Electric vehicles-Conversions

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Gibbo2286
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Re: Electric cars/vans/bikes-Conversions/Secondhand..etc

Post by Gibbo2286 »

I bought, and still own, a Kodak digital camera way back in the beginning of such things, damn good piece of kit that I took round the world on three occasions, only 1.2 megapixels and built like a brick but still does a good job.
The only problem is the image format which is Kodak's own.
One of these:
http://www.ebay.co.uk/p/Kodak-DC120-Zoo ... /101856092

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white exec
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Re: Electric cars/vans/bikes-Conversions/Secondhand..etc

Post by white exec »

Interesting to read your comments about Kodak. I worked for Agfa for from 1989 to 2003, and ran with the revolution from analogue to digital imaging - photo, medical, industrial, and - biggest of all - graphic and printing. Agfa was cute, and ahead of the game. It took on board, or bought up, companies and people who were leading the way with 'future products'. This included digital medical X-ray (to largely replace X-ray film), resulting not only in hugely reduced imaging costs, but also the ability to send patient images anywhere in the world within seconds. The technology also reduced the Roentgen dose to an extremely low figure.

My own speciality became digitally imaged printing plates, for use by offset printers of all types. Plate size varied from a little over A4 to something approaching 2 metres square. A plate could be imaged (by a variety of laser types) in seconds, and could run up towards a million copies on the presses. Image quality was superb: up to 200 lines/in, 1-99% dot, for the technical.

Agfa also knew when to get out of technologies. 'Consumer' photographic film went, of course, but so did small retail digital cameras and flatbed scanners (which the company had pioneered - remember Snapscan?) . . . in just the same way as 35mm consumer film cameras (made by Agfa in Munich) had been discontinued in the '80s. When there is little profit to be made, and possibly millions of amateur users to be supported, it can be time to move on. In general, declining products were sold off to other companies, eager to pick up the last of the market.

When cutting edge products are new, you don't want too many of them out in the market. Better twenty "beta" devices being "field tested" by known customers than two hundred with heaven-knows-who. Recalls are not good news, and neither is a burgeoning reputation for bugs. There are always a good few companies (and individuals) who want to Go First with cutting edge products. Far better to pitch the price really high (it helps get some of the huge R&D and support costs back); it not only sorts the sheep from the goats, but also damps initial demand, while at the same time hopefully establishing the product in the marketplace as "benchmark" and something to aspire to. The price can, and always is, dropped later. Tesla is no exception to this.

In general, I found that European and Asian companies were pretty good at knowing what products and technologies to run with, and which to avoid and get out of, and to move quickly on all this. The Americans (with some recent exceptions) were far less clever with this, and so we have the sorry tales of Kodak and General Motors, who should have known better.

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Re: Electric cars/vans/bikes-Conversions/Secondhand..etc

Post by harryp »

Neil, agree wholehartedly =D> .
Simon, I hope that they come true for you - I doubt I'll see them as you have well over 30 years on me :rofl2:
Take care

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Re: Electric cars/vans/bikes-Conversions/Secondhand..etc

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Re: Electric cars/vans/bikes-Conversions/Secondhand..etc

Post by Mandrake »

One thing we haven't really discussed in this thread which has been considering mainly battery electric vs hydrogen fuel cell electric is hybrids - do we need them ? Are they desirable in any way or are they only a short term stop gap to allay "range anxiety" while battery technology matures to the point where hybrids are no longer necessary ?

This page has a nice summary of the different types of hybrids:

https://www.eco-drive.co.uk/vehicles

To quickly paraphrase and summarise you have the following categories:

Hybrids - the canonical example of this is the original Toyota Prius. Although it has a (relatively tiny) battery and an electric motor it is not really an electric vehicle in my opinion. The primary means of propulsion is still a conventional internal combustion engine, and you cannot plug it in to charge the battery. What the electric motor and battery provide is to add regenerative braking to what would otherwise be a conventional ICE car, and thus greatly increase MPG especially in start/stop traffic.

So when you decelerate in a Prius, it uses regeneration just like a BEV to charge the batteries using energy that would normally have gone up in heat on the brakes, and when you later accelerate that acceleration can come from or be supplemented by the electric motor. Because you can't plug it in the only way to charge the battery is through deceleration, and the battery is of very limited size. In essence the the electric motor and battery form a solid state flywheel - without the dangerous heavy spinning object. :-D

Quite a few Diesel busses use this hybrid technology - for example one of the short range busses I used to catch on part of my journey to work was either a Hybrid or possibly a "series-hybrid" (more on that in a minute) and it was pretty obvious when it was regenerating, as was the acceleration from a standstill that was decoupled from the RPM of the diesel engine.

