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Electric Quad Bike Conversion


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I am going to do a electric quad bike conversion. Since we run a lodge, there is lots of short running around errands on the farm, between cottages etc. So lots of short trips, up to 2km and maybe a total of 20-30km over a weekend. So I need a utility type quad that can carry a load of up to 20kg say, that I can charge from solar to do these short errands. I am assuming this will be quite simple to do having 3 major components

1. A suitable quad with a blown engine. I have spoken to our local motorbike fixer who does a lot of quad bikes, and he is on the lookout for one for me..

2. An electric conversion kit. There are a few of these available like this: https://www.miromax.lt/en/m-6/c-26/c-48-electric_quadrocycle_conversion_kits/product-559-e-quadrocycle_conversion_kit_15kw#to_products and this https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32864187698.html . I will have to do some research into these to see what is most suitable.

3. Batteries. Hopefully I can get some second hand solar batteries as a start to see how they perform. I will use lead acid as the weight of a few batteries will probably be similar to the engine and fuel, so no loss there and I am not expecting high speed or acceleration from the quad, more plodding around the farm.

I'll post the progress as I go, if anyone has any experience doing this, or has any advice or ideas I would appreciate it.

I am hoping to end up with a functioning electric quad for less than R10k......

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Easiest I can think of is a 2 pole changeover. Wired something like this:

You are trying to solve a problem that I don't have! A R30k quad bike defeats the purpose of the exercise, which is to have cheaper transportation that what I currently use. (Which is admittedly eithe

$319 on Amazon : https://www.amazon.com/Brushless-Controller-Throttle-Motorcycle-Conversion/dp/B07KR2YJ1K/ref=pd_lpo_sbs_468_t_2/146-7441101-0260852?_encoding=UTF8&refRID=28FAV95SN8RWT43C9VHF

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$319 on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Brushless-Controller-Throttle-Motorcycle-Conversion/dp/B07KR2YJ1K/ref=pd_lpo_sbs_468_t_2/146-7441101-0260852?_encoding=UTF8&refRID=28FAV95SN8RWT43C9VHF

  • Kunray MY1020 Brushless Motor Features: Electric Brushless DC Motor, Aluminum Body, Full Copper Coil, Heat Resistant, Naturally Air Cooled, Low Noise High Quality More Long Life.
  • Motor Type: Brushless DC High Speed Motor, Mid Drive, Voltage 72VDC, Rated Power 3000W Max, Current 45A, Rated Speed 4900rpm/min, Max 5800RPM, T8F 11Teeth Sprocket Chainwheel,Load Weight:100-200kg About.
  • BLDC Controller: Voltage 48-72V, Proctect Vol 42V, Power 3000W, 24 Mosfet, Current 50A, Phase Degree: 120°, Smart Controller Can Work With Hall Sensor And Without Hall Motor, Brushless Motor Speed Controller, E-Brake, 3-Speed (Low Mid High Speed), Reverse Functions, Indicator Light And Power Lock Functions.
  • Handlebar Twist Throttle: Universal Accelerator Handlebar Throttle Twist Grips, 12V-72V Universal, With Accelerator, 3 Speed (High Speed Mid Speed Low Speed) And Reverse Functions, Wire Length ABout 59inch, High Quality Rubber And ABS Material.

 

This needs 48V at least though. 4 x lead acid batteries may be a bit heavy.

Multispeed is cool though https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=avnQdJS_oIs

And 3000W seems plenty fast, with a chain drive it is easy to modify the gear ratios to suit the application.. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jpUiUZcr7x4

 

Edited by DeepBass9
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3 hours ago, DeepBass9 said:

But for that I would have to pave over the whole farm. A bit expensive perhaps.

You get nice big-wheeled Segways too. Of course going up a hill takes a bit of effort.

About a year ago we did a birthday thing for my son. He could invite some friends over, and we took them all to a nearby adventure park where they did segway tours. So everyone had a turn, me too... and when you go up a hill you have to really lean into it. Your brain is screaming at you the entire time, because you're practically trying to push the thing into the ground to make it run uphill 🙂

So yeah, some models does have some offroad capability, but it wasn't a serious suggestion anyway 🙂

 

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Hi @DeepBass9

I have seriously looked into this for scooter use:-

  • Grab a cheap Chinese scooter with a CVT transmission (basically an automatic transmission using belts AKA GY6 if searching for it)
  • change out the engine for an electric motor
  • change out the throttle for a rheostat type or a controller specific solution
  • add a drive controller and batteries

Oh man, was the cost just silly. The controller and motor is the key - They are expensive items to replace if you don't size them right up front, and they are expensive to get decent quality. We can play with batteries and load a bit but if the controller isn't right and flexible and working with that motor, then you get a slow horse!

