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  1. #1
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    electric tricycle?

    hey everyone.. i was with my parents recently, and theyve been complaining about the price of gas and was thinking about getting something more suitable for driving to the store, doctors, around town, etc... they were thinking of an adult tricycle, but theyre getting there in age.. so i was considering buying one for them and converting it to electric

    question is... about how many watts am i looking at using?.. obviously itll be easier to power the front wheel than the rear, so i was curious as to whether or not a 48v 1000w motor would do the trick, or if im going to need 1500w

    my goal is to get as close to 30mph as possible with atleast a 20 mile range

  2. #2
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    Welcome Jason,

    You say "parents" so I assume you mean both mom and dad.....Correct? Are you thinking of 2 trics or one? Or my personal favorit a tandum tric? Have you ever done 30 MPH on a bike? While there are many people doing much faster then 30 I'm guessing it would scare the stuffing out of mom & pop. While I've not ridden a tric I've read they can be very tricky to control at speeds above say 15 MPH. But there is a guy that has a Workman Tric and he rides at 22+ and would likely go faster if not for motor limitations. In any case you can never have to much power just have to control it.

    Here's a link to a tandum tric that can be bought with a hub motor installed. I was actually considering this for my wife and I. But without the motor. I have no idea of it's quality though. But Workman bike also makes one as well as a third company I found but I don't have the link anymore.

    Bob

    http://www.belizebike.com/english/TwinTri-Rider.html

  3. #3
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    You do NOT want to go above 20mph on a trike... It's wayyy to dangerous...

    Even a 36v 750w (36v 20a controller), will absolutely give you 20mph even on a front wheel... Figure ~1.5 miles per Ah battery.. (eg 15ah=21 miles, 20Ah=30 miles, etc)

  4. #4
    Senior Member rscamp's Avatar
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    You DON'T want to go above 20mph on this type of trike.
    http://www.belizebike.com/english/TwinTri-Rider.html

    You DO want to go above 20mph on this type of trike.
    http://www.icetrikes.co/explore-our-trikes/vortex

    Rob

  5. #5
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    Ok, let me rephrase..
    You don't want to go fast on a tricycle..
    You can go fast on a recumbent..
    Pedant.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sangesf View Post
    Ok, let me rephrase..
    You don't want to go fast on a tricycle..
    You can go fast on a recumbent..
    Pedant.
    Agreed......

  7. #7
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    I have a trike that I use just for the purpose the OP mentioned. It's a 3 speed trike that I pedal and supplement with an 800 watt, 48 volt motor. Itwill do about 25 mph but I do that only when streets are clear and smooth. Most of the time I go 12-15 mph while pedaling.
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    Last edited by jayhawk12; 02-27-12 at 08:28 PM.

  8. #8
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    well, i guess even 20mph is better than peddling, and it would just be a single seater..

    something with a backrest would be nice.. but some of the recumbents ive seen didnt look very appealing, something of the style of a standard tricycle with the recumbent seat would be fine.. and i guess i would go with a 1000w motor then, just for the sake of them using this for things like getting groceries, which means it would have to carry weight, so that extra juice would help

    so i guess i could buy said trike, purchase a 1000w hub motor, controller, batteries, and reuse the front rim with new spokes for the hub....

    actually, im pretty good at fabricating with metal, if i could find a good recumbant design that offered stability, comfort, and a place for a few bags of groceries, i could just build it myself

    one last question... are these typically regulated as any type of motor vehicle, or can they be driven without a motorcycle license?

  9. #9
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    The feds along with most states say an ebike (defind with 2 or 3 wheels) is considered and regulated the same as a common bicycle. So any and all laws pertaining to a bicycle would also pertain to your tric build. The only differece is legal power max and speed. While the law veries slightly from location to location (in the US) the fed regs say the bike can not exceed 750w (1 HP) and can not exceed 20MPH on flat ground while under motor power alone. I am not saying you can or shouldn't have a larger motor nor not to go faster. But you may want to remove any watage tags from the motor if over 750w. And tell them to peddle like craze if they go over 20MPH and see a cop....LOL

    One thing you should consider is theft protection. Bikes and even trics are easy to steel. Especially the battery packs. So keep this in mind while putting everything together. Ment of the higher end trics offer options like motor kits and seat back rests. Here's a link to another forum and a guy that has a Workman tric that he uses to carry people from place to place (bar to bar). Check it out it's pretty cool and should also give you some great ideas.

    Bob

    http://endless-sphere.com/forums/vie...p?f=28&t=15456

  10. #10
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    heh.. imagine that.. in a state with one of the highest taxes, and highest cost of fuel has completely banned any and all electric bicycles... glad i learned that now and its just one more reason im leaving here as soon as im able to

  11. #11
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    ive come up with a different idea i think im going to go... make one for myself too, that idea is buy a snowmobile that doesnt run, remove its skis, track, engine, and transmission, replace the track with a motorcycle swingarm and rear tire, replace the skis with wheels, add turn signals, tail light, an etek motor controller and batteries, and have myself an electric reverse trike made from a snowmobile (it would look very much like a can-am spyder) which will give me the stability and power i need to not just go 30 in the city, but 60+ out of the city, and if theres enough room with a reduced battery pack i could toss in a briggs and stratton engine to extend the range..

    calculating the cost of electricity, the kilowatt hours it takes to travel a mile against the cost of gasoline per gallon, and how many miles thatll get me at highway fuel economy ive calculated this reverse trike would have the fuel economy equivelant of 200mpg

  12. #12
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    I though this was for "The Rents"... Now it's for you?
    Lol

  13. #13
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    yeah.. this ones for me... turning a snowmobile into a motorcycle alone is a project not too many people take on, converting it to electric, maybe a lawnmower engine, theres a lot going into it... i wouldnt mind something great on gas for myself, so yeah, the snowmobile idea will be for myself

    ive learned that the electric bikes are illegal here because they lack the required gear for on-road use, such as headlight, taillight, turn signals, etc, so im actually going to contact my local DMV and see if i can perhaps install these items onto a 3 wheel bicycle and get it registered as a moped which im hoping i can do... id like to stay away from having to weld anything together such as a frame, because im sure youd feel pretty crappy if one of your parents got injured if a weld broke

    but.. if i cant register one of those as a moped with the equipment installed, i could probably buy a moped that doesnt run for roughly $50, convert that to a trike, and overall weight wouldnt be much more than an ebike trike and would get me past these laws

    do y'all think a moped trike is safe at 30mph? considering thats the top speed on a lot of gasoline mopeds?

  14. #14
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    Sounds like you are looking to make motorcycles for your parents (since you imply they wouldn't want to pedal) and yourself. Where do you live that you can't use electric bicycles? If you are still interested in electric assist bicycles to make yourself, check out Atomic Zombie. They have lots of different designs and inexpensive and well written plans.

  15. #15
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    well, my only options are to get it registered as a moped, which might actually be doable, theres a guy around town with something similar, which gave my parents the idea... knowing ebikes are illegal i noticed his did in fact have turn signals, mirrors, headlight, brake lights... so theres probably a loophole equipting it and registering it as a moped and thus abiding by the moped laws... if not, would converting a pre-existing moped be any more difficult, or heavier? probably not enough to worry about..

    for myself, the converted snowmobile will probably have a small 20hp motor in it as well so i can use that for myself on road trips... sort of a plugin hybrid snowmobile with wheels.. for this ill probably just use an etek motor though, that should be sufficient

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