A clever innovation 15 years ago but not worth pursuing any further today I think now that BEV's have reached their current state of progress. All it really gives you is regeneration and basically just increases the MPG of what is still a fossil fuel burning vehicle.

Next up are PHEV's or Plug in Hybrid Electric Vehicles. Examples are the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, Toyota Prius Plug in etc. These are nearly the same as a Hybrid with both a full size conventional ICE engine as the primary means of propulsion and a relatively small battery and an electric motor primarily there for regeneration. However you can plug it in to (slowly) charge that relatively small battery. Hence plug in Hybrid.

The idea is that short trips like to work and back it would allow you to propel yourself entirely using the electric motor and battery which you charged from mains power, and only if you ran out of battery power or needed a lot of power (motorway overtaking) would the ICE engine start up and take over.

Sounds like a reasonable compromise on paper but all the reviews I've seen have basically given the concept a thumbs down in practice.

There are many problems - the ICE engine will not charge the battery - once the battery runs out there is only regeneration and plugging it in to charge back up - once that happens you are burning petrol for the rest of the journey, albeit with improved MPG of a hybrid thanks to regenerative braking.

Battery range in practice before the ICE engine kicks in is ridiculously small in most - its typically from 10-30 miles. After that you're just burning petrol until you can plug it in somewhere.

It's not worth plugging in to charge on the road with a PHEV because the battery is so small and they usually don't support rapid charging. In fact its generally frowned upon by BEV owners to find a PHEV plugged into a charging point hogging it for hours when they are still able to get home on petrol while the BEV is stuck waiting to use the charger so it can get home. So generally you would/should only plug in a PHEV at home over night.

The transition from battery to ICE engine can happen far too easily and none too smoothly on many models, with anything other than modest speed and light acceleration causing the ICE engine to kick in regardless of how much charge is left. In fact in one model I just read a review of the reviewer complained that turning on the air conditioning started the ICE engine no matter what!

Finally, you still have a full blown full size petrol engine to repair and maintain, AND have the extra complexity of batteries and an electric motor, and a charger, and of course the batteries will be subject to degradation.

In short, I'm of the opinion that PHEV's are a technological dead end that don't even serve a transitional role in a decent way.

Next up is the "Range Extender" or "Series-Hybrid". This approach has a lot more promise as a transitional technology on the way to full BEV. If you've ever studied how a Diesel Electric train works then a Series-Hybrid is quite similar, albeit with the addition of a battery.

The electric motor(s) are the only means of propulsion and run from a fairly large battery, just like a BEV. You can also plug it in to charge it, both slow charging and rapid charging just like a BEV. It has one additional feature - a small amount of space in the car is reserved for a relatively tiny (for the size of car) petrol or diesel engine. This engine doesn't connect to the wheels in any way but simply runs a generator that can charge the battery.

Normally you would charge it up from the mains like a BEV and drive it exactly like a BEV - in silence and without burning fuel. You can get full speed and acceleration without the ICE engine kicking in. So there is no awkward and unexpected transition to an ICE engine in the driving experience. If you keep it charged up sufficiently the ICE engine will never start. However if you run the battery down below a certain point the ICE engine will kick in and run at a constant RPM where it has optimal efficiency and charge the battery.

In essence it is a BEV with an on board automated petrol generator to charge up the batteries if they get too low. Thus the majority (or potentially all) of your journey is completed like an electric car, but if you find yourself stuck for somewhere to charge and have the fuel tank filled up as well it will automatically take over and get you home with no loss of performance. The ICE engine will be quite small, probably in the order of 20-40kW - not sufficient to drive the car directly, as it would have much less output than peak acceleration, however more output than "average" consumption during normal driving so that it can charge faster than you are draining the battery on average.

So on a long trip you have the option to refuel either with petrol or by charging or both. Because the engine is small, operates at a constant speed and under optimal load conditions it will be MUCH more efficient than directly burning fuel in a 2 or 3 litre engine connected to the wheels. So even when you do run from petrol the overall system efficiency will be much higher than a conventional petrol car. (Remember it has regeneration too)

The drawback of course is that you have to sacrifice battery space for the small petrol engine and fuel tank, and it's not fully electric unless you are careful not to run the battery down. And whilst I think this type of car is a stop gap measure on the road to BEV for family use, I think we'll find that Series Hybrid designs with petrol ancillary engines for on the move charging will become the norm for the near future for commercial vehicles such as Taxi's, delivery vans and so on - anyone who is on the go constantly and can't afford to sit and charge a couple of times a day.

There is incentive to charge where possible (much cheaper) but the petrol engine is always there as a backup and can be filled quickly if need be, and will still be a lot more efficient and less polluting than a conventional full size Diesel/Petrol engine driving the wheels.