It might not be a perfect solution (and it wasn't suitable due to weight for scooter, but might work for a quad?):

  • Look for second hand forklift / golf cart stuff. That already has motor, controller, etc and would simplify the conversion, but those generally come with high DC voltages. But bear in mind that your speed may be severely limited compared to a petrol engine (in my case I was looking at 45km/h vs 80km/hr).
  • This is my opinion and not based in fact - Stay with the lowest voltage possible for batteries and motor, it will make the charging solutions much easier to achieve, it is a small distance, so thicker cables are not a big cost factor. A 12VDC or 24VDC charger is easy to find and purchase, 36VDC and 48VDC not so much. It also makes any accessories you want on the quad easier to power from same source (lights, +++)

IMHO - This is a cost exercise that will not work yet, the battery power with a decent sized motor needed to be useful will cost way over R50k currently to do properly (maybe closer to 100k)...

I have even looked into hub drives as a "hybrid" type situation, and even without looking at the cost, the thrust they can give at the moment is minimal, especially once you consider the added battery weight.

As a hobby exercise I even had to say NO. Unless you have free access to the above mentioned.

For your usage at the Lodge, a second hand Golf cart would be far more cost effective than a conversion... And later when you want, use the golf cart parts to make your project.

Edited by KLEVA
Lodge use
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I dont think that the battery charging will be a problem, even for 48v. There are a few solutions:

1. With some switches and wiring  you could switch the series array of batteries to a parallel array and then charge from a 12v charger.

2. Take my one solar array and mppt and with a changeover switch charge the 48v batteries directly from solar (this may be the most efficient)

3. Use a 220v 48v charger, they are available and not too expensive. Like this https://www.sinetech.co.za/assets/img/powermaster/PowerMaster Battery Chargers 36V and 48V July 2014.pdf

The objective is not to go 80kmh, the objective is 20kmh, I also think my roads are too bad for a golf cart, but should be no problem for a quad bike.

Edited by DeepBass9
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1 hour ago, DeepBass9 said:

Take my one solar array and mppt and with a changeover switch charge the 48v batteries directly from solar

I think I'd try putting an MPPT/CC in parallel with your existing MPPT/CC (without the transfer switch) first.

The 2nd MPPT shouldn't make a difference when not in use, and I've a feeling that they'd reach an power sharing balance between themselves and settle down pretty quickly.

I have multiple independent MPPT's, (and granted while they aren't on the same array, they are on the same DC bus),  my point being the sunshine is constantly varying and yet they manage to be stable. The 2nd MPPT would just be the same as the sunshine varying.

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9 minutes ago, DeepBass9 said:

This would be effectively a separate battery bank

But the only common point would be the solar array, 1 CC charges your existing bank and the other CC charges quad bike bank.

A battery bank doesn't reverse power a solar array through a CC. ( The incoming volts fall to zero at night).

So in effect there they would isolated from each other already, but could charge to different curves simultaneously during the day.

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Thanks, quite steep! 

I have a few offers of quad bike rolling chassis for R1500 or less, so I will  choose and have a donar bike before long. The easiest conversion is going to be on a chain drive bike, although a shaft drive would not be too difficult to convert either.

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I am trying to figure out what size of motor is required for this conversion. a 2kW motor and controller at 48V are readily available. Is 2kW enough? The weight of the quad plus rider and batteries will probably be 150-200kg max. I will gear it so the top speed will be about 20kmh. 

An electric motor produces maximum torque from low revs, compared to a petrol engine which produces maximum torque and power at high revs. If I compare the power specs to a tractor for instance, which has a similar top speed and low rev torque: I have a MF165 which probably produced 65hp when it rolled out of the factory in 1977 at sea level, but now it is probably more like 50hp, and still manages to move the 2.5 tonnes of its own mass plus whatever you are pulling at up to 20-25km/h, so power to weight ratio of that is 50hp/3000kg. 0.016. Or the other way around 3000kg/50hp = 60kg/hp. So for a 2000W electric motor (2.7hp) you should be able to move 162kg around with tractor like performance, which is the actual objective.

Another way to look at it is if you hitched 2.7 horses to the front of a quad bike, would they be able to canter with it? I don't see why not! (Apologies for the mixed metric and imperial units)

Edited by DeepBass9
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For better or for worse I am going to get the following motor :

I like the fact that it is 3 speed with an e brake (not sure if that is regenerative or not)

https://pclinkshop.com/products/electric-brushless-dc-motor-complete-kit-48v-2000w-4300rpm-high-speed-motor-with-33a-15-mosfet-controller-battery-display-lcd-throttle-electric-scooter-bicycle-motorcycle-mid-drive-motor-diy-part?utm_source=Click&utm_medium=Channel&utm_campaign=PriceCheck_ZA&ref=SFDR_501900154&variant=14752043663404&ptcid=19517_1_490997819

Kunray MY1020 Brushless Motor Features:

Electric Brushless DC Motor, Aluminum Body, Full Copper Coil, Heat Resistant, Naturally Air Cooled, Low Noise High Quality More Long Life. |

Motor Type: Brushless DC High Speed Motor, Voltage 48V, Power 2000W Max, Current 42A, Rated Speed 4300rpm/min, With T8F 11Teeth Sprocket Chainwheel. ||

 Controller: 48V 2000W 15 Mosfet 33A Brushless Motor Speed Controller, With Hall Sensor, E-Brake, 3Speed (Low Mid High Speed, Reverse, Indicator Light And Power Lock Functions. |

| LCD Handlear Twist: 48V Lithium Battery LCD Screen Handlebar Throttle Twist Grips, With Battery Indicator, Ignition Lock, Twist Throttle Accelerator 3 in 1 Function Handlebar Grip,

 

This will be R7780 landed in SA. It might push my R10k budget a bit, but a used quad bike will be cheap at least. I found this one for R1800 but is in Cape Town unfortunately :  https://www.gumtree.co.za/a-motorcycles-scooters/kraaifontein/quad-bike-frame/1006026156840912445403409?utm_source=ananzi.co.za

 

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The next think to find will be batteries. Anyone have a used pylontech I can take off their hands?

