Electric Honda Varadero – 13Kw Peak DC – 72V 40Ah – LifePo4

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Varadero with fairing

Low Voltage Cutoff Bracket, Clutch Cable Mechanism and Frame Protectors

To mount the LVC / BMS circuits I made up this bracket. It serves three purposes. First it allows the mounting of circuits. There is enough space to expand this vertically so that in the future when the combination OVP / LVC board becomes available I can can just swap out the boxes.

Secondly, the clutch cable attaches to the bracket. This allows the clutch to act as before, except this time the clutch lever switch will shut off the contactor. Clutch lever feels like a proper clutch now! Additionally there is no reason why this mechanism could not be adapted to create a physical circuit breaker when the clutch is applied making a much safer method of disengaging the battery pack in an emergency.

Third, the bracket has two mushrooms to protect the bike if it falls over. Not too sure how strong these are, they are sturdy enough however, even if they offer some protection in the event of an accident then they are worth including.

This bracket mounts onto the front down-section of the frame.






Varadero almost finished now

At last, the Varadero is almost complete. Just got a quotation for insurance from Carole Nash. It will cost approx €350.00 for third party only. They do not offer fully comp to bikes under 250cc. The cycle analyst now works on the ignition switch so most of the switching is done. The next stage is to get all of the batteries in and wired up for the BMS! It really does look like a proper bike again now and that makes me well happy. At present this bike still has 24 cells in there and she rides no problem.

Makeshift spray booth

For painting the fairing I made up a makeshift spray booth in the garage using plastic sheeting. It fit the purpose perfectly keeping all of the spray within the plastic walls. The sheet of plastic cost €15 and worked a treat! The fairing was hung from the rafters while spraying and quicky transferred to the washing line (below) where it was nice and warm for cooking! >:)

Spraying both fairing took quite some time. Five days in total, from crappy fairing to finished paintwork. It’s still not perfect, but five days later, I have had enough! It’s yellow and shiny. That’s it for this spray booth!

Fairing almost finished

Spraying the fairing is taking a lot longer than expected. Three days later and they are starting to look okay now. The paint on this lot still needs to be flattened and a final coat applied. Then it’s the clearcoat and I can put the garage back to normal.

In the above photo you can see both the Mito and Varadero fairing. In an effort to save time, and paint, I have decided to work on both bikes simultaneously. Most of the fairing you see hanging is from the Mito. There are so many parts to it compared to the Varadero. If you look carefully you will be able to see the rear shock of the Mito hanging. The spring is below on the worktop.

LifeP04 Balancing the cells

In an effort to ensure that all of the cells are balanced before installation in the Varadero I am using a 2amp bench power supply to get each cell up to 3.7V. You can see in the image that there are five cells in parallel giving 3.3V and 50Ah.

This little power supply first tries hard to get the cells up to 3.7V and once there the current shoots up to 2 amps. Eventuallly the amps start to drop until it gets to about .25amps. At this point the cells should be fully charged and the power supply is switched off and the cells are removed from the power supply and the next five lined up for charging. This process will be repeated until all 96 cells are charged. The plan is to ensure that each cell is fully charged before installation in the bike. Hopefully this will ensure that the cells are evenly balanced to begin with.

Varadero Fairings – Primer Stage

It has taken almost two days to get the fairing into a reasonable condition for spraying. As I am also working on the Cagiva Mito as both sets of fairing are being sprayed simultaneously.

You can see that it was necessary to repair the Varadero fairing in a number of places as there were many scratches. One of the sides was split so a fibreglass repair was necessary. The paint and clearcoat will be applied next week.

PHEV Battery Management System for Varadero

The next step of the Varadero project is to get the Battery Management System installed. The system that will be used has been developed by The Peacehaven Electric Vehicle Workshop. You can contact Steve at http://www.jozzbikes.co.uk for more details. In the image you can see the Low Voltage Cutoff boards. The system connects together using the Molex PC Power cables. Basically this system will cut power to the controller when the board reads any cell operating close to 2.1 volts. At the moment Steve is developing the Over Voltage Protection (OVP) circuit for the board. This will then be a direct replacement for the LVC and just plug into the connectors. The OVP will ensure that none of the cells are charged above 3.7 Volts. Once this system is in place the batteries will be under constant scrutinty from the circuit. This will help to ensure a long battery life.

