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Author Topic: Electric 1960's Beetle
mdee2004
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Icon 1 posted June 22, 2004 01:04      Profile for mdee2004     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I recently graduated with a degree in EE and after I get a job one project idea I've been thinking of was to modify an old 1960's Volkswagen beetle so that it runs on an big electric motor and a battery pack. I was going to use it to commute to work on the super cheap. I would simply recharge it every night when I got back. I'd have to modify it a bit however so that I could put a decent stereo system and an AC system but those would come later assuming some how I could interface an electric motor with the transmission and learn how to drive a stick.

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Bass lines are at their best when they are played by a bass.

Posts: 26 | From: Maryland | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
CommanderShroom
BlabberMouth, a Blabber Odyssey
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Icon 13 posted June 22, 2004 11:53      Profile for CommanderShroom     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
It is very possible. The real question is not the motor but the batteries. As in where?

Consider the amperage requirements of such a system and then consider the need to pack enough juice into the car. And a single group 51 battery probably weighs the same as 3-4 gal. of gas. You could be looking at several hundred pounds in batteries alone for perhaps a 50 mile radius.

Also what would be the distance travelled and the speeds. The faster the engine runs the more power it will require. Then you have to consider the addition of a variable speed switch for the engine.

As for the physical mounting that isn't too big of an issue. A competant machine shop can create a splined input shaft that could be mated to a VW. And the neccesary bell housing.

As you can tell I still swear by internal combustion since the reliable electric vehicle is a pipe dream.

CommanderShroom
Collector of all things Corvair.

--------------------
Does he know our big secret?
Has one of us confessed?
'Bout the wires circuits and motors
Buried in our chest

Posts: 2476 | From: Utarrrrggggghhh!!!!!!!! | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged
mdee2004
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Icon 1 posted June 22, 2004 12:23      Profile for mdee2004     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Well you see it would partly be a tribute to Ferdinand Porsha who created the first hibrid car in the history of man. I honestly haven't looked into the finer details yet. The only thing I would probably buy with out doing tons of research would be the beetle itself since even with their gas engines they're pretty cool. I was going to shop around for the batteries however, I'm thinking that there's gotta be a good set of cells that could get me to work and back (which is my only goal) They would simply last a day for the distance of my job and back. The accelerator wouldn't be too hard I was going to use a big potentiometer perhaps in a wheatstone bridge configuration. I dunno, like I said I still have a lot to learn before I can even sit down to the drawing board.

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Bass lines are at their best when they are played by a bass.

Posts: 26 | From: Maryland | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
Cap'n Vic

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Icon 1 posted June 22, 2004 13:11      Profile for Cap'n Vic     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Wheatstone Bridge?

How 'bout a really long extension cord?

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(!) (T) = 8-D

Posts: 5471 | From: One of the drones from sector 7G | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
Allan
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Icon 1 posted June 22, 2004 13:33      Profile for Allan     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Sorry to say this, but if you have a 1960's beetle which is still roadworthy then you should enjoy it for what it is, or sell it to someone who will.
Posts: 1280 | From: Edinburgh, Scotland / Frankfurt, Germany | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged
mdee2004
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Icon 1 posted June 22, 2004 15:16      Profile for mdee2004     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I do enjoy beetles for what they are. My reason for using one as a test platform is because the thing weighs next to nothing, they are very well made and they can be obtained for rather cheap. Besides there are several people that dice the hell out of them and make dune buggies, at least I'm not doing that.

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Bass lines are at their best when they are played by a bass.

Posts: 26 | From: Maryland | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
MacManKrisK

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Icon 1 posted June 22, 2004 21:31      Profile for MacManKrisK     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Well, the beetle is a good candidate for this since you wouldn't need a very powerful motor to do this. The stock engines in the beetles, esp. the 60's beetles, were only 40HP. A moderately sized 100HP electric motor would be a HUGE upgrade in power, possibly dangerously so, as the best safety feature of the beetle was the fact that it just simply couldn't go fast enough for you to get hurt. [Wink]

The connection from the engine to the tranny (engine in the back, remember) is almost impossibly simple. The engine just plugs straight into the transmission driveshaft and the clutch pedal activates the throw-out bearing on this driveshaft pushing the little toothy things on the clutch plate back, thus releasing the flywheel from the transmission.

I have to admit, too, that it'd be strangely cool to pull up at a stop light next to a beetle and hear... absolutely nothing. Although, admittedly, the rather noisy and unmistakeable tica-tica-tica-tica of a horisontaly opposed 4 cylendar air-cooled eingine is so amusingly charming it metls my heart every time I hear it. [Smile]

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"Buy low, sell high
get rich and you still die"


Posts: 2338 | From: Southeast Michigan, USA | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
CommanderShroom
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Icon 1 posted June 23, 2004 06:09      Profile for CommanderShroom     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
mdee,

How far are you planning to go? What are you looking at for road speed?

And I think personally Baja bugs are much better than the stock bugs.

The big problem is even though the stock Bug is relatively light each extra battery you installl will weigh up to 30-40 lbs. The group 51 is a mini sized battery that is primarily used in Honda's ( they fit great in my Corvair too). To run a completely electrical motor you would be better served running Deep Cycle batteries. They can handle discharge and recharge better than any other type. Or go with an Optima battery. Those are a long life, high abuse battery. Unfortunately for the Optima or a good quality deep cycle you would be looking at 70 - 100 dollars U.S. If you aren't in the states I couldn't say what you would pay.

As far as puchase price on a body I have watched the prices jump on those in the last few years. I remember 10 years ago you could pick up a nice running, well cared for bug easily for 1000 dollars or less. Now I see the pans going for dangerously close to 500 - 700 dollars.

