CASE STUDIES – AUTOMOTIVE

1 – CAR CONVERSION

BRIEF

To collaborate with India-based metals group i-Vision to convert India’s most popular car, the Maruti Suziki Alto, into an electric road vehicle.

OVERVIEW

With Cedric Lynch as chief technical engineer and a full year of research development and testing, the conversion of this standard urban road vehicle into an electric car was complete. A month of arduous road tests in Gujarat, India provided a reading of top speed 95 km/ph. The converted car was also tested on long urban express highways.

RESULTS

The car comfortably achieve 180 KM distance at a top speed of 95km/ph with one charge, carrying five passengers. The claimed range of most other electric vehicles is achieved with light load and at steady very low speed on a smooth test track; not in the normal road traffic. A hybrid concept is currently under development.

2 – MOTORCYCLE CONVERSION

BRIEF

To showcase our high efficiency, high power motors by entering the inaugural electric motorcycle race TTXGP, taking place in the Isle of Man.

OVERVIEW

We bought a donor Suzuki GSXR 600 in April 2009 and converted it to electric. We fitted two Agni (now Saietta) 95 reinforced motors and Kokam lithium-polymer batteries of 63 cells of 70AH each, totalling approximately 16 kilowatt-hours of energy. This would provide 40 to 50 horsepower averaged over the length of the race, enabling a 200 km/h (120 mph) top speed.

With very little time left to complete the conversation we made our way to the Isle of Man on 29th May 2009. We managed to complete the installation and completed two successful practice sessions at Jurby airfields on 4th/5th of June.

RESULTS

Our rider Rob Barbar took grid position in 12th and waited for the signal to start. Quick off the line, Rob stormed ahead of the riders in front and raced through the Sulby speed trap at 97.8mph. His overall average speed was 87.4mph from a standing start. We finished first with a lap time of 25 minutes 53 seconds: a full three minutes ahead of second placed rider.

3 – SCOOTER CONVERSION

BRIEF

To convert a conventional scooter to electric power and prove its value for everyday use

OVERVIEW

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).

RESULTS

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.

4 – AUTO RICKSHAW

BRIEF

To build an electric-powered passenger-carrying rickshaw/ tuk tuk. 

OVERVIEW

As part of our commitment to transforming and democratising electric transportation, we began a long-term project to develop a new auto rickshaw powered by our motors but harnessing solar energy.

In April 2013, we completed the conversion of the Atul Shakti, a leading three-wheeled passenger vehicle in India.

RESULTS

After successful conversion on an existing conventional rickshaw, we are now working on another model with a solar panel fitted to the top. We firmly believe that by powering a lightweight passenger/cargo vehicle with our motors using solar power, we can make a genuine, tangible difference to the future of low-cost, sustainable transport.