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Hardware Hacking Japan Transportation Science Technology

A Build-It-Yourself Electric Vehicle 84

Posted by Soulskill
from the don't-screw-it-up dept.
Taco Cowboy writes "Here's yet another exciting project for DIY geeks. Modi-Corp, a Japanese company, has just unveiled a new electric car that you can actually build yourself. Not to be confused with the Toyota 'Prius,' the DIY electric car from Modi-Corp is called 'PIUS.' It's a single-seat electric car that will be released next spring in Japan. The company hopes that the PIUS kits can be used as educational tools, expecting to sell them to universities and mechanical schools with the opportunity to have customizable parts embedded in the EV for testing."
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A Build-It-Yourself Electric Vehicle

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  • by FatLittleMonkey (1341387) on Saturday July 14, 2012 @11:22PM (#40653069)

    Seriously? They didn't think to run that past a single english speaker? Or South Park fan?

    • Oh it's a toy! Never mind.

      • by JWSmythe (446288)

        Ya. {sigh} I was really expecting more from the story. I forgot, Slashdot is running more Slashvertisments than news lately...

        I've never driven a go-kart with a skin like that though. Then again, I'm an adult, and I probably wouldn't fit in it. Too bad their whole spec sheet is an image. I'd like to run it through a translator to see how pathetic the rest is.

        Any volunteers who read Japanese who can translate it?

        • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

          by BlueStrat (756137)

          I've never driven a go-kart with a skin like that though. Then again, I'm an adult, and I probably wouldn't fit in it. Too bad their whole spec sheet is an image. I'd like to run it through a translator to see how pathetic the rest is.

          Any volunteers who read Japanese who can translate it?

          Yes, of course.

          Basically, it says; "If Solyndra can get $500M for smoke & mirrors, we'll all be able to retire to Tahiti with more money than Bill Gates after Obama's DoE/EPA makes this the only vehicle legally allowed to be sold in the US!"

          I'm sorry to say, however, that the 24-hr cable news daytime staple filler of car chases will become very boring. Especially when a 6-yo on his Big Wheel performs the PIT maneuver to stop the fleeing criminals.

          HTH

          Strat

          • by BlueStrat (756137)

            I've never driven a go-kart with a skin like that though. Then again, I'm an adult, and I probably wouldn't fit in it. Too bad their whole spec sheet is an image. I'd like to run it through a translator to see how pathetic the rest is.

            Any volunteers who read Japanese who can translate it?

            Yes, of course.

            Basically, it says; "If Solyndra can get $500M for smoke & mirrors, we'll all be able to retire to Tahiti with more money than Bill Gates after Obama's DoE/EPA makes this the only vehicle legally allowed to be sold in the US!"

            I'm sorry to say, however, that the 24-hr cable news daytime staple filler of car chases will become very boring. Especially when a 6-yo on his Big Wheel performs the PIT maneuver to stop the fleeing criminals.

            HTH

            Strat

            Modded "Flamebait"?

            I'm shocked!

            I didn't know ther

            • by tragedy (27079)

              I'm pretty shocked that you're shocked you were modded flamebait. You certainly couldn't have expected an Informative mod. Offtopic might have been a fit. Maybe you could have gotten a Funny, but it just wasn't that funny.

          • makes this the only vehicle legally allowed to be sold in the US!

            Just because the vehicle will never be sold in the USA doesn't mean it's not interesting. Billions of people live elsewhere in the world and drive vehicles unavailable in the good ol' USA. Many of them also pay a lot more for energy than Americans do, relative to their incomes, so alternate vehicles are of interest.

        • I'm all for bashing Slashvertisment, but it's hard to call this that when it's a) Japan only, b) not yet released or priced, and c) of little commercial interest in the rest of the world.

          Irrelevant, yes. Slashvertisment, not this time.

          • by JWSmythe (446288)

            They've run plenty in the past, where they are planning to release a product. One of the pages is to contact them for more information. That was the only one in text that I could push through Google Translate. So they can't sell quite yet, but they probably want pre-sales and investors.

            Don't forget, there is a Japanese Slashdot [slashdot.jp] site. Apparently the search there sucks just as bad as the English version. Google found a reference to the Pius, but not I can't find it through

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by vmlemon (1203598)
          I've established from reading the Katakana text that it has a double-wishbone suspension with rigid axles, and disk brakes. It also has a 1500mm wheelbase; a 0.6 kW electric motor; and a 36 Volts, 38 Ah battery. Its tyre size is 3.00-10; the "FR tread" is 1130mm, and the "RR tread" is 920mm. It also seats 1 person, and weighs 200kg.

          I couldn't understand much more of the Kanji-heavy text.
      • by kheldan (1460303)

        ..electric range of 15 miles and a top speed of 21 mph

        Yeah, it's a toy. As it sits there's no real practical use for something that a really fit cyclist could outrun and outdistance.