I think the concept is neat, but it will be a big headache and very expensive to get this to work. The driver in me says get an old ghia or bug and have a lot of fun with it and leave it as Dr. Porsche designed it. And the nut says go for it. Get a the biggest electrical engine possible and if neccesary hook a trailer full of batteries behind it.

CommanderShroom

--------------------
Does he know our big secret?
Has one of us confessed?
'Bout the wires circuits and motors
Buried in our chest

Posts: 2476 | From: Utarrrrggggghhh!!!!!!!! | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged
fishd
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Icon 1 posted June 23, 2004 08:41      Profile for fishd     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Hmm, quick google reveals this...

Which is fine if you want the car, but bad if you want the 'tash! [Eek!]

Posts: 59 | From: Cheshire, UK | Registered: Oct 2003  |  IP: Logged
CommanderShroom
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Icon 1 posted June 23, 2004 11:55      Profile for CommanderShroom     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Did some math.

Here we go, a VW engine typically weighs in around 200 lbs.

Now if you checked the specs on the electric bug. We have 90V all done with 6V batteries. That is equal to 15 batteries. Go to Trojan's site the model 125 comes in at 66 lbs. 66 lbs times 15 batteries equals 990 lbs. 790 lbs has been added to the weight of the bug.

Then I found a price tag at 125 dollars U.S. That equals 1875 dollars.

Like I said it is a neat concept but the electric vehicles are not financially worth it.

CommanderShroom

Sorry about the cruddy spelling.

--------------------
Does he know our big secret?
Has one of us confessed?
'Bout the wires circuits and motors
Buried in our chest

Posts: 2476 | From: Utarrrrggggghhh!!!!!!!! | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged
mdee2004
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Icon 1 posted June 24, 2004 02:41      Profile for mdee2004     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Fishd, I really appreciate the link. I'm not suprised that someone thought of it before me. I still think that it would be a cool project to work on even with the work and money that would go into making it possible. Another good platform would be a volkswagen minibus given that you could fit damn near anything into one of those and they also weigh next to nothing. In the past I've thought about using a beetle as a platform to test a Tesla Turbine engine which no one has heard of. Going on Porsha's original hybrid design from about a century ago I could run the wheels with an electric motor and run an efficient gas generator (possibly based around a tesla turbine) to make up for the battery weight issue. I realize that this countermines the whole concept of a super fuel efficient car but meh, I mainly want something I can tinker with plus I would probably totally fix the thing up so that it worked like a normal beetle before I started putting shit into it. Hell, who knows maybe I could find a way to do it with minimal installation and then market a kit of some kind. [Smile]

--------------------
Bass lines are at their best when they are played by a bass.

Posts: 26 | From: Maryland | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
MacManKrisK

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Icon 1 posted June 24, 2004 10:17      Profile for MacManKrisK     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Either way, an old air-cooled VW is an expensive proposition. Parts prices are going up, unfortunately, as less and less companies are making parts for them, since they are getting older. I attribute this to the last beetle rolling off the line in Mexico this last summer. [Frown] You may have your own theory, your mileage may vary.

As it stands now, I bought a '78 Bus in... distressed condition. $1300. The engine blew an aluminum plug out of one of the oil galleys and the engine overhaul I'm in the midst of is actually costing me more then I payed to BUY the thing in the first place. This makes me sad. [Frown]

By the time I get the engine back together, I'll have put about $1700 into it. [Frown] And I still have a rusty body to try and save. [ohwell]

It truely is a joy to drive, though. Hell, just sitting behind the wheel, even without an engine in the back, makes me smile. I can't wait until I can drive her again. I miss it so much.

If you want a car to tinker with, even if you don't do the electrical conversion, an air-cooled VW is the car to get. Trust me, you'll always be tinkering with it; often on the side of the road, in an abandoned parking lot, in the middle of the night, by flashlight. [Wink]

--------------------
"Buy low, sell high
get rich and you still die"


Posts: 2338 | From: Southeast Michigan, USA | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
Cap'n Vic

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Icon 10 posted June 24, 2004 10:45      Profile for Cap'n Vic     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by MacManKrisK:
Trust me, you'll always be tinkering with it; often on the side of the road, in an abandoned parking lot, in the middle of the night, by flashlight. [Wink]

Do we really need to know about you "Shaking hands with the Bishop"
[evil]

Posts: 5471 | From: One of the drones from sector 7G | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
mdee2004
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Icon 1 posted June 25, 2004 07:18      Profile for mdee2004     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by MacManKrisK:

If you want a car to tinker with, even if you don't do the electrical conversion, an air-cooled VW is the car to get. Trust me, you'll always be tinkering with it; often on the side of the road, in an abandoned parking lot, in the middle of the night, by flashlight. [Wink]

Yeah, my brother used to tinker with them quite a bit. I would do the overhall myself (but that's just me). A buddy of mine told me that his father would lift the engine out and carrey it up to his apartment to work on it.

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Bass lines are at their best when they are played by a bass.

Posts: 26 | From: Maryland | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
MacManKrisK

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Icon 1 posted June 25, 2004 20:25      Profile for MacManKrisK     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by mdee2004:
I would do the overhall myself (but that's just me).

I am doing the overhaul myself. The parts for the Type IV engine are significantly more then the parts for the Type I, about twice as much. Then again, a Type IV engine goes twice as far between rebuilds as a Type I (or should, anyway), so I guess it evens out. *shrug*

--------------------
"Buy low, sell high
get rich and you still die"


Posts: 2338 | From: Southeast Michigan, USA | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged


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