True cost of electric cars

Jeff the reason I am working with the old case ingersoll garden tractors for my EV project is I find them very useful and they run off a simple hydraulic pump. There was a article back in the 80s probably in mother earth news about converting one to Electric because all you need is a DC motor and a switch that can handle the current.

That is the article it doesn’t tell you the important fact of how big a motor you need to run the 12gpm hydraulic pump. Best I can tell a 4kw motor should handle the job but it is a best guess on my part. I guess I will find out as I move forward with my project to make one into a 4 wheel drive machine.
I am trying to avoid the cost and complexity of speed controllers for the motor


With a V-belt clutch, there would not be any need for a fancy speed control. More so if the motor would not over speed it’s self with no load. A relay or two and resistors would work for starting. I run gas engines at a fixed speed with no problem.

Still, wood is dirt cheap compared to an electric conversion. An electric would have it in a stop and go situation. Where you did not want to keep restarting a gas machine. But then there is the complication of having two types of machines.

A PWM speed controller is dirt simple. Could even build your own. But the motor needs to be DC.

The modern EV has a lot of complications and points of failure. Batteries need BMS and fancy speed controls for AC motors. With the chip shortage, look out for fake faulty chips working their way into these devices. And if things go too pot, good luck finding parts to maintain them.

Interesting stuff.


The biggest issue I have with the idea of wood gasification is that most if my stuff is short trips around my farm or it is working in my hay field. I keep thinking at some point wood gasification will make sence if for no other reason then to run a generator for my backup power. But this is kind of a testing of the Waters for me. I have tried a few different options on batteries and the best deal I have seen is at battery clearing house.
I have tested just about 150 of those cells so far and all test like new. I am still waiting for the 2 week self discharging test as I just started working with them but after trying other salvage deals they definitely look worth the money to me.
I ordered enough to get me about 20kwh of capacity which will give me about 5 hours runtime and keep my discharge down to 0.2C which is almost nothing for lithium ion.
I have 50 cal amo cases to build the battery packs in which should contain any battery fire if it happens. It is a crazy big project for a small tractor but should work out to be a nice machine when done.
I think if budget allowed I would buy these cells instead.

Lifepo4 are definitely better from safety and cycle life but I was looking really cheap salvage lithium ion when I started which turned out to be expensive because of shrinkage so i decided the cells from battery clearing house where my best bet to finish my project as i have about half the cells i needed when i found that supplier and decided to try those.
I was buying the mixed medical cells from battery hookup but honestly it seems about the same cost or move than the ring cells when you sort out all the shrinkage and different cell capacities.
Anyway that is the adventure I have wander into. I like the idea of using it as portable power as well. Being designed for 20kwh storage I could easily run a decent inverter on it anywhere here on the farm. That alone seems very handy.



Lol, started right up when I repaired the squirrel behavior. Chewed the six wires off the brain box. I happened to still have a spare wire harness stub, and a box…
This vehicle is absolutely ridiculously simple. Three on the tree, no PS.


I’m guessing those pine needles do a good job of filtering your cabin air Bruce.


8 posts were split to a new topic: Confessions of a full-time woodgas driver

Good morning Mr Tone,
You bring up one very valid electrical car usage factor:
Where you are using it greatly skews the travel distance and battery cycle life’s usages.
Cold. Cold Canadians are finding this out. Not so cold by cold wet,wet western British Columbians are finding this out. .
Needed cabin heat 200-300 days of the year. Needed constant windshield de-misting/defrosting takes heat too. 300 days of the year.
Then us cold and wet needing AC system vehicle interior airs drying out. 200 days of the year.
Internal combustion engines (even assist/charging engines - BMW/Mazda) regardless of the fuel source; these heats are “free”.
Electric vehicle this heat energy come at the cost of travel range. And then hard cycling batteries shortening life.

Stationary is a whole different set of circumstances to calculate.
I’ve done this for decade too.
Easy to fool your self.
I simplify.
EVERY change/use step I see picture de-rate energy by 10%. And this is generously assuming 90% efficiencies at each step. Many are only 60-80% efficient.
Count a fellows steps to know his actual use/efficiency.

Stationary you are absolutely correct: any recovered heat can be put to some useable purpose and counts as a positive.

Mobile/vehicle is different.
Now just how really full cycle watts efficient are those National electric transit trains?
Hydro-electric; Nuclear power plant to human bodies transported? 30% transmission heat losses? And those human bodies NOT even to home doorstep transported.
Steve Unruh


Electric battery cycle life is no different than an ICE engine cycle life. and if you have priced out a modern engine they cost just as much. Sure you could get a junk yard motor but guess what? It wont be long and you get the salvage packs for same cost. You actually already can.

