Design of the GHOST

 

Initial Concept:

1st Prototype, The X-Cycle

second prototype, the X-Cycle V2:

Third prototype, the ghost (V3 of the x-Cycle):

For the second prototype we switched to Lithium Iron Phosphate Batteries. While still expensive, they had fallen in price to an acceptable level. The frame was redesigned for weight, rigidity , and ease of maintenance. The result was a much lighter and better handling vehicle.

The major change in the third prototype is the switch to an AC motor. This is also the first version to have a complete body. We now get roughly the same performance as the Nissan Leaf and other major manufacturer electric vehicles, BUT WITH HALF THE BATTERIES!


*** MORE TO COME SOON !!!! *****

The original concept was a 35mph around town vehicle for dropping the kids at school, running down to the store and things like that. But no one we talked to was open to a vehicle that could not be driven on the highway. Absolutely no one! So this concept didn’t go very far.


Because energy is proportional to velocity squared, this means that at highway speeds all the forces on a vehicle go up by a factor of 4. Hence, we really needed to have a much more robust design.

Technology advances at different depending on the field. Every years computers speed doubles, but until the past few years battery technology was at a relative stand still. Battery technology remained stagnant for almost 100 years. For the first prototype, lead-acid batteries were still the only practical choice.

Hill climbing was very good. The photo on the above right was taken in the Sierre Nevada foothills on the way to Lake Tahoe. The range was also significantly improved.

What is the best car ever made?

        Is it the fastest car?

             Is it the best selling car?

                  Is it the best handling car?

                         How about the smoothest ride? or the most quiet?


Fundamentally it is impossible to make a mini-van handle like a ferrari. A Cadilac can not be built for the price of a Chevy. So, when starting out to build a car, it is important to have clear goals in mind.


One of the greatest cars of all time was the Ford Model T. Here is what Henry Ford had to say:

"I will build a car for the great multitude. It will be large enough for the family, but small enough for the individual to run and care for. It will be constructed of the best materials, by the best men to be hired, after the simplest designs that modern engineering can devise. But it will be so low in price that no man making a good salary will be unable to own one – and enjoy with his family the blessing of hours of pleasure in God's great open spaces."


And he did just that. We all know about the assembly line, the eventual selling price of just $360, and the 15 million vehicles sold. Even more impressive is that until 1927 the Model T accounted for about half all cars sold worldwide (no other car comes close to that figure).

Refined Concept:

In every step of the design and in every prototype, we strive for a fun, yet practical and affordable vehicle.

The performance of the second prototype was actually pretty darn good. We used a SepEx motor which even had regenerative braking. While the SepEx motor is quite good, we could not find a motor designed for the continuous power we required.

The batteries alone weighed 800 pounds. Add to that the weight of a stronger frames and heavier components all around. As a result, the vehicle was much heavier than we would have liked.  On flat ground at a constant speed (like on the highway) weight is not that much of an issue. But in stop-and-go traffic and hill climbing, weight is a killer.


It was very clear that we could never get the desired performance from lead acid batteries. Never the less, we learned a lot from that first prototype!

Must have:

  1. 1)quick

  2. 2)good range

  3. 3)good handling

  4. 4)seat two

Comments:

-The handling and acceleration need to be so good that most drivers never think of it. (but Ferrari handling is not required)

-While 90% of all vehicles drive under 35 miles in an average day, you can never have enough range.

-Stand at any corner and count the number of cars that go by with only the driver. Almost all of them. A single seat vehicle makes sense, but it is nice to be able to take a friend for a spin or out to lunch.

The tandem seating allows a thin narrow shape with minimal wind resistance. This is critical as wind resistance is the biggest energy loss at highway speeds.

In fact, tandem seating just about halves the wind resistance, all other things being equal. Having a single drive wheel behind the passengers further takes advantage of the aerodynamic shape.

Batteries

Cargo

By placing the batteries in the center of the vehicle below the drivers, the handling is optimized and the driver visibility is enhanced.

The Ghost is an unusual electric vehicle optimized for real world use, with an eye on fun. Unlike most cars, where the seating is side by side, the Ghost uses tandem seating. This creates a thin low drag shape that cuts through the air like a hot knife through butter.


The drawing above is an early vision of the Ghost (previously called the X-Cycle)

The photo above shows the second prototype.

Long Range, High Speed


The Ghost has very similar performance to electric vehciles released by the major car companies, but with half th batteries and at half the cost.