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Solar Guild/Citizens for Solar Message Board › Wacked out ideas?

Wacked out ideas?

A former member
Post #: 670
Okay - After our discussion about ethanol today, my mind got to wondering about running vespas or motorcycles on ethanol. Well.....then I found the following video (beware turn down your volume before watching).

Golf cart on the run:­

So...... what if we took this golf cart, put in a motorcycle engine and ran it on ethanol. How many driving miles could we get on this? Could we reduce the costs of operation? Could we reduce our carbon footprint? Could we enclose it for inclement weather? How reasonably fast could we drive?

I would like to see getting at least thirty miles per gallon, carry two people with at least 350 pounds of cargo in the rear seat, have at least a 60mph top speed or better if possible and get at least 200 miles of distance before filling up the tank.

History and performance are at:

Please note, that for a motorcycle performance, the critical information is as follows and would vary for the weight of the golf cart and its contents:


Dry weight 199 kg
Wet weight 230 kg
Frame weight 14 kg
Engine weight (dry) 77.3 kg
Fuel Tank 20 litres
Average fuel consumption: 48 mpg (= 0,049 liters per km)
Average touring range: 207 miles

Comments anybody?
Rohn B.
user 10156944
Denver, CO
Post #: 1
I believe a more practical approach would be to use a older used small car. First there probably is no conversion necessary, it is already designed to go 60 mph or faster in a safer manner, it is already enclosed and it can carry the weight without overloading it (also safer). There are gas powered golf carts so the next best approach is to use a gas powered cart and put ethanol in it. Try it first to see if there is any compatibility problem in the fuel lines with the ethanol and if there is change those components out. It may be harder to find compatible components for a golf cart than for a car. Changing out a engine would certainly be work and may require machined adapters which drives up he cost and complexity of the project. Now if you have a golf cart and a motorcycle engine laying around, then go for it but be prepared for a lot of hassle.
A former member
Post #: 676
As far as I know, the gas powered golf carts are not designed to be road worthy or legal so they cannot make that speed. Plus the carts just have a "cool" factor, as in fun, that the average little car doesn't have. It probably is realistic to use the motorcycle engine that I provided in the prior thread which contains a video, but I suspect that it would be enough to haul two people around without any cargo. My concept was to take the basic shell of an old cart that is going to be put out to salvage because it no longer is worth fixing for the originally intended purpose.

The assumption is that you pick up the shell for a couple hundred bucks. What I have learned over the years is that racing bike engines can exceed the price of a car. In 2007, Harley-Davidson celebrated their 50th year in producing their motorcycles and the reserve to order the special models were starting at around $25K. - bare bones.

So, not sure what the cost of an engine out of the racing bike I saw on the internet which of course could be powered by ethanol. The range on the engine is very decent for a locally used car and for some nearby destinations ..... now the weight of it all. I think that will be the critical design factor. Machining is what it is. Have met a few guys around town who take pride in being able to custom fit at a reasonable price. I guess, what is reasonable and is it doable.

My original concept was to convert a beautiful old luxury car to biodiesel, but do to the changing out of the engine ( the block was cracked and it needed a new one to operate and be non-polluting anyway) from gas combustion to biodiesel combustion was not a regulatory possibility. It was the lack of regulations for such a concept that was the inhibitory factor. Was bringing the car from another state and it had to be smog certified in both states prior to moving it across state lines, even though I had legally taken it off of the road and would have had it on a flatbed truck. I had planned to just use the chassis and whatever connective parts could remain. The total cost was about $10K. for a very useable automobile still in beautiful elegant condtion. There was no legislation allowing that kind of conversion when you are bringing a car into Arizona from out of state. Was a shame. It was a very safe car to drive. The original high performance would not have been there after the conversion, but driving limits here do not require it, nor does the extreme temperatures support it. So it would have been fine for in town running and a 200-mile range on the open road.

So........I just keep looking at it from different angles. I have toyed with getting a Vespa for the nicer seasons and just use the little tired car I have now for those extreme climate conditions and distance runs. Looking for something that would be fun to drive, yet green. Some of us, just love to drive and go places.
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