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Unicycle as a drive in small DIY EVs?


runcyclexcski

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Hi all,

I do not plan to use electric unicycles as they are, but I am wondering if anyone has tried adapting one as a drive in DIY small electric vehicles? The idea seems attractive because e-wheels are self-contained, and the most powerful ones deliver decent wattage, e.g. the Kingcycle 18-inch versions. Get 4 of these -> you get a mini-Tesla :) and no need to fiddle with intergrating motors, controllers, gears etc.

I imagine, I would need to hack the controller, and find good mounting options for the frame. Has this been done?

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I'm not sure if anyone has done but I doubt it. I think single wheels have been added to things like bikes and two have been attached to make a bigger, more sturdy and reliable, "Hover board" but I'm not sure about 3 or more.

Ian @ Speedy Feet UK has a Blumil Self Stabilising Wheel Chair which he and Blumil teamed up to create and it's fantastic. Only two wheels not 4 but works! 

Maybe two of the Ninebots could be used easier than 4 EUC's? though I'm not sure how steering would work.

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6 hours ago, runcyclexcski said:

I imagine, I would need to hack the controller, and find good mounting options for the frame. Has this been done?

That in itself is probably as good a reason as any not to do it. Why pay for a load of parts you do not need.

On the other hand EUC motors are based very closely on, in some cases are exactly the same as, ebike motors. An ebike controller (or 4) would need no, or very little modification and you could buy as many ebike battery packs as you considered you needed. It also ought to be easier to make up a frame to fit them, as well as working out cheaper I would expect than 4 KS-18's or similar. 

BTW, I'm sure I saw an article that one of the car companies (Ford?) had a concept ecar where the wheels could be removed and used as EUC's

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How heavy would the EV be? Would need powerful motors if you put on doors, roof etc. Perhaps if you get a few used EUCs. I hacked a moped up and welded a simple frame for it a few years back... Just the one wheel in the back to drive it and two wheels up front for stability and steering. I think that motor was 3HP. Might be possible to mod the firmware on a EUC to disable the gyro and instead accept input from a plugin electronic gaspedal. Then clamp the footboards of the EUC in place on a frame with 2 frontwheels with steering and that gaspedal. I might get a used EUC to try this xD Not really economical since hubmotors are so cheap, but I like the idea of a "batmobile" -type vehicle that can be used as EUC or EV using the same parts!

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Thank you, guys, for the comments.

The point of having extra unnecessary parts is understood. The counter-argument is that off-the-shelf mass-produced products are cheaper -- same reason as so-called 'velomobiles', which are basiclly bicycles with paper-thin shells, cost as much as a new Ford Fiesta. We sure agree that the amount of technology and materials that went into a Fiesta is, perhaps, 10-100 higher, but the production is automated.  Plus, the 'unnecessary' parts of the e=wheel are probably just the plastic housing etc.

Last time I looked, standalone 2kW hub gears were about 1K -- same price as the e wheels. And I still would have to figure out the controller, the battery, the mounting, etc (while trying not to get electrocuted).

The 'ev' I have in mind is, essentially, a streamlined recumbent bicycle with a carbon fiber shell around it. No welding, only composites (I have a proper chemistry lab). I think 3 HP (about 2 kW) is good start: in comparison, a fit bicyclist can sustainably generate 0.2kW, and a world class racer may be about 0.4W (they can peak at 1+ kW, but only during finish sprints). Bottom line, 2kW is  a 10x power boost over most bicycles. Combine that streamlining -> one gets a 15=20x boost of useful energy, so should get at least a 2x increase of speed (assuming power consumption goes up as a cube of speed due to air drag). Most of the weight would be from the rider and from the powered wheel. 

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