I am looking at buying a 1980 Bradley GT 2 Electric. The hardest part is trying to figure what a fair price is. The owner just wants an offer. The body is in very good shape, the interior is very good too. There are no batteries and the tires are age cracked. I am thinking to buy this as a around town car. The charger is on board and there are 2 blowers in the back. One is mounted the other is not.
What would batteries cost? Does it pay to update the controller and/ or battery type.
I know this sounds crazy but has anyone mounted or trailered a small generator to extend the range - like the Chevy Volt
I am used to easy driving since I have a hybrid as well.
I think your valuation of the car is correct. I agree start low; $3000 is at the upper level of what the car is worth as just a functional vehicle.
Depending on the state you are in it can be expensive to register/license this car. My reward from the state of California for going green was an alternate fuel tax of $373 per year, not to mention the smog abatement fee. Nice!
As for batteries you are looking at a minimum of about $3000 to get a decent range; that price goes up quickly if you use a Lithium ion or similar type system. With a higher grade battery system your expected service life can be as long as 10 years -vs- 2 to 3 years with a typical low grade lead acid battery system; so it is definitely worth the price difference if you expect to use the car long term.
Updating the drive system will increase efficiency in most cases. Here the greatest advantage comes when the whole system is designed to achieve your goal. The older GE electric motor is a good motor, however today there are more powerful motors that draw far less electrical energy.
With regards to extending the range using a trailer storage/generation device; yes this works. I have been fortunate to have worked on several electric vehicle programs such as Tesla, Zero Motorcycles, Chevy Volt, Mission Motorcycles. With all of these applications the key was to achieve maximum energy storage with the lowest weight and rolling resistance. I would recommend starting with a good battery system first. As a new GT II Electric owner myself, I have found that with todays batteries it is possible to get about 100 to 120 miles per usable amount of charge and stay within the existing battery storage space.
I have done some preliminary designs for a generator based system which utilizes high efficiency demand control hardware/software capable of reducing operating costs. I have also drawn up a couple of solar/battery storage systems based on a single wheel and double wheel trailer system. The use of a small trailer system is expected to take the effective range up to a 500 mile maximum without imposing serious implications to vehicle design or safety; so it can definitely be done. In the long run a battery storage system offers the lowest cost of operation with the highest return on investment; obviously a cheap gas generator is a great short term solution based on cost alone. This can even be done on board without affecting the classification of the vehicle fuel type.
A new option for extending range and adding driver comfort has recently come across my work desk. A very high efficiency Air Conditioning unit driven by an electric storage system offers the ability to produce 8,000 BTU/hr of cooling for up to 10 to 12 hours on a single charge, and the possibility to feed the stored energy into the drive system when needed. The system is currently used on Tractor-Trailer rigs to reduce idling of their diesel engines when parked. Just another option for extending the range; the unit could easily fit in the area behind the seats while still allowing for storage.
If you buy the car and need drawings or a source for parts, we can all help. My resource library is growing daily, and at this point there is only 1 part I can not seem to get; the accelerator switch (pot box).
I wish you the best in making your decision, the car is definitely worth the effort.
I paid about $2000 for the last one I bought - it was running but had some slight body damage from a rear collision. Rear bumper needed replaced and repaired crack under the trunk lid. It is a great platform for electric experimentation.