OwnerEl Ninjista
LocationSeattle, Washington US map
Vehicle2006 Kawasaki EX 500
Red with black/white checkerboard.
MotorAdvanced DC A00-4009 72V Series Wound DC
DrivetrainDirect chain drive.
ControllerAlltrax 7245 72V Controller
Batteries23 Fortune, 3.20 Volt, Lithium Iron Phosphate
This is now my third set of batteries. The first ones were crap and failed after a few months. The second set were CALB and last 8 years / 23,000 miles. Just installed the 23 Fortune 50Ah (up from 21 CALB 40Ah) cells last month (October, 2017).
System Voltage80 Volts
ChargerDelta-Q Technologies QuiQ 72V
UPDATE: 5/14/14 - Another year, another charger. The Kelly charger I had for 14 months died after being out in a snowstorm in February 2014. Even though it was in the Givi top box, somehow the freezing temperature, or perhaps a minute amount of snow getting in through the opening where the extension cord goes, killed it.
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Previous chargers:
The Zivan bit the dust, so I had Pacific EV create a charger that wouldn't overheat in the top box. They weren't durable enough to survive bouncing around in the box. As of December 2012 I've been using the Kelly charger. (See updates below.)
HeaterN/A
DC/DC ConverterAstrodyne 72 Volt
InstrumentationThe Cycle Analyst Version 2.0. This is the second gauge I've had on my El Ninja. (See "Comments" for more about that.) An ancient, cheapo speedometer/odometer which replaced the stock one. (That's what accounts for the low total miles. I drove it around 15,000 miles with the internal combustion engine.)
Top Speed80 MPH (128 KPH)
With the 21 CALB 40 Ah cells the top speed was 60 mph now on hot days, 50 mph in the winter. Now, with the new cells on cold days, I can get to 80 mph. Who knows how fast it will be next summer?!
AccelerationCALB cells were not as quick as an internal combustion motorcycle. Fortune cells has brought acceleration back up to par with it prior to conversion.
Range35 Miles (56 Kilometers)
About 35 miles is the best it has done (after less than a month). Old cells topped out at 20 miles depending on speed, hills and air temperature. In the summer, my range may get closer to 40 miles.
EV Miles
Current:23,000 Miles (37,007 Kilometers)
Seating Capacity2 adult
Curb Weight490 Pounds (222 Kilograms)
The above weight is a guess. But it's not much heavier than stock - maybe 30lbs more.
TiresTwo!
Conversion TimeWay too long of a wait for the batteries (from China, of course, *sigh*) and other parts. Started in September 2008, finished (sort of) in January 2009.
Conversion Cost~$10,000; Work done by Carlo at ev-supply.com
Additional FeaturesRemoved broken stock faring and replaced with new headlight, front turn signals and mirrors.
Has a Givi 30N Top Box which holds the charger.

35 pictures of the conversion/finish at WebPage
I live in an apartment building (2nd floor), so I had to buy 150 feet of 600 volt cable to string out to my bike, parked near the street ($280), so I can keep my $700 charger (bolted to the inside of the Givi box) in my apartment, rather than on the bike. I also bought 140 feet of 2" PVC tubing to cover the cable ($125). And, I keep 100 feet of 12 gauge extension cord in the top box for charging away from home ($80). Finally, to keep the spot where I charge my motorcycle open (as well as help prevent theft), I bought 40' of heavy duty chain ($100) to create a small triangle-shaped area where my 600 volt cable ends.

I bought the 2006 Ninja 500 because of its great gas mileage (I got 72mpg with one tankful - all highway miles - but generally got around 55mpg), but it didn't do well in cold, wet weather. Unfortunately, Seattle has cold, wet weather several months of the year, so it really began to piss me off that it would sputter and stall 1/2 the time the temperature was 40 degrees F or less. Plus, I wanted to drive as "green" of a vehicle as possible - hence, El Ninja Del Norte!

UPDATE: 6/16/09 - Originally I had a PakTrakr Monitor System for batteries, but it was less than ideal for several reasons: 1) It had no backlight, so it was useless at night. 2) It drew its power (more than you'd expect, too!) from just 3 of the 23 batteries - which caused these batteries to fail while I was storing the bike for three months. 3) It didn't have a very reliable way to gauge how many amp-hours I had left, and therefore, how much range I had. Hopefully the new gauge will do better. I'll update this page in a few months with that information.

UPDATE: 7/12/09 - The Cycle Analyst has proven to be a terrific gauge; I highly recommend it for use on motorcycles/scooters/bicycles. It can be set to count how many amp hours you are using so it's a more accurage way to know how much juice is left in the batteries. Carlo suggested that I not use more than 30 amp hours per charge. That leads to the other update - I've finally found out my range, and it's not that great. On the highway, full "throttle" it can go about 15 miles. Mixed highway and city driving around 20-25. Theoretically, staying at 30 mph and under, I could go 30 miles before needing to recharge.

UPDATE: 6/14/12 - Lot's of trial and error being on the "bleeding edge" of technology. Most of the trouble stemmed from the Zivan being in a confined space and overheating. Once I replaced it, the only problems have been with wiring coming loose or blowing a fuse. The first two years, the bike was being worked on roughly half the time. The last year (since updating the charger), it's only been worked on for a few minor problems. Glad things are finally going well with it!

UPDATE: 3/11/13 - As mentioned in the charger section, the three ac/dc converters that I was using to charge the bike weren't meant to be in a moving vehicle, and subsequently all three died within a few months of each other (while I kept replacing them). Finally, after changing out all three of them, I decided to go with the Kelly charger at the end of last year. It doesn't fully charge the entire pack, but it's close enough, I guess. (Maxes out around 71 V whereas it should go to at least 72.5V).

UPDATE: 5/14/14 - More charger issues, mostly detailed above in the charger section. On a positive note, my bike now has 10,000 electric miles in five years.

UPDATE: 6/5/15 - Had to replace the motor last year after it burned up (literally, I saw flames burning off the insulation on the wiring inside the motor housing). I put in the same model of motor, so nothing new there. The QuiQ 72V charger has given me no problems so far, so hopefully this one will last. It seems very durable and reliable. Up over 12,000 electric miles now.

UPDATE: 8/22/16 - In the last year the two parts I've had to replace are the throttle accelerator and the DC/DC converter. The former was problematic as sometimes I'd turn the key and the bike would bolt without me touching the accelerator. Yikes! The converter failed and was temporarily fixed with some soldering, but inevitably needed to be replaced. Bike is about to hit 17,000 electric miles.

UPDATE 11/11/17 - The CALB cells were really starting to feel tired when the weather turned colder this fall, so I got 23 Fortune 3.2V 50Ah cells to replace the 21 40Ah CALB cells. What a difference in speed, range and performance! Also the batteries are farther forward and lower in the bike so the center of gravity has improved. This also freed up room to put the charger under the "tank" as well (as opposed to being in the top box). So, that weight is now lower and more toward the front of the bike. Here's hoping for another 23,000 miles from these batteries (if not more!).

code by jerry