    • This is no more a DIY EV than Lego Mindstorms is autonomous robotics. It's a one size fits all kit and the fit at 15 miles and 21 mph is pretty lousy. It might be a fun toy if priced at under $500, but where's the educational value? I'd guess it uses rudimentary components (simple DC motor, rheostat, lead-acid batteries). You could get the same education building an electric RC car, plane, or boat.
  • Cause I built those back when I was 12 using a starter motor from a truck.
  • http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=430108543679549&set=a.430108540346216.103930.164801466876926&type=1&theater [facebook.com] 38 miles on 28 pounds of lithium iron magnesium phosphate batteries in 70 minutes. Not bad...
  • Ariel Atom? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by aaronb1138 (2035478) on Sunday July 15, 2012 @12:10AM (#40653239)

    Specs are 15 mile range and 21 MPH top speed. So we're not talking about a kit car, but a low end electric go kart. Seriously, the environment would be much better served if you went with an Ariel Atom since you're going to be killing the efficiency of everyone behind you or the inevitable towing when it only goes 13 miles on a charge after 6 months. I assure you, you will be much cooler and have a lot more fun to boot.

    • Re:Ariel Atom? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by GrahamCox (741991) on Sunday July 15, 2012 @04:24AM (#40654155) Homepage
      I was amazed it's performance is that poor.

      I've been designing a home-build EV myself and in some respects it's similar: a 4-wheeled, single-seat space-framed vehicle with a lightweight non-structural aero body wrapping around it. But there the similarity ends. Mine weights 200kg, has a top speed of 130 km/hr, will do 0-100km/hr in 4 seconds, runs at its top speed for 1 hour which gives it a range of 130km at worst, much more if driven sensibly and legally. I only need 15kW motor power and 15kW/hr of LiFePo batteries. Then again it's primarily intended as a fun track car, not a commuter.

      I just don't think they're trying very hard. And it's ugly too - they need a western stylist to fix that.
      • by tp1024 (2409684)

        The similarity ends right *after* the weight. This kit car also weighs 200kg. The engine is 600W and battery is a 1kWh affair (nominal - 36V, 38Ah).

        The problem seems to be that everyone is using car technology to build electric vehicles - when you should in fact think of it as a 4-wheeled e-bike with minimum weight. I see no reason why, given the performance, such a kit car should weigh any more than 40-60kg (minus the batteries and driving).

        • by tp1024 (2409684)

          Driver, not driving ...

        • by dr2chase (653338)

          It's car-think, period. A 600 watt motor is an absurd amount of power. A streamlined tricycle (Sinner Mango, something like that) happily cruises at 25mph under human power. Me-on-a-cargo-bicycle exceeds both top speed and range of this joke

      • Cost? I'd buy one from you if I had the cash.
  • Ever try to fix electrical problems on a car? Nasty, way tougher to track down than mechanical problems.

    I just hope they're equipped with adequate diagnostic systems to mitigate the challenge, but that will push up the cost.

    But I suspect electric cars will preclude "home mechanics" more/less entirely.

    • Ever try to fix electrical problems on a car?

      Post 1973? Too complicated!

      • by aaronb1138 (2035478) on Sunday July 15, 2012 @02:02AM (#40653619)

        So much THIS.

        Mid 60's cars are the best electrical systems to work on. Though, I do tend to prefer to throw on the one wire HEI distributor and single wire internally regulated alternator from later years for even greater ease. Not to mention, inside all three or so wire connectors you have for lights, what do we have, regular, industry standard size spade terminals. Just so easy.

        One of the top issues in the used car market isn't that cars aren't lasting mechanically. Many are mechanically good for 15+ years with minimal maintenance. Most issues I am running into are burned out electrical parts and bad wires. This is especially frustrating because the bad wiring issues are due to poor insulation quality, yet stuff 40 years old are still soft, pliable and without cracks. Same issue since the automotive industry jumped on lead-free solder. It's less the complexity and more the construction quality that has made ECU's a huge cash cow in the 5-8 year old car market. And here is another hint: a hall effect or other inductive pickup (Cam / Crank sensors) which is internally solid state by nature, should be UNBREAKABLE. If a solid hunk of plastic with x number of turns of insulated copper magnet wire wound around a soft ferrite core burns out, somebody either designed or built something WRONG.

    • by _merlin (160982)

      They said that about fuel injection, ABS, electronic ignition, etc. It just requires a different set of skills.

    • by couchslug (175151)

      "Ever try to fix electrical problems on a car? Nasty, way tougher to track down than mechanical problems. "

      Sometimes, but OBD for an EV poses no particular challenges. Modern autos don't preclude home mechanics, and I'd rather deal with them than hassle with carbs and points of ancient times.

      Modern ICE vehicles are far more complex than a pure EV.

      A multimeter, a test light, a code reader, and salvage parts to play "swaptronics" solve most problems.