1st Ride! It’s fantastic guys!

Finally got my first ride on the Varadero tonight. Fantastic! I am still cautious of my engineering skills. Taking it easy in case it all falls apart! Seems very solid, and she can take brisk acceleration too! >:) The Alltrax is not a smooth as the Kelly Controller on Steve’s RS but but she pulls cleanly up to 50kph (Speedo is working perfectly!) without any problems. And gets there quick too! Next step is get the laptop onto that Alltrax and see what kinda settings she is working from. The batteries are charging also. I have been really careful with this though. Going through each of the cells with a multimeter to make sure that none of them go above 3.7 volts while charging. The Zivan is very fast at charging. The LifeBatts seem very solid and are behaving themselves very well!

I am taking it easy with the batteries too! The LVC and OVP still have to be fitted. That will take a while. Lots of soldering practice! It finally feels like I have an EVMOTORCYCLE and not just a bunch of parts and cables! Verdict so far! Well worth it guys! >:) When riding, the bike feels just like a motorcycle. No real compromise in the power! Takes a bit of getting used to though as the throttle is very sensitive!

Oh, if you look closely at the back wheel you will see she is a little dirty! That’s road dirt guys! Woohoooo!!! >:) Video to follow real soon guys!

She Lives! >:)

Tonight this baby got some lifep04 running through her electrics! Everything in the wiring loom works perfectly! The rear luggage has a large rear brake light. The bike was on charge for the first time today. Not sure if it is fully charged yet. I still have to work out exactly what all the different readings on the analyst mean! 🙂

You can see the cycle analyst which has taken the place of the original rev counter. The middle screen has a clock, odometer and trip meter as per the stock Varadero. Not sure if the speedo is working yet. Once the relays for the contactor are working then I guess I will find out then!

The small running lights can be used during daytime. All of the bulbs are standard. Once the bike is in use I will monitor the consumption from the 12V electrics to see if there would be a distinct advantage going with LED’s in all but the Headlights. Right now my priority is getting the relays and switches working so I can finally to ride it!

Under tank battery tray – twenty cells

At this point there are enough cells in the bike to run a 72V 10Ah system. Initially I am going to set the bike up with this configuration so that I can get all of the switches working with the contactor and charger. These cells will also allow me to configure the controller.

You can see that there will be acrylic sheet sealing the batteries from the side. The heavy cable (with the red + tape)  coming down from the contactor will go to a heavy duty welding connector. There are two of these on the bike for positive and negative. The negative connector is located behind the main battery cage. These are a ‘push and twist’ affair allowing me to join the multiple + and – cables to their respective connectors and also the charger. Using these means that it is not necessary to run every cable directly to the contactor or controller. Hopefully they will not add any voltage sag when the bike is running.

The shape of the battery pack leaves three cells oustanding on top. These are connected to the rest of the pack on the right of the bike using 250amp cable. The batteries under the tank will also be connected to four batteries on the front of the bike to complete the pack. This will give a 72V pack.

At this point, everything is fitting neatly. I had a few issues with the batteries being a little tight in the space, however I had to use a little creative leverage on the cage, to open it up a little. The batteries fit snugly now. They have self amalgamating tape wrapped around them so there is a little space between the cells. The bike feels light enough still with this lot in place. A way to go before it weighs as much as the Africa Twin! >:)

I also had to bleed the brakes a few times to get them feeling solid. Thr braided hoses really make a difference. The brakes are now rock solid and only a touch is enough to lock the front wheel. Will need that with the extra weight and no engine braking. It would be nice to incorporate regen into this build, even just to offer an additional brake. At this point though, the Varadero is using an Alltrax, so no regen. It’s amazing how simple everthing looks as it comes together! Hopefully I am not being too optimistic. No shocks, flashes or bangs just yet! Had a little mishap with one of the cells though. Tomorrow she gets some juice! >:) Time enough I reckon! Saw a Vectrix today here in Dublin! Gotta get this bad boy on the streets to kick some Vectrix ass!

