Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Pedal electric car

Pedal power without complicated drivetrains.
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(+1, -2)
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When you spin a motor, it generates an electric current. This will turn another motor if the circuit is connected. What I propose is to turn several motors by foot power and connect their cables to motors driving the wheels of a small vehicle. This is not a solution to modern passenger vehicles, it would be more apt for go-carts. With this design you can create a 4wd vehicle without complicated drivetrains or heavy batteries.
gryphon327, Jun 09 2009

Something's missing http://www.northrup...r-missing-petal.JPG
[normzone, Jun 09 2009]


       If I were going to build a 4wd, pedal powered go cart, and not use a conventional drivetrain, I'd use a hydraulic system, since there are smaller conversion losses than with an electrical system.   

       The pedals would connect to a variable displacement hydraulic pump, and each of the wheels would be powered by it's own hydraulic motor.
goldbb, Jun 09 2009

       // hydraulic system, since there are smaller conversion losses than with an electrical system//   

       Really? DC motors can go to high 90's %. Rotary hydraulic equipment require large radiators to keep cool. In my experiance, hydraulic drives lend themselves to low speed/high torque applications, where efficiency isn't as important as robustness, and large service intervals. Is anyone using high speed hydraulic drivetrains? (they probably are, but I don't know about it...). ?
Custardguts, Jun 09 2009

       I thought this would be a way to increase solar panel space on a car by the opening of "petals" to increase solar power generation area when parked.
Aristotle, Jun 10 2009

       //without complicated drivetrains// - so use a simple drivetrain, like on a bicycle.

The 'petals' unfold to form a rigid sail to allow wind-assisted travel. A good idea, although you should be mindful of the hazards of tacking in heavy traffic.
hippo, Jun 10 2009

       //I don't understand what this has to do with petals//   

       <shouts>Petal to the medal!</shouts>
pertinax, Jun 10 2009

       [bigsleep] - Gasoline = 32 MJ/l therefore about 33 MJ/£ (£0.97/l)   

       100W over 3600 seconds = 360000J or 360kJ or 0.36MJ   

       Minimum wage in the UK is £5.73, so human power is 0.0628MJ/£   

       Petrol wins.
miasere, Jun 10 2009

       OK. So I can't spell very well. I'll fix the post.
gryphon327, Jun 10 2009

       I realize that gas power would be a lot more efficient, but it costs money that I don't have. I do however have legs that I can use whenever I have free time. You ask why I would want a 4wd go-cart, well, the origional idea was to create a small tank type go-cart, but I haven't come up with an easy and cheap way to make the treads.
gryphon327, Jun 10 2009

       have you considered using stray dogs instead of children to power the vehicle?   

       Rummages around.... Dear me, my "puppy mill" idea is down again...
ye_river_xiv, Aug 15 2011

       Put simply, a mechanical drive train is going to be more efficient for any human powered vehicle than an electrical drive train.   

       The closest match to a pedal powered go-cart is a fully faired recumbent tricycle or quadrycycle, and those can reach ~90% efficiency even with a geared drive train. You'll lose more than that just carrying the extra weight in the motors/generators, to say nothing of the electrical conversion efficiency.
MechE, Aug 15 2011


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