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I need the help of my fellow cyclists!

Callum NashCallum Nash Posts: 8
edited December 2009 in Road general
Hi there, I am working on designing a new type of electric vehicle for my Major Project at university, i can't say too much at this stage, but it will essentially be a human powered vehicle capable of motorway speeds, as cycling is the most efficient form of transport in terms of input/output energy usage, i intend to design a vehicle that starts with this basic efficiency that is then enhanced electrically. Imagine the lightweight flexibility of a bicycle but with the comfort, safety and speed of a car, and as fun as hell!

I am a very keen cyclist and this makes me really excited about this project but I want to reach out to the cycling community and get some answers, I appreciate any help or advice you can give, and was hoping for your help in answering a questionaiire?

It should only take a moment, and I'd thoroughly appreciate your help! So much so, that if you fill it in, I will guarantee you a free CUP OF TEA! (should you ever be near me and my kettle in the UK!)

1. Could you specify if you are either

-Male under 30
-Female under 30
-Male 30 or over
-Female 30 or over

2. Do you have any experience with electric vehicles?

YES/NO

3. Are you for, indifferent, or against the implementation of electric vehicles?

FOR/INDIFFERENT/AGAINST

4. What mostly stops you from buying an electric vehicle?

you can select more than one...
1.range
2.speed
3.cost
4.appearance
5.feel

5. What would mostly inspire you to buy an electric vehicle?

you can select more than one...
1.zero emissions
2.cheap running costs
3.super sexy styling
4.high performance
5.range of over 100 miles on a single charge

6. Would you ever use a single seater vehicle?

YES/NO

7. If so, what would you use if for?

1.everything
2.all commuting when I am driving alone
3.occasionally when a larger vehicle isn't needed
4.just for fun


And finally, a qualitative question!! I'd be very curious, for your thoughts as a cyclist on this...

if it was necessary to partially drive your vehicle by your own human power like a bicycle or rowing boat, and this offered a health benifit to its user, how would you feel about it?


Your answers, if used, will of course remain anomynous, but if you would like to be referenced, please let me know!

cheers!
-Callum
www.iamcallum.com
[email protected]

Posts

  • laelae Posts: 555
    Are you at Cov? I'm first year vehicle design, so now I can hold you to your word of a cup of tea seeing as we may well spend most of our days in the same building.

    1, Male under 30
    2. Y
    3. For
    4. 3,4
    5. 2,3,5
    6. Y
    7. 2

    As for the final question, hmm. Personally I like the idea of pedal assisted bikes, where the bike puts in an amount of power based on how hard you are pedalling. You could have all sorts of sensors (torque, cadence, gearing, inclination, sitting or standing etc) to make some sort of smart system so that the bike knows how much to assist you (i.e. no assistance downhill, very little on the flat unless you stand up and mash the pedals, and lots going uphill). So you do get a health benefit but you don't end up getting all sweaty if you don't want to. I imagine you've thought of that already though! I think as a potential commuter vehicle it should have the option of being entirely (or almost entirely) self powered, for the lazy days. Charge it up at home for the trip into work, then pedal it back in the evening. I'd like to see your designs if that's alright with you.
  • rakerake Posts: 3,281
    edited March 2010
  • Thanks for your reply frinkmakesyouthink!

    You make a great point about how the motor should assist, theres a pedal assisted velo car called the Twike that uses a computer control system, my idea however was to reduce the end price by trying to eliminate the need for computer control at all, seen as the vehicle will always have the benifit of having the most advanced computer in the world on board! (the rider)

    I intend to have an incredibly simply control mechanism that modulates the power applied by the motor, as electric motors have constant torque, gears shouldnt be needed, although i might make provision for a high speed gear, to lower the motors consumption of energy on the motorway.

    The vehicle will most likely be two wheeled for maximum efficiency, if it does it will have some sort of handle bar steering, on which there will be a throttle, it could be like a motorbike where the grip is twisted to modulate power, but I am thinking of a new type of control system that can be pushed forwards or backwards, towards and away from the riders seated position, pushing the controls away will engage more power from the engine, and pulling the controls towards the rider will initiate the brakes and the regenerative braking / CURS system, the added bonus of this is that when the rider is braking strongly his whole body will be pressed against the seat, pulling the brakes back so in the unfortunate event of an accident his body will be in the perfect position to survive a crash, with his head against the rest to help prevent whiplash.

    Letting the rider modulate control simply by pushing will allow him to control when he needs power the most, and he will be able to detect his power loss through the obvious means, feeling the loss of speed, getting tired of pedalling, and in the other times when he is going down hill, he can easily relinquish the motor and roll free on his pedalling.

