The Mass-EV Project

Need a cheap viable electric car? 100 mile range and 70 mph top speed in a compact car? Think it can't be done? Read on.


The Idea

Basic car will be the size of a Ford Focus C-Max.

It will have a range of 100 miles on a single charge and be capable of 70mph with an average weight driver.

It will have a built-in charger for domestic supply with a 50m power cord and include a walk-over plate (to cover the cord on the walkway).

The car will probably use a combination of battery technology, brushless DC motors with microprocessor control and will be designed to maximise the use of regenerative braking.

It will probably also use dual duplicate independent control systems for safety and power the rear 2 wheels (one motor each) for simplicity.
The front wheels are steered.

Braking will mainly be using re-gen but standard friction brakes will be fitted.

The basic car will not be high tech looking to give the modding market a full chance.

The car will be designed from the ground up to be mass produced (focussing on in the order of 100,000 units) with a target retail price £7,000.

It will be using the simplest technology to make it a reality (no frills, but solid engineering) with a designed life of a least 10 years.

Retail via supermarket chains and online.

Advanced models

Car could have a minimum fuel economy.
So on inclines it favours reducing speed than increasing power.

May be able to predict fuel usage via a peer website.

Wifi play key role.


An initial target cost of £7,000 means the manufacturing cost should be targeted at £3,500.

The reality is the vehicle may be up to £10,000 (£5,000 manufacturing cost), but this is not the target.

Volume price orders hopefully will bring the price down to the target.

We are not talking about any frills, the car will not have air-con, electric windows, central locking, sun roof, etc.
Those are all extras and likely for third party suppliers (to give them a piece of the pie too).

Since the car will effectively have a detachable and interchangeable body this will be basic and functional too.
As will the interior, seats, trim.
The detachable body means it upgraded or sold with a higher spec (and price).

The detachable power chassis means it can be upgraded with new technology when it becomes available, you can purchase a lithium battery chassis or trade it for an upgrade.

The design will be available for the modding market too, so they can encourage sales of the base vehicle.

The car's technology is already proven in the current market, so the vehicle will hit the technical goals.

Project Development

The project is being developed on a secure site for patent reasons

If you wish to apply for an account on the site click here
It will take about 24 hours to approve

User Operation

There will be a reserve capacity of 5% (obvious warning of imminent depletion) and less obtrusive warning at 20%

Optional extras

Trailer generator running on petrol/diesel to give long range 300mile+ (maybe even target 400 miles) cost around £1,000 probably with extra load space (since you are travelling and probably want to take some luggage)

Static charge point for about £500 fitted for night charging at roadside connected to domestic supply

Use Scenarios

The car is targeted at the commuting/shopping/school run user, but will have the ability to do long range at high speed with additions.

The main issue is not whether the technology will work (it already is working in submarines, disabled vehicles, fork lifts, milk floats, etc.) It is the general perception that it is not worth pursuing.

If I tell someone that they may have to replace the main battery at a cost of £1,000 after a year they will reel back in disgust at such a ridiculous scenario.
But when I point out that it is just like having a service on their existing car and that the cost of that replacement will be easily saved (probably many times over) since the car is very economical that makes it less of a problem.

If I tell them the car doesn't have "fuel" stations so you can't fill up a garages they feel themselves wondering how they are going to fuel the car.
But when I tell them they can plug the car in at home or work and "fill up" any time they are near a standard domestic mains outlet (charge cord is 50m long and can be extended with a standard mains extension) even at a friends/relatives house, they see the existing infrastructure we have been using for years already.

So the problems are not technical issues they are marketing ones.

Battery Life

The main problem with electric car usage has been the life of the battery, both in range on one charge and useful life of the battery in charge cycles.

The lead acid battery for this vehicle will be a deep cycle 12v unit currently in use for disabled vehicles and submarines.

These batteries have a useful life of 350-400 charge cycles.
This is for a complete discharge and charge cycle.

