OwnerEl Ninjista
LocationSeattle, Washington United States map
Vehicle2006 Kawasaki EX 500
Red with black/white checkerboard.
MotorAdvanced DC A00-4009 72V Series Wound DC
DrivetrainDirect chain drive.
ControllerAlltrax 7245 72V Controller
Batteries23 Fortune, 3.20 Volt, Lithium Iron Phosphate
This is now my third set of batteries.
The first ones were crap and failed after
a few months. The second set were CALB
and last 8 years / 23,000 miles. Just
installed the 23 Fortune 50Ah (up from 21
CALB 40Ah) cells last month (October,
System Voltage80 Volts
ChargerDelta-Q Technologies QuiQ 72V
UPDATE: 5/14/14 - Another year, another
charger. The Kelly charger I had for 14
months died after being out in a snowstorm
in February 2014. Even though it was in
the Givi top box, somehow the freezing
temperature, or perhaps a minute amount of
snow getting in through the opening where
the extension cord goes, killed it.
Previous chargers:
The Zivan bit the dust, so I had Pacific
EV create a charger that wouldn't overheat
in the top box. They weren't durable
enough to survive bouncing around in the
box. As of December 2012 I've been using
the Kelly charger. (See updates below.)
DC/DC ConverterAstrodyne 72 Volt
InstrumentationThe Cycle Analyst Version 2.0. This is
the second gauge I've had on my El Ninja.
(See "Comments" for more about that.) An
ancient, cheapo speedometer/odometer which
replaced the stock one. (That's what
accounts for the low total miles. I drove
it around 15,000 miles with the internal
combustion engine.)
Top Speed80 MPH (128 KPH)
With the 21 CALB 40 Ah cells the top speed
was 60 mph now on hot days, 50 mph in the
winter. Now, with the new cells on cold
days, I can get to 80 mph. Who knows how
fast it will be next summer?!
AccelerationCALB cells were not as quick as an internal
combustion motorcycle. Fortune cells has
brought acceleration back up to par with it
prior to conversion.
Range35 Miles (56 Kilometers)
About 35 miles is the best it has done
(after less than a month). Old cells topped
out at 20 miles depending on speed, hills
and air temperature. In the summer, my
range may get closer to 40 miles.
EV Miles
Current:23,000 Miles (37,007 Kilometers)
Seating Capacity2 adult
Curb Weight490 Pounds (222 Kilograms)
The above weight is a guess. But it's not
much heavier than stock - maybe 30lbs more.
Conversion TimeWay too long of a wait for the batteries
(from China, of course, *sigh*) and other
parts. Started in September 2008, finished
(sort of) in January 2009.
Conversion Cost~$10,000; Work done by Carlo at ev-
Additional FeaturesRemoved broken stock faring and replaced with new headlight,
front turn signals and mirrors.
Has a Givi 30N Top Box which holds the charger.

35 pictures of the conversion/finish at
I live in an apartment building (2nd floor), so I had to buy
150 feet of 600 volt cable to string out to my bike, parked
near the street ($280), so I can keep my $700 charger (bolted
to the inside of the Givi box) in my apartment, rather than
on the bike. I also bought 140 feet of 2" PVC tubing to
cover the cable ($125). And, I keep 100 feet of 12 gauge
extension cord in the top box for charging away from home
($80). Finally, to keep the spot where I charge my
motorcycle open (as well as help prevent theft), I bought 40'
of heavy duty chain ($100) to create a small triangle-shaped
area where my 600 volt cable ends.

I bought the 2006 Ninja 500 because of its great gas mileage
(I got 72mpg with one tankful - all highway miles - but
generally got around 55mpg), but it didn't do well in cold,
wet weather. Unfortunately, Seattle has cold, wet weather
several months of the year, so it really began to piss me off
that it would sputter and stall 1/2 the time the temperature
was 40 degrees F or less. Plus, I wanted to drive as "green"
of a vehicle as possible - hence, El Ninja Del Norte!

UPDATE: 6/16/09 - Originally I had a PakTrakr Monitor System
for batteries, but it was less than ideal for several
reasons: 1) It had no backlight, so it was useless at night.
2) It drew its power (more than you'd expect, too!) from just
3 of the 23 batteries - which caused these batteries to fail
while I was storing the bike for three months. 3) It didn't
have a very reliable way to gauge how many amp-hours I had
left, and therefore, how much range I had. Hopefully the new
gauge will do better. I'll update this page in a few months
with that information.

UPDATE: 7/12/09 - The Cycle Analyst has proven to be a
terrific gauge; I highly recommend it for use on
motorcycles/scooters/bicycles. It can be set to count how
many amp hours you are using so it's a more accurage way to
know how much juice is left in the batteries. Carlo
suggested that I not use more than 30 amp hours per charge.
That leads to the other update - I've finally found out my
range, and it's not that great. On the highway, full
"throttle" it can go about 15 miles. Mixed highway and city
driving around 20-25. Theoretically, staying at 30 mph and
under, I could go 30 miles before needing to recharge.

UPDATE: 6/14/12 - Lot's of trial and error being on the
"bleeding edge" of technology. Most of the trouble stemmed
from the Zivan being in a confined space and overheating.
Once I replaced it, the only problems have been with wiring
coming loose or blowing a fuse. The first two years, the
bike was being worked on roughly half the time. The last
year (since updating the charger), it's only been worked on
for a few minor problems. Glad things are finally going well
with it!

UPDATE: 3/11/13 - As mentioned in the charger section, the
three ac/dc converters that I was using to charge the bike
weren't meant to be in a moving vehicle, and subsequently all
three died within a few months of each other (while I kept
replacing them). Finally, after changing out all three of
them, I decided to go with the Kelly charger at the end of
last year. It doesn't fully charge the entire pack, but it's
close enough, I guess. (Maxes out around 71 V whereas it
should go to at least 72.5V).

UPDATE: 5/14/14 - More charger issues, mostly detailed above
in the charger section. On a positive note, my bike now has
10,000 electric miles in five years.

UPDATE: 6/5/15 - Had to replace the motor last year after it
burned up (literally, I saw flames burning off the insulation
on the wiring inside the motor housing). I put in the same
model of motor, so nothing new there. The QuiQ 72V charger
has given me no problems so far, so hopefully this one will
last. It seems very durable and reliable. Up over 12,000
electric miles now.

UPDATE: 8/22/16 - In the last year the two parts I've had to
replace are the throttle accelerator and the DC/DC converter.
The former was problematic as sometimes I'd turn the key and
the bike would bolt without me touching the accelerator.
Yikes! The converter failed and was temporarily fixed with
some soldering, but inevitably needed to be replaced. Bike
is about to hit 17,000 electric miles.

UPDATE 11/11/17 - The CALB cells were really starting to feel
tired when the weather turned colder this fall, so I got 23
Fortune 3.2V 50Ah cells to replace the 21 40Ah CALB cells.
What a difference in speed, range and performance! Also the
batteries are farther forward and lower in the bike so the
center of gravity has improved. This also freed up room to
put the charger under the "tank" as well (as opposed to being
in the top box). So, that weight is now lower and more toward
the front of the bike. Here's hoping for another 23,000
miles from these batteries (if not more!).

UPDATE 8/28/20 - After 14 years and 44,000 miles, I gave El
Ninja away to my faithful mechanic. I've upgraded to a 2020
Zero SR/F.

code by jerry