  • I can ride my bike faster. And I'll be able to smoke it dead when I upgrade to this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZzvtY5TzqKQ [youtube.com]

  • An electric go-kart. Whoopee.

    I'not an employee of RQ Riley, but they've been selling plans for DIY cars for ages, including options for electric propulsion. Some cool shit, especially the hybrid Diesel DIY car that reputedly gets 225 mpg.
  • "15 mile range and 21 MPH top speed"

    Runs for 43 minutes at top speed; AND it can go 300 city blocks; how impressive. I just might need to put that bicycle away.

  • How can a 4 wheel vehicle with a steering wheel be classed as a motorized bicycle in ANY country? It makes no sense whatsoever.

    • The same way 3 wheeled cars in the UK (like the Morgan) were classified as motorcycles - for tax purposes.
      • by fnj (64210)

        Three wheels makes sense described thus. There are a fair number of outright 3 wheel motorcycles. Four wheels described thus, the wheels positioned exactly like on a car, on a vehicle that looks very much like a car, makes no sense. The only 4 wheel motorcycles I have ever seen have been open air, steered by handlebars, with a ridiculously close spacing of the tires on each end, and could NEVER be mistaken as cars, while this thing is obviously trying very hard to look and operate like a very small car.

        P.S.

    • I see we have no experience with laws. "Makes no sense whatsoever" is the typical outcome. All that matters is finding a qualification that allows you to sell your product, somehow. Please excuse yourself from any further discussions on topics like these, and refrain from offering uninformed opinions.
  • 21mph? Not exactly practical.

    See http://teamtrev.com/ [teamtrev.com] :

    http://teamtrev.com/about/ [teamtrev.com]

    Trev, the idea

    Using tonnes of noisy, complicated machinery to move one or two people comfortably and safely around a city is crazy. The same task can be done using much less energy in a lightweight electric vehicle. Powered by renewable energy, mobility becomes entirely emission free. (more)

    Trev, the car

    With that idea in mind, some clever folks at the University of South Australia created a lightweight and beautiful car whic

  • Given the range and speed I don't see the point. There are companies that will convert your old used cars for 10K to an electric that gets more miles per charge and does freeway speed. With a little research you can build one yourself for less than that including buying the used car. It's a toy not a car.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    A guy built his own electric pickup truck and documented the process well enough that others could duplicate his work.

    The vehicle has a range of better than 40 miles and can travel at highway speeds. If gasoline and other fuels became very expensive, such a vehicle would be attractive.

    http://www.evprogress.org/ [evprogress.org]

    I was seriously considering converting a pickup truck. Then I found out about shale gas. If, for some reason, gasoline became very expensive, almost any vehicle could be converted to run on natural

    • That man always has his money invested where is mouth is. He puts forward a good pitch but one should expect that given his background... Question is, does he mean what he says (many biz guys are great at BS) or is he simply doing a good sell of his personal kind of green-washing? Given some of his past moves, he might be sincere but he can't help but make money (old habits) on his position and this undermines his creditability. Because he is not a "liberal" or environmentalist he doesn't get attacked lik

  • Build a Pius! Because you are geeeat!

  • http://www.rqriley.com/xr3.htm [rqriley.com]

    Older designs such as his trimagnum go back years

    They should strive to do something new or better or just license his

  • NY resident here. I have to think it is not legal to drive this thing anywhere but on private property. I don't think NY even allows electric bicycles (perhaps there is an exception for New York City). Could someone in the know clarify? Pretty sure any four-wheeled thing is NOT considered a bicycle. Three wheels and you can claim motorcycle status, but not four. Also 21mph is not fast enough. This is a toy. The main function of vehicles like this is to make the mainstream manufacturers look bad. An
    • by ErikZ (55491) *

      Says something about NY where your first thought is "Am I allowed to do that?"

      These guys would know the laws, they're based in NY.

      http://www.nycewheels.com/ [nycewheels.com]

    • by MickLinux (579158)

      My memory is that there is a federal law defining as a bicycle anything that pedalling will propel, and no more than three wheels, no more than 3/4 hp, electric assist, and motor only tops out at 25 mph.

  • I expected more slashdot.
    This is as bad as Apple claiming to have invented rounded corners (sorry couldn't resist that cheap shot)

    Seriously a hobbyist/ university is much more likely to experiment with the EXISTING superior alternatives.

    Many electric options exist for kit cars.
    Many dozens more exist for retrofitting existing cars with electric motors (the most popular being the VW Beetle from what I have seen)

    And the upside of working with these solutions is that they are FAR more likely to be passed as roa

  • Seriously, what's the point of making a car if it doesn't have some kind of canopy to protect from the weather (even a convertable), and its crash-worthiness is that of a go-kart? Might as well make a trike out of it.

  • by Polo (30659) *

    Shriners. that is all.

Take care of the luxuries and the necessities will take care of themselves. -- Lazarus Long

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