Some busses already use this Series Hybrid approach, albeit I think they are using Diesel engines for the generator not Petrol, but that could well change with new anti-Diesel regulations coming in! (Swapping from a Diesel to Petrol in a Series hybrid would be extremely easy though - all the electric drive train and battery would remain the same and the vehicle would drive exactly the same, you're only changing the "charger")

Like the first generation of BEV's, the first generation of Series Hybrids have a relatively short battery only range of about 40-50 miles, but I see that increasing a lot just like BEV as battery technology races ahead.

By the way I'm not promoting Series Hybrids as the way to go - ultimately it is still a stop gap, however it does answer the question of "what do all the commercial vehicles do when the new anti-Diesel laws come in"... they switch to petrol/electric Series-Hybrids, is probably what they do...

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Re: Electric cars/vans/bikes-Conversions/Secondhand..etc

Post by NewcastleFalcon »

Another excellent and informative read Simon :-D and a fitting milestone for the thread...post number 500!

Don't know if its just since taking an interest in all things electric, but I very much notice the tailpipe products of the petrol ICE especially on first start up, or stupidly warming up on peoples drives on cold days. Also at the filling stations despite vapour recovery methods and whatever. No, unless some very clever researchers, can perfect an ICE running on hydrogen, and a safe hydrogen network develops where the choice instead of petrol or diesel at a filling station would be electricity or hydrogen, I wouldn't shed too many tears at its passing.

I do like and notice significant/symetrical numbers so just for the record I will bag reply number 500 with this!

I like a decent image so just like on the old Pictures of the Day thread I may edit in an image later.

Might have to be Elon Musk.....his fame is spreading....even got a mention on Radio Newcastle this morning in connection with his "fly me to the Moon and back" SpaceX proposals :-D


Put "Electric 500" into google and amongst Western Electric's very fine old fashioned telephones you also get Fiat-Chrysler's little electric vehicle only available in California (and maybe Oregon). Why? Maybe because they just want to put a token effort into electric vehicles because they have ICE cars that that need selling.

As I haven't been to California here's a link to the image, its not a bad effort and the 500 in whatever form does carry with it a bit of a cult/fun reputation and reportedly very popular.

http://www.plugincars.com/sites/default ... terior.jpg
Regards Neil
Last edited by NewcastleFalcon on 28 Feb 2017, 17:48, edited 3 times in total.

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Post by Mandrake »

A very good Wikipedia article on Hybrid drivetrains here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hybrid_vehicle_drivetrain

To correct myself slightly above, when I refer to PHEV, I'm specifically referring to a parallel-hybrid, which is what most current PHEV's are. This is any method where both ICE engine and electric motor have direct connections to the wheels. Sometimes they might share an axle (with the electric motor coupled into the ICE gearbox before the diff) and on other designs they are attached to separate axles, for example ICE engine and gearbox to the front wheels and electric motor to the rear wheels, or vica versa. (Called a through the road parallel hybrid)

Personally, through the road hybrid makes me very nervous from a handling and safety point of view - OK when you're trundling around at city speeds with good traction but the weirdly mismatched torque curves of the two engines being applied to the two different axles could easily lead to bizarre on the edge handling at speed or on icy ground, so again I think this kind of parallel approach is an evolutionary dead end, even though many manufacturers are pursuing it as an easier approach to connect both an ICE and electric motor in parallel.

In a Series Hybrid the ICE engine is never directly connected to the wheels, it only ever generates electricity to charge the battery and/or directly power the electric motors, so it drives and behaves exactly like a BEV except for the intermittent noise of the ICE engine if it fires up to replenish the battery.
The arguments of greater flexibility, higher efficiency and less emissions at the point of use are achieved in a series-hybrid system for road vehicles when an intermediate electric battery, acting as an energy buffer, sits between the electric generator and the electric traction motors.

The ICE turns a generator and is not mechanically connected to the driving wheels. This isolates the engine from demand, allowing it to consistently operate at its most efficient speed. Since the primary motive power is generated by the battery, a smaller generator/engine can be fitted as compared to a conventional direct drive engine. Electric traction motors can receive electricity from the battery, or directly from the engine/generator or both. Traction motors frequently are powered only by the electric battery, which can be charged from external sources such as the electricity grid.

This allows a vehicle with an engine/generator that only operates when needed, such as when the battery is depleted, or to charge the batteries.

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Post by NewcastleFalcon »

Whatsthisthen?

http://www.automotoportal.com/media/ima ... 0005.2.jpg

I wonder what the state of play is right now of these in general (H2-ICE's)not just that manufacturer. Its an oldish source probably around 2015. edit..its even older than that its from the National Hydrogen Association Conference in Long Beach California in 2006 :shock: probably a complete mock up that never worked!)

