Would you convert a classic Vespa to electric?
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Member
VBB
Joined: 25 Jan 2010
Posts: 34
Location: Sydney, Australia
Mon Aug 16, 2010 2:10 am quote
Just curious what people think about converting a classic Vespa scooter to electric. I've been converting one for the past year or so and have been thinking that there might be a lot of people who love them the way they are and think that this is sacrilege. Anyway would be interested in your opinions.

Cheers,
Andrew
Veni, Vidi, Posti
a not so normal vbb2 '64, a weirdo vbx '86 and a not so normal pts100 '82
Joined: 15 Jun 2009
Posts: 5290
Location: Indo
Mon Aug 16, 2010 2:45 am quote
pics pics
Hooked
78 P200 05 PX150
Joined: 06 Jul 2010
Posts: 214
Location: Fort Collins, CO
Mon Aug 16, 2010 5:35 am quote
Just saw this the other day. I didn't see anything on their website. Maybe someone who speaks German can get more details.

Worb5 Electric PX

Chuck
Molto Verboso
1974 Vespa Sprint Veloce, 1963 VBB 180 Custom
Joined: 10 Oct 2009
Posts: 1380
Location: Dallas, TX
Mon Aug 16, 2010 6:33 am quote
just buy this kit. I think it's a bolt on, plug and play swap.

http://soundspeedscooters.com/electric_vespa_conversion
Member
Joined: 21 Aug 2010
Posts: 40
Location: New York State
Sat Aug 21, 2010 2:08 pm quote
This post has been removed

Last edited by dancinonwater22 on Mon Aug 24, 2015 10:23 pm; edited 1 time in total
Ossessionato
1964 GS 160 MK II, 1967 Vespa GT, 1968 SS180, 1964 Vespa GL, 1964 Vespa VBB, 2006 Buddy 125, 2013 BMW C650GT
Joined: 07 Apr 2008
Posts: 2902
Location: Boca Raton, Florida
Sat Aug 21, 2010 3:22 pm quote
NO!
Enthusiast
et3 & primavera
Joined: 18 Jun 2010
Posts: 63
Location: cambridge MA
Sat Aug 21, 2010 3:35 pm quote
Don't do it Electric vehicles are crappy
Ossessionato
1970 Vespa Rally 180
Joined: 04 Dec 2008
Posts: 4144
Location: Denton Tx.
Sat Aug 21, 2010 7:03 pm quote
if the guy wants to do something to his own scooter thats his deal. save a vespa sure, but saying what can and cant be done is childish.

i would support any use of vintage steel to continue to have a usefulness in this world of buy,use,trash. you have to crack an egg to make an omelet.
Molto Verboso
'66 Sears Allstate 788.94370 '65 Vespa V9A1T
Joined: 20 Oct 2008
Posts: 1236
Location: Roseville, MI
Sat Aug 21, 2010 7:13 pm quote
unless it is an SS90 or an SS180, i have no problem with converting a vintage vespa to electric or a 4 stroke or a spaceship.
Moderibbit
1980 P200E - "Old Rusty", 1976 ET3 Primavera
Joined: 12 Jun 2008
Posts: 8119
Location: Atlanta, GA
Sat Aug 21, 2010 7:14 pm quote
smallstate wrote:
i have no problem with converting a vintage vespa to ... a spaceship.
Once my ET2 becomes "vintage" I'm so making it into a space ship. Those Jetsons lines need to be put to work
Ossessionato
Several - see sig
Joined: 17 Oct 2005
Posts: 3030
Location: Avon, Ohio (25 miles west of Cleveland)
Sat Aug 21, 2010 7:23 pm quote
This sounds like a great idea! I can't wait to yank that stinky, oily motor out of my SS180 and take it to the scrap yard to be melted down.

I assume the electric motor fits where the gas one is now. But where do I store the cord? Is there a self retracting extension cord that goes where my spare tire is supposed to be? What happens when I need to go farther than the length of the extension cord?

Can I put a pet carrier where the gas tank is now?









Veni, Vidi, Posti
px200 cutdown,px180,px150. Puch SR. Puch scooterette
Joined: 08 Apr 2009
Posts: 5109
Location: west aus
Sat Aug 21, 2010 9:17 pm quote
it is a nice looking bike

i wouldnt do it

would be fun to hoover around on though
Ossessionato
1964 GS 160 MK II, 1967 Vespa GT, 1968 SS180, 1964 Vespa GL, 1964 Vespa VBB, 2006 Buddy 125, 2013 BMW C650GT
Joined: 07 Apr 2008
Posts: 2902
Location: Boca Raton, Florida
Sun Aug 22, 2010 4:28 am quote
jamesjohn wrote:
if the guy wants to do something to his own scooter thats his deal. save a vespa sure, but saying what can and cant be done is childish.
Dude...the threat is titled Would you convert a classic Vespa to electric? That is asking a question of the respondent. The OP is soliciting opinions.

would I convert a classic Vespa to electric?

