The Mule:

The Mule Conversion




Lovingly dubbed "The Mule" this motorcycle was Team Zeus' humble beginnings.  While far from a race-worthy bike, the aim here was to convert an existing gasoline motorcycle to electric using a budget of under $1000 and as little outside help as possible.  We managed to successfully pull it off, producing a fully functional electric motorcycle and learning a wealth of knowledge about how they work.

In the second phase of the project, we are upgrading the very underpowered Mule with a much more powerful motor that we are building from scratch.  Using a slightly modified blueprint from a detailed ebook, the "Axel Borg Motor" should theoritically allow the Mule to hit highway speeds.

As for future plans, the Mule will always remain as a project bike to tinker around on and for new generations of first years to learn on. 


These are the current specs.  Obviously, this will go up once the Axel Borg Motor has been Installed.

Top Speed: ~20 km/h
Range: untested
Voltage: 48V
Max Amperage: 40 A
Horsepower: ~1.5 hp

The Mule Transformation:

The mule began life as a 1982 Honda CM400 that was donated to the club.  At this point we were just a baby club, working hard in the basement of our club basement, trying to prove our selves to the university.   Although the bike not working at the time, we managed to rebuild the carbeurator as our first team exercise and breath new life into the engine, allowing us to sell it, after we stripped it out.


After a rigorous weight-loss regimen, we had the bike to stripped down to the skeleton.  Since the engine was an integral part of the frame, we had the task of designing a new sub-frame as well as figuring out how to mount our controllers.  We decided to go with a waterjet-cut, steel septum plate that took advantage of the existing engine mounts and allowed us to mount components on both sides, while maintaining the integrity of the frame.

After some extensive mockups using wood and CAD (Carboard Aided Design) we got our plate fabricated by the university machine shop.  We fabriacted our own casings for the battery pack out of sheet metal, lined with rubber.  The batteries were generously donated by the Schlich Solar Car Racing teams, since they were a generation old and past their prime.  Using a donated pump motor an off-the-shelf 48V, 600A Kelly controller, we finally assembled the complete bike over a hectic week between semesters.

Since completion, the Mule has made it around to several conferences and exhibitions.  Pictured below is Team Zeus' appearance at the Canadian National Science Conference at the Telus Sparks Science Center where we got to meet Jay Ingram, former host of Discovery Channel's Daily Planet.