In common with many who will read this site, I have had a long standing appreciation of things electrical and mechanical. I have been working in the electronics, electrical and mechanical area for over 40 years. My hobbies have included restoring numerous vintage and post vintage vehicles. Along the way, I have been associated with a government funded electric car project. In 2007, I was given a model helicopter as a Christmas present. This lead to the purchase of a Blade CX-2 helicopter. I soon became amazed with the Li Ion battery technology used to power these devices. The next step was discovering this cell technology was being used in electric vehicles. At the same time, I was looking around for a suitable semi retirement project; hence the Mighty Boy electrical vehicle project commenced.
I should point out that although I am interested in the use of
green low emission vehicles, this is a welcome secondary benefit to the
Mighty Boy EV project. I simply just like building and designing things! The current (2008) costs involved in building an
EV using Li Ion cell technologies is still prohibitively high. Currently
(October 2008) in
Australia we are looking at costs of around a $1.50 per Amp Hour (but world
economy conditions will most likely cause this to increase dramatically). This works out
to just over $5,400 for a 10.8kwh battery pack that ideally would be required in a
project such as Mighty Boy EV. On top of this cost, you need to add a battery
management system (BMS) and high voltage controller. In the final
version, I am expecting a range of 100 to 120 km
driving conservatively on the flat plains of Adelaide with quick off-the-line
performance and a top speed of 100km per hour. So the focus is on enjoying the
design and construction of the electric Mighty Boy as a project and not on some
ill informed concept of saving money on fossil fuels. For most, until battery
costs drop considerably or there is a government rebate system in place, the
returns financially are very doubtful. Version 1.0 of this project will
scale back to 24 Thunder Sky Lithium Ion batteries (72 volt system - 6.5kwh)
using an Alltrax 450 Amp controller. The much reduced range (and loss
of higher top speed) is fine for my current needs. I have always liked the
programmable features of the Alltrax product but the highest voltage controller
made by them is limited to 72 volts. Hopefully future high voltage controllers
will offer these features, the Curtis controllers are rather dated in
functionality. To try and future proof the project the battery enclosure is
designed to accommodate up to a 144 volt (13kwh) Li-Ion pack. (For
updates on the battery situation please read
Battery Dilemma). The
8" motor used is actually on the high end of requirements for excellent performance of such a
light vehicle. I should point out that the 8" Advanced DC motor (a brush
type motor) use here is vary old proven basic technology, DC brushless or
AC motor technology really represents a better motor choice today. But
MightyboyEV is a basic conversion and the simpler the better as far as the
Electric Vehicle conversion process is concerned. * In November 2010 MightyBoyEV was
upgraded to a Li-Ion battery pack please follow this upgrade on this site at
Re-birthing suitable older vehicles (vehicles 10 years or older) into electric cars is generally accepted as a fairly green transport solution. The initial production costs (including environmental costs) of older vehicles has been amortised and most are destined for the recycling scrap heap. In my view, re-birthing a vehicle, is only viable for individuals who possess the needed skills base as the process is very labour intensive. The costs involved in paying someone to perform the conversion would be unrealistic in most cases. There are a number of very supportive people on the many EV forums on the web. One such forum is http://www.diyelectriccar.com/forums/ .
So Why a Mighty Boy?
Firstly, they are a bit different.... best described as kind of cute in an ugly way. Maybe even cultish by some....
Secondly and most importantly they are ideal for electric conversions. This assumes the concept of a small ute with an amazingly large cab suits your driving requirements. Not much use for a family of three or more!
Why it suits being converted to an electric vehicle:
Simple design and construction
Extremely light - 600 kg (Curb) and 950 kg (Gross)
Weight distribution (front and back) and load capacity ideal for purpose
Batteries can easily be housed in the ute box without the need of special venting
No additional complications - such as power assisted brakes, power steering pump, air bags or computer/ABS systems
Very reasonable purchase price but getting hard to find a cheap one with a good body.