Friday, May 21, 2010
A couple of years ago, brimming with confidence after having turned the 2000 Enfield I bought wrecked on ebay into a beauty, I decided to embark in another project. I was going to convert an Enfield to run on electricity. I figured it would be a cool thing to do and it is a natural evolution for a brand that spans three centuries to venture into technologies of the future, etc. So I bought a dirt cheap Enfield 350 with a shady past, sold its engine on ebay, purchased an eTek electric motor and... ran out of steam. It immediately became clear that my mechanical abilities and my spare time were quickly overwhelmed by the project, as the picture on the left shows. It now also appears I've been scooped. James Hammarhead, a neuropsychologist at UPenn has actually done it, turning an enfield into the Volta 102. Unlike the bike I planned on building, that had a modest cost and therefore performance, he seems to have gone all out. He used the EnerTrac hub motor, which simplifies the design, has 13.4 continuous horsepower and 40 peak horsepower. The battery pack is top of the line lithium iron-phosphate (I was planning on using cheapo lead-acids). It appears to propel the bike 50 to 70 miles on one charge. It has regenerative braking. At $18,500, they are not cheap, though. You can read more at the Hammarhead Industries website.