HELL NO!


And really...what kind of responses do you expect in a vintage/classic forum?
Molto Verboso
'66 Sears Allstate 788.94370 '65 Vespa V9A1T
Joined: 20 Oct 2008
Posts: 1236
Location: Roseville, MI
Sun Aug 22, 2010 6:18 am quote
i guess the way i see it, is that if you are going to convert any scooter to electric vintage is better. better because if you have to look at something every day, it should be vintage. vintage scooters are just plain better looking. vespas are not so scarce that i would have any issue with it. an SS90 or an SS180 would be a huge waste, but a VNB or something like that... why not?
Ossessionato
GTS 300 70th Anniversary
Joined: 04 Aug 2009
Posts: 3242
Location: Bromsgrove, UK
Sun Aug 22, 2010 6:42 am quote
In my opinion, a proper Classic (as in rare and desirable) Vespa shouldn't be converted to electric if it can be preserved.

Fortunately not all vintage Vespas are Classics so if you have the time and ability to convert one to electric then why not?

I'd love to see the end result.
Enthusiast
2006 GT200L,1962 vbb, 1964 vnb 1965 allstate 2004 stella 2004 road king
Joined: 21 Apr 2010
Posts: 84
Location: Long Island NY
Sun Aug 22, 2010 9:58 am quote
How about converting to a modern vespa engine
Has anyone ever heard of an old 1960s vespa converted to a modern vespa engine?
Molto Verboso
79 P200e, 81 100 Sport
Joined: 23 Sep 2006
Posts: 1443
Location: Iowa
Sun Aug 22, 2010 10:04 am quote
I would do this, and I have.




But I'm not going to tell you how I did it...
Enthusiast
2006 GT200L,1962 vbb, 1964 vnb 1965 allstate 2004 stella 2004 road king
Joined: 21 Apr 2010
Posts: 84
Location: Long Island NY
Sun Aug 22, 2010 10:24 am quote
why not?...lol
Veni, Vidi, Posti
T5s
Joined: 19 Feb 2009
Posts: 16984
Location: The West Of Yorkshire ... Gods Country
Sun Aug 22, 2010 10:33 am quote
basmati rice
theres probably more t5 lumps in older scoots like the gs over here than in actual t5s
Veni, Vidi, Posti
a not so normal vbb2 '64, a weirdo vbx '86 and a not so normal pts100 '82
Joined: 15 Jun 2009
Posts: 5290
Location: Indo
Mon Aug 23, 2010 6:54 pm quote
here's a converted but aint electric and still have 2 stroke smell
http://www.modernvespa.com/forum/topic43873?highlight=insane
Hooked
Vespa
Joined: 10 Oct 2009
Posts: 140
Location: Up north
Tue Aug 24, 2010 12:52 am quote
Something that would be cool, would be to make a sort of hybrid. Not because you want to reduce emissions, but because you want the added power and torque that an electric motor would give you.

A 5-10 hp electric motor in the front hub, coupled with a tuned p200 lump at the rear wheel. Thats really going be quick off the line.

Add some batteries in the front glovebox and sort out if you want the p200 motor to charge the batteries (you need a way more powerfull stator), or you charge it from a power outlet. You'd need to sync the throttle, and figure out a way to limit the initial torque from the electric motor or the front wheel will start spinning right away..

Now that would be cool.


I tested a Vectrix once and was amazed at how small that rear hub motor was. If I remember correct, that thing put out a little under 30 hp, and it sat in the hub of a 12 or 13" rear wheel.
Member
Joined: 21 Aug 2010
Posts: 40
Location: New York State
Tue Aug 24, 2010 10:59 am quote
This post has been removed

Last edited by dancinonwater22 on Mon Aug 24, 2015 10:23 pm; edited 1 time in total
Moderibbit
1980 P200E - "Old Rusty", 1976 ET3 Primavera
Joined: 12 Jun 2008
Posts: 8119
Location: Atlanta, GA
Tue Aug 24, 2010 11:20 am quote
I think with regards to vintage scooters, beyond a love of their looks is a love of the sound, the smell, the shifting, and the ability to tinker with the engine.

Electric scooters are nearly silent, odor free, I have yet to see a manual transmission setup like one enjoys on a vintage, and you can't get all greasy trying to keep it alive and squeak more power out of its engine. They have none of the qualities which draw stinky old 2T vintage nuts except the shell of the body. For me the satisfaction of keeping an old scooter on the road isn't about keeping the frame on the road. It's about keeping the engine running... the historic machine on the road.