72V and 12V electrics nearly complete

At this point the original wiring loom is back in the bike. Most of the 72V wiring is complete and the bike is almost ready for connection to the batteries. Under the tank it’s beginning to get very busy! >:) The LVC wires still have to go onto the bike. There is a lot of cable going into this bike! The relays have yet to be added also. These will effectively switch the contactor on and off.

Luggage and power socket

It is intended that this bike will be my daily transport so I have installed some rear luggage. I usually carry my laptop and spare helmet in here on my Africa Twin so I wanted the same convenience with this bike. The cable seen inside the luggage is for charging the bike. You can see there is a small cut in the top of the case. This will allow me to run the cable out of the gap so that I can charge but also keep the luggage locked. There is also going to be an extension of the RS232 port in the alltrax so that I do not have to take off the tank each time I want to change the settings for the controller. This cable will be accessible from under the seat.

DC DC Converter – the last large electrical component

I have finally chosen a position for the Kelly 72v~12V DC DC converter. It will be situated under the seat. I was trying to keep the luggage area free from any components but space is against me at this point! I had to cut the plastic under seat tray so that the DC~DC would fit. To keep it safe from the weather I will rivet some heavy duty rubber to the sides. Underneath, any major holes have been filled with fibreglass resin. I am trying to keep this area as tidy as possible however my plastic cutting was not perfect. Luckily the rubber conceals any defects nicely.

For this side of the DC~DC I will rivet rubber as per the second image. I will have to wait untill all of the wiring is in however as there is so little space, if the rubber is riveted off the bike the under seat tray will not fit onto the bike! 🙂 My main concern is keeping the device away from the wash of the back wheel.

Wiring up the Electric Varadero

Finally I am getting a clear run at wiring the bike up. To my surprise, this has been the easiest part. Under the helpful guidance of Steve from the Peacehaven Electric Vehicle Workshop, I am finally getting to grips with it. I must admit that it is very gratifying working with such clean components, not having to deal with an oily engine and fluids. The whole thing is beginning to remind me of building a tower computer actually, except the cables are much much bigger!

Here you can see the more or less completed electrics that will make the bike work. I have tried to keep everthing as simple and logical as possible. All of the components (especially the fuse and contactor) can be inspected immediately once the tank is removed. Hopefully this will help me to diagnose any problems that I might encounter. You can see the precharge resistor crosses the contactor terminals.

One of my main concerns was isolating the components. I am using rubber gromets, kevlar (effect) laminate and Duck Tape over any unnecessarily exposed components. Care will have to be taken once the batteries get installed as the components are packed closely together. I am very surprised at how well everthing is fitting onto the Varadero frame. This was a great choice of bike for the conversion. The Alltrax fits perfectly into frame! Fantastic! 🙂

All of the main components thus far have been connected using 500amp welding cable. If you inspect the above image you will see that the cable with the red strip is (+) connected to the contactor. The opposite side of the contactor will be connected to the battery pack positive (+).

Further up on the other image (picture showing all of the components in place) you can see that the 400 amp fuse sits above and behind the contactor. On the left side is where the battery negative (-) will connect to the fuse. This then runs to the shunt which is where the reading for the cycle analyst (This has taken the place of the original Varadero rev counter!) will be taken.I have yet to determine where the terminals will end on the batteries however there will need to be more cables coming from the pack.

One issue that I have is access to the alltrax serial port. I am thinking of using a hole saw to cut into the top plate so that I will only have to remove the charger to access the port. This is important as I can calibrate the controller via a laptop. Alternatively i might look at installing an RS232~USB cable permanently and store the USB for easier access. Either way I will need to gain access to the alltrax serial port.

