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    Electric Mini Buggy Build
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    Going away from my normal tradition of building something before I share to the forum, I've been kicking around the idea of putting together an electric buggy based on my "SSE Mini Baja" updated chassis design, and I think it's time to move forward with that. Some things that I've updated to the chassis include making the cockpit longer by 4", taken all bends out of the chassis making it ultimately easy for someone to build without a tubing bender, created "jig" pieces that integrate into the chassis of the car and allow construction of the chassis without any kind of fixture, and basically design out anything that can't be bought off the shelf.

    The electric drive - while the "kit" or "plans" allow the buggy to be build as a gas powered machine like it is now, I will also have an option for electric power. There are nearly infinite options for a power system that would work well in this application regarding what can be bought off the shelf for a motor and controller, so for the purpose of the first post the buggy will use a 25-50hp electric motor that will have a single chain reduction to the rear wheels. I'm leaning towards a motenergy ME1507 which is a permanent magnet brushless motor, sealed and air cooled and will likely run a Kelly 96600 controller. This setup can actually produce more like 75hp in bursts but I will dial it down to 30hp or so considering the buggy I currently have is only 15hp and works great!

    For energy storage, shown in the image I have place a pair of 2kwh Chevrolet Volt lithium modules. This will provide the buggy up to 20 miles of range which should be plenty for bombing around. Depending on the power system I use I will either run them in parallel or in series - using the power system described above they will need to be run in series to give me around 100V. For those of you savvy with lithium batteries, I will run a passive BMS and top balance the cells during charging. Depending on how much space I have on the chassis I may also mount the charger to the vehicle so it can be charged from a drop cord, or generator, OR it can be towed and will regeneratively charge (I have done this on my reverse trike, it works great!)

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    Re: Electric Mini Buggy Build
    #2
    Keeper of the Asylum K-fab's Avatar
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    This sounds like a great project.

    I like the approach. Thanks for sharing while it happens too.
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    Re: Electric Mini Buggy Build
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    Hello Dain, as you know I have a strong desire to learn from this build. I can't wait to read and see more.
    Regards.
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    Re: Electric Mini Buggy Build
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    Super Moderator Wheels's Avatar
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    yeah, I'm pretty excited about this build. been thinking of doing an electric build some day. thanks for sharing as you go. quick question... you mentioned 'top balance the cells', does that mean they will be 'matched' while charging? as in... the same thing that RC racers do with their batteries?
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    Re: Electric Mini Buggy Build
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    Top balancing means the balancer bleeds off juice from peaked cells until all of them reach their peak voltage. RC racers would do exactly the same thing, I'm just doing it with a lot more cells! RC packs are 2S 3S, some 4S (S meaning series), where I will be 24S.
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    Re: Electric Mini Buggy Build
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    After watching the latest "Grand Tour" episode last week a few times, I think one of my design deliverables is going to be that it this vehicle will need to pull the wheels up during acceleration on a grippy surface if the driver wants to do so. The balance of the machine will help significantly with that, but horsepower and torque also play a big factor. I am looking at a couple different cell configurations that will give me quite a bit more capacity which will allow me to run more power longer. The motor and controller I mentioned in the first post SHOULD provide enough power to get that done a higher power setting, so it definitely should be interesting.

    My family just moved recently so I'm now a couple miles from my current workshop, for the purpose of this project I would like to build most of it in my standard garage to prove that it can be easily done with a single garage stall including fitting all the tools necessary to build something like this! I will probably add a few bends back to the design here and there too just because I like bends!
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    Re: Electric Mini Buggy Build
    #7
    The Bob Ross of MBN Bullnerd's Avatar
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    I'm interested in this.

    I would love to build an e-buggy for my kid just for my trails/yard.

    Can you please post all the sources and prices as you go along? Motor/controller/battery type stuff.
    "Speed is time-time is speed"-Dennis Hopper

    Quote Originally Posted by TALON View Post
    did you use a special bigfoot camera or something ,you know all blurry could be a tree stump kinda thing .
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    Re: Electric Mini Buggy Build
    #8
    Keeper of the Asylum K-fab's Avatar
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    After seeing info on that truck that's been out at Glamis, I think you're onto something.
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    Re: Electric Mini Buggy Build
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    The only thing I can't comment on the price is of the motor since I have been buying directly from the manufacturer and have been getting supplier prices. Kelly-controller.com is where I have bought my controllers from, they are somewhat over rated on their website - but they do work and their customer support is surprisingly good. This is what a price list would look like for making 50-60hp

    Battery, $100/kwh
    Charger $200
    Inverter (motor controller) - $700-800
    Inverter precharge and main contactor - ~100
    DC-DC for 12V is sometimes done off the controller, but otherwise will be 30-40 depending on amps required to run other things like lights
    The only place I'm seeing the motor for sale online, it is $1000 and out of stock.

    So adding this all up the powertrain is coming out to $2500 or so... Keep in mind this is for ultra high performance IMO.

    Kelly makes another controller that is meant for a separately excited DC motor, but has an internal setting to switch to standard PM brushed motors - it can do ~400A so about 20hp... These are only $250. A person could use that with an old golf cart motor and have a really cheap and somewhat powerful electric driveline. The lithium batteries are really what makes electric shine - so I wouldn't even recommend building anything unless it is going to have lithium batteries. As I mentioned before the Chevy Volt cells when bought as a complete pack cost about $80/kwh - so a person could build the whole powertrain of the kart for $500. The going eBay rate for a 2kwh Volt module is about $300 plus shipping so even doing it that way wouldn't be terribly expensive. My electric dirt bike runs for 20-50 min on a 2kwh pack with 25hp.
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    Re: Electric Mini Buggy Build
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    Super Moderator Wheels's Avatar
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    Yo, Dain... any progress yet?
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