For this vehicle that would be a journey of 100 miles on one charge and would mean the vehicle would have a life of 35,000 to 40,000 miles before the battery would need replacement.

For a current car based on 50mpg, 35,000 miles at a fuel price of £1.10 per litre (£4.95 per gallon) would cost £3,465.

Given that this car would attain equivalent current fuel cost of in excess of 100mpg the equivalent cost of the electricity for the same distance would be £1,732.50 a saving of £1,732.50.
This is more than the cost of a replacement battery by £732.50 and thus easily a net saving even including a replacement battery into the cost of running the car.

Also add in the fact that the car would not need servicing (due to it's simplicity) you would be looking at a further saving of in the region of £300 per year.

Even in a high mileage scenario of £35,000 per year the 10 year total cost including fuel (electricity), tax (which is free) and replacement batteries would be £44,325

Compare that with an equivalent cost (assuming the same purchase price of £7,000 and road tax of £100 per year and all the above figures) of £76,835

Over the 10 years the owner would save £32,510 and would be able to take a big chunk out of their mortgage!

The Commuter

Our Commuter works 25 miles from home and travels to work every day for 5 days.
They have 4 weeks holiday per year.

Total number of journeys for the year is 48 weeks x 5 days x 2 journeys = 480 journeys of 25 miles each.

The total distance would be 480 journeys * 25 miles = 12,000 miles

Currently at 50mpg this would cost £4.95 per gallon (£1.10 per litre) x 12,000 miles / 50mpg = £1,188.
Add tax (£100) and service cost (required for the guarantee, £300) gives £1,588.

For the Mass-EV this would be 12,000 miles / 100mpg * £4.95 per gallon (equivalent) = £594
Worst case the car would have used approximately 1/3 of the life of the battery (35,000 miles) or £333 of the replacement cost.
Add this on so: £594 + £333 = £927 total cost.

Thus a saving of £1,588 - £927 = £661 including putting some away (in a biscuit tin under the bed) for the replacement battery.
The battery would need replacing after 35,000 miles / 12,000 miles per year = 2.92 years

If the commuter was not running the battery until flat and overnight recharging, which would be every other day, but recharging every night at home they would increase the life of the battery to more like 500+ charges.

This means they would get more than 50,000 miles out of the battery and would only need to put away £240 instead of £333 and save £754 instead of £661.
They would not need to replace the battery for 50,000 miles / 12,000 miles per year = 4.17 years.

If you plan on selling the car after 3 years and didn't want to save for a replacement battery it would be a saving of £994 per year.
Nice holiday abroad eh?

If they could have the car recharged at work too they would increase the life even more and save even more money.
They probably would not need to replace the battery until five years after the purchase.

If they didn't pay for the charging at work they would save even more money, but that's a different story :-)

The Shopper

Distance to shop/town 10 miles round trip (multiple stops) 3 times a week.

This is 3 days x 52 weeks = 156 journeys per year and 1,560 miles per year.

The battery needs replacing after 35,000 miles (worse case) so would not need replacing for over 22 years in theory!
The reality is it would need replacing after about 5 years of life which would be about 2,000 partial re-charges (given the life of a current car battery).

Fuel usage for an existing car would be 1,560 miles x £4.95 per gallon / 50mph = £145.08 per year.
Add on to that the road tax (£100 approx) gives £245.08 per year.
Add on service cost (£300 per year, required for the guarantee) gives £545.08 per year.

Mass-EV would be 1,560 miles x £4.95 per gallon / 100mph = £72.54 per year.
Add to that the cost of replacing the battery after 5 years (£200 per year) gives £272.54.

This is a saving of £545.08 - £272.54 = £272.54 per year (with £200 in the biscuit tin).

If you didn't factor in battery replacement because you were planning on selling it after 3 years that would be £472.54 per year saving.
Or a nice holiday somewhere.

The School Run

Distance to establishment 5 miles.