All of these electrical components fit snugly under the original Varadero petrol tank, away from the weather. 🙂

Varadero Basic Electrical Components

The electrical components are now installed. Zivan 72V 10Amp charger, Alltrax Controller, Contactor, Shunt and main 400 amp fuse. Still to be installed is the DC~DC Convertor and the LVC circuits. The next step is to wire the bike up, get the brakes working, put on the chain and road test! >:)

You can see in the picture below that the shunt sits to the right of the alltrax controller. Acrylic sheet was used to separate the components. All connectors will be further insulated using self amalgamating tape and heat wrap. The controller is not bolted on, rather it is gently wedged into the frame and secured beneath by the front bracket. Also on this bracket is a further extrusion that holds on the contactor. I wanted the contactor accessible and away from the elements. Some of the bolts still have to be cut to avoid any potential shorts. There is still some space available for the LVC units either beneath the controller or behind the charger. The charger can be removed via three bolts for access to the serial port on the alltrax. I am looking at cutting a hole in the above acrylic sheet so that it will not need to be removed to access the port.

With all of these components attached, the bike is starting to gain weight. The main battery pack is going to be well heavy! You can see that the front pack is now in place. I tested the motor from this pack and it fires up nicely. Care has to be taken however, as I do not want to risk unbalancing the packs. The tank fits nicely over these components. You would never know they were there! >:)

Varadero 125 – LMC 200 Motor Mount Plate

Need to fit an LMC 200 to a Honda Varadero 125? No problem! Here is the diagram for the mounting plate. If you require a PDF version for accuracy then just drop me an email at andy@evmotorcycle.org

Varadero complete with battery space frame and LMC 200 13Kw peak motor

All of the mechanical work on the Varadero is now complete. This marks a significant milestone in this build as now attention will be given to the electrical components. Refitting the original wiring, fitting the batteries and finally testing the bike. The batteries can be fitted into the space frame without the need for removal, however the bellypan frame will require removal for battery fitment.

Once the batteries are in place the controller, motor, fuses, relays, DC DC converter and chargers will be installed. There are still some cosmetic issues to be sorted. The fairings still have to be resprayed and there are a few accessories still to be installed. Otherwise, this bike is almost ready for the streets!

Varadero Motor Mount Assembly

After a number of attempts the motor mount is now complete. There are basically two parts to the mount. The plate and the bottom bracket. The motor sits directly onto the bottom bracket and bolts into the plate. Using this design the assembly is secured to the frame at 4 points.

This makes for a very sturdy setup. The plate is made from 8mm alloy while the bottom bracket is of mild steel construction.

As the motor was too low intially the motor plate was remade so that the chain would not slap off the bottom frame. The motor was raised and moved forward about 40mm. The only problem with this is now I have to replace the drive chain, as I cut it too short to fit the old motor mount. The chain ordered is a 530 X 130 link chain. This should fit the bike nicely.

Rebuilding the Varadero

At long last it is time to put this bad boy back together! All of the mechanical issues have been sorted. Battery cages fit perfectly into the frame (You can see two mounted in the image). The next task now is to work out the electrics, route all of the cables and mount the components.

First impressions at this stage is that the bike feels really light with the cages in place. It can be lifted easily so my concerns about the battery cage weight are somewhat relieved! The Varadero frame handles the weight very well. How it handles the weight when all of the batteries are in place will be another issue! 🙂

Battery space frame

Here is the semi-complete battery space frame. There are 42 cells in total here. There is clear perspex at the sides of the cases. I still have to source a rubber runaround so that the cases are weatherproof. Will need that in Ireland! 🙂

The main space frame (yet to be wired up) will hold 54 cells. In total the Varadero will have 96 cells. The packs will be joined together using 250AMP welding cable which will be connected to the contactor and then the cable from the motor to the controller will be 500AMP. The Varadero will have 4 X 72V 10Ah packs wired in series.

The entire Varadero Battery Space Frame!

