2011 12:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Old Mechanic (Post 275612)
Make it so you can run either or power units together or independently. Plug and play separately or together.

That's the inefficient approach.

In a vehicle like the Zing, it'd mean the engine would be unnecessarily bigger, which makes it less efficient and in turn negatively affects vehicle weight, complexity, and size.
It's the main problem of the Volt / Ampera.

The very small generator approach is the best range-extender option as it doesn't add too much unnecessary stuff because it's still driving the vehicle using its intended, optimised electrical drive train, only putting out the lowly average load while not being sized for the peak loads.

Ken Fry 12-22-2011 01:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Old Tele man (Post 275825)
...reminds me of an automotive-version of the F117 "Stealth Fighter" with it's faceted-surfaces.

I'm glad it has that effect. Oddly enough it is not "styled" much, (the shape is functional and easy to build) and the production version was envisioned and modeled with softer curves. But round and smooth and cute is not the message I want to convey. The Fiat 500 is doing really poorly in the US, and much as J Lo gets my attention, seeing her drive it says: great car for a hot woman. That reduces the market by 50% right away... but also doesn't sell well with a lot of women, who would rather show that they can drive a "guy's" car -- they don't need something soft and tiny.

Thanks for the comment, it is really helpful to get reactions. (A while back, I got a hand written letter from a WW2 vet, voicing a strong preference for the hard edges -- it reminded him of a Messerschmidt fighter). When I drive around, it is clear that the styling (or lack of it) resonates with a lot of people.

Ken Fry 12-22-2011 01:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jamesqf (Post 275839)
Another consideration is that you get "free" cabin heat out of the engine. I can't help but think that when outside air temps are in the neighborhood of 0F, your pure EV version is going to be using more electricity heating the cabin than moving the vehicle - especially when stuck in traffic. Even my Insight takes 5-10 miles of 55 mph cruising on level ground before the heater really kicks in.

Good points. The cabin is small, and I plan to use about 750 watts, and insulate pretty well. That's equal to one HP -- and you're right, that is a large percentage of the HP used at low speeds.

Thanks, Ken

Ken Fry 12-22-2011 01:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by euromodder (Post 275847)
That's the inefficient approach...

... the lowly average load while not being sized for the peak loads.

Thanks. All very well put.

Your Failed Belgium State gets an ironic chuckle, but I hope you're doing well. This is not the world we hoped for.

Regards,
Ken

Frank Lee 12-22-2011 04:24 PM

I don't know about the Fiat's market performance being poor 'cuz it's a "girl car"? I've lusted after the classic 500s forever, and the new one is cute, but geez who has that kind of money for one??? I think if they aren't selling it's due to a perception that it costs too much for what you get i.e. poor value.

drmiller100 12-22-2011 07:13 PM

Mr. Fry,
Sometimes we miss the obvious. The obvious is you are DOING something!!!!

My hat is off to you, and I for one appreciate your efforts.

You have built a car. And you drove it around. And now you are trying to make a better one!

I support your efforts, and hope the best for you. Perhaps we could start a new thread about the same things and differences between our builds, and perhaps learn from each other and save each other a bunch of time, effort and money?????

Best wishes,
Doug

Ken Fry 12-22-2011 07:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Frank Lee (Post 275894)
I don't know about the Fiat's market performance being poor 'cuz it's a "girl car"? I've lusted after the classic 500s forever, and the new one is cute, but geez who has that kind of money for one??? I think if they aren't selling it's due to a perception that it costs too much for what you get i.e. poor value.

You are probably right. Although I suppose in comparison to a Mini Cooper, the Fiat is a good value. But a Honda Civic offers a lot more for less. All these retro cars are less desirable to me than the real things, and not just from a collector or scarcity perspective. The 2CV, the early Beetle, the Fiat 500 and 600, the real Mini Cooper -- they were all simple, cheap, and fun to drive, and weren't pretending to be something else.

I suppose Fiat may still be working against a reputation for not-so-great reliability from when they left this market.

Ken Fry 12-22-2011 07:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by drmiller100 (Post 275921)
Mr. Fry,
Sometimes we miss the obvious. The obvious is you are DOING something, while the rest of the gadflies are criticizing and telling you all the reasons nothing will ever work.

