joewaters
Posts: 78
Joined: Sat Jun 29, 2013 11:02 pm
Delivery Date: 29 Jun 2013
Leaf Number: 411484
Location: Northwest Illinois

Motorcycle as a range extender

Sun Aug 17, 2014 2:07 pm

I am making a career change and need to transport my Leaf a great distance, more than a thousand miles.
I also need to transport my motorcycle, a cruiser with ~80 hp.
I have priced transport companies, freaked out, and have contemplated a low-cost solution that might work.
I have seen on diyelectriccar.com a member used a vw beetle rear section as a pusher for his (not a Leaf) electric. My situation presents a similar opportunity.
I could simply mount the motorcycle to the receiver and use the motorcycle to push the Leaf. I would connect with remote clutch, throttle, shifter and ignition. I would use solenoids for the clutch and shifter, and a relay for the ignition with a kill switch and breakaway for safety. Most likely I would only use top gear on the bike, and shut it off in town and approaching traffic control devices, for safety.I would use an arduino with bluetooth to an elm327 for throttle position input from car/output to the bike, and speed input to bottom threshold for clutch engagement and ignition on/off.
Travel speed would be 45mph average, my usual speed wherever I go.I average 210 miles on the bike for 5 gals gas, so I could project to drive <250 miles to empty on the bike with the Leaf's ~100 miles w/out bike and heavier weight making the combination run only an additional 150 miles gas power added. This might equate to 50mpg, but I am skeptical, since the car weighs 3800lbs and the bike pushes its own weight of ~650 for 48mpg.
Someone here talk me out of this.

GerryAZ
Gold Member
Posts: 1481
Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2010 6:47 pm
Delivery Date: 12 Jun 2011
Location: Phoenix, AZ

Re: Motorcycle as a range extender

Mon Aug 18, 2014 2:06 am

The LEAF will block cooling air flow to the motorcycle engine and the engine will be working really hard so the engine will overheat. Even if the bike is liquid cooled, the radiator fan is only designed to move enough air for moderate engine load in slow riding knowing that the engine cannot be heavily loaded without the bike moving fast. Also, this would put stresses on the front half of the motorcycle frame and front forks that they may not have been designed to handle.

In your situation, I would ship the LEAF and ride the bike so you are only paying for shipping one vehicle. You could also put the bike and household goods in a U-Haul truck with the LEAF on a trailer behind.

Good Luck,
Gerry
Gerry
Silver LEAF 2011 SL rear ended (totaled) by in-attentive driver 1/4/2015 at 50,422 miles
Silver LEAF 2015 SL purchased 2/7/2015

ericsf
Posts: 358
Joined: Tue Sep 07, 2010 4:33 pm
Delivery Date: 05 Mar 2011
Leaf Number: 0428
Location: San Francisco

Re: Motorcycle as a range extender

Mon Aug 18, 2014 7:25 am

Sounds like a recipe for getting stuck in the middle of nowhere with a dead LEAF and a broken bike. Even if you're able to get the bike to push the LEAF, a 1000 miles is a long way. Chances that something's going to break are way too high. Follow Gerry's last advice: rent a U-Haul and a trailer.
SL w/ QC (3/5/2011) - 11bars on 1/23/2014 @ 54k miles - 10 on 12/23/2014 @ 73k - 9 on 10/5/2015 @ 85k - 8 on 7/3/2016 @ 96k

garsh
Posts: 1078
Joined: Sat Feb 12, 2011 5:27 am
Delivery Date: 05 Apr 2012
Location: Pittsburgh PA

Re: Motorcycle as a range extender

Mon Aug 18, 2014 8:01 am

Yes, U-Haul w. trailer.

HOWEVER, I must admit that I'd really like to see you do this hack. It sounds like way too much work, and way too much can (and will) go wrong, but it sounds like an awesome project. :)
2012 Black SV w. G35 wheels, 8 bars, 86,000 miles

donald
Posts: 917
Joined: Mon Jul 29, 2013 12:45 pm
Delivery Date: 29 Jul 2013

Re: Motorcycle as a range extender

Mon Aug 18, 2014 9:58 am

joewaters wrote:I could simply mount the motorcycle to the receiver and use the motorcycle to push the Leaf.
It'd be hilarious to see you try. Let us know the youtube clip url!

Seriously, though, it is a non-starter. The bike clutch will fail. It is designed to get a few 100 kg going and then to be locked up. With 2 tonnes, you'll be slipping the clutch for ages and it will burn out before you get on to open roads.

minispeed
Posts: 681
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2014 4:52 am
Delivery Date: 15 Jul 2014
Location: Ancaster, ON

Re: Motorcycle as a range extender

Mon Aug 18, 2014 11:41 am

I think if you did it, and did it well the time you spent and the cost of materials you'd look back and say you should have rented a u haul with a dolly, however it would be AWSOME!

