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Author Topic: Zero DS propulsion system for aircraft power  (Read 1089 times)

Jaythree

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Zero DS propulsion system for aircraft power
« on: February 27, 2015, 07:36:07 AM »

I'm brand new to this forum and really glad I found it. Some great posts and super-friendly. I haven't owned a motorcycle for a long time (BSA 650) but got interested in the Zero propulsion system as a replacement for the 2-stroke 40 HP gas engine in our home-built motorglider. I know this post probably doesn't belong on this forum but thought I'd give it a try. The post by Bonkers on batteries was brilliant and there may be someone out there with experience in cannibalizing Zero bikes for other purposes. I checked with the factory and they choked, not surprisingly. The Zero 40 kW/11.4 kWh configuration looks just right for our purpose. We need enough power to take off and climb for about 10 minutes until we can take advantage of upwards convection (thermal lift) to shut off the motor and gain altitude using rising air (often up to 15,000' above ground in this area). A reserve of another 10-15 minutes at low power would prevent coming down in an undesirable place if the convection stopped! We would plan to install the complete Zero package of motor, battery, controller and "throttle" welding up our own frame to match and routing cables as necessary. The motor develops full power at 4,300 rpm and we have a reducer that would deliver 2,600 rpm to the propeller. Feel free to declare us legally insane. We have a lot of experience building airplanes but none of them electric and given our ages this could be the onset of dementia. Thanks and regardless of progress on this I'll enjoy the forum from now on.
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protomech

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Re: Zero DS propulsion system for aircraft power
« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2015, 12:39:09 PM »

Welcome Jaythree!

You're actually not the first to look at the Zero powertrain and think about launching an aircraft with it..

http://www.electricmotorcycleforum.com/boards/index.php?topic=2698.msg14427#msg14427

Search for e-Gull here for a few other posts. It's an ultralight using the FX motor and two 2.5 kWh batteries, so less energy and weight than you're talking about.
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Richard230

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Re: Zero DS propulsion system for aircraft power
« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2015, 09:41:07 PM »

Good luck getting Zero to let you buy one of their power trains off the shelf.  If they won't play ball with you, your best bet would be to try to buy a used Zero (perhaps one that has battery or controller issues and is being sold cheap) and salvage the power train from that vehicle.  If your budget isn't all that limited, there are previous year's used Zeros on the market at dealers and from private parties, as early adopters are always buying the latest models and last year's bikes loose their value very quickly. What you are trying to do should be easy as far as power and battery charge life goes.

Once you get into your build, you can find a lot of technical support at elmoto.net.
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Richard's motorcycle collection:  2018 16.6 kWh Zero S, 2016 BMW R1200RS, 2011 Royal Enfield Bullet 500 Classic, 2009 BMW F650GS, 2005 Triumph T-100 Bonneville, 2002 Yamaha FZ1 (FZS1000N) and a 1978 Honda Kick 'N Go Senior.

Jaythree

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Re: Zero DS propulsion system for aircraft power
« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2015, 10:06:24 PM »

Proto and Richard, you guys are the best! Many thanks for the links...just what I was looking for. You're right about Zero not selling parts and I can't blame them. But we're old members of the EAA (Experimental Aircraft Association) and that's what we do...experiment (safely). I'd talked with Mark Beierle of Thundergull a few years ago and it looks like he's made progress on his e-Gull since then. Didn't realize he was using Zero components. It looks like a used bike is the way to go.  We'll post progress reports for better or worse.
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ultrarnr

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Re: Zero DS propulsion system for aircraft power
« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2015, 10:22:45 PM »

Jaythree,

Talk to Harlan at Hollywood Electrics if you want a Zero drive train. It was mentioned in another thread on this forum that HE can sell them.
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Cortezdtv

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Re: Zero DS propulsion system for aircraft power
« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2015, 01:19:47 AM »

There is a guy in Santa cruz has a crew working for him, making a unmaned airplane for nasa utilizing many zero parts, they acquired with someone who works at zero all the old recalled batteries for their testing

I'm jealous
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trikester

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Re: Zero DS propulsion system for aircraft power
« Reply #6 on: February 28, 2015, 01:21:11 AM »

It was I that mentioned Harlan as a source.

You can look for the thread in this forum where I posted progress as I converted my 200cc gas trike to Zero's 2013 FX drive system. I was lucky and purchased the entire powertrain from Zero before they started restricting sales.

I've also thought about electric powered gliders. I was hang gliding in the early days of that sport (USHPA #7) and I presently soar R/C electric glider models. I have become totally addicted to electric propulsion!  ;)

Trikester
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Jaythree

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Re: Zero DS propulsion system for aircraft power
« Reply #7 on: February 28, 2015, 03:16:16 AM »

You guys are an amazing source of knowledge. I talked with Harlan in LA who said he's been selling used Zero bikes to Mark Baierle who cannibalizes them for his eGull fixed wing aircraft as noted by Protomech. I spoke with Mark several years ago when he was using banks of R/C model aircraft batteries (100's!)...and carried a fire extinguisher. Now he's using Zero. That's progress. I found a demo Model DS up here in WA this morning and placed a deposit on it. So we're committed. Trikester, congrats on being a pioneer in hang gliding. You probably bumped into (maybe literally) my good friend Rick Wickman. I did that last year tandem but at 72 I think I'd better stick with sailplanes :-/
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BrianTRice

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Re: Zero DS propulsion system for aircraft power
« Reply #8 on: February 28, 2015, 03:22:58 AM »

Demo model DS in WA, eh? I wonder whether I could get my 2013 powertrain put into a newer frame if you're not using it. I'm in Seattle.
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Jaythree

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Re: Zero DS propulsion system for aircraft power
« Reply #9 on: February 28, 2015, 03:30:35 AM »

Definitely talk after we get the bike, Brian.
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trikester

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Re: Zero DS propulsion system for aircraft power
« Reply #10 on: March 01, 2015, 05:27:18 AM »

I want to remind everyone that I still have a very low mileage 2012 DS for sale.

Trikester
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