The Pius DIY electric car kit gives the enjoyment of building an electric car
Just a few years ago those of us who wanted an electric car had only two choices, either locate one of the few that survived the electric car crushing frenzy, or build your own. Very few people have the willingness to spend a year or so building an electric car, which meant very few DIY electric car conversions were ever made. Thanks to Modi Corp. a DIY kit, named the Pius, will be available in 2013 to build an electric car. Well, a micro-car, anyway. And, no, that's not a misspelling, Pius is the name of the kit.
The Pius electric car kit was designed by Modi Corp to allow anyone to learn how to build electric vehicles, and have hands-on experience with the technology. Speaking from experience, building an electric car conversion is a great way to learn about electric vehicle the technology first hand, but converting an electric car from scratch is daunting. The Pius kit comes with everything required to build an electric car from the ground up. You assemble the frame, suspension, wheels, cockpit, steering, rear view mirrors, electronics, wiring, drive train, and put the shell on.
However, while the Pius has four wheels, a steering wheel, and looks like a car, it is not quite what is normally called a car. First, it measures 98-inches long and 48-inches wide and seats a single person. In other words, it is extremely small for a car. Second, the Pius has an an electric range of 15 miles and a top speed of 21 mph. Before you say "kids toy," this is quite a bit faster than the typical kids electric car. Instead the Pius is designed to register in Japan as a class-1 motorized bicycle. If Japanese electric bicycle laws are like those in the U.S. it means the Pius can be driven in bicycle lanes, and does not require a drivers license.
Modi Corp is marketing the Pius kit to engineering students in electrical and mechanical fields, so that they can get hands-on experience with electric vehicle technology. Targets are universities, colleges of technology and car mechanics' schools. The price has not been set yet.
Judging by the pictures on the Modi Corp website, the frame construction is somewhat like a go-kart, and the electrical drive train components are similar to those used in full scale electric vehicles. What that means is, the key components in electric vehicles are the motor, controller and throttle, and exist in a range of sizes including ones small enough for a micro-car like the Pius. To an extent the smallified versions of these work the same as the bigger versions.
Building your own electric vehicle is quite fun, and the best of all possible experiences is the first time you drive it down the street. Kits and parts can be easily located today for electric vehicle conversion of everything from bicycles to full size cars. It takes a bit of technical skill, but nothing terribly difficult unless your vision includes frame modifications or other tasks involving welding. One learns a lot through the process, most especially the essential simplicity of electric vehicle drive trains.