electric Rickshaw

Electric cars, trucks, ATVs, NEVs - things bigger than a motorcycle.

electric Rickshaw

Postby luckyFool » Sat Feb 11, 2017 2:03 pm

Hi there, newbie here!
First off, thank you for reading this post.
I am looking to build a Ricksahw type bike for up to three/four people. One driver, two in thebackseat, and one in a trailer in the back.
Want to add gears as well as electric drive (do I need a differential?). My question here many concerns the electric drive.
Looking for links and ideas that might work for this bike. Oh, and I kinda need this to work without pedaling at all so not just a pedal assist.
I am thinking I should just use the parts of a golf cart. What do you guys think?
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Re: electric Rickshaw

Postby fechter » Sat Feb 11, 2017 2:29 pm

Do a search for "Pedicab". There are lots of these around and would probably make a good starting point for your build.
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Re: electric Rickshaw

Postby luckyFool » Sun Feb 12, 2017 12:35 am

Thank you!
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Re: electric Rickshaw

Postby amberwolf » Sun Feb 12, 2017 2:24 am

You can also look at my SB Cruiser trike; you could scale it up and do something like that.


Just keep in mind it's going to take a pretty good battery and a lot of power to get that much mass moving from a stop or up any slope at all.
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Re: electric Rickshaw

Postby luckyFool » Mon Feb 13, 2017 11:45 am

txs! Those deep cycle car batteries, four of them?
What size motor would you recommended?
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Re: electric Rickshaw

Postby fechter » Mon Feb 13, 2017 12:34 pm

If we know the total vehicle weight (estimate), the maximum uphill grade you need to go up, and the maximum speed, we can estimate the motor size.

For a heavy thing like that, there may be some advantage to using a bottom bracket drive or mid drive so you can run the motor through more than one gear. Most of the pedicabs have a lots of room for the drive parts.

Climbing steep hills is going to be a challenge.
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Re: electric Rickshaw

Postby amberwolf » Mon Feb 13, 2017 2:20 pm

luckyFool wrote:txs! Those deep cycle car batteries, four of them?

No, those will just die a quick death, and weigh down the vehicle. If you only need it for a few uses (maybe a few dozen), you could use them, but they're not meant to supply power for more than a few seconds at a time.

There are a lot of kinds of batteries, and I would recommend looking around the forums at threads with "battery" in the title (especially the sticky thread at the top of the battery technology subforum) to get an idea of what kinds are out there and costs of each.

There are DIY options, but if you have no experience with this sort of thing, it's probably better to go with pre-built ones (which can be a lot more expensive for good reliable ones) unless you have a lot of time to learn, and possibly to go back and fix mistakes.


As for which battery or motor to recommend to you, we'll need fairly complete details of vehicle/cargo/passengers, type of terrain to ride in, distances you want to go, speeds you will go at, how quickly you need to reach those speeds from a stop, how frequent stops and starts will be, budget, DIY capabilities of the builders, etc.
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Re: electric Rickshaw

Postby luckyFool » Fri Feb 17, 2017 12:57 pm

Thank you all very much for your replies. It helps a lot, since I have no idea where to begin even.
Since the weight seems to be a major concern I decided to keep it simpler. I will make it three people max. Kinda like the pictures below. The terrain I will be using this on will be mostly flat. I don’t need to go fast at all nor do I need a fast pickup speed but it would be nice if it cold go 10-20 miles at least. I will be stopping and starting a lot probably. Also want to add lights and sound but I have a 2000 w generator for that. Which makes me wonder: Could I use that generator to power the electric motor?
My budget for everything is 3k max. I am pretty good at making things, and I have a friend in welding shop, so the DIY capabilities are there.
I want gears up front for the guy pedaling but I also want to be able to stir it form the backseat (I have seen designs like that on recumbent bikes).
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Re: electric Rickshaw

Postby amberwolf » Fri Feb 17, 2017 1:54 pm

luckyFool wrote: The terrain I will be using this on will be mostly flat. I don’t need to go fast at all nor do I need a fast pickup speed but it would be nice if it cold go 10-20 miles at least. I will be stopping and starting a lot probably.

Under those conditions and weight, you're probably looking at power usages similar to my trike while I'm hauilng the trailer, with a Saint Bernard on the trike and another on the trailer.

Hard to say since you won't say what speed you need it to go (makes a significant difference the faster you need to go, especially above about 15mph where wind resistance starts to make a real impact).

For me, at the ~20MPH cruise speed I use, that's something like 60-80wh/mile or more.

At 10mph or less, that'd probably be 25% less, but most of the power is used to get started from a stop because of the weight, with frequent stops/starts.

Less stops/starts and then wind resistance gets more important, so slower speeds start making more of a difference to the power usage.


So let's say you need 80wh/mile, for 20 miles, means you need a pack with at least 1600kwh.

If it's a "48v" pack, then that's about 34Ah.