    I would love to show you some of the concept visuals, but at the moment iam working in an extremely divergent process, I am developing solutions to the brief that have any number of wheels and rider positions, later down the line the best option will evolve into something i can show, and talk about, perhaps in a focus group of brain storming session.

    which brings me to my next point, thanks agian for your responce, and i think its MENTAL that someone from cov uni would read my post! small world eh!? At some point in the next month ill be organising a focus group, If you'd like to attend that would be awesome, seen as your clearly quite knowledgable on the subject, there will be cakes!

    If you fancy getting on touch via face book, its callum nash (black and white photo.)

    thanks again, and I hope your having fun on the course!

    Callum Nash
    www.iamcallum.com
    [email protected]
  • amaferangaamaferanga Posts: 6,789
    What sort of power would be required to propel this vehicle at 'motorway speeds' up say a 5% gradient? A very powerful cyclist might put out 400-500W for a few minutes without too many problems, but you're average person would probably be looking at closer to 200W or even less. I'm guessing that's insignificant compared to the power required to propel it up the hill, so effectively this would be a human powered vehicle with electric assist at low speeds (most of the assist being needed due to the weight) and an electric powered one with insignificent human assist at high speeds? You're presumably not talking about something that is going to look like a bicycles if you're expecting it to be safe to ride on a motorway?

    It sounds like an interesting project, but I don't get what makes you think people actually want such a thing. We've been here before with the Sinclair C5, only yours might go a little faster :o
    More problems but still living....
  • laelae Posts: 555
    ^ the ability to travel/commute anywhere, at motorway speeds, with low purchase cost, simply by augmenting your own power? I think a lot of people would want one.

    Remember that the fastest speed attained by a HPV (human powered vehicle) is something like 80mph, without any electronic assistance, with current technology - I don't think it's unfeasible that in the near future 65-70mph could be attained by a 'normal' person.
  • I don't wish to put the Mockers on your enthusiasm or screw up you results or sense of invetiveness or for that matter your intent to claim a first BUT there was Once Upon A Time a clever little bit of kit known as a Zundapp(my late father had one in the 50's/60's)pedal power/small engine to suppliment/take over.No doubt adaptable to Electric Power.Not quite capable albeit of Motorway speeds(but had we got motorways then it might well have done).I often used to use him & his machine as a pace setting tool,me on my 1937 Hetchins Curly Track Bike & him often surprised when I pased him(yes his was still moving).There is;on one of the other Forums an interesting concept of a Chainless(driveshaft) cycle which using the hub could be a means of generating power.I think it is Cycle Chat. Happy & Safe Riding to you All.
    Hi,I am returnig to pedal power after a longish period of drying out my Vega+nail on plates.My first serious bike was a 1937 Hetchins Curly(track frame)My current rocket is a Bianchi Reparto Corse,Gold Race 600.A nice little Italian.
  • belgiangothbelgiangoth Posts: 2,849
    Hey there,
    just thought I would bring up compressed air vehicles, the main sticking point with these is that they must be as light as possible, so get rid of the luxuries and comforts/safety of a regular car.
    Seems to me you would have the same problem with your design.

    As to the Questions:
    1 M 30+
    2 No
    3 Indifferent->against
    4: 1,2,3 (& I am a non-driving cyclist)
    5: 1*, 4, 5
    6: Yes (my bike, d'uh)
    7 1.

    (* note that electric vehicles are actually responsible for greater emissions, since electricity comes primarily from fossil fuels. As you get efficiency loss in generating 'leccy and converting it to kinetic energy you are more efficient powering your car with petrol directly and therefore pollute less. Again, compressed air allows you to produce the air symbiotically with power plants or through other non-emission ways).

    I don't understand your qualitative question - I'm solely a cyclist, no drivers lisence. Are you asking whether I'd be interested in electric assist or whether I would consider pedalling a car? I'd consider assisting my wife's car by pedalling, my issue with electric assist is that, for me, the boost from the electric assist is counteracted by the constant added effort of carrying the battery and motor.

    Not sure if this helps.
  • rakerake Posts: 3,281
    Hey there,
    just thought I would bring up compressed air vehicles, the main sticking point with these is that they must be as light as possible, so get rid of the luxuries and comforts/safety of a regular car.
    Seems to me you would have the same problem with your design.

    As to the Questions:
    1 M 30+
    2 No
    3 Indifferent->against
    4: 1,2,3 (& I am a non-driving cyclist)
    5: 1*, 4, 5
    6: Yes (my bike, d'uh)
    7 1.

