EZ-EV Open Source Electric Kit Car by ZWheelz
May 26, 2013
For more information, see ZWheelz.com
Jun 4, 2013
Very interesting proposal! More detail would be a great way to get more eyes on your proposal during evaluations. I am also wondering about the current state of your efforts: where are you on, e.g., design?
Jun 14, 2013
I know it's a lot to read through but I've written a series of articles during the crowd funding campaign and they provide a good description of my vision. They can be found at http://www.zwheelz.com/EZ-EV.html Right now, I am finishing some other projects and selling off many assets so that I can focus on this single effort and build the prototype. It would be largely based on the first vehicle which I completed from scratch in less than a year. This one will be easier and better, considering that I am starting from a solid foundation with even more experience. I have some of the parts and materials, and I will revise the CAD model based on the full-size foam mockup of the main center section that I built. I will soon be buying a desktop CNC and 3D printer to build a detailed 1/4 scale model. I plan on using the 1/4 scale model for a STEM program to teach about electric vehicles, hold competitions, and provide a platform for autonomous vehicle development.
Jun 15, 2013
Gary You have a great concept here, Of course I have already been following your web domain so I have seen your project mature and I feel your project has an good opportunity for success. When I am in a better position I will support you more substantially. Regards always, Dennis Miles (EVprofessor@E-V-T-I-inc.com)
Jul 2, 2013
The CoLab judges thank you for your proposal! It's clear a lot of work has gone in to your project, and we applaud you for that. Some feedback we would like to give you so that you might do even better: -What, specifically, are the regulatory hurdles you expect to encounter with this? -How is this a strategy for reducing consumption? Perhaps reducing consumption of gasoline, but that has correlated increases in consumption elsewhere. Reduction in overall energy consumption for transport? -How would these cars address existing consumer concerns about the distance one can travel in an EV? -How would safety be addressed from a regulatory and consumer protection standpoint? Thank you again for your entry, and good luck!
Jul 3, 2013
Regulatory hurdles: Three wheel vehicles are considered motorcycles so there are fewer regulations for registration, and as a homebuilt or "assembled" vehicle each builder would get their own Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). I have already gone through this process for my first trike and I expect no problems for this version. My proposal is about providing plans so that others could build these, not only in the US but around the world. I would expect many more hurdles if I was planning on being a single large manufacturer but this is about enabling others to build vehicles and it would be no different than the thousands of homebuilt vehicles being built and driven around the world today. There are dozens of email groups for people building their own trikes and dozens of kits that people have been building for years. This website provides a good collection http://www.kz1300.com/reversetrike/trike-kits.html. The difference is that none of these are electric and none can be assembled nearly as quickly and easily as my trike. Reducing consumption: There have been many studies showing that even in worst case scenarios (charging from coal power plants) electric vehicles (EV's) have about 50% fewer total emissions. This is largely due to eliminating the energy-intense oil refinery process. Most EV owners have solar panels to offset this further and solar panel cost is continuing to drop as their efficiencies continue to rise. The grid will continue to get cleaner with renewables so effectively these vehicles will get cleaner with age. EV's and solar are like peanut butter and jelly. There are already solar car ports and solar recharge stations, and as vehicles get lighter and more efficient, while panels get lighter and more efficient, on-board solar will play a bigger role. Distance traveled: The battery pack is by far the largest cost and is very modular. This will allow the owner to select the best size for their needs. The vehicle also provides the comfort of having a flexible open source design that can accept a variety of battery types so that more batteries can be added or it can be upgraded with better batteries. With today's batteries, the range can vary from 50 miles to 150 miles. This is more than adequate for a commuter vehicle and as batteries continue to improve as quickly (or probably more quickly) than they have in recent years, the range can be expected to increase to well over 250 miles. I can retrofit my existing frame with lithium batteries for a 250 mile range with today's batteries and other vehicles are already getting ranges on that order. I do not believe range is an issue, it is mainly a cost issue right now and that is also improving every year. Safety: In the early phases, this vehicle will certainly not match the safety of modern mass-produced cars. But as a "motorcycle", it will certainly be safer than any other motorcycle on the road. However, as the design matures, the safety will continue to increase. Finite Element Analysis (FEA) models have come a long way for composites and the tools have not only become much more powerful but are much more affordable. A roll cage will add significant protection, and 3D printed body panels can be made as thick as 12 inches or more with a foam-type fill that can act as a crumple zone. Airbag technology is advancing so that it is more modular and generic and could be incorporated as the design matures. Some professionals in composites and crash testing have already offered to assist and as the open source community grows, the vehicle will get much more sophisticated. The idea is to get something very simple on the road that will be reasonably safe, reliable and efficient as a basic commuter and grow a support community to help evolve the design. With a solid composite frame as a foundation, the basic vehicle can built upon and upgraded throughout decades without any changes to the frame and drive system (the "skateboard"). Thank you for the great questions and for taking the time to look at my project, Gary
Jul 3, 2013
Keep in mind that we are expected to add another one billion cars on the planet. Most of these will be in developing countries like China, India, Africa and South America where simpler cars are more suitable. This concept is a paradigm shift - away from throw-away cars, centralized manufacturing and proprietary designs.