Green Energy WINNING with Freedom1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and counting! Oh yes, we’re still here and Electrifying the Current Future!

On the road goes our Cape Town STAR and on E-power only, by Freedom Won!

In February 2015 the first electric Fiat 500 in Africa rolled off the FreedomWON workshop floor to much interest and excitement – for this is FreedomWON’s new small car premium electric conversion design. Premium means the top end of our single charge range and power offering – this extra special Fiat 500, which of course has been named Freedom7, is capable of reaching an electronically limited speed of 160km/hr and a single charge range of 200km!

This particular dream actually started decades ago in the mind of one Anthony Keen, a Cape Town medical specialist. He has since he can recall, always dreamed of driving his own electric car. He patiently waited for a suitable opportunity, but one never came. That is off course until he found out about FreedomWON. Now retired, at the age of 77, his dream is real. He delivered his standard 2010 model Fiat 500 to FreedomWON’s workshop near Krugersdorp late 2014 and we set to work on our magic.

The little car is fitted with a 23kWh Lithium Iron Phosphate battery pack, which has been ingeniously distributed around the car to ensure even weight distribution. A minor encroachment of the boot space is the only external evidence of what lies beneath…

The legacy fossil fuel burning engine has been replaced with an advanced high efficiency alternating current permanent magnet motor. The gearbox now provides two gears, high and low. Low is not required unless the driver is a street racer, or lives on the extreme slopes of Table Mountain perhaps. High gear accelerates the Fiat EV quite fast enough!

The Freedom7 conversion cost Anthony R250 000 including VAT. He paid R110 000 for the original Fiat. So with an investment of R360 000 Anthony will drive away in perhaps the most capable small EV in Africa. The R250 000 conversion investment would typically be recouped in less than five years. Anthony’s energy costs will be naught, as he will be charging Freedom7 from his home PV system! Of course, besides the zero energy costs there is also zero drive train maintenance on FreedomWON EV’s.

Freedom7 will be delivered to Anthony by road under its own power. Yes you read right, the two co-founders of FreedomWON, Lizette Kriel and Antony English, have decided to demonstrate what we will be seeing a lot more of in the coming years – long distance trips in your very own EV.

Follow our epic electric road trip in Freedom7 from 2 to 6 April ’15!

On >>> FACEBOOK >>> & >>> TWITTER >>>

FreedomWON also offers entry level “small” car conversions starting at R130 000 excluding VAT right through to large 4x4 conversions primarily for game lodge use at a cost from R360 000 excluding VAT. We design and install electric drive systems for boats and various other electric mobility solutions. We also distribute Lithium Iron Phosphate cells throughout Southern Africa for use in stationary power applications, where they offer far superior life cycle value than lead acid batteries.

 Plug into the future… with FreedomWON !

Did you know, Japan now has more EV charging stations than petrol stations?

 

 

 

to North Eastern Chobe National Park – Botswana

After all the excitement of the media launch, loading Freedom 3 that night on our trailer and double checking all the tie downs and sitting down with the Freedom Won team, reflecting on the day’s events, myself & Tania finally got a few hours sleep before the long trek of over 1300 km back to Chobe Game Lodge on the banks of Chobe river in North Eastern Chobe National Park, Botswana.

Just after 3 am on the morning of the 21st of August 2014 we were wide awake and prepping for departure with Lizette & Antony giving final instructions and advice, we nearly thought they had second thoughts letting their baby, Freedom 3 go, but at 03h45 we were in our Land Cruiser with Freedom 3 in tow leaving their driveway, last glimpse back with heavy hearts waiving a final good bye.

We drove in silence till we hit the N1 north bound and then we could feel the excitement mounting getting, now our baby, Freedom 3 back to the bush!

At about 90 km per hour this journey back to the wild took us a good two days and would have taken longer if we did not keep all our stops brisk, explaining to admiring and fascinated government officials and public what freedom 3 is all about. The fact that Freedom 3 is the first of its kind in Botswana and is set to give a whole new dimension to game viewing, invited lots of discussion and speculation, also the fact that Freedom 3 is powered exclusively by batteries, after all, we live in a country where big capacity, thirsty 4 x 4 vehicles rules!

On the second day as we passed through Ngwasha veterinary gate, about 80km north of Nata, I just couldn’t wait to off load Freedom 3 and drive the last 100 odd km home. Needless to say, the +- 160 km to Panda took forever, and those that know this part of the A33 running north to Kazungula eventually, its straight and at 90km per hour, well, very boring (apart from the wildlife)!

Tania with the FREEDOM 3 launch number plate next to that looong stretch of road to Panda

Finally! Touchdown about 70 km from Chobe Game Lodge I off loaded our first electric game viewer and drove her home! What a great feeling, our dream of 5 years, becoming a reality! For the first week at Chobe Game Lodge I just could not get any office work done, just as I want to get in behind my desk, there stands another batch of the lodge family ready for a ride in Freedom 3! But the excitement and broad smiles when I look back at my passengers says it all!!

