After casually perusing other people’s electric conversions for weeks, and intensely researching motors for a few days, I have decided to go with one of the most popular motors for this kind of project. The Motoenergy ME-1003 which I ordered with a controller, and contactor from evdrives.com in a kit.
Shipped diagonally across the country it cost $1288.
It took me so long to decide because all the general articles I read about different kinds of electric motors sold me on the superior, quieter, maintenance-free, and cooler performance of brushless motors. I found brushless motors that cost only about $40 more than this motor and provided more hp, and about 2000 higher rpms which would translate into about a 15 mph gain in top speed.
There’s one little problem though…there are no reliable controllers for them that wouldn’t have added about another grand to my total project cost. A “controller” for an electric motor is basically like a big dimmer switch that controls how much power goes to the motor. It’s like a gas pedal on a car.
In the end, I decided that a top speed over 60-65mph, and not having to change brushes once every two or three years was not worth $1000. The noise wasn’t much of an issue either. Normal motorcycles go BRRRRRRRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAPPPPPPP! so what do I care if my wwwwwwwwrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr is slightly louder than a brushless motor?
Every time I explore the performance, weight, cost, and customization potential of various battery technology, I always quickly return to 18650 cells. These are the little batteries found in everything under the sun…laptops, cordless power tools, vaporizers, and most importantly for my application…Tesla’s electric car batteries. Tesla picked these batteries because they are the best, lightest, and most compact battery chemistry currently available.
The only downside, is that good ones down at the consumer level are a bit pricey…$5 or $10 dollars each. BUT if you can scrounge up enough used laptop and power tool batteries on ebay, you can tear them apart, sort the good from the bad cells, and then reconfigure them to provide any voltage you want.
I lied…there’s another downside…in order to use these batteries you have to do a lot of work to salvage them, and solder hundreds of batteries into usable packs that provide the voltage and capacity you need. There are lots of videos on youtube about this if you’re interested.
But the upside is that you get the lightest, most compact battery technology for EASILY half the price (if you go alibaba) or 1/4 of the price if you buy from western vendors.
Next I’m going to start tearing all the crap off my bike required by the combustion engine. Hopefully my title application goes smoothly or I might have some problems when it comes time to register the bike. I just don’t have the patience to wait 6 or 8 weeks to start this project!