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Crowdfunding push for EZ-EV open source electric kit car

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January 21, 2013

Builder of the ZW2C electric trike (shown) Gary Krysztopik is preparing to release the EZ-...

Builder of the ZW2C electric trike (shown) Gary Krysztopik is preparing to release the EZ-EV car as open source plans, build-it-yourself kits and complete vehicles

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Electrical engineer Gary Krysztopik has been driving his self-built, open-framed, three-wheeled electric "hotrod" on the roads and highways of San Antonio (TX) for over three years now, but folks still can't help staring as he zooms past. While also working on gas-to-electric conversions (including a VW Bug and a Porsche Carrera), he's been busy refining and tweaking the design for his "battery box on wheels" and is now preparing to release the EZ-EV car as open source plans, build-it-yourself kits and complete vehicles.

The original Z Wheelz 2-seat Custom (ZW2C) has a bottom frame that's little more than a long battery box containing 24 deep cycle lead-acid batteries, and features a MES-DEA 200-250 AC induction electric motor driving a belt to the rear wheel and a built-in computer with GPS functionality that displays system status information. There's a roll cage with a Honda Fit windshield, a shifter for park/reverse/drive/economy mode, a parking brake, and a composite rear fender. It has a maximum range of 100 miles (160 km) and is capable of speeds of over 60 mph (96 km/h).

You can see Krysztopik driving it around in the following video:

Krysztopik's new design retains the central battery box but the frame of the two-seater EZ-EV is to be made from advanced honeycombed composites (fiber glass) instead of steel. The 32 kWh battery pack will consist of 96 lithium batteries and the vehicle will have power steering, disc brakes and modern suspension. There won't be any of the modern conveniences that most of us take for granted but the design could be modified to include a variety of comfort options.

CNC-machined components fit together to make more complex sub-assemblies, such as the cent...

Fully assembled vehicles will be made available, but the main goal of the EZ-EV project is to make the 1,500 pound (680 kg) street-legal, highway-capable vehicle available as a kit that can be assembled by one person in a garage with standard tools in just one week. Open source plans and a parts list will also be released for those who want to build an EZ-EV from scratch.

"The idea is to maximize off the shelf parts so someone can just buy a frame with a parts list and order everything else to bolt on," Krysztopik told Gizmag. "The Mustang II front end kits are common and come complete with brakes, steering and suspension. The seats just bolt down to the floor/battery box cover. All of the motors are cylinders with a shaft coming out, and all controllers are boxes that are bolted down to the floor. This stuff is so simple and modular, which is what makes this work so well."

According to Krysztopik, the finished EZ-EV can then be registered as a motorcycle in most states (but advises checking local laws before jumping in). He expects the vehicle to easily manage over 80 mph (128 km/h), with a range of up to 150 miles (241 km) per charge (depending on the battery/motor configuration chosen by the buyer).

The necessary components for quarter-scale models will be produced using a combination of ...

Enclosed bodies are also in the works for those who would rather be surrounded by an outer shell, similar to the body mold for the Freedom Car by Jerry Dycus. The long-term aim is to have pop-on body panels that can be 3D-printed.

To help turn his electric dream into a reality, Krysztopik has hit the campaign pages of the Indiegogo crowd-funding platform. For US$1,000 backers can receive a quarter-scale EZ-EV model, $7,500 will secure a full-size frame and $10,000 will get you a rolling chassis kit. Lower reward levels are available for those who want to support the project.

"I can get this vehicle on the road in as little as six months, and I want to make quarter-scale kits like the Lego Mindstorm kits for education programs," he said. "They can build and race the scale models and then get a ride in the full size version. I'm really excited about how this can work as an educational program that is so closely tied to growing clean tech businesses."

Krysztopik has created the following funding campaign video to give a taste of what's on offer:

Source: EZ-EV, Indiegogo page

About the Author
Paul Ridden While Paul is loath to reveal his age, he will admit to cutting his IT teeth on a TRS-80 (although he won't say which version). An obsessive fascination with computer technology blossomed from hobby into career before the desire for sunnier climes saw him wave a fond farewell to his native Blighty in favor of Bordeaux, France. He's now a dedicated newshound pursuing the latest bleeding edge tech for Gizmag.   All articles by Paul Ridden
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21 Comments

I really dont know how I would feel about being that close to so much battery acid.