In the past weeks we have done over 300 km in Chobe National Park and Freedom 3 is performing fantastic in the wild, where she belongs!

Chobe Game Lodge’s pure electric Landie conversion - Freedom3 is now in full swing and will be gracing Botswana with its presence soon…

Team-Freedom Won has spent the last six weeks refining the design, producing drawings and managing the specialist engineering fabrication of the Landie’s key conversion components.

Landie stripped… eagerly awaiting it’s ‘make-over’ to pure electric drive AND Team-Freedom Won is growing… Welcome Daniel and Miguel. Happy converting!

After the battery boxes’ design and positions were finalised, all the aluminium sheet sections were cut and welded together.

Battery box 2 and 3 are installed with batteries. Battery box 1 has been fabricated and will be installed after motor installation.

Battery Box 1’s support brackets have been fabricated as well as the power steering and vacuum pump anti vibration adaptor plate.

Brake and accelerator pedals have been reinstalled with position sensors attached.

The electric motor mounting position was determined in relation to the correct transfer case position which lead to the design of the adaptor housing. An extension shaft to match the motor shaft to the transfer case was also designed.

There’s been much excitement after collection of the motor adaptor housing and the extension shaft. .. which has now been fitted with the motor and transfer case, an integral unit ready to go into Freedom3.

Motor mount fabricated.

Chobe Game Lodge’s FIRST Electric Game Viewing Vehicle, converted by Freedom Won, has been ‘released back in to the wild’ at her home in Botswana

There were heavy hearts and some tears (ssssh), when Team-Freedom Won ‘released Freedom3 back in to the wild’ this morning, waving her a very fond goodbye at 3.45 am (21/8/14). She’s now on route back to her Botswana Chobe home, where after her Gauteng Launch she’ll no doubt also create quite a stir! We took solace in knowing that at least we will see her again (strutting her electric stuff) when we spend some time at Chobe this October (2014) commissioning Freedom5 - Chobe’s First Electric “skimmer” River Boat…

Freedom3, the special Electric Land Rover created by Freedom Won is a Defender 130” Pickup with Crew Cab. It was originally fitted with a 2.5L Td5 engine and a 5 speed manual gearbox. The model year is 1999 with serial no. 833359. It was modified for game viewing duty by removing the roof and installing three rows of three seats each with a canvas roof, making it an 11-seater.

The Land Rover has been transformed almost beyond recognition under the bonnet, but the exterior remains unaltered and distinctly Land Rover. The magic lies in the 80kW permanent magnet motor that is coupled directly to the original transfer case, which delivers 600N.m at low speeds thus effectively eliminating the need for a gearbox. We have retained the High/Low and Diff Lock functions in the transfer case so it is still a very rugged off-roader…

The motor is driven by an advanced technology inverter specially designed to run permanent magnet motors. This unit manipulates the 580 Volt (V) Direct Current (DC) power source into a precision controlled variable frequency three-phase Alternating Current (AC) sign wave, which in turn accurately and smoothly delivers the exact amount of torque “requested” from the driver to the motor.  To the non-engineering types – forget all this, it is awesome to feel and experience the electric exhilaration without knowing exactly how it works!

The heart of this tamed beast is of course the long life and lightweight lithium iron phosphate cells. The battery pack boasts 35 kilowatt hours (Kwh) of energy and operates at a nominal 580V. This voltage, being relatively high in most people’s books allows greater efficiency all round, in the conductors, cells, inverter and motor. It also aids with preserving the expensive lithium cells for a longer life because the average current draw is well below the cell’s design limit. Driving with such high voltages in your car might be disconcerting to some, but there are various features that contribute to a safe experience such as fully enclosed battery boxes, double layered insulation on power cables, fused power circuit and contactors that isolate the inverter when the vehicle is switched off.

The game viewing experience is very special, especially in the Chobe National Park where the game are abundant and the Chobe River presents a setting that drags you softly into a bush Nirvana of flowing waters and tweeting birds. That is of course until the game guide starts up that riotous diesel engine again and puffs black smoke over guest and game alike…enter Freedom3, Chobe Game Lodge in Botswana’s first electric game viewing vehicle, and with Land Rover appeal to boot.

Freedom3 is the first of several electric conversions that Chobe has set out to accomplish with Freedom Won. It is capable of creeping along sandy rutted tracks and climbing rocky ascents, then setting out on the open road at speeds up to 120km/h… Chobe Game Lodge intends to use Freedom3 for two/three game drives per day, the traditional early morning and late afternoon drives around the park and along the river. Freedom3 will also be used daily to commute guests to and from the Kasane International Airport, which is a 30km round trip. Each game drive amounts to a similar distance.

Given that most of Freedom3’s driving will be on sand tracks a typical range is estimated at 120km. On the open road she will manage 150km if driven carefully – remember she has a large drag coefficient with all the guest seating paraphernalia mounted on her.

