Frank Didik Electric Vehicle Designs

Electric, Solar, Hybrid and Human Powered Vehicles

The secret to designing a viable Electric car
Designing, building and manufacturing an economically viable electric car
By Frank X. Didik, May, 2010
Frank Didik is the founder of the Electric Car Society

 

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  Frank Didik has designed and built close to 20 solar and electric powered vehicles. Further, as founder of the Electric Car Society (formerly known as the Electric Car Owners Club), he had the privilege of speaking, in depth, with many electric car designers and leaders in the industry, world wide. Further, Mr. Didik has driven many, if not most of the production and experimental electric vehicles that has been developed over the past 35 years. Frank Didik's insiders perspective, is unique in the industry, where many of the current crop of electric car "designers" have little practical and road experience with electric vehicles. His advise is sought by many electric car entities and Mr. Didik has been on television and radio shows in the print media, numerous times, world wide. In Frank Didik's opinion, many of the current electric cars are either too expensive, to under engineered or not up to the safety and durability standards of current gasoline and diesel powered vehicle and in fact, some of the current limited manufactured electric cars do more to harm the industry than to enhance the industry. Here is a brief overview of some of Frank Didik's understanding and suggestions on designing and building a viable electric automobile, that has a potential to compete with conventional gasoline and diesel powered vehicles and to develop repeat business and brand loyalty:

  • Economic viability. It is difficult to think that in the current environment, that an electric vehicle, costing more than a conventional, internal combustion vehicle, will be economically viable. The vehicle must be of excellent quality, excellent value for the money and must cost a moderate amount to maintain. Some electric vehicles are vastly overpriced, but sell only on its novelty factor or are dependent upon government subsidies and tax breaks.

  • Structural integrity. Car buyers do not want to trade the gas cap for a death trap. All electric vehicles must be structurally as safe or safer, as an equivalent conventional gasoline or diesel powered vehicle. Electric car manufacturers should not push for laws that permit lower structural and or safety standards for electric vehicles.

  • Manufacturing ease and cost effectiveness. In industrialized countries, labor costs are the single largest expense for automobile and vehicle manufacturers. Though it might be possible to temporarily establish factories in very low cost labor countries, these "opportunities" are rapidly coming to an end, thus it is essential that any electric vehicle or alternative energy vehicle must be designed in such a manner as to be the same cost or lower cost to manufacture as a conventional gasoline or diesel powered vehicle. Electric vehicle manufacturers must not depend on government subsidies and or tax credits to assist in manufacturing and selling electric vehicles. The subsidies is absolutely not the long term solution. The electric vehicle must be desirable and salable on its own merits.

  • Battery packs must have reasonable replacement cost, It is essential for the electric vehicle manufacturer to provide battery packs with the electric vehicle that are both safe as well as affordable. If a replacement battery pack costs thousands of dollars or a high percentage of the cost of the vehicle, the electric vehicle manufacturer will not develop brand loyalty and the company will not have repeat business. The cost of a replacement battery pack must not be the same cost as replacing a conventional automobile engine and transmission.

  • Battery containment to prevent caustic burns in the event of a mishap. The battery power packs must be designed in such a manner that in the event of a major accident or in the event that the battery pack ruptures or explodes, that the damage and potential for injury is minimized by an effective battery containment system. A number of years ago, as president of the Electric Car Society, I was contacted by a fire department seeking guidelines on dealing with battery issues, in the event of an accident. This potential problem seems to be often overlooked by the current crop of limited production electric vehicles.

  • The electric motor and electric and electronic components must be properly shielded to prevent interference with conventional radios, cell phones and digital television broadcasts, as well as for the off chance that EMF energy can effect the safety of the driver and the occupants. Technologies and materials exist today to adequately shield the electric components of the electric car, though, perhaps as an oversight, the current line of electric vehicles rarely have quality shielding.

  • Often overlooked, heating and air conditioning. With a few exceptions, most electric cars are just terrible in heating and cooling the occupants. It is as though the current line of electric cars were designed for areas with always perfect climate! In most cases a number of issues are either not addressed or are simply overlooked. For example, a batteries efficiency declines significantly in cold weather. Further, the use of an air conditioner is a major drain on the batteries. Most electric motors are relatively efficient and thus energy loss in the form of heat is minimal. The result is that many, if not most electric cars today are inadequately heated in cold weather climate areas. This major issue most be addressed, in order to make the electric vehicle competitive with conventional vehicles.