Bob Ehresman
21st January, 2013 @ 08:28 am PST

But hey what a crumple zone.... (The acid type...)

32 kWh Lithium battery:

This size batterypack is larger than what is used in most factory EV's, with the associated cost.....

Electric power is a great Idea, but..... charging inefficiencies, weight, battery initial and replacement cost ($155 for each battery x 96 = $14 k)

Remembering that for such a small vehicle 14 grand would keep you in fuel for quite a few years (probably longer than the Lithium packs will last). (Hoping that at least 5L/100km is possible, that will get you around 200 000 km)

Still Electric performance is hard to beat, with a decent torquey motor, and adequate gearing....

We all want the holy grail: equivalent energy density, cheap quick recharge and low cost.... (Petrol equivalent energy density with electric power-train efficiency.

Dream on...

MD
21st January, 2013 @ 01:18 pm PST

The idea is relatively sound. What I would do is to make it a true hybrid. A diesel electric might be able to push that well past 100mpg, if used properly. You use the motor to charge the batteries and to run at speed past a certain point. How much hp can this really take to keep at 65mph?

VoiceofReason
22nd January, 2013 @ 12:35 am PST

The battery pack is on the wrong side of the front axle.

Slowburn
22nd January, 2013 @ 01:47 am PST

why work with that ugly plastic shell ? put it in a zhenhua trike roadster chassis and make it hybrid .

http://i00.i.aliimg.com/photo/v1/681316858/ZHENHUA_TRIKE_ROADSTER_2013.jpg

Károly Hőss
22nd January, 2013 @ 07:35 am PST

I agree with Slowburn, the centre of gravity is much too far forward.

But, that said, I hope this can be made to work. I'm sure something like this is the way forward.

What would really focus peoples attention would be if fuel taxes were increased, more in line with the rest of the developed world.

garyO
22nd January, 2013 @ 08:09 am PST

@Slowburn, the battery pack seems to extend all the way from the front under the seats and wraps up behind the seats. Extending the frame to be ahead of the front third of the batteries would increase weight and having to support the weight of all the batteries over the longer span would likely require a heaver gauge steel increasing the weight even more.

C.A.Miller
22nd January, 2013 @ 08:20 am PST

anything that gets us closer to no petrol, i like...

billybob1851
22nd January, 2013 @ 08:22 am PST

I like the idea of honeycomb construction but the way he wants to go about it will not provide adequate strength. This should be done with a mold, honeycomb cut and shaped to fit and prepreg composite materials under vacuume w/solid hard points where nessesary. stronger, lighter and with a much higher sructural integrity than bonded honeycomb pannels. Good luck to you!

Element6
22nd January, 2013 @ 08:30 am PST

Guys...the point of Open Source is modifications that are subsequently shared.

Want a hybrid? Get off the recliner, go build it, then share it.

But it's easier to say "would be nice if he woulda x"

solutions4circuits
22nd January, 2013 @ 08:42 am PST

All persistent good ideas go through a fair amount of R & D as elements evolve. Think of sailing ships, coal fired steam ships, aircraft, trucks, and cars. Over the last year or so there have been at least half a dozen innovations in lithium battery technology that will be fully integrated into a single battery in about another year. This new generation of cell should start out with at least 3X, (eventually 5X), more power, 10X faster charge & discharge, ZERO heating issues, (Boeing will certainly be first inline for this), and a service life something like 5X longer than current lithium batteries. The initial price should not be too much higher and might actually be lower since some of the innovations should dramatically ease manufacturing. Price could be lower since there is such a tight relationship between volume production and demand, and here there is obviously a Hugemongous Potential demand. Either way, battery powered vehicles are progressively going to become the new normal. Overall, I am impressed by the appearance of this vehicle.