Electric scooters may be the future. They may be better for the environment. If you are electrically inclined, they will be a fun project to make. Indeed there are tons of pros.

It's not all about the numbers on a sheet or emissions. It's about visceral emotions. People like what they like. Same reason you see resistance to 4Ts in this crowd. It doesn't always make sense. But it doesn't have to. It's just what they like.


All of that said, I think it's a fun idea you have. And electric scooters WILL suck without innovation and drive to make something usable like you have. It will never be practical to leave town on an electric vehicle without people like you in the industry. Good electric vehicles people want will result in the filling out of the infrastructure necessary to make them practical on the road. Kudos and good luck.

Taking what I said above, it's important to remember that even though electric scooters tend to have nothing in common with vintage 2Ts (except potentially the body in your case), it doesn't mean there aren't people who will prefer your machine to the former, or people who will love both. I don't have the money to buy or build one, but I won't discount myself being in that last crowd... I love gadgets!
Molto Verboso
PX200E X 2
Joined: 08 Nov 2006
Posts: 1934
Location: Lake Monticello
Tue Aug 24, 2010 7:01 pm quote
no way
Veni, Vidi, Posti
a not so normal vbb2 '64, a weirdo vbx '86 and a not so normal pts100 '82
Joined: 15 Jun 2009
Posts: 5290
Location: Indo
Tue Aug 24, 2010 8:46 pm quote
i am a smoke god
before forget, my answer is no

ekhem for truth, call me silly but i addict to 2 stroke smoke the smell the smoke i dont need bigger power nor bigger torque i just want my vintage vespa stay vintage (in other word let it smoke)

ps: i even put 5% to all my vespa so i know for sure it will smoke
Member
VBB
Joined: 25 Jan 2010
Posts: 34
Location: Sydney, Australia
Wed Sep 01, 2010 7:37 am quote
Wow I'm completely blown away by all the comments! I forgot I had posted on this forum and only just dropped back in. This is exactly the kind of discussion I was hoping for and I completely understand the different points of view, it's great!

I'll try to answer some things and will also put some more info up about the conversion.

dancinonwater22: good luck with your conversion! What stage are you at?

Smorris: yes the motor goes where the engine was. Not sure about a pet carrier but the space where the gas tank was is used for batteries.

Jeremy W: any reason why you're not willing to share how you converted yours?

xantufrog: this one posted by chuckactor has kept the manual transmission. We thought about doing this as well but for various reasons decided to get rid of the clutch and gears. It seemed like a good idea at the time.
Member
VBB
Joined: 25 Jan 2010
Posts: 34
Location: Sydney, Australia
Wed Sep 01, 2010 7:41 am quote
Here's some info on the scooter:

Chassis: 1967 Vespa 150 (VBB)
Motor: Briggs and Stratton Etek brushed DC motor
Transmission: 2-stage ANSI #40 chain
Speed Controller: Alltrax AXE4834
Batteries: GP Batteries GP30EVLF, 16 cells, 51.2 volts, 1.5kWh
Throttle: Magura 0-5k twist grip

Top Speed: 70km/h estimated
Range: 30km estimated

I started this project with a friend just over a year ago and we are now going through the process of getting it registered. The trickiest bits have been modifying the original swing arm to attach the motor (whilst keeping the original look of the scooter) and working out how to do the throttle. Once itís registered Iíll be able to see what the actual top speed is but it already feels like Iíll have to reduce the gearing to get up to 70km/h. Also very interested to see what the range is like.
Member
VBB
Joined: 25 Jan 2010
Posts: 34
Location: Sydney, Australia
Wed Sep 01, 2010 7:43 am quote
One of the first things we did was look at how we could attach the motor to the original swing arm and have it fit under the cowling.

Initially we tried a single-stage transmission with the motor shaft facing out but the drive sprocket would have been quite bit and would have stuck out too far.

We ended up facing the motor in and using a 2-stage transmission which was more complicated but it meant everything would fit and the second stage chain and sprockets are hidden away.



View of the first set of sprockets and chain.



Smaller version to reposition the motor.



Testing with the cowling on.

[/img]
Member
VBB
Joined: 25 Jan 2010
Posts: 34
Location: Sydney, Australia
Wed Sep 01, 2010 7:47 am quote
After working out where the motor was meant to go, we then played around with different designs for the position of the counter/jack shaft, how to hold the bearings, how to adjust chain tension, etc. before getting it fabricated.

