E-Lert High Performance Electric Tricycle
Construction Manual & Drawings Cost: $140 + $5.00 (US) shipping
The E-Lert is a lightweight electric powered tricycle of aluminum construction. It seats one person and is very efficient to operate.
It uses a fraction of the energy a car does for the same distance. The E-Lert suitable for operation on smooth, paved roads.
With its partially enclosed cockpit it offers low drag and a more protected ride in cold weather than a bicycle or motorcycle.
It is designed to be built by you with simple hand tools in about 250 hours.
Electric Tricycle Features
Up to 2 x 1000 W electric hub motors in rear wheels
Pedal drive on left wheel, 5-speed
Front wheel rim brake
Rear wheel disk brake
Front wheel: 20” bicycle
Rear wheels: 700C or 26”
Empty weight with motors and battery: 150 lb (68 kg)
Gross weight: 400 lb (181 kg)
Drive battery: 48V, 20Ah, Lithium Polymer
Top speed with motors: 25 mph (40 km/)
Range: up to 25 miles (40 km) at 15 mph (24 km/h) on electric power only
Range can be extended by pedal assist
The design is fully documented by part drawings, assembly drawings and a detailed construction manual with many pictures.
The central frame consists of square aluminum tubing riveted together with blind rivets and simple sheet metal brackets.
Full scale flat patterns are provided for all brackets.
The wheel suspension is steel tubing and requires some welding.
The nose cone is composite (molded nose cones are available on request from Sonja Englert).
For more pictures, see below.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can the E-Lert be pedaled at the same time as the motors are used?
A: Yes, you can pedal at any time with or without the use of electric power.
Q: How long does it take to charge the battery?
A: The recommended battery has 20Ah. The standard charger puts out 3Ah, so to fully charge the battery, it would take 6.5 h. Normally the battery would have some charge remaining and typically is topped of in 1-2 hours.
Q: How is the E-Lert steered?
A: The front wheel is steered with a handle on the right side of the cockpit. The movement is fore (turn left) and aft (turn right), similar to a bicycle handle. The throttle and brake handle are attached to the steering handle.
Q: Is it difficult to steer the E-Lert?
A: It is not difficult. It is fairly intuitive and one gets used to it very quickly.
Q: How hard is it to pedal the E-Lert?
A: It is similar to riding a bicycle with two people since the weight of the E-Lert frame (150 lb / 68 kg) is about that of a person. Acceleration and going uphill is more work, but on a level road it is similar to pedaling a regular bicycle.
Q: Does the E-Lert needs to be licensed?
A: This depends on your state/country requirements. It may need to be licensed as a moped. This should not be a big deal, but then need a driver’s license to operate it (any driver’s license, or moped specific).
Q: In what way is the E-Lert different from other tricycles?
Many other tricycles are not enclosed and offer less protection from the weather. Those that are enclosed are either much heavier or more expensive. The E-Lert’s light weight is the key to performance (ease of pedaling and range) while the relatively low drag allows for higher speed. The lithium polymer battery, while it costs more initially, weighs much less than lead-acid batteries and allows more than twice the charging cycles, >1000 before replacement. Vehicle cost is kept low by allowing you to build the vehicle yourself.
Q: What tools are needed to build the E-Lert?
A: To build the E-Lert, you will need the following tools: hack saw, file, drills, hand drill, clecos and cleco pliers, a few clamps, Sharpie marker, tape measure, calipers, protractor, a vise, hammer, straight tin snips, blind rivet puller, carpenter’s square and an assortment of wrenches. An angle drill will make it easier to get into the corners. Others are nice to have, like a drill press, a table saw for cutting tubes at an angle, belt sander, band saw, sheet metal brake and a lathe. If you do the composite work yourself, add brush, scissors and sand paper. If you can weld, you will also need welding equipment (steel only).
Q: What does it cost to build the E-Lert?
A: The raw material cost about $600, the battery and motor cost depend on the supplier and can be anywhere from $1000-$2000 (2014). Other parts needed are for example certain bicycle parts and standard hardware, the cost really depend on your scrounging ability.
Q: What skills do I need to have to build an E-Lert?
A: You need to be able to read drawings and follow the instructions in the manual. You should have basic metal working skills such as drilling holes, using a saw, file and hand rivet puller. The welding is limited to a few parts and can be done by a local machine shop if you do not want to do it.
Q: Can the E-Lert be purchased as a completed vehicle, ready to drive?
A: Not directly, but you can hire someone to build it for you.
Q: Can the E-Lert be built with a closed cabin?
A: It is not designed for a closed cabin. If you want to pursue this, you have to design it on your own.
Q: What support is available while I am building it if I do have questions?
A: Builder support by email is included in the purchase price of the plans. Limited phone support is available.
Q: Can I build the E-Lert in other countries than USA?
A: That is certainly possible. The dimensions on the drawings are both in inches and mm. The raw material is specified in the English system but a conversion to metric sizes is provided in the manual. Check on licensing requirements in your country before building.
If you purchase, build and operate an E-Lert, you are responsible for it and any accidents or damage you may cause. The E-Lert is designed for light weight and offers no protection in a crash. Obtain appropriate insurance for it and yourself!
Out for a ride
Cockpit and control stick
On its wheels
Drive Battery Installation and Golden Hub Motor
View of pedals