    (* note that electric vehicles are actually responsible for greater emissions, since electricity comes primarily from fossil fuels. As you get efficiency loss in generating 'leccy and converting it to kinetic energy you are more efficient powering your car with petrol directly and therefore pollute less. Again, compressed air allows you to produce the air symbiotically with power plants or through other non-emission ways).

    I don't understand your qualitative question - I'm solely a cyclist, no drivers lisence. Are you asking whether I'd be interested in electric assist or whether I would consider pedalling a car? I'd consider assisting my wife's car by pedalling, my issue with electric assist is that, for me, the boost from the electric assist is counteracted by the constant added effort of carrying the battery and motor.

    Not sure if this helps.

    power station that generate electricity are far more efficient than combustion engines roughly double. otherwise why dont they use a big diesel,petrol engine to generate? where did your figures come from.
  • laelae Posts: 555
    Again, compressed air allows you to produce the air symbiotically with power plants or through other non-emission ways).

    Like what? Electricity generation has as much potential to generate emission-free energy as compressing air does.

    Also a battery or supercapacitor will have a hell of a lot more energy in the same amount of space as compressed air does. That's one of the major disadvantages that electric cars have compared to petrol cars; compressed air makes this problem worse, not better. It's a bike - it doesn't have much space.

    And didn't you see what happened at the end of Jaws? Compressed air = KABOOM :D
  • rakerake Posts: 3,281
    Again, compressed air allows you to produce the air symbiotically with power plants or through other non-emission ways).

    Like what? Electricity generation has as much potential to generate emission-free energy as compressing air does.

    Also a battery or supercapacitor will have a hell of a lot more energy in the same amount of space as compressed air does. That's one of the major disadvantages that electric cars have compared to petrol cars; compressed air makes this problem worse, not better. It's a bike - it doesn't have much space.

    And didn't you see what happened at the end of Jaws? Compressed air = KABOOM :D
    you say compressed air is unpolluting but where the hell is the energy to compress it coming from. ill tell you, electricity same as your 3 pin plug.
  • 1. Could you specify if you are either

    -Male under 30

    2. Do you have any experience with electric vehicles?

    YES

    3. Are you for, indifferent, or against the implementation of electric vehicles?

    Indifferent

    4. What mostly stops you from buying an electric vehicle?

    I prefer to move by the power of muscle and sinew, so appearance and feel


    5. What would mostly inspire you to buy an electric vehicle?

    none of those, infirmity would.

    6. Would you ever use a single seater vehicle?

    YES

    7. If so, what would you use if for?

    1.everything



    if it was necessary to partially drive your vehicle by your own human power like a bicycle or rowing boat, and this offered a health benifit to its user, how would you feel about it?

    Rubbish, the electric assist bikes i've ridden basically have the motor to keep you at a minimum of 10mph. I'd prefer something radical that can just go fast, like a motorbike but electric and with a tow-hitch.
  • 1. Could you specify if you are either

    -Male under 30

    2. Do you have any experience with electric vehicles?

    YES

    3. Are you for, indifferent, or against the implementation of electric vehicles?

    Indifferent

    4. What mostly stops you from buying an electric vehicle?

    I prefer to move by the power of muscle and sinew, so appearance and feel


    5. What would mostly inspire you to buy an electric vehicle?

    none of those, infirmity would.

    6. Would you ever use a single seater vehicle?

    YES

    7. If so, what would you use if for?

    1.everything



    if it was necessary to partially drive your vehicle by your own human power like a bicycle or rowing boat, and this offered a health benifit to its user, how would you feel about it?

    Rubbish, the electric assist bikes i've ridden basically have the motor to keep you at a minimum of 10mph. I'd prefer something radical that can just go fast, like a motorbike but electric and with a tow-hitch.
  • Well just to answer amaferenga, the power will ome from a brushless DC motor, rated at least 4000W, most pedal assisted electric bikes have about 250W power, low amount of power is the maximum limit imposed by EU leglislation.

    A 4KW motor will make this bike fast, fast enough for motorways, I am also intending to design something as safe as a car, so its going to have a light weight space frame with air bags and a safety harness.

    The technology is there, but a battery pack which might give our bike a decent range might weigh over 50kg, so the problem becomes weight, and making the bike light enough to pedal. I know Ive pedalled with over 50kg of weight on a panier, but still the bike will probably weight over 100kg, so pedalling will become an auxillary source of motion.
  • rakerake Posts: 3,281
    rather like a pedal go moped then.
  • laelae Posts: 555
    rake wrote:
    you say compressed air is unpolluting but where the hell is the energy to compress it coming from. ill tell you, electricity same as your 3 pin plug.

    No, I said the complete opposite of that.
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