For a while we thought about doing the work (or some of the work) ourselves but we didn't have the right tools or expertise to do it properly. In the end we got Extreme Creations (http://www.extremecreations.com.au/) who customise motorcycles to fabricate the motor mount. Although it was a bit expensive, it's the most important mechanical part of the whole conversion and I'd rather have peace of mind than something go wrong at 70km/h! The quality of their work is excellent and I'd highly recommend them ... if you live in Sydney, Australia!

We supplied CAD drawings which were used to machine the two aluminum plates. One of the plates is welded to the swing arm whilst the other is bolted on to form a box structure. We used 16mm aluminum which seems a bit overkill but the bearings are recessed into them.

Machining the inside plate that the motor attaches to.





The slots are to adjust the tension of the chain.



Machining the outside plate.







The whole swing arm and motor weighs less than the original ICE and no more oil or petrol to worry about!

Member
VBB
Joined: 25 Jan 2010
Posts: 34
Location: Sydney, Australia
Wed Sep 01, 2010 7:48 am quote
While this was going on we had the body cleaned up and painted.

Molto Verboso
79 P200e, 81 100 Sport
Joined: 23 Sep 2006
Posts: 1443
Location: Iowa
Wed Sep 01, 2010 7:48 am quote
soyachips wrote:
Jeremy W: any reason why you're not willing to share how you converted yours?
I really haven't, I was joking. I'd miss the two stroke exhaust fumes.
Member
VBB
Joined: 25 Jan 2010
Posts: 34
Location: Sydney, Australia
Wed Sep 01, 2010 7:49 am quote
Putting the new swing arm back into the frame for the first time.



Wheels back on for the first time in 6 months!



Off the stand.



Cowling on.

Member
VBB
Joined: 25 Jan 2010
Posts: 34
Location: Sydney, Australia
Wed Sep 01, 2010 7:51 am quote
Jeremy W wrote:
I really haven't, I was joking. I'd miss the two stroke exhaust fumes.
Ah sorry my mistake
Member
VBB
Joined: 25 Jan 2010
Posts: 34
Location: Sydney, Australia
Wed Sep 01, 2010 7:53 am quote
The battery pack is divided into 4 modules with 4 cells in each held together with steel straps. Each module weighs about 5 kg.



Two of them are under the left cowling along with the 12V accessories battery. The fuses are also here which can be accessed through a door on the cowling.







The other two modules go under the seat where the fuel tank used to be. One of them sits vertically and the other one lies at an angle against the inside wall.



We made up some aluminum brackets to hold the batteries in place and provide somewhere for the speed controller to sit. The contactor and BMS also go in here so it's a pretty tight fit!



Final battery locations, test wiring and main circuit fuse.

Member
VBB
Joined: 25 Jan 2010
Posts: 34
Location: Sydney, Australia
Wed Sep 01, 2010 7:54 am quote
The speed controller sits just above the batteries under the seat.





Member
VBB
Joined: 25 Jan 2010
Posts: 34
Location: Sydney, Australia
Wed Sep 01, 2010 7:57 am quote
The motor is being run CCW which is the opposite to the way it was designed to run. I've read about some people having problems with this, mainly to do with wearing through the brushes faster than normal so I wanted to see what they look like new. Was also curious how difficult it would be to clean it all out.

Brush cover off.



View of the commutator inside. There's a great video here with a guy from LEMCO motors explaining the design of these type of motors.



There are 8 brushes with alternating polarities. The brushes are designed for CW rotation. When we first started running the motor CCW it was a bit noisy/squeaky but after a bit of running in it's much quieter.



Need to make sure they don't wear down too close to the brass? holders.

[/url]
Member
VBB
Joined: 25 Jan 2010
Posts: 34
Location: Sydney, Australia
Wed Sep 01, 2010 7:57 am quote
Wiring diagram.

Molto Verboso
79 P200e, 81 100 Sport
Joined: 23 Sep 2006
Posts: 1443
Location: Iowa
Wed Sep 01, 2010 8:12 am quote
Very impressive work! I figured you were just some dreamer posting a what if question. Not someone with the obvious knowledge and skills to pull something like this off.

Very cool.
Member
VBB
Joined: 25 Jan 2010
Posts: 34
Location: Sydney, Australia
Wed Sep 01, 2010 8:18 am quote
Thanks but to be honest a bit over a year ago I didn't have the knowledge to do this! There's quite a lot of people doing car and motorbike conversions and a lot of information online which has made this possible. It's definitely not over yet, a bit of playing around with settings and gearing to optimise it all and I really don't know if I'll get the performance and range I'm hoping for.
Molto Verboso
'66 Sears Allstate 788.94370 '65 Vespa V9A1T
Joined: 20 Oct 2008
Posts: 1236
Location: Roseville, MI
Wed Sep 01, 2010 9:00 am quote
that is really clean work. what kind of range do you think you might get? and what is the projected top speed?
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