The space frame consists of a main box (top), top box (right), belly pan (left) and front pack (bottom). These fit onto the Honda Varadero with a relatively unaltered frame. They are heavy but sturdy. The edges of the sheet metal are insulated using tape so there is no risk of a short with the cases. The sides of each case will be fitted with clear Perspex, so you can see the batteries when mounted.

Inside there are neoprene strips holding the batteries firmly and snugly in position. This way they are not subject to any vibration.

The cells are connected by the bus bars. These are copper earth straps. The front pack shown here is 19V and 10Ah. This will form part of a larger 72V 10Ah pack which will be connected to its main pack via welding cable once mounted onto the bike. There will be a total of 96 cells in the bike. The only concern is weight. This bike is going to be heavier than the original Varadero.

On the right you can see the high voltage cable that will be used to wire up the bike. The cable on the right is 500AMP welding cable while on the left it is 250AMP welding cable. The contactor is shown also with the fittings for the cables.

Time to electrify some Honda Varadero a$$!

After spending many years riding a Honda Africa Twin I wanted a machine that had a familiar riding position. Although this is a 125cc, the engine cavity is quite large (which is good for holding lots of batteries) and it has the feel of a bigger bike.

This little Varadero, while intact, was not in the best of health when I came across her, The engine was damaged and the chassis were abused somewhat. Below you can see what she looked like when I collected her from he breakers. Looking a little sad and abused! 🙁

I love these bikes. They are not quite off-road, not quite supermoto but they handle sweet and being tall, they are right for my height. When I explained to the guys down at the breakers that it was going to be converted to run on batteries they thought I was nuts!! Guess it’s not every day that somebody comes looking for a bike to convert to an electric vehicle round these parts.

Assessing the damage

The Varadero looked OK in the bike shop but it was only when I started to work on the bike that I noticed the defects. The Varadero is a 125 machine and would be attractive to learners and unfortunately those who do not know how to look after a bike too well.

The following had to be replaced on this Varadero: – Rear Shock – Brake Lines – Tyres – Tubeless valves – Front indicator lenses – Brake Pads – Brake and Clutch Levers – and more!

How much is this gonna cost me?

One of the problems with this is that there are so many variables to consider. Batteries, without a doubt, are the most expensive component. The only realistic option is Lithium. If you want distance, lower weight, fast charging, safety then Lithium is the way to go. One specific type of Lithium technology is LifeP04. Expect to be spending in the region of three to five thousand euro on your battery pack. Expensive, yes, but you have to remember that this is your fuel.

How far will it go?

Approximately 40 miles on a single charge. Each charge takes 4 hours at 10amps. Theoretically, a good set of lithium batteries should get you to 80,000km so in time they will pay for themselves but because this technology is so new, nobody has actually done 80,000km on a battery pack, so nobody knows for sure how long they will last. That’s where YOU come in. Every EVMOTORCYCLE that is built is going to effectively be a test for future battery vehicles. The sooner we get these machines on the road, the sooner we can find out for certain. I would estimate that there are less than 100 (home made) EVMOTORCYCLE conversions in the world. Some of the best ones can be seen on Youtube and hopefully there will be many more. In time, and with a lot of persistence, this website will be a resource for many of the best EVMOTORCYCLE conversions.

New coat of paint

Oh yes indeed! This little baby is gonna be a looker when she is complete! No point spending most of my savings on a battery pack and having her lookin’ all shoddy. So the wheels have been blasted and taken a trip down to the powder coaters. Here is what they look like now. Oh and if you’re in Dublin why not give Damien down at Quality Powder Coating a call on (01) 4600001. He is more than happy to powder coat all bike parts for you, and his prices are very reasonable.

That big rear sprocket (62T) was a custom job from these guys http://www.bandcexpress.co.uk/

It cost around £50 which is not bad considering it is top quality and looks the business too. Above you can see the size of the new sprocket versus the old one. Bit of a difference eh?

The rear shock is from these guys hagon-shocks.co.uk/

Below you can see the LMC 200 motor, Alltrax controller, 400amp fuse and Contactor.