Why a Utility vehicle?
is not a car nor is it a replacement for a car. This is a smaller
vehicle that is part light tractor, and part utv. The top speed is
much lower than a car, but it is designed for an environment where
roads severely limit top-speed anyways. This vehicle is designed to
fill specialty roles that help people's everyday life. This includes
transporting people over rough roads, moving goods throughout towns,
bringing agricultural goods to market, as well as serving as a light tractor. It can also be used as a ambulance, which is of special
interest to me as I work at a mission hospital. For myself, I want to
use it to transport materials and tools around the compound that I
live at, and use it as a mobile power station for tools. I believe this system has value for both people from the developing world, and those who work there.
choose to build an electric vehicle for several reasons. First is
that at a basic level an electric vehicle is mechanically much
simpler than an ICE. There are much fewer spare parts. Fuel networks
are also much less reliable in the developing world. For example
currently South Sudan is in a fuel shortage where petrol has only
been available few times a month. This drives up prices which have
gone up to $30USD per gallon. I wanted to be able to charge the
vehicle with solar. There are very few practical solar vehicles, but the start and stop for long times nature of a utility vehicle lend itself perfectly to this technology. An electric vehicle is also a moving power bank,
and this means that once you arrive where you are going your vehicle
can power tools, or equipment. It can also be used as a business to
charge phones and other devices, or be built out with additional technology like a solar fridge which can be used for business or humanitarian work.
would it be made?
who live within the developing world are far from helpless. There are
incredible craftsman and makers that are able to repair or build
almost anything using mostly scrap that they find. This project is
about harnessing their ingenuity and abilities to tackle the problems
within their own countries. I am releasing this project under
the CERN Open Hardware Licence v1.2. I
hope that people throughout the developing world could make similar
vehicles following and modifying these plans. I am trying to source as much of the parts locally as I
can. So far the only items I have brought from outside are the solar
panels, charge controller, batteries, motor controller and motors.
All other items I have found available in South Sudan. A lot of the
components I am using are spare parts for Chinese and Indian mass
produced motorcycles which are very common here. The basic design of
the vehicle is an articulated frame which rotates around the point of
articulation. This reduces stresses on the frame, and keeps all
wheels in constant contact with the ground. The frame is 30mmx30mm
hollow section skinned with 1mm sheet. This makes a strong light
frame that can be welded later for repairs or modifications. Each
wheel has its own motor connected by sprocket. Each wheel is mounted
on a trailing arm suspension.
would it cost?
I think I will spend bout USD $3500 on this vehicle. Almost USD $2000 of that is for solar panels and batteries.
Will you release plans?
The point of this vehicle is to make it build-able by local people in the developing world. This requires plans that are very different than just posting some 3d design files. I will be creating step by step build instructions for the entire vehicle, but this represents a huge time commitment. I will be going back to Australia in November for the birth of my first Child, and will have several months where I can spend time developing these plans. I also have the next month where I can torture test the vehicle to find any parts that need improvement.
What it left to do?
The vehicle is fully functional at this point, though I was unable to get a replacement...Read more »
I know this is an older project at this time, but still even more of a prominent part of the near future.
Apologies if i missed it being said, but my first thought in regard to the steering (wii) is to use 2 bars, or handles (sticks) whatever you want really to hold onto.
First you could easily add 1 to 2 motors, assigned to each joy stick - Think of zero turn mowers. I would assume( probably wrong) but I think it would be easier to program, in terms of driving. I mean that as instead of worrying about articulation amounts etc, push left forward you go right, and vice versa. Both front, go forward, etc.
Also it could open up more stability, pushing wheels away from each other, or less parts, say 2 motors just a little bigger. Or a lot.. depending on whats around.
Ive spent years on zero turn mowers for a landscaping company, while they are normally hydraulic, the principle is the same if you used the dc motor. Perfect example are all the new all electric zero turn mowers, Ryobi has a few, as well as other brands.
Either way great project, and great cause. Hope to Visit Australia at some point.
Thanks, all the way from the smallest state - Rhode Island in the USA