Quantcast

Is Zero motorcycle still about the best option?

HomeBuiltAirplanes.com

Help Support HomeBuiltAirplanes.com:

13brv3

Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Joined
Feb 14, 2018
Messages
103
Location
Tellico Plains, TN
Greetings,

I have a TEAM Airbike, and have always wanted to try electric power. If I wanted to convert this to electric, what's the best option currently? I know the Zero motorcycles are relatively easy options, but that will of course require some salvage searching. Motors and controllers don't seem so hard to come by, but batteries are going to be a problem for the foreseeable future. Are there other battery options I should consider? I've seen people parting out Tesla packs? If I could get an honest 45 min total run time, it would probably be enough.

Thanks,
Rusty
 

TFF

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2010
Messages
13,668
Location
Memphis, TN
You will have to go to basics.
You will have to get a motor, make a prop that will fly the craft, figure out the amps it takes to turn that prop, then scale the battery pack to fly your flight time including the safety margin to not damage the pack. Then you have to see if it will be light enough.

Tesla right now uses the same battery that’s in most electric drills, just thousands of them. Zero uses something else.
 

TFF

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2010
Messages
13,668
Location
Memphis, TN
In the RC world, electric motors tend to turn slower and use bigger props for equal horsepower over internal combustion. I’m assuming direct drive. Take that into account about the prop you will need.
 

pictsidhe

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2014
Messages
8,624
Location
North Carolina
You will not get 45minutes without a lot of batteries. There was a thread on here by Farfle about a Zero powered Belite. I think it had 20 minutes flight times. An airbike won't be much different.
If you want worthwhile electric flight, look for something with a lower sink rate.
 

13brv3

Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Joined
Feb 14, 2018
Messages
103
Location
Tellico Plains, TN
I'll have to take another look at that Belite thread. I do recall that high drag planes weren't the best choice, so I knew I was at a disadvantage already. It's really just something I'm considering, and I'll be just as happy to be talked out of it at this point. This is just sort of a feasibility question.

PS- just reread the Belite thread. He mentioned 50 min flight time.
 
Last edited:

Victor Bravo

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 30, 2014
Messages
7,887
Location
KWHP, Los Angeles CA, USA
I apologize in advance for raining on any part of your parade, but IMHO an electric Airbike is going to be one of those things that sounds great when you imagine it, and doesn't work very well in reality. Like half of the stuff you buy after watching an infomercial.

Before you spend any time or money, do a real-world study of the existing electric ultralight conversions, the e-Gull and all of the ultralights that do not look like sailplanes. See what their real-world, achieved, no-BS flight time is. Then subtract 10% because the Airbike is a higher drag airplane than the Gull or some of the other modestly successful conversions.
 

Steve C

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 6, 2008
Messages
153
Location
Lodi, CA
Power tools use 18650 cells. Tesla model 3 uses 2170 cells. I did some math the other day and the Tesla 2170 comes out better on weight compared to samsung 30Q 18650. Still really heavy, but enough different to be worth it.
 

13brv3

Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Joined
Feb 14, 2018
Messages
103
Location
Tellico Plains, TN
I hadn't really looked into the model 3 batteries since they were still pretty new back when I was originally researching this. Interesting to see the difference, and also to see how abundant they appear to be on Ebay. It seems like a pretty ideal option for assembling your own pack. This is exactly the type info I was looking for in this thread. Thanks,
Rusty
 

13brv3

Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Joined
Feb 14, 2018
Messages
103
Location
Tellico Plains, TN
Thanks for the podcast link. Sounds like the Zero system is pretty much bulletproof, but expensive and against the manufacturers wishes. I'll have to go look for some info on his "ultralight".
 

13brv3

Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Joined
Feb 14, 2018
Messages
103
Location
Tellico Plains, TN
I guess I didn't look at the date on the podcast. It's really neat that he has it flying. I've got a Onex in the works, hmmmmm :)

I just looked up the specs on the Xenos. Wow, never realized the wings were THAT long. Makes sense though I guess.
 
Last edited:

Steve C

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 6, 2008
Messages
153
Location
Lodi, CA
Sure is a bummer you have to buy a whole motorcycle.

I wonder if another option would be to get components from MGM Compro. They're making stuff for sailplanes and I remember them from many years ago doing rc stuff (ESC's). They have lots of experience with DC brushless.
 

Bille Floyd

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 26, 2019
Messages
301
Personally i believe it would be kinda pointless, to purchase
any current battery technology ; when batterys are about to
become , "Way" better in the next few years. Go to my last
post on the (Elon Musk Reveals Tesla's new battery design) Thread
in Electric propulsion forums ; to see why i said that !!

Bille
 

Steve C

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 6, 2008
Messages
153
Location
Lodi, CA
Batteries improvements are small and fairly regular, at least since the switch from nimh to lithium.

We've seen big claims in the past that never came to light. It's like computer tech. If you keep waiting for the next best thing, you'll never get one.
 

TFF

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2010
Messages
13,668
Location
Memphis, TN
All the big claims are geared for cars. 10% for a car is 1% for an airplane. For real useable airplanes not a lab experiment.
 

12notes

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Log Member
Joined
Aug 27, 2014
Messages
1,102
Location
Louisville, KY
Tesla's claim is a 16% increase in range on their cars with a 14% reduction in battery cost. While this sounds like it implies a 16% reduction in battery density, it is unknown if the comparison is between the same dimension battery pack, or the same weight battery pack. And I think they are talking about the entire battery pack, not the individual batteries. This battery design significantly reduces the path length of the electrons, this reduces the resistance, therefore the heating of the individual battery. The reduced size or weight could be due to the reduced cooling provisions made in the non-battery part of the pack. They haven't made any definitive statements that I've seen regarding battery density by weight, but I haven't followed it up that closely.

14% reduction in cost is significant, and a good thing for everyone.

The big shift worth waiting for will be lithium sulfur batteries, they've progressed to where manufacturing plants are being built for them, they should be available next year. They are expected to be around 350-400 Wh/kg initially, a big boost from the current 265 Wh/kg of lithium cobalt (commonmly called lithium ion). Still nowhere close for GA use outside of niche aircraft, but an improvement worth waiting for if you have one of those niche uses for one.
 
Top