Saturday, September 18, 2010

Electric Vehicle festival 2010 - Part One - Homebuilt EV Cars, Motorbikes and electric bicycles

Today I travelled from Belco to the lawns of Old Parliament House on a crisp spring Canberra morning in my LPG powered V8 Panelvan, and setup the ACT Light Rail stall at the 2nd Annual Canberra Electric Vehicle Festival. Last years festival was Canberra's turn at hosting the National EV Festival, and was such a hit that the local chapter of the EV Society decided to hold an annual Canberra EV Show. 

The main difference between the 2009 and 2010 EV Festivals was the increase in commercially available EV's. Mitsubishi, Toyota, Blaze and Tesla were all selling ADR compliant, registrable and insurable vehicles supported by a dealer network and factory parts and support. The chinese electric bicycle factories have also improved and increased their offerings. The electric motorbikes also look practical and stylish. This technology has moved on from nerd to mainstream.  

I have decided to divide this years report into five parts, so I could look at the commercial vehicles in a little more detail. Please check back to read them as I finish them off. The parts are divided as follows:

Part One - Homebuilt EV Cars,  Motorbikes and Electric Bicycles (this post)
Part Three - Blade Electron
Part Four - Mitsubishi Canter and Tesla
Part Five - Segway

Cross membership of the EV Society and ACT Light Rail ensured that we were issued an invite to promote the benefits of sustainable public transport. It was a truly beautiful day, in a stunning venue, the lawns of Old Parliament House. I helped put the tent up and then manned the stall.
ACT Light Rail stall - Ian awaiting interested parties to inform of the benefits of light rail.
Ian explaining to an electric bicycle owner how the proposed Rapid Bus routes serve as excellent routes for light rail.

For ACT Light Rail the day was a success. We sold over 60 light rail bumper stickers, gave away over 200 information leaflets and discussed the benefits of light rail with many interested people. The concept of light rail was  overwhelmingly enthusiastically supported by 99% of the people we spoke to. It was also a good opportunity to let people know that we continue to lobby for better public transport in the Capital region. We were also able to let people know about our website and Facebook page. If any school or community groups are interested, I am happy to come and talk to you about light rail in the ACT. 
Crowds were busy all day. 

I manned the ACT Light Rail booth in the morning, and when Ian arrived wandered off to look at the various displays. I first headed over to look at the homebuilt cars and motorcycles. 
This Volkswagen was interesting. It cost the owner $3500 to convert to electric power. It features a D&D ES-15A-6 72 VDC Series wound single shaft motor, four speed manual gearbox (no clutch), with a Alltrax 72 volt, 450 amp (max) controller and seven 12V sealed lead acid batteries, totaling 84 volts. Range, estimated at 50 KMs with a top speed of 85 kmh (est). 
Mazda MX5. This conversion is so good, it looks like it came from the factory.
Mazda light truck with Warp 9 electric motor, powered by 45 Thundersky 90AH batteries, 5 speed manual. Range 60km. Estimated cost - $12,000.
Daihatsu EV doing some circle work. 

The numbers of homebuilt EV's was down on last years, but this is because 2009 was a national event and attracted interstate participants, whereas 2010 was a Canberra specific event, and the homebuilts on display were local cars. I was impressed at the workmanship, that they were registered, and that they looked like normal cars I could just jump into and drive off in. 
Onto the homemade electric bicycles and motorbikes. Im not sure where some of these actually sit definition wise - bicycles or motorcycles ? A regulatory challenge for our policy makers I think. 
Thats not a radiator, its a bank of batteries.
Commercial EV motorbikes. 
There were several locally based commercial electric bicycle vendors displaying their range of electric bicycles. 
These people had a unique marketing approach. A free two day trial of any of their bikes.
I asked about this bike, and I could hear it quaking in fright fearing my buttocks descending upon its frail seat. Its actually driven from the front hub, see the teeth on the rim. I think the battery is in the rectangular frame.
Effing recumbents. I hate these things. A group of recumbent bikes is known as an idiot of recumbents. Anyway.... these ones were electric and pedal powered. 
Battery pack under the seat, throttle on left hand grip.
Motor in hub. 
More in Part Two - Toyota and Better Place

Other relevant posts:
Part two - Toyota, Mitsubishi and Better Place
Last years (2009) EV Festival

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