My hat is off to you, and I for one appreciate your efforts.
...

Best wishes,
Doug

Hi Doug, I really appreciate your support. Actually I've felt almost everyone here has been supportive. Frank Lee doesn't agree with the concept, but that's fine -- I'm always happy to listen to what people have to say. Sometimes it's not until someone says "Wouldn't it make more sense to do this ..." that you realize that yes, perhaps it would. Or on the other hand, working though the issue may increase your resolve to do it as planned... or the conversation may be good practice for overcoming objections. Or you find common interests: Frank and I both like the old Fiat 500's.

I noticed your 100 mpg vehicle thread. I'll check it out.

Also noticed the guy in Holland with the 125 cc streamliner. The Zing started off on two wheels too.

Thanks again for the support!
Ken

Frank Lee 12-22-2011 08:04 PM

Yeah, and who goes to Chrysler stealerships for any reason anyway?

samwichse 12-22-2011 08:12 PM

If you're looking for a nice little engine... this one is great:

Oops, I'm apparently not allowed to post links, but a Google search for "13hp honda water cooled engine" returns a pic as the first result.

Got one in a (dead) lawnmower. It's dead because Honda can't make a mower deck for crap, but that engine is pure gold. Guy selling there in the first Google result says "125lbs" but I can't hardly believe that, especially since he hasn't even removed it.

Anyhow, 13hp, will crank along all day at 80-90% throttle, water jacketed so it's quiet (relatively ;-) and without the hot heads and valve maintenance inherent in an air-cooled engine, even has a spin on oil filter and of course electric start. LOVE this engine... might be a good fit? Still trying to come up with something fun to use mine in.

Sam

Frank Lee 12-22-2011 08:17 PM

Ken I like your Zing too; I just don't think the genset idea would be the best layout for my usage patterns.

NeilBlanchard 12-23-2011 08:15 AM

Ken,

Here's an easily implemented and very efficient heating solution: motorcycle heated vests. Put them on under your winter coat, and plug it in -- it heats your torso directly.

The defroster is more of a challenge -- I'm hoping that we can use something like Ford (and others) did a while back, with a very thin coating of gold on the glass that electrically heats the glass directly. These were almost instantaneous if I recall correctly.

user removed 12-23-2011 08:32 AM

Why would the electric car manufacturers and home builders not utilise the heat created by the battery pack and electric motor to provide "free" heat in the passenger compartment, at least when it was available?

regards
Mech

drmiller100 12-23-2011 11:25 AM

battery heat in a regen system is usually a net zero - they might give off heat on discharge, but suck a bit of heat on recharge. Also, battery life is VERY dependent on temperature, and keeping the batteries "warm" adds significantly to their temp.

On the motor, a permanent magnet very efficient motor does not put off that much heat.

Add all that up, and wintertime driving for an electric car is a definite problem.

Rokeby 12-23-2011 11:47 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by drmiller100 (Post 276042)
...wintertime driving for an electric car is a definite problem.

Many of the folks over at MyNissanLeaf are seeing their first winter with
their LEAF and are posting on their experiences/explorations of the effect
of cold weather on their range. Reductions of only 25 - 33% are possible...
but to see only that little, you're got to be really careful/creative about
battery preheat (during charging) and heater/defroster use.

Very interesting read if you're contemplating an EV, especially if your
contemplated daily use is out near the max range.

My Nissan Leaf - One more winter range post- 33*, 80% to 0 bars: 32.8 miles

deathtrain 12-23-2011 12:08 PM

paint it black and put on a batman suit. LOL but seriously I would drive it. and maybe buy one if the price was right.

euromodder 12-23-2011 12:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ken Fry (Post 275855)
Your Failed Belgium State gets an ironic chuckle, but I hope you're doing well. This is not the world we hoped for.

Don't worry, most of us are doing well.

It's failed state status refers to our nearly ever-lasting, world-record setting cabinet formation.
Wait until after the next elections, it'll likely get even worse !


As long as we can bail out those greedy bankrupt bankers, we're rich ...


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