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Peter's Solar Electric Van II · 28 February 06

Peter's new AC motor

We covered Peter’s cool electric van last October: the latest lithium batteries, homemade battery management system, solar panels, and even a wind generator for those times when he’s parked in a windy spot.

What more could he want?

How about an AC drive system?

Peter posted the following to the EVList, along with links to full sized images. Since it will probably be a while before he gets a chance to update his EV website and since he’s been gracious enough to allow sharing, I’ve decided to post his update along with resized pictures.

The rest of the article is from Peter’s email:

Some of you will know I am doing a low cost, low voltage DC to AC upgrade at present.

I will soon be running a 96v 450A Zapi 3phase ac controller with regen and a 96v 3phase 12kw con rated induction motor.

The motor and controller cost me £2000 brand new.

I am lucky enough to own a pack of 200Ah TS cells (Lithium) and can report good life and performance in the 2+ years I have had them.

The motor came from Best Motors in Italy. They do not list AC motors on the site, but do supply them to order and spec.

Zapi only supply a controller with a motor, as they require matching. That’s why I ended up with an Italian motor as well. Curtis operate the same policy I think. You will be lucky if they sell you a controller without a motor. I went for the Zapi controller as it allowed a higher voltage 96v instead of the curtis 80v.

Peter's new and old controllers

A couple of pics of the motor/controller versus my old 120v 400A curtis stuff are here, as are motor spec drawing, motor torque voltage curves and Zapi AC controller manual.

(Jerry’s note, click motor image at top of page to see new AC and old DC motor. The rest of these images are also clickable)

My TS Cells are now contained in a false floor battery and insulation layer cake inside the vehicle. They are securely strapped down with that 12mm 300kg breaking strain nylon packing tape, tensioned and crimped, two straps per cell to about 100kg each. I have a full set of crimping, tensioning tools, crimps and miles of tape if anyone wants to borrow it in UK. It was excellent for securing and compressing cells. Fits perefectly into slots in TS cells.

Basically the floor is raised about 6 inches now.

It’s layered as follows:

First layer of foam insulation

1st layer, onto original van metal floor, 25mm Kingspan silvered insulation.

Battery Hold-downs 2nd layer, 9mm plywood sheet drilled and bolted through insulation and metal vehicle floor, drilled and fitted with 12mm strapping before placing in vehicle.

3rd layer, 28×200ah TS Cells laid out as you see, and securely strapped down, with white electric blanket heating wire underneath all cells to keep them warm.

Batteries in and framing in place Note, sides also filled with blocks of Kingspan insulation to make a sealed compartment.

4th layer, sheet of 2mm ultra lightweight compressible foam to seal gaps between edges and top sheet of thermo insulation, and to provide electrical insulation between silvered side of thermo insulation and cells. Well you never know, a loose wire can occur!

Battery box completion5th layer, another sheet of 25mm Kingspan silvered insulation.

6th layer, a sheet of 12mm plywood to provide load flooring, bolted through layers to vehicle metal body.

7th layer, Carpet! Not yet fitted as you see.

I was happy to sacrifice some load space to allow the secure and insulated fitting of the most expensive item, the battery pack!

The under cell mains powered heating is thermostat controlled, and shuts off when cells reach 25C.

I have left provision for forced air ventilation through cells if required, but I will monitor pack temp and see if I actually need to fit this!

The ambient temp is quite low here in Northern England, I don’t envisage overheating will be a major problem.

Pete's Mounted Controller

The underseat electronics compartment is coming along well. It’s still wires all over the place at the moment, but I’m pretty pleased with progress.

Motor mounted with shaft

The AC motor is now in situ underneath the vehicle on a very secure mild steel mounting as you can see.

My ETA of 01/04/06 looks quite acheivable at present.

I will update my website when it’s finally done.


Peter Perkins.

Chilly in the UK!

A few links for interest:

Comments 6
  1. — Rameshwar Fugare    Nov 15, 2006 03:27 AM    #

    Dear Sir,
    I am botany student and currently working in an NGO based at Pune-India. I am so worried about incrase in pollution level all over the world. If we want to decrease it their is only way that is to use lots of solar energy. As i am leaving in Pune & is one in using two wheeler. So that Pune is globble polluted city in the world. I want change this using solar, but How?
    Pls help me.

  2. — James May    Nov 15, 2006 18:12 PM    #

    Hi Ram

    How about starting with an electric scooter Once you get used to this you could think about charging it with a solar PV panels where you live/. In the meantime you can charge it from the mains electricity and be pretty sure that you are reducing pollution over an equivalent petrol scooter

  3. — Michael    Nov 20, 2006 13:01 PM    #

    On the previous page you said,” No perpetual energy in the UK either”. I am wondering did you mean that this is illegal or just uanavailable. There is an interesting documentry on the same subject called “Free Energy the Race toZero Point” You can watch it on Google videos at http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-8943205214784769158&q=free+energy+the+race+to+zero+point&hl=en it is two hours long but worth it.

  4. — FRED BROWN    May 30, 2008 23:00 PM    #

    You must have power brakes to stop all that weight. where can I find a vacuum pump to help me stop my 2900lb Ev?

  5. — Lamberto    Jun 19, 2008 14:23 PM    #

    Hello, nice job! I have a question, what are the advantages of an A/C motor vs a DC motor? Thanks! Lamberto

  6. — krunal shah    Apr 24, 2009 02:23 AM    #

    sir, i m final year syudent of b.e. mechanical & we have builted solar electric vehicle in our project & it will run on 30 to 40 km/hr. sir pls help us how to write our project report. Project report contains abstract, introduction , system used in sev, specification of component, detail description of each component.