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May 8, 2015 7:13 EST

FlexPV: An Open Vehicle Dev Kit For Everyone

iCrowdNewswire - May 8, 2015

FlexPV: An Open Vehicle Dev Kit For Everyone

by FlexLab Community

FlexPV is an open source electric vehicle development kit with a collaborative community.

FlexLab Community

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About this project

FlexPV is an open source personal vehicle development kit. By standardizing the basic hardware and software, FlexPV makes it easy for anyone to make an electric vehicle, and remote control it. 

#{project_title}'s video poster

FlexPV contains 3 universal modules: Motor, Battery and Controller.

The FlexPV app connects to the controller via Wi-Fi network. You can fully customize your FlexPV driving experience. The app gives you pre-defined ride modes, and allows you to set your own top speed and acceleration levels. For more fun, the app enables you to Map your FlexPV path, compare to other FlexPVers and share to your friends. In the future, you will be able to access the community, checkout the amazing projects, events with your phone.

Using FlexPV to create is quite easy. Only a few steps are involved.

Let’s see some prototypes in action.

#{project_title}'s video poster
#{project_title}'s video poster
#{project_title}'s video poster
#{project_title}'s video poster
#{project_title}'s video poster

We have prepared some rewards for those of you who back our project during the Kickstarter campaign. Depends on the product stage, the delivery date are different. And at each stage, there is both single wheel and dual wheel version available for different applications. Two wheels working in concert with different speed, enables you to control the vehicle direction.

We got limited preview kits and developer kits, need more tinkering and soldering, for the most enthusiastic and experienced makers, and will start shipping in July 2015, to make sure they can involve in at the most early stage. As they contribute to the product development and provide the earliest feedback, these backers will be honored as the founding members of our community.

In October 2015, 3 moths after the campaign, we shall have enough fund, time and feedback to manufacture and ship the beta kits.

And in January 2016, we will have finished the industrial design and manufacturing of the aluminum alloy cases and remote controls. That’s the time we start to deliver these production kits.

 Overall

  • Speed – 25Km/h /15.3MPH @ a 70 Kg load
  • Distance – 15Km / 9.3Miles @ a 70 Kg load
  • Maximum Load – 80 Kg per wheel
Controller Module
  • Dual Output Channel – driving two wheels simultaneously (in same or different speed) 
  • Maximum Output Current – 70 A per channel 
  • 6-Axis GyroScope built in – provides possibility to make an auto balance car 
  • Both Speed control mode and Position control mode 
  • Close-Loop PID control 
  • Maximum Wi-Fi Distance – 15m/49ft
Battery Module
  • Rated Voltage – 36V  
  • Battery Chemistry – Li-Ion 
  • Capacity – 6400mAH 
  • Continuous Discharge Current – 20A 
  • Maximum Charge Current – 5A 
  • Recommended Charge Current – 2A Cells – 20 pcs Panasonic NCR18650BD in 2 sets of parallel connection 
  • Recycle Number – 1000 
  • Charging Time – 2 hours @ 4A 
  • Weight – 1.08Kg
Hub Motor
  • Diameter – 4 inches / 102mm
  • Net Weight – 1.4Kg
  • Maximum Current – 17A
  • Continuous Current – 6.7A
  • Maximum Power – 350W
  • Continuous Power – 200W
  • Rated Voltage – 36V
  • Maximum Torque – 5.5N.m
Performance
Performance
Finite Element Analysis ( under 100kg / 220lbs loads)
Finite Element Analysis ( under 100kg / 220lbs loads)

FlexPV is an open hardware and software project. We’ll provide all mechanical drawings, schematics and software codes on our website and community.

Hardware: The FlexPV unit is made of aluminum alloy and stainless steel. The mechanical drawings are all shared and can be downloaded freely. You can built it yourself on CNCs or Laser Cutters at home or in nearby tech-shops. Then you can upload your design to our the community to share.

Control Unit: It is based on a STM32 microcontroller. There are two set of Hall BLDC drivers and a MPU-6050 six-axis gyroscope on board. We create with KiCAD. The unit will be encased in a sleek, resilient aluminum alloy enclosure.

Software Code: The code is fully documented and written in C/C++. It is released as a free software under GNU General Public License version 3 or later. We code using CoIDE.

We hope to build a democratic fabrication community. We want to develop products with this innovative fabrication mode of openness and freedom, in which everyone can be a part of.

You can join our community as an early developer, and your contribution in it, no matter it’s a piece of code, a design sketch, or a simple idea, would be greatly valued and may possibly become part of our evolving product.

Share

You got an idea and want to make it real? Submit it to the community, share it with like-minded innovators from all around the world. It doesn’t matter if it’s a prototype of a project, a sketch, a 3D model or just a thought. Sharing is the first step toward bringing it to life.

Collaborate

Go comment and vote the ideas, projects you love. Play a role in every single decision. As an expert in some particular field, help solving engineering issues. Or just help to decide the form, color or functions. But what’s better, is everyone can participate in or initiate contests and tasks within the community! Through the various and amazing events, you can find the talented guys and the projects you love to work with!  

Fabricate

With a wide variety of CNCs, Laser Cutters, 3D printers and experienced engineers, we can turn the community’s ideas into realities. But that’s not enough! Within the community, you can look for machines in your nearby location to fabricate your project. Or share your awesome facilities with those around you for free, or make some extra money along the way.  

Market  

Through the community platform, you can buy various products and accessories, and even sell your own products. Your contributions are rewarded.

Regenerative Braking: To improve the cells’ efficiency and driving distance, we will implement regenerative braking for FlexPV.

Balancing Car: The control module has an inbuilt six-axis gyroscope with reserved hardware and software interface.

Replaceable Tire: More choices of tires that can adapt for various terrains (sprocket for chain drive , belt drive, etc…)

We need you guys to work with us, to implement more amazing features.

 FlexPV won the Startup Award of Michelin Bibendum Challenge 2014

Design, make and share is the core philosophy of our enthusiastic crowd of makers. We participated in HAXLR8R S2, the world’s first hardware accelerator program, and got invaluable help from them, their great mentors and teams.

In 2013, our first kickstarter campaign, Flexbot, raised 56 times of its goal. We’ve learned a lot from that project. Now, the team is even bigger and better.

Risks and challenges

Finding reliable factories and component suppliers is a challenge.  We have got two major sections to manufacture – electronic section, and mechanical section. We need two totally different types of manufacturers to cooperate with us. That’s why we bought our own CNCs, Lathes and many other electronic devices, to make them ourselves before going into the mass production stage. These necessary works will make sure the parts we designed are easy to be made and assembled.

Finding some good manufacturers is always a time-consuming task. To meet the delivery deadline, we decided to make those key parts by ourselves. It will guarantee the quality for the manufacturing period. Also, we have an experienced QC manager to supervise the outsourcing factories to ensure the delivery of quality products.

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