You would probably have to make a special mount to a hitch so that the bike was bolted directly to the hitch from the frame and that the rear suspension still functioned and provided traction, not pushing through the front wheel, and you could easily solve the clutch problem by using electricity for all start stop then putting the leaf in neutral and only engaging the bike after you are at full speed, then use the leaf in drive with the bike still going for any up hill portions. Save the battery as much as possible and use gas as much as you can. You could also fabricate an air duct system to cool the bike.

While you're at it you could enclose the whole thing in a boat tail and decrease your drag to help the bike.... but after all that the second you drive by a u haul truck, and you will on a 1000mile trip, you'll say damn that would have been so easy.
2015 White SV, after one month 292 GIDS
Best 1 charge drive, 229km (143miles)

User avatar
EVDRIVER
Posts: 5884
Joined: Sat Apr 24, 2010 7:51 am

Re: Motorcycle as a range extender

Mon Aug 18, 2014 12:23 pm

Forest............................Trees.

donald
Posts: 917
Joined: Mon Jul 29, 2013 12:45 pm
Delivery Date: 29 Jul 2013

Re: Motorcycle as a range extender

Mon Aug 18, 2014 12:25 pm

:lol:


.. more Forest Gump? ;)

joewaters
Posts: 78
Joined: Sat Jun 29, 2013 11:02 pm
Delivery Date: 29 Jun 2013
Leaf Number: 411484
Location: Northwest Illinois

Re: Motorcycle as a range extender

Mon Aug 18, 2014 8:34 pm

I'm so glad I have you guys to point out the flaws in my plan.
I never considered the heat buildup from blocked airflow. One issue I would have to address.
Starting out on the bike's power was a non-starter in my book because of the torque requirement and I had planned to power it supplemental to the Leaf, not in full on the bike.
Frame/fork stress was brought into my mind, but I had intended to use stabilizer struts and limit straps on the forks to overcome this. I have seen tire to tire burnout battles where 100+hp bikes pushed against the forks with more force than I predict here, but time is a factor to multiply damage. The load on the rear tire from just the weight of the bike will give adequate traction at my prescribed speeds.
Fabrication costs would be minimal, as I have machine shop access from friends, as well as sage advise against it.
From my engineering standpoint, stress on the bike powertrain will be the biggest issue blocking me. I think the car would handle this configuration quite well.
The one issue I really expected brought up from someone was legality.
I have decided that a u-haul will be the prime choice, but it still dwells in my mind that this is do-able. I counted up all the items that I really want to take with me, and as much as I want to be a minimalist in this move, it's a simple matter of redneck physics vs. real world demands.
On that note, but not within my time constraints, I had also formulated a plan to tow my utility trailer loaded with my 230lb 7.5k genset, and the 650lb bike adding up to just under 1100 lbs, and charge from the genset in remote locations. However, doing the math, charge times from driving conditions of 4.5 m/kwh would take 70 hours charging at 6kw and that doesn't account for the added load of the trailer. I could spend a lot of time on the side of the road like that. Maybe more if the genset breaks down.
For the guys out there cheering for this, I'm sorry. I surrender my redneck card. Couldn't do it.
For the naysayers, thank you, you pretty much guaranteed my safety and sanity in this move. I respect you.
I can afford any of the reasonable methods of transport to get my toys to their new home, but I was looking for an excuse for adventure. And I'm a miser.

johnrhansen
Posts: 1100
Joined: Mon Aug 12, 2013 7:23 pm
Delivery Date: 15 Jun 2013
Leaf Number: 409445
Location: Seattle, WA

Re: Motorcycle as a range extender

Mon Aug 18, 2014 9:30 pm

It seems like a lot of time to do something only one time. I was thinking of a similar thing, a self propelled 20 hp trailer directly coupled to a motorcycle wheel through a clutch, or just have the wheel come down and take the weight off the trailers wheels. I was going to use it on my occasional road trips. I have decided not to. just way too much work. I know it would work, I've done all the calculations... I don't think I could ever sell something like that because I don't think the authorities would ever buy into a trailer having an engine of any kind on it as the legal definition of a trailer in Washington is

"Trailer" includes every vehicle without motive power designed for being drawn by or used in conjunction with a motor vehicle constructed so that no appreciable part of its weight rests upon or is carried by such motor vehicle, but does not include a municipal transit vehicle, or any portion thereof.

the without motive power thing kind of blows that idea away.... So if I can't sell it.. it's just too much work for too little reward. I ordered a elio instead.. I think I'll be money ahead when I factor in the value of my time.
2013 S model with quick charge package.
AV 30 amp level 2 EVSE, Bosch PowerMax 30 Amp EVSE, EVSE upgraded EVSE.

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