Here is the thing regardless if you like the EV or even if it is lesser tech (that is not) Its coming. I am far right sided however I have been following this stuff since I was a child. Give the EV a bit man, the ICE has had well over a 100 years of production and development. The EV? what a decade? Its hardly even started and believe I will miss the sound of a high out put V8 roaring away under the hood. Keep in mind Im the guy that stuffs these engines into Toyotas, Hondas so they destroy the rubber. lol But a new Telsa will destroy a new Vett in a heart beat!


I see that electric cars have been around a lot longer than I thought.

Pete Stanaitis

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They actually precede the ICE! But they have not gone through development at least not at the level of the ICE or long duration production cycles and battery tech has never been developed like it is now. Lead acid has pretty much been it for over a 100 years and Lithium was not even approachable until 20 years ago. Now there are tons of companies working on this with new tech and chemistry that will replace it and hopefully soon. Alum ion, graphene, hemp carbon, solid state etc.

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Electric vehicles definitely had a stunted growth. Why buy a 1910 Baker Electric that only goes 20mph for a fortune when you could buy a Model T Ford for a month’s wages that could go upwards of 40mph on flat ground?

It was always a matter of cost. I wish they would build dumbed down EVs like the old Honda Civic Hybrids. I don’t enjoy all the new tech in ICE vehicles let alone an EV. If someone were to make Spartan EVs with just bare essentials and no fancy bells and whistles that go haywire then I think they would catch on even faster than they do now.


Maxus EV80 is one with less electronics. But also less loading capability and less towing then a ModelX ???

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Looks like they aren’t available for me in the US. I’d settle for a bare bones sedan in electric right now. No crossover SUV or other goober designs.


I suspect we are a few years from a cheap EV in the USA. But they are definitely comming here is an article about the BYD recently released in china that is $15,000 US. I don’t know how long it will take for that to filter over here but in the not too distant future we will see lower cost EV.


I am looking for a car for work. Trailer 2000 kg minimum. And for the rest it is always to small. For the moment I will stick with my vito. Very happy with it and not run in yet with 270.000 km. Good for at least another 5 years. And then there will be an electric that suits me.


I was watching a cheap little electric car startup from china. Yes, I felt buying a “Made in China” car is a bad idea, but still curious. They never made it to road legal in the USA, could not meet safety standards, and could not live up to the predicted range / performance. Just another fancy golf cart. (Low speed neighborhood utility vehicle). Tesla is crazy expensive, but think of all the engineering challenges and just plain failures they have had to overcome. Look at all the competition Tesla has left behind. Honda, Nissan, Chevy, Ford still taking their lumps, and low volume sales. My early favorite Mitsubishi iMiev all but disappeared from the roads. I vote for simple cars, like you want. I hope somebody gives us that choice soon. I met someone who had purchased a new Chrysler Pacifica EV. I did not even know those existed!
As for conventional ICE cars, I was looking on the internet for the “Cheapest new car on the lot”, no options, manual trans, etc. for a reliable replacement commuter car. Shocked and disappointed, they are non-existent. Dinosaurs, indeed.


I think the cheapest car that GM sells is the Chevy Spark. 13 grand sticker price with manual transmission, manual mirrors, and manual windows. Little bitty thing.

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One of my sons has a deposit of some kind for a Tesla truck. I’m not a fan but all the specs were impressive and the price tag wasn’t more than a new 4WD fancy truck. Of course I wouldn’t want one of those either.


A few things you have to realize about the big three is they are established companies with massive infrastructure, investors, and then all the vendors that are all also established infrastructure and then we have the UAW. Its not so easy to jump ship or transition to anything for them.

Tesla they were all in and building infrastructure from scratch, they had nothing to lose as they didnt have any to lose but initial investment and they simply going for it. For everyone else that is established they all have everything to lose and making this transition wont be easy for any of them or any of it. The automotive industry is massive beyond comprehension.


Until Charles Kettering of Dayton Engineering Laboratories developed the electric starting motor for the 1912 Cadillac, many people (including those of the fairer sex) were unable to start an internal combustion engine, and the Stanleys and Whites were difficult to light properly.
Try to hand crank a Tin Lizzy with her bands out of adjustment, and she will definitely try and “nuzzle” you. Don’t let’s mention what cranking “down” with the ignition advanced would do to your wrist…yikes.
I think another critical point to make is that people who had Bakers, also had power. In 1910, that meant city folk, as the Delco 32v farm generators weren’t out yet.
I am just making the point that those were really different times…a fairer comparison would be how we have billionaire civilians flying their rockets into space…yet you and I can’t buy a new car because there are no chips…