  • Must be roomy enough to compete with mid sized conventional vehicles. Today's market place has relatively little room for tiny cars, yet in the case of almost all electric cars, they are build small to conserve weight and thus, to extend range. Even the most expensive electric cars are small in comparison with the average vehicle sold today. In order to be competitive, an electric vehicle must be competitive to what the market wishes to buy. Though there is a niche market for small "cute" colorful cars, much of the buying public equates small cars are equated with cheapness and a lack of safety. In order to effectively increase market share and brand loyalty, it is important for electric car manufacturers to provide the buying public what it wants. It should be noted that many conventional automobile manufacturers "toyed" with small cars, such as BMW which manufactured the tiny, Italian designed Isetta in the mid to late 1950's or VW which manufactured the original Beatle, or Honda with its early 1970's Honda 360 and many other examples, but as the market changed and society had a greater amount of expendable income, all the manufacturers switched over to larger, safer and more luxurious cars, which provided the manufacturer with greater revenue. Electric Car manufacturers, in order to be competitive, must do the same.

  • In order for any electric vehicle to compete with the reliable and entrenched internal combustion engine cars, an electric vehicle must offer everything that the buyer has become accustomed to have in a conventional car and in an effort to induce the buyer to purchase an electric car, the price of an electric car must not only be competitive, but must be at least 20% less expensive than a conventional car. There can not be any excuses for issues such as quality, roominess, safety or for that matter, range or safety. No one wants to exchange the gas cap for a death trap.

  • ...and this is only the beginning. Please contact Frank Didik to discuss your company's electric car project.

 Electric Vehicle Manufacturer Design Assistance and Consulting: If you represent a manufacturing enterprise or a transportation authority, located anywhere in the world, you are invited to contact us to discuss your needs and we will do our best to provide you with a fresh new innovative look at your existing and proposed project. As founder of the Electric Car Society and with years and years of experience, we can offer you insight that no other new upstart company can possibly offer you. We fully know all of the critical and difficult issues involving electric cars, such as range, safety, EMF health issues and shielding, cold weather driving, heating and air conditioning energy loss, battery safety containment and much more. Further, we have practical workable solutions for most issues, and you will not even have to power your vehicle with thousands of costly small batteries. All communications are deemed confidential to the degree that the internet provides however confidential information can only be sent after an agreed NDA is signed. RFP's are welcome and given quick, thoughtful attention. Vehicles are also built for special order or advertising or motion picture purposes.

 Contact Frank Didik

Frank Didik Electric Vehicle Design

 
  Below please find some of the many solar, electric, hybrid and human powered vehicles designed and built by Frank Didik at his New York City work shop. Some of the projects can be considered design or intellectual exercises, while others are strictly commercial, with the bottom line in mind. Each of the shown prototype vehicles are designed to test a certain important transportation element such as safety, range, drivability and handling, space allocation and manufacturing techniques, Some of the more conventional looking vehicles, solar-electric conversions and recent prototypes are not shown.

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"Didik Sun Shark"
Solar-Electric safety motorcycle.

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Hybrid Electric
Didik Long Ranger
(highly modified CitiCar)

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Didik foldable Muscle Car

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"DIDIK Muscle Car"
Human Powered Version

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"Didik Shooting Star" Gas-Hybrid fantasy vehicle built for auto show.

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Didik's view on design

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"Didik Duplexity" human powered, foldable scooter for two.

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The Didik quest for the worlds lightest bicycle. Nine pounds (4kg). Rear and front wheel turns. Epoxy coated foam.

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"Didik Simplicity" Electric hybrid vehicle with rear wheel turning.

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DIDIK Muscle Car


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Solar-Human powered
DIDIK Muscle Car

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Be sure to read "How vehicles are designed" and "How to Build an Electric Car"

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Didik Ultra-light weight bicycle. Worlds lightest bike

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Didik Arctic Explorer Enclosed, heated and floatable snow mobile.


Didik Turtle
A truly basic electric car built in just 14 hours

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Didik Sun Shark

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Solar-Human powered
DIDIK Muscle Car

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Didik foldable Muscle Car

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Didik Sun Shark

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DIDIK Muscle Car

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Be sure to read "How to Build an Electric Car"

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Light weight is essential for efficiency in solar vehicles.

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Solar-Human DIDIK Muscle Car.

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Solar array designed by Frank Didik for custom built, solar heated workshop.

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Didik Sun Shark in classroom for seminar on solar vehicles at the National Design Museum of the Smithsonian Institute.

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DIDIK Muscle Car

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Didik Simplicity

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Foldable Muscle Car

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DIDIK Muscle Car


Design exercise
Didik Ocean Home page
Floating deep water home
Ocean Home PDF file

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Construction of custom solar

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DIDIK Muscle Car

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Design and build a simple car top,row boat or motor boat in three days. 

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Publishing and Copyright Information

Copyright 1982-2012 by Frank Didik.   All Rights Reserved.   It is requested that a copy of any quotation be sent to the author by conventional postal mail or electronic mail.   Didik, Didikmobile, Muscle Car, Foldable Muscle Car, Shooting Star, Sun Shark are marks of Frank Didik.   

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Copyright© 1989 - 2012 by Frank X. Didik
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  Didik, Didikmobile, Muscle Car, Foldable Muscle Car, Shooting Star, Sun Shark are marks of Frank Didik.
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