Luka EV: Open-Source Electric Car With Hub Motors, 186 Miles Of Range & Target Price Of $22,445

MAY 17 2015 BY TDILLARD 23

Question for you.  What starts out looking like this ^

…and ends up looking like this: Fast

…to Fast

Answer?  The Luka EV – a Hackaday project from MW Motors. MW Motors has the goals of:

Top speed. 130km/h
Weight. Under 750kg
Range. Over 300km on a singe battery charge
Retail price. Under EUR20,000
Project time frame. Must be Certified to drive on EU roads by Sept 1st 2015.

…oh, and:

Appearance. Must be a beautiful vehicle

That it is, friends, that it is.

Want to build one yourself?  Here’s all you need:

QuantityComponent name
1Car Body The body is fabricated using FRP (Fiberglass). Using the solidworks file, we first cut a full size model from foam. Next, make the ster mould for FRP layup. A number of tweaks. Once master mould is complete, serial production of the car body is straightforward (if you underdtand FRP). Sand the FRP. Apply primer. Ready for addition of doors, windown, boot lid, bonnet cover etc
1Car Doors Exactly the same process as the car body. Doors are tricky. The area of he body where the doors hand, open & close all need to be re-enforced.
1Boot lid / bonnet lid Same process as the body. Both components need to be re-enforced & corrugated.
1Front, rear & side windows For roed certification, correct auto glass must be used. As an original cr desing, custom class must be sourced. Glass tooling must be produced. It is not a difficult process once you know the tight guys to do it.
1Barebones chassis A relatively simple ladder frame & roll cage hybrid chassis configurtion.
1Battery pack 2 variants. 19.2Kwh & 24Kwh LiFePo4Mh. Bought in part.s
1BMS. Battery management system Technically difficult to match with hub motors, motor controllers & Battery. Heavily tweaked bought in part
1Hub motors 2 or 4 depending on the bat pack used. Heavily tweked bought in parts.
1Motor controllers Bought in part for protptype but building our own controllers as they are critical.Must support regen braking
1Wheels Non trivial decision. Hub motors must fit. Must be light. Must be true to the retro look of the car
1Tyres Not as simple as it sounds..
1Steering As weight is low, power steerinf not requires. Steering geomatry relatively straightforward
1Brakes Front, rear, & handbrake. Motor controllers support regen braking too.
1Suspension Bought in part. Rally car suspension. Off the shelf parts but selection of the right part is critical
1Seats. 2. All leather. Probably form a Mazd Mx5 MK 11. Car is a two seater
1Control Tablet To control all functiosn on the car & give additional features, Navigation, phone, etc. Build in house, fully custom.
1External accessories Headlights, sidelights, indicators, brake lighs, fog lights, light over reg plate, door handles, wing mirrors, logos, windscren wipers etc
1Internal components All switchgeat, internal lights, door handles, window winders, complete dash board, headlining, ventilation// aircon. Seat belts.
1Electronic differential Built in house. Contols the power going to all 4 hub motors,
1Parts not needed ! No Gearbox. No exhaust system. No engine !. No engine coolng. No driveshaft, No Axles, no ‘car battery’
1Full Bill of material It is an actual car. The BOM is long. No need to bore everyoe with every nut & bolt. But, feel free to ask questions.
1Knowledge of “Type approval’ rules in your area. Know all about approval before you start the design ! Changing anything later will be a nightmare !

Here’s some eye candy for y’all:

Under the hood - CALB packs with hub motors and Kelly controllers

Under the hood – CALB packs with hub motors and Kelly controllers

The chassis ready for the body

The chassis ready for the body

How to put a body on a chassis

How to put a body on a chassis

Ready for paint

Ready for paint…

And a video showing, among other things, the car in action:

Categories: General


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23 Comments on "Luka EV: Open-Source Electric Car With Hub Motors, 186 Miles Of Range & Target Price Of $22,445"

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very cool, great looking car with a 300km range.

Wow. Nice job.

Wonder what efficiency their design have?