In Freedom3’s off time she will be receiving a charge in the lodge’s dedicated Electric Vehicle (EV) charging bay, which takes prime location in front of the lodge. A simple 30 ampere (A) 230V single phase source is all that is required to power up the 5kW charging system, with all control managed on board by the advanced Battery Management System (BMS). An average charge will be two to three hours, although if Freedom3’s cells have been fully depleted she will need 6 hours to ‘fill her tanks’. The electricity consumed at CGL originates from the Victoria Falls hydroelectric power scheme and is thus environmentally friendly. Solar panels are however a natural “Phase II” proposition for Chobe Game Lodge (CGL) and any other lodge not fortunate to have access to clean energy. Clean and quiet transport is not the only draw card for CGL. They will achieve substantial savings in diesel consumption. There is no maintenance required on the EV drive train, so the difficulties of maintaining a vehicle in a remote area will also be reduced to looking after the Land Rover transfer case and differentials, which will inevitable leak some oil at some point…  

We have found Freedom3’s performance to be superb. She accelerates faster than the original would have – we would say – and only stops at 120km/h because that is where the electronic limiter reminds us we are driving an open top Land Rover Pickup! The torque is adequate for most driving in Chobe and low range will only be needed in rare and extreme circumstances. There is one improvement we seek however, the synonymous Land Rover final drive unit (differential) backlash shows up more than ever on an EV with instant motor response and no clutch!

Freedom Won was inspired over ten years ago to develop electric car conversions. Our prototype Freedom1, an electric Jeep Grand Cherokee (do we hear jeers or cheers from the Landie owners?), has been running since December 2011 and has covered 45 000km of ‘almost free’ driving. Freedom1 is expected to continue at this pace for 10 years before the batteries show signs of age and warrant replacement. We are excited about revolutionising environmentally conscious game lodge’s transport, which is not limited to Land Rovers, we can convert almost any vehicle, and in fact

we are building an electric river game viewing boat (Freedom5) also with CGL. The opportunities are immense…

The Land Rover has been fun to work on, it is simple (we fondly use the word ‘agricultural’) and there is lots of space amongst the chassis members for installing the electric motor.

Converting this vehicle was special to us because it combines in the Land Rover Defender an old, loved, and sometimes quirky brand with the new high tech ‘green’ Freedom Won brand of the future. It was a mainstay vehicle in the game viewing arena and with Freedom Won’s environmentally conscious technological revival the Defender could regain its historical place from the Land Cruiser, which seems to have encroached on its game viewing territory…

Johan Bruwer (Chobe Game Lodge), Team-Freedom Won SALUTES YOU for pioneering the way with Freedom Won and sharing our green vision, commitment and determination to keep electrifying for a quiet clean future!

Plug into the future… with Team-Freedom Won

Chobe Game Lodge’s electric conversions  kick off...
Phase1 – Electrify 1st of 3 Landies + 1st of 7 Double Hulled Game Viewing Boats

At the crack of dawn on Saturday morning, 5 Apr ‘14 the wheels started rolling…  Chobe Game Lodge’s GM, Johan Bruwer with Landie TD130 and Game Viewing Boat’s 40hp petrol outboard motor in tow, bit the bullet and started the 2-day trek from Botswana to Freedom Won’s home base in South Africa…

Johan, man-alone determinedly persevered. After many a good old wimpy coffee, old fashioned bubble gum (Johan’s tried and tested stay-focussed-formula) and Freedom Won’s regular ‘cheering on’ via cell phone, Johan and his heavy entourage arrived exhausted but safe and sound at Freedom Won at 7pm on Sunday, 6 Apr ‘14.

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Long into Sunday night and some early hours of Monday morning conversations were inspired and on fire… fine tuning and driving the collaborative electric visions forward.

After only 4hrs of sleep, Johan was up and ready on Monday morning,

8 Apr ‘14 at 5.30am to tackle the ‘great trek’ back to Botswana again.

Go Johan!

Coffee in hand, at 5.30am Johan takes a last admiring look at the Landie’s lithium iron batteries and 80kW electric Permanent Magnet Motor… the next time he sees   these babies, it’ll be inside the converted Landie – a pure electric Game Viewing Vehicle

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Johan Bruwer and Jonathan Gibson ( Chobe Game Lodge), Team-Freedom Won SALUTES YOU! Together, we’ll keep pioneering the current future, enthusing the Game Viewing Vehicle Industry to electrify …

Idle a while’ for progress updates on Freedom Won’s Chobe electric conversions ….

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Enquiries:

Sales: +27 (0)71 890 9958 /
+27 (0)65 960 7756

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+27 (0)83 258 3444

General Enquiries:
+27 (0)82 256 7430

Email: enquiries@freedomwon.co.za

Freedom Won PTY Ltd
PO Box 1449
Ruimsig
1732
South Africa

Unit 20, Muriel Road (Cnr. Doreen Road)
Amorosa
Ruimsig, Roodepoort
1724
South Africa

 

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