UBCO - The Electric Utility Bike

Discussion in 'Other EVs' started by gooki, May 24, 2021.

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  1. gooki

    gooki Well-Known Member

    I'm now the proud owner of one of these wonderful machines.



    I purchased a heavily used 2017 model for all of 2,000 USD. I'll post up my thoughts as I get used to the bike. In the mean time if there's anything you want to know about them ask away.
    electriceddy and Domenick like this.
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  3. Domenick

    Domenick Administrator Staff Member

    Hey, thanks for posting about this. I like a lot of things about this bike and am curious what the ownership experience is like. I just wish it was a little cheaper and went faster.
  4. gooki

    gooki Well-Known Member

    Day 1 experience. Took it to the beach at high tide.

    - It's been 25 years since I last rode a motor bike.
    - The seat is big and comfortable. Way nicer than a pedal bike.
    - 50 km/h top speed is fine for casual off roading/non motocross stuff. Although faster is alway better.
    - The speed drops a lot in soft sand. Felt like the current limitators were kicking in. Probably a good thing in regards to protecting the electrical components.
    - I didn't get stuck.
    - Not as nimble as an electric mountain bike.
    - 4 year old battery seems in good condition. I'll do a range test some time.
    - The horn wires had come loose (noticed that when buying), I've since soldered them.
    - One side of the rear light isn't working, can't seem to fix. At least there's 12v power to the rear of the bike.
    - I managed to register it and get a number plate (this is a big deal as it'll allow me to ride on public roads (not highways)), just need to wait for a mirror and brake light to arrive before it's up to requirements.

    @Domenick, I may well experiment running this at 100v, that should get it up to a better speed (80km/h +). Hopefully the hub motors can take it.
    Domenick likes this.
  5. Domenick

    Domenick Administrator Staff Member

    80 Km/h (50 mph) is the number I'd like to be able to reach to handle pretty much any road in-town. 57 km/h (35 mph) is my bare minimum for this town.
    keep us apprised how your improvement attempts go.
  6. gooki

    gooki Well-Known Member

    So bike is finally road legal. Took it for a couple of spins, good fun.

    UBCO support are good. They sent some parts direct to me, rather than making me order through a dealer.

    Interesting event occured. I drove it hard on the road and beach pretty much non stop for 36km. Then it shut down 500 meters from home. Because it was so close to home I didn't note the warning light sequence, so not sure what the issue was, but I suspect it was overheating of either the motors or the battery.

    From what I understand they're pretty conservative with their settings for the early models. There's a firmware update available, which I might try (need a special cable). Will be interesting if that allows me to push it for longer.
    electriceddy and Domenick like this.
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  8. gooki

    gooki Well-Known Member

    Regen is great on this bike. Before purchasing I was worried I'd be burning through the brake pads like I do on my ebike. But with a bit of anticipation and the regen kicking in as soon as you let go of the throttle, I can get to a stop with just a minor tap of the brakes at the last second.
  9. gooki

    gooki Well-Known Member

    I hadn't recharged it since my shutdown event. Tried it this morning, goes 100 meters then shuts down again, even though battery is showing 50%. Ahh the joys of buying used goods.

    I suspect it might be low voltage event due to a bad cell, so popped the battery cover. No luck it's waterproofed with so much glue you can't get the the cells without a lot of cutting away. Not something I'm will to do yet
    Domenick likes this.
  10. Domenick

    Domenick Administrator Staff Member

    I wonder if Ubco will sell you a new battery, and at what cost? At least their service department has been responsive to you in the past, so that's one positive.
  11. gooki

    gooki Well-Known Member

    They sell replacement batteries, starting from $1500 USD.

    But since I want to make it faster I'll look into building my own.

    With the battery recharged it's running again. So I'll have to do another range test to see if it shuts down again.
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  13. gooki

    gooki Well-Known Member

    Started taking things apart.


    From top to bottom.
    48v to 12v step down converter.
    Physical wire pull to electrical throttle adapter (small black thing hidden behind wires).
    2 x ASI BAC 800 controllers.

    The controllers will do 72v but most likely need reprogramming to work.

    Overall I'm happy to see decent quality components were used.
  14. gooki

    gooki Well-Known Member

    Thanks to some sage advice from the folk at endlesssphere I've been able to diagnose my battery issue.

    Out of balance cells.

    I've got four groups of cells that are out of balance by 0.5v. so that explains the shutting down as the BMS kicks in to save the cells from permanent damage.

    So I've rigged up a charger, and will manually charge each group to get them balanced.

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  15. gooki

    gooki Well-Known Member

    Oh and here's my brake sensor solution. A cheap sensor switch and a magnet epoxied to the lever.

  16. gooki

    gooki Well-Known Member

    Balancing the cells got me an extra 10km range (47km) on mostly city streets and a few km of trails.
    Domenick likes this.
  17. gooki

    gooki Well-Known Member

    So I chucked the charger onto my smart plug that records power use. 2.1kwh used to recharge the battery. Less 10% for charging losses and we're at approx 1.9kwh. Which seems reasonable for a 4 year old battery that's had a hard life.
  18. gooki

    gooki Well-Known Member

    I've found a source of 90v cells locally. So it looks like I'll be boosting it in the future.
  19. gooki

    gooki Well-Known Member

    So I've swapped out the factory controller for a new one that is more easily configured.

    I'm running it sensorless so it's rough starting from a complete stop, but once moving it's got a real kick to it.

    More tweaking to do.

    IMG20211218163320.jpg IMG20211219170613.jpg
    electriceddy and Domenick like this.
  20. Domenick

    Domenick Administrator Staff Member

  21. Chipper6

    Chipper6 New Member

    Curious how many km your bike had on it when considering it as "heavily used". A similar generation used one has popped up for me locally.
  22. gooki

    gooki Well-Known Member

    The first gen units don't have an odometer, so I've no idea how far it's travelled.
  23. Jim Matthews

    Jim Matthews Active Member

    This is a really intriguing idea but it retails for a gently used Nissan leaf.

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