But 300km out of 24kwh is very good.

However one can only wonder is there is still room for improvement.

Anybody who thinks do-it-yourself fiberglass body molding can look that good without some expertise and lots of experience… is smokin’ something.

I’ve looked at photos of a lot of kit-built cars using fiberglass construction, plus one Tri-Magnum up close and personal. That car looks by far better than any of them.

I tried building a two foot tall by foot wide model building out of fiberglass and it was a total money pit and train wreak. The trouble is that everyone in your house complains none stop about how smelly it is. Also you have to special gear to protect yourself from it.

I’m never going to work with fiberglass ever again unless I have a industrial shop to work on it which most people don’t.

Not practical, not economical, not environmental, not a good idea.

Moat hobbies aren’t. But I give high points for the fully electric drivetrain and the mostly pleasing aesthetics the project accomplished.

The question remains the same, if such amateurs can do it, how come none of the big name can’t with 10,000 times the ressources?!?

The amateurs can’t do it. 186 miles on 24kwh? Maybe if you drive 20mph the whole time.

Short answer: Electric cars don’t make auto makers money the way that gas cars and trucks do.


Because this EV can’t meet crash test standards… or build-quality and NVH expectations, amenities expectations (purely BYOD), and I’d be amazed if the weather sealing makes this a 4-season vehicle except by individual skill and luck.

“Knowledge of “Type approval’ rules in your area. Know all about approval before you start the design ! Changing anything later will be a nightmare !” Indeed.

Read hacakday. This vehicle is going for its Type approval test Friday May 22nd. So it will meet standards As for crash testing, the car will not get a Euro NCAP rating because EuroNcap will only crash test ‘vehicles that are already in mass production”. Due to a lack of resources, EuroNCAP can not crash test all cars. Your comment on weather sealing is strange. The body is a single piece of fibreglass (not panels). If you read hacakday, it is clear that the current chassis is a ‘testing chassis’ not the finished product.

I somehow don’t think this car is weather proof.
We see the camera go from being mounted IN the car to falling through the body and ending on the road. If a camera can fall out, the rain WILL get in 🙂

The car looks like a cross between a 1960s Ferrari, a Triumph Spitfire, a Rochdale Olympic and a Ginetta.
I LIKE it!

This design will never pass 4 or 5 stars NCAP crash test.

Because NCAP will never test it.
Why?. EU certification rules are, if anything, more strict than US approval/ certification rules? The 10/1 ‘rule of thumb’ forgets that there are hub motors so all the losses in the drive train are eliminated. It assumes the car runs thousands of electrical systems (electric doors, windows, etc like a Tesla). Also, using your calculation 24000 divided by 165 = 145 miles (not 115 miles). The car looks very Aerodynamic so with the benefit of hub motors, 300km & then some looks very realistic

Very pretty car, but anyone else worried about what would happen in an accident? Also, how long before we get a car body made with a 3D printer?

“but anyone else worried about what would happen in an accident?”

No. On average, 89 people a day die in car accidents in the US, hundreds are maimed. Does that prevent people from texting?

People bring up safety concerns whenever they need an excuse for driving an SUV.

We have several car bodies made with 3D printers.

here you go:

OK, 1650 pounds will get them 165 Wh/mi and 115 miles, taking it easy, on 24 kWh of battery. Can they build it, and make money at $25K? In the Czech Republic perhaps. The paperwork to get it legal in the US would increase that by 50%.

EU and US regulations for car safety are very similar. So if it passes in the EU, it will pass in the US.

In Britain, if you build your own car all you have to do is get it checked out by the Ministry Of Transport to make sure it passes the Single Vehicle Approval test (SVA).
I’m not sure if this would allow it into the States.

Rear suspension?

I keep following this very cool project.

Four months ago, the prototype passed the Type approval test, becoming street legal, and now they are building Luka II, for production in series.

They do regular posts on the blog:

The following video, created for 2015 Hackaday Prize, well describes the project:

Note, the author says: “If I look like it was 3AM when I made this, that is because it was 3AM !”