Jaimyn Mayer

eBandit Electric Motorcycle Conversion

Published 3 years ago
Post preview thumbnail

I'm a huge fan of electric vehicles (EVs) due to their low maintenance requirements, the comfort and performance, and of course the environmental benefits. In fact, my partner and I already own an early model (2012) Nissan LEAF and absolutely love it! I also own a BMW G310 motorcycle and love the convenience of lane filtering during traffic and inner city commuting. I thought why not combine the awesomeness of a motorcycle and an electric drivetrain!

Rewind to December 2019, and I decided to embark on my most ambitious project yet. I decided to convert an internal combustion engine (ICE) motorcycle to an all electric drive train. My blog below is an attempt at documenting the process from start to finish.

Originally I started with a 90s model Suzuki Bandit (hence the name eBandit!) that I found on Gumtree. I stripped as much off it as I could, including the engine, gearbox, chain, radiator, etc. Motorbikes are very un-aerodynamic with a small volume, so getting decent range is a challenge. At the start of the project, I had also never picked up a welder before, so I've been learning a lot!

A photo of the bike early on in the project (minus fairings).
A photo of the bike early on in the project (minus fairings).

I listed out a set of goals that I wanted to achieve by the end of the conversion:

  • 110km of range at 110km/hr
  • 0-100 time of ~5 seconds
  • comfortably get to the Sunshine Coast and back without having to wait around for hours at an AC charger.
  • low environmental impact by using only recycled lithium-ion batteries.

I worked out the final specifications that I needed to meet my goals, which came to:

  • 9kWh usable battery capacity
  • 20-25 kW peak motor output (minimum)
  • AC Fast charging (DC fast charging via CHAdeMO/CCS is too complex) of at least 6.6kW for approx 1 hour charge times.

Through a contact of mine at HSBNE Inc. I found a local supplier of cordless power tool batteries for no cost. The only conditions were they had to remain anonymous, and I had to take all of their batteries and dispose of the unusable ones. The disassembly of this many battery packs is a lot of work, and very time consuming and the energy density of the cells is pretty low (2,500mAh 18650s). However, it's an excellent way to reduce the environmental impact of this vehicle significantly as most of these cells were destined for land fill or recycling, not re-use! It also saved me about $7,000 for the cost of new cells.

A photo of the current progress of the eBandit.
A photo of the current progress of the eBandit.

The image above shows my current progress on the project. I've now installed the rear hub motor and tyre, motor controller, front head light, new grip controls and twist throttle, and the chargers (under the tank) and charging port on the top of the tank.

The ebandit website itself (https://ebandit.bike) is based on WordPress with an off the shelf theme out of convenience. It is not intended to form part of my portfolio, apart from the content and project itself.