3 – SCOOTER CONVERSION
To convert a conventional scooter to electric power and prove its value for everyday use
Our aim was to convert a scooter to electric power. We took a Kinetic Blaze (a former Italjet SpA model, now made in India) and removed the original 165cc petrol engine and belt drive. We fitted a Saietta 135 motor with chain drive with a ratio of 17:69 (using ANSI 35 chain, ⅜ inch pitch). The scooter was fitted with six Exide Powersafe 12V 42AH lead-acid batteries, usually used to deliver uninterrupted power suppliers on computers. We also fitted a Curtis 1209B controller, which does not have ideal characteristics for this application but was readily available in India.
In order to reduce rolling resistance we replaced the rear tyre with a radial-ply car tyre; we tried fitting these tyres on both wheels but then the feel of the steering was not acceptable. We discovered that with non-standard steering geometry, it would be possible to get good handling with car tyres on both wheels, which would deliver very low rolling resistance coupled with low tyre costs because the tread life would be over 200,000 km (120,000 miles).
Our converted scooter achieved a top speed of around 90 km/h (55 mph), with a range of approximately 25 km (15 miles) at top speed and 100 km (60 miles) at 40 km/h (24 mph). Our R&D proved that the range at top speed is limited by the poor aerodynamics of the vehicle: a practical electric vehicle for high speed would need to have very good aerodynamics to achieve good range on an acceptably-priced battery.