10 trips a week x 40 weeks a year gives 400 trips.
400 trips x 5 miles = 2,000 miles per year.

Again the battery would (in theory) last a stupid amount of time (35,000 miles / 2,000 = 17.5 years) so we will say 5 years life (10,000 miles) before replacement.

Cost in current car 2,000 miles x £4.95 per gallon / 50mpg = £198.
Add tax (£100) and service (£300) gives £598 per year.

Mass-EV: 2,000 miles x £4.95 per gallon / 100mpg = £99.
Cost of replacing battery (£1,000 / 5 years = £200 per year) gives £299 per year.

Saving is £598 - £299 - £99 = £200 per year.
Some nice Christmas presents maybe?

Sell the car before battery life means the car will save £400.
Have some game consoles for presents too!

Charge while you...

Car could be charged via supermarket domestic supply and possibly paid at checkout.

Charge at NCP car parks from park domestic supply and paid for using parking charge meter.
Maybe do a deal to charge for free (including in the standard parking charge)

Coin/card charging points set up by electric companies to provide paid charging in residential districts (flats, etc).

These will probably use a special connector and converter to stop misuse.
Possibly with a sensor which can detect there is a car plugged in to the other end of the cord and not a vacuum cleaner or summat.

Plans (including business plan)

Create a business plan (created here).

Create a company called "Turbo Electric" (Checked "Turbo Electric Ltd" is available) with the appropriate website (turbo-electric.* available also turboelectric.* apart from .com) etc. (Created here.)

The vehicle will be called the "Mass-EV" (pronounced "massive") (mass-ev.* available also some or massev.*)

Need to work with the standards bodies, suppliers and investors to make this a reality.

Seeking investment and start prototype design early next year (Feb 2009) to hopefully target first availability sometime in 2010.

Up until then I will be working on the technology, finding suppliers and investors, and doing more market research to refine the requirement specification.

Starting with design diagrams and moving on to part lists and cost.

I will be sourcing a used micro-van (Bedford/Vauxhaul Rascal or Suzuki SuperCarry) as a technology testing vehicle.
This is good for this as the floor of the load space can be removed giving full access to the engine and mechanics.
These can be removed and replaced with electric power systems.
Being a van it has plenty of space to do prototyping and still be a serviceable vehicle.
Also will be an opportunity for advertising if the body is painted to show the project (website, phone, etc) and driven around.

Budget for the microvan is £300 -so if you have one to sell... :-)

Maybe buy a scrap Focus C-Max as the passenger compartment and build onto a separate chassis which will be the power chassis.

Project Tracker (requires member account)

Apparently, there is another project called the Mass EV in Massachusetts which is interesting.


  • 2008-08-19 - Project creation.
  • 2008-09-19 - Added some "fag packet" diagrams.
  • 2008-09-20 - Updated early diagrams and costing, also fleshed out with other ideas.
  • 2008-09-21 - Added use and costing scenarios.
  • 2008-09-24 - Started a business plan.
  • 2008-09-27 - Redrew the electric diagrams with gschem and added placeholders for the electronics.
  • 2008-10-03 - Highlighted the business plan link.
  • 2008-11-11 - TVIC.
  • 2008-11-20 - Moved this page under advice from the Patent guys (also modified the business plan and removed the link from this page).
  • 2009-01-01 - Created first draft for motor tuning technnology
  • 2009-02-01 - Feasibility model testing motor tuning technnology
  • 2009-03-01 - Applied for first patent for motor tuning technnology
  • 2009-07-01 - Drew plans for prototyping facility
  • 2009-07-23 - Update site to use Ultimate Wiki to update.
  • 2009-07-27 - Started building prototyping shop
  • 2009-10-15 - Drafted second patent for non-permanent magnet brushless motor technology
  • 2009-12-14 - Drafted third patent for decoupled-turbine generator technology
  • 2010-01-04 - Drafted fourth patent for 3D motor-wheel "I,Robot" style technology