Carbon Fiber and Batteries

We have some idea of what we want to build. It’s a industrial/futuristic looking two person, two wheeled vehicle which self-balances and uses smartphones and its helmet to communicate with its driver. It will be oversized compared to traditional motorcycles but that is because it is asked to do much more.

With a target price of $30,000 to $35,000 we do have a little room to work with when it comes to materials. That is just north of the average price of a car sold in the US.

The best strength to weight material to build with would be carbon fiber. Of course, carbon fiber is still quite expensive at $10-$12 per pound. That compares to steel at $1 per pound. Data from 2014. We can mix in aluminum or other weights to help with cost.

Assuming 300 pounds of carbon (60%) of total estimated bike weight of 500 pounds then the cost would range from $3,000 to $3,600 per bike. That doesn’t sound terrible except that still needs specialized material and labor to work it into shape. That also doesn’t include the price of batteries, god help us.

I will look into carbon fiber 3d printer to see if we can’t simplify the process.

I estimate at least a 25 KWs of electricity needed for the bike. Zero motorcycle, an electric motorcycle manufacturer is around 11 KWs per bike. Our bike will be bigger/heavier so will need more. Assuming 25 KWs, an estimated $225 per KW estimated price. That results in estimated battery pack cost of around $5,625 per bike. That doesn’t even include wiring them up which is almost all labor. It could be more as our negotiating ability will be limited by low volume.

So, we have some idea on materials or at least the major one. Carbon fiber. It’s low weight and strength are too good to pass up. Plus its cost is falling. I will continue to look to see if there are any better options, but I doubt it. The batteries are a given since this is an electric vehicle. I will look into carbon fiber hub less wheels (run flats of course). We will also have to consider alternatives to traditional airbags. They can be quite heavy. I don’t want really want to carry the weight unless we have to.

More later.



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