Keep in mind that if it gets windy, you'll need more power, and for any slopes (even very small ones! with that weight) you'll need more power, so your requirements might easily grow quickly with those conditions.

The roads here are pretty flat, but even what looks completely flat to me, and feels that way on a regular bicycle back when I could pedal those easily, is definitely not on my trike even without a load. Keeping the throttle input steady, I can watch my speed drop or raise by more than 1mph just from those slight changes, even with zero wind, while power usage rises or drops by more than a couple hundred watts.

I see anythign from 800w to 1200w as a reasonably steady power usage, so you'd need a battery that can keep outputting that kind of power level without straining it (nowhere near it's max ratings). If it's a "48v" pack, that's about 25A continous, down to about 16A.

If you dont care how long the battery lasts, like if this is for a one-shot (burning man-type) project, then you can abuse it but if you want it to last a long time you need to use the battery at as low a level as you can, for most of the stuff out there.



Also want to add lights and sound but I have a 2000 w generator for that. Which makes me wonder: Could I use that generator to power the electric motor?

Probably not directly, but you could use it to keep the batteries charged, for whatever range your gas tank gets you.

I'd guess that your sound will have to be really loud, though, to cover the noise of the generator. Except for some of the Honda ones, I've never heard a quiet one. :(


My budget for everything is 3k max. I am pretty good at making things, and I have a friend in welding shop, so the DIY capabilities are there.

The battery will probably be the most expensive single part. If you have a lot of time to do this, you can read up here on ES on all the different DIY battery options and build one yourself, but it is a LOT of reading, to be sure you know enough to decide what to do and then to do it. (weeks, probably months). There are hundreds (at least) of "what battery do I use?" type threads, and at least that many more DIY battery threads, and at least that many more threads discussing various battery types and methods of construction, charging, etc.

It's a lot easier to just buy one, but you'd still want to look around to find out what kinds and vendors to avoid, so you get one that's able to actually do what you want at the power levels you need.
I want gears up front for the guy pedaling but I also want to be able to stir it form the backseat (I have seen designs like that on recumbent bikes).
[/quote]
See my SB Cruiser for a way to do the gearing without derailers. You'[l need to work out the gearing range you need for hte speed range you expect. If it's a narrow range you can do what I did with the 3-speed IGH and a single crank gear. I can get up to about 4-5mph out of it at highest gear, IIRC (though I myself can't pedal it very far at that, and have to shift to the lowest 1mph gear for the most part).

see my CrazyBike2 for the remote steering. Keep in mind that if *both* people can steer, you'll need coordination you might not be able to get with the timing you'd like, so your best bet is to just make the front a stoker, and have the rear be captain (tandem terminology).
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Re: electric Rickshaw

Postby Chalo » Fri Feb 17, 2017 4:07 pm

If you're not going to pedal, why not just use a golf cart instead of taking parts from a golf cart?

I design and build pedicabs, including electric assisted ones, at one of my jobs. Where I work, we use a gearmotor to drive the rear axle differential. The pedal drivetrain is typical pedicab stuff, with MTB gears driving a jackshaft hub that in turn drives the diff through a chain reduction.
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Re: electric Rickshaw

Postby luckyFool » Wed Feb 22, 2017 12:11 pm

txs guys that was very helpful and sorry for the late reply. - Been too busy at work.
True, only a honda generator will do the trick, which fortunately I have.
Don’t think I have the time to build my own battery but it sounds like fun. Maybe one day..!?
I am currently reading aout SB cruiser and Crazybike2, txs!
Chalo, The reason for not using a golf cart is the different wheel size/ frame and
I don’t want it to look like a golf cart.
Good point about the rear axle differential. I would like o read more about the regular electric pedicap setups.
Where can I find any parts/setups/plans you mentioned?
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Re: electric Rickshaw

Postby Chalo » Wed Feb 22, 2017 2:01 pm

Most electric pedicabs up to this point have had heavy direct drive front hub motors. Most of the remainder use either Stokemonkey or Bafang crank drives. These systems are the same on a pedicab as they are on a normal bicycle. I don't think they're the best systems for pedicabs, but they have cost and ease of installation in their favor.
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Re: electric Rickshaw

Postby luckyFool » Thu Feb 23, 2017 12:54 pm

I thought they would bw powered by the rear wheel(s) for sure.
The stoke monkey looks perfect. I just have to get the proper battery,..cool!
Where do I get a differential and all the other parts needed?
here is a more pimped up version of what I am trying todo:

thank you!
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Re: electric Rickshaw

Postby Chalo » Fri Feb 24, 2017 1:09 am

The most common commercial pedicab is by Main Street. Wheelgoods.com is their online store where you can get axle assemblies, etc. But I think your most economical approach is going to be finding a used complete pedicab for sale, and retrofitting it.

I'd recommend one of the ones I make, but they start at $6k and there are no used ones.
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