For us DIY folks this is an interesting challenge to build a large table 3D router/shaper to CNC cut a shell from foam that would be underpinned by Hexcell & GRP structure. Think: GRP monocoque body on a fast, stable, low-CG, tadpole 3 wheeler!

StWils
22nd January, 2013 @ 09:49 am PST

the XR-3 and the American Speedster can give ideas to improve this design.

but i would like to see more direct drive designs that remove the need for gears and such.

i would also like to see small efficient generators on board to recharge while providing at least a basic level of thrust.

but of course none of this is patentable so we can expect that it will never end up in production.

Joe M. Wesson
22nd January, 2013 @ 10:14 am PST

I agree with solutions4circuits, it is open source; therefore, it can be changed to whatever the builder wants it to be. No one says it has to be that way.

If one wants to build a hybrid three wheeler, check out the plans for the XR3 from RQ Riley.

http://www.rqriley.com/xr3.htm

BigWarpGuy
22nd January, 2013 @ 11:43 am PST

Not sure I'd like some of the batteries to be forward of the front axle for crash safety reasons, but having them there would improve the centre of gravity- after all, this only has one rear wheel, so the more weight low down between and ahead of the front wheels is at least good on that score. I'd at least want the batteries to be covered to thermally insulate them to some extent, and hopefully to stop acid or other battery chemicals being splashed my way in the event of a prang.

bergamot69
22nd January, 2013 @ 12:08 pm PST

IF YOU DO AS FERDINAND PORSCHE DID AND PUT AN ELECTRIC MOTOR ON EACH WHEEL YOU LOSE NO TORQUE AS IN THE BELT!

Bill Black
22nd January, 2013 @ 12:41 pm PST

like the c.g. observation, but perhaps it is still 60-40 front biased. and , solutions for circuits, Id love to compare ideas with you re a "monocoque body on a fast, stable, low-CG, tadpole 3 wheeler! " my idea for a bike hybrid for 2 and baby makes three. Why replace cars with cars? Why pay the premiums of licenses, insurances, road taxes, tabs? waltinseattle gmail call me

Walt Stawicki
22nd January, 2013 @ 04:22 pm PST

This not so different than the G-VAN of the 80's. The GM one ton van had a battery pack on the underbelly of all group 24's. A motor bolted on a third member but differential turned upside down pointing toward the road where the gas tank was. This thing is not going to get approved its not even crash worthy unless you want to look like that Russian conductor who just got acid thrown in his face last week.

dionkraft
22nd January, 2013 @ 06:29 pm PST

With that untested composite stuff, the guy better have a bunch of disclaimers. Not much, if anything, new here. Which is OK for the mid-tech accomplished builder and for getting off the shelf components. But ten grand for a rolling chassis? Is he nuts? By the time you add batts, motor, controllers, wiring, seats, body and a bunch of other stuff, you'll be up to an easy twenty Gs. For ten big ones you can build an entire car from scratch and open sourcing like Jack McCornack did with his MAX as chronicled in Mother Earth News. Got well over 100mpg (diesel) and has been driven a bunch. All with easily acquired/built stuff. Free info on how it's done at http://www.kineticvehicles.com/MAX.html

Oh...and good luck on raising a hundred grand over at Indiegogo, sir. So far it don't look like it's catching on.

Neil Larkins
24th January, 2013 @ 11:59 am PST

I think this is still a little bit before its time really want light weight materials that are low weight and super strong we have to really look at the research being done on new light super strong materials and, newer batteries that will be coming out soon http://ens-newswire.com/2012/08/22/new-nanotech-batteries-allow-super-fast-charging/ and help to advance this along

Tommy Hickok
24th January, 2013 @ 01:26 pm PST

Wouldn't it be fun if someone showed Gary Bucky Fuller's Dymaxion and he found some great wheel motors and built it's front bench seat 5 butts wide nearer the cg of really cheap really cool new generation batteries?

Joel Reed
7th February, 2013 @ 02:15 pm PST

I'm glad to see more and more of these projects to get lower-cost EV's on the roads.

A similar open-source model here:

http://switchvehicles.com/

Antony
21st February, 2013 @ 11:17 am PST
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