Sunday, 22 November 2015

Going Green - Transportation

Back in 2014 I gave up my car.  It was mainly due to very limited cash flow, but also desire to be more eco-friendly.  While I was still living in Toronto, getting around was not an issue. Public transit, cycling and walking worked just fine, and in many case it was far less time consuming and less costly.

Now I live in Simcoe Ontario and public transportation is none existent, walking can be little bit too time consuming but cycling is still a viable option.  Thankful I am not completely stuck, one of the kids where I work has offered to pick me up and drop me off so I can get to and from work with little effort or cost, he only asks for $10 a week for the carpooling, which is a bargain. 

Yet I still plan to cycle in the from late March into late November, weather permitting.  Yet I need a little more flexibility and power in my cycling kit to make this work.  Things tend to be more spread out here in Simcoe, almost any cycling trip will be a minimum of a 10km round trip.  I was looking at buying a used Jeep, but that is still at least $8500 for the Jeep, then there is gas, insurance and maintenance, so owning even cheap vehicle would end up running about $400 bucks a month.  So after looking around at used Jeeps and thinking it over I decide to stay green and go with another solution. The solution?


An Electroped is not an e-bike, it is normal bicycle that has had a kit conversion applied to it.  The kit conversion has two major componets
  1. A Electric Motor hub that is either on the rear or front wheel, and
  2. Battery.
The huge benefit of the electroped is that it is still a fully function bicycle with a proper gear train.  An e-bike may have peddles, but if you ever had to peddle one of those things you would be hard pressed to call it a bicycle.  The electroped is very best of both worlds; if you want your electroped to be a pure bicycle again,  it only take about five minutes to drop out the electric motor wheel and pull the battery and control system (leave the wiring in place).

Costs of the conversion will greatly vary depending on the type and power of the electric motor wheel you install and what type of magnetic braking and pedal power assist option you go for.  The cost of these motorize wheels can go for as little as $250.00 and as high as $850.00.  The battery system is another great cost variable, and is dependent on many factors:
  1. The power requirements of the motor 
  2. Your desired range before recharge
  3. How much extra mass you want to carry
  4. How quickly the battery can be recharged
  5. Lifetime of the battery system
The cheapest up front option on the battery are lead-acid cells, but they are extremely heavy, shorter recharge cycle life and not very environmentally friendly.  After much research I have opted to go with the top end type of battery.  The Lithium-Manganese type of battery, but even these you have to research carefully, cause not all lithium-manganese batteries are equal.  In the end, I have opted for 48 volt, 20Ah Lithium-Manganese battery cell.  Comparing Lithium-Manganese to a lead-acid battery array and you see why the extra cost is worth the extra up front cost.

Comparison Of Lithium-Manganese vs Lead Acid

Voltage of all Required Cells
48 Volts
48 Volts
Amp Hours of all Required Cells
20 Ah
16 Ah
Power of all Required Cells
960 Watt●Hours
768 Watt●Hours
Charge Time from Dead
Depends on charger you use, but a reasonably cost 48V 15Amp charger will do the job in about 2-2.25 hours
Depends on charger you use, if you only have a charger that can handle one cell at a time it will 16 hours for the total array. If you have really good charge 4-8 hours
Cycle Life
1000 to 1500 charge cycles, some people claim as high as 2000 charge cycles
300 to 500 charge cycles
Number of Cells Requires
Size of All Require Cells
Per Battery
Length 10.84 inches
Width 7.17 inches
Height 3.17 inches
One Battery Required
Length 10.84 inches
Width 7.17 inches
Height 3.17 inches
Per Battery
Length 5.94 inches
Width 2.56 inches
Height 3.70 inches
For the Eight Required Batteries
Length 11.88 inches
Width 5.12 inches
Height 7.4 inches
Mass of Required Cells
Per Battery 11.7 lbs
One Battery Required 11.7 lbs
Per Battery 6.5 lbs
For Eight Batteries 52 lbs
$18.50 per battery
$148.00 for eight and shipping cost will be on top of that
Cost Per km*
(*not adjusted for extra mass)
(a car cost about $0.60/km)
Cost/Size/Mass/Life/Power Index
(the lower the better)

The last two rows are what it all boils down to, the average cost per kilometer and CSMLP Index.  I guess I should explain CSMLP Index number. It is a calculation that takes into account the cost, size, mass, Charge Life Cycle and Power the resulting calculation allows you compare the all the variables. The lower the CSMLP Index number the better, but it must also be compared to cost per kilometer.  The cost of the lithium-manganese is about $0.026/km more than the lead-acid batteries, but the CSMLP Index Lith-Mang is 4.5 better, I think the Lithium-Manganese batteries are far superior given that your ride will be 40 pounds less top heavy.  If you should get stuck with dead batteries and have to manually peddle home, believe me, those 40 extra pounds is a huge ass amount extra weight to move around.  Yet is you looking for a dirt cheap solution, then the lead-acid battery is the best route in the short run (ie, the up front costs).  In the long run, they cost just about the same.

Anyways, more on this later and I will be following up with the custom design Electroped I am planning to build and hope to have on the road in the late spring.

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