Assuming the 2kW motor is powerful enough, for 1 hour use a full power with need 2kWh of battery. I can possibly get away with less as trips will be shorter than that and it is up and downhill so not flat out all the time.

a 2.4kwH pylon would be first prize for weight, but not for cost. What is the maximum amperage on a lithium battery? 40A or 20A, in which case it may not be suitable.

2kWh of lead acid will be 40Ah to 100% DOD, so 4x say 50Ah car batteries would do the job, if they can be acquired fairly cheaply. You can get reconditioned ones for about R500 so R2k for a battery pack.

Another way to do it would be larger solar batteries like 2x105Ah, which can also be sourced second hand for cheap and a DC-DC converter from 24v-48V which costs about R1000.

Edited by DeepBass9
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19 hours ago, DeepBass9 said:

For better or for worse I am going to get the following motor :

I like the fact that it is 3 speed with an e brake (not sure if that is regenerative or not)

https://pclinkshop.com/products/electric-brushless-dc-motor-complete-kit-48v-2000w-4300rpm-high-speed-motor-with-33a-15-mosfet-controller-battery-display-lcd-throttle-electric-scooter-bicycle-motorcycle-mid-drive-motor-diy-part?utm_source=Click&utm_medium=Channel&utm_campaign=PriceCheck_ZA&ref=SFDR_501900154&variant=14752043663404&ptcid=19517_1_490997819

Kunray MY1020 Brushless Motor Features:

Electric Brushless DC Motor, Aluminum Body, Full Copper Coil, Heat Resistant, Naturally Air Cooled, Low Noise High Quality More Long Life. |

Motor Type: Brushless DC High Speed Motor, Voltage 48V, Power 2000W Max, Current 42A, Rated Speed 4300rpm/min, With T8F 11Teeth Sprocket Chainwheel. ||

 Controller: 48V 2000W 15 Mosfet 33A Brushless Motor Speed Controller, With Hall Sensor, E-Brake, 3Speed (Low Mid High Speed, Reverse, Indicator Light And Power Lock Functions. |

| LCD Handlear Twist: 48V Lithium Battery LCD Screen Handlebar Throttle Twist Grips, With Battery Indicator, Ignition Lock, Twist Throttle Accelerator 3 in 1 Function Handlebar Grip,

 

This will be R7780 landed in SA. It might push my R10k budget a bit, but a used quad bike will be cheap at least. I found this one for R1800 but is in Cape Town unfortunately :  https://www.gumtree.co.za/a-motorcycles-scooters/kraaifontein/quad-bike-frame/1006026156840912445403409?utm_source=ananzi.co.za

 

Just confirm that the pclinkshot is legit. I have not seen much reviews or always doubt their prices.

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Hi DeepBass9

You have a very great project on your hands and IMO very doable. For your purposes an EV vehicle is well suited - short trips with start/stop driving and not too much range required. It will never need and oil change !

I have in the past few months converted a mountain bike to an eBike with a direct drive hub motor and a custom made 240WH battery pack made from 18650 lithium batteries. Next step is to double the pack AH rating. It is great fun to zip along with little effort and just hearing the hum from the motor. I see that for the first time this year the Discovery 94.7 cycle challenge has a eBike category !

My eBike conversion has been an interesting journey :)

Some points on your proposed conversion:-

  1. Lead acid batteries are a NO - lots of reasons why, such as increased weight/size, much lower cycle life, Peukert's law, lower charge efficiency.
  2. Expect the battery to be the major portion of your spend - this is the norm for commercial EVs such as Nissan Leafs and Teslas etc so if you want decent range and longevity you will spend more  than you think on the battery. Although in your case your range required is rather low.
  3. If you go lithium you MUST have a BMS for the battery for safety reasons and for life of the batteries.
  4. The Pylon US2000 capacity at 2.4 kWH would be a bit big and the max (sustained) discharge current is bit low at 25A. The Pylons use LiFePo4 lithium technlogy which is heavier (but safer) than Lithium ions such as 18650 cells (the type used in Tesla model S) (and vaping machines :))
  5. In Europe there has been a rapid growth in the "utility" carrier bikes eg the following random bike taken from internet. image.thumb.png.17f4a0974c0764e0ecb56c2c4f78b964.png

 

 

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3 hours ago, Luminous said:

Just confirm that the pclinkshot is legit. I have not seen much reviews or always doubt their prices.

I can import the motor cheaper through aliexpress and the post office. Has anyone used the post office recently? There is no courier option for some reason.

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