Then there's the Plug-In Hydrogen Fuel Cell Hybrids. Talk in 2016 of Mercedes offering a Plug In Hydrogen Fuel Cell version of their GLC Crossover in 2017

http://www.autoblog.com/2016/06/13/merc ... g-in-2017/

...and not on hybrids but if you enjoy Honda getting a real slating for their BEV version of the Clarity read the comments after this article on Elektrek

https://electrek.co/2017/02/27/honda-cl ... qus_thread

Regards Neil
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Post by Hell Razor5543 »

Probably in the i8 BMW.

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Post by CitroJim »

Simon, a most excellent dissertation :D Enjoyed every word of your two posts... I'm curious about the series-hybrids.. Can you name any well-known examples?

And what sort of range do they have on their batteries before the ICE cuts-in to charge them?

Seems to me to be an ideal compromise for those like me who predominantly do very short runs with an occasional long run...

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Post by NewcastleFalcon »

Hell Razor5543 wrote:Probably in the i8 BMW.
No its more ancient than that as I have subsequently discovered, and re-edited my post accordingly, It was from back in 2006.

Have any Hydrogen combustion engines ever actually made it off the drawing board? Rockets excluded.

If there was an adequate access to hydrogen, you could see a possible market a la LPG conversions in the past, for H2 conversions of existing ICE's.

Regards Neil

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Post by Zelandeth »

Two series hybrids from the bus world are the Alexander Dennis Enviro 350H and 400H (single and double deckers respectively). We had several of the 350H buses in Aberdeen back in 2011 (I think, could have been 12).

Nice things as a passenger because A: no gear changes, and B: because they were a bit heavier than their traditional examples, the ride was better. The single deck 350H is actually built on the same chassis as the double decker for weight handling - not least because the battery pack lives on the roof.

Nice things to drive, though the regenerative braking takes a bit of getting used to as it kicks in as soon as you come off the power, so it takes a bit of practice. They're also (the 350H anyway, not sure about the 400H) limited to 40mph, which is slightly limiting! Most urban buses hit the limiter at 50-55 (literally in the case of the old Volvo B10M Alexander PS buses that used to be on the Inverurie to Aberdeen route with the 3 speed Voith gearboxes - they literally spent half the journey pegged on the rev limiter), but you do miss that last 10mph sometimes...

I do remember as a driver that the sensation of moving off 5-10 seconds before the engine picked up from idle was downright disconcerting for a while (I.e. the whole 15 minutes I was given a shot of one).

Fuel economy was decent compared to the full ICE buses, even though they did have some issues early on with the charging system meaning they weren't actually using the battery a lot of the time. I think they got that sorted out after a while though. The maintenance guys were staggered at how long the brake pads lasted though, as the brakes never really did anything except for holding the thing stationary or during an emergency stop.

Easy to see where the savings are in city traffic - a pretty typical bus, Volvo B10BLE I'll quote because I know my way around them pretty well - just at idle, not even putting it into drive, you'll be looking at 3-5 gallons of diesel an hour...Add luxuries like air conditioning which is becoming a lot more common, and that goes up a fair bit too!

Worst fuel economy figures I ever remember seeing were for the Mercedes articulated buses that were used in London for a while. They managed to average around 3mpg...With the air conditioning off. That dropped to *one* mile per gallon with it on.

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Post by white exec »

Some of that 3mpg probably went west when they (the bendy buses) caught fire, which happened rather too often.

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Post by NewcastleFalcon »

..deleted double-post
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Re: Electric cars/vans/bikes-Conversions/Secondhand..etc

Post by NewcastleFalcon »

NewcastleFalcon wrote:
NewcastleFalcon wrote:
Then there's the Plug-In Hydrogen Fuel Cell Hybrids. Talk in 2016 of Mercedes offering a Plug In Hydrogen Fuel Cell version of their GLC Crossover in 2017.

http://www.autoblog.com/2016/06/13/merc ... g-in-2017/
From the horse's mouth, the Daimler Global Media Site on the Mercedes GLC-F-Cell Hybrid

http://media.daimler.com/marsMediaSite/ ... d=11111320

and some pics from Auto Express

http://www.autoexpress.co.uk/mercedes/g ... g-in-power

There is plenty talk of expanding "Hydrogen Networks", and investments have already been made or are planned to be made. I certainly don't think the development of hydrogen networks will stop, or go backwards. Having started it will expand. There's not much if anything for the big fossil fuel companies to gain from the demise of the ICE, or BEV's winning the race hands down over fuel cells and hydrogen. It will be interesting to see if they begin to pile into the manufacture of hydrogen, and develop hydrogen networks as a strategy, or remain complacent and wonder what's hit them in 10 years time.

Regards Neil