Cowardlyducks Prius - mods/conversion to Plugin/Solar PEHV

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Cowardlyducks Prius - mods/conversion to Plugin/Solar PEHV

Post by Cowardlyduck » Sep 13, 2016 6:44 am

***EDIT***
To save everyone having to subscribe to another thread, I'll just turn this one into my build thread.
For those visiting for the first time, basically I bought a used Prius with high mileage for the purpose of converting to plugin hybrid and adding solar.
Skip down to here to see the car and start of my mods to it:
https://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewt ... 3#p1236203
***********

Hi all,

I'm getting a second car for getting to/from work for times when I can't ride my electric bike like when it's raining or it's broken etc.

The only real criteria I have for the car is that it runs reliably and gets me from A to B. After doing a bunch of research on the cheapest car to buy and run I settled on a Mitsubishi Mirage.
My wife actually owned one when I married her 7 years ago and it was our main car for the first couple of years of marriage. It was a great little car and we only sold it after it was damaged in a hit and run and was going to be too costly to repair.

Anyway, I decided I would like to tackle converting a Mirage be able to run electric without removing it's ICE engine. I don't have a whole lot of experience working on cars so will tackle this with the KISS principle first and foremost.
So I think I've found an ideal car and might go pick it up this weekend:
http://www.carsales.com.au/dealer/detai ... -13183080/
Image

I was keen to get a 2002-2003 model, but then discovered they added power steering after 2001, and from what I understand power steering can make it difficult as they tend to suck a lot of power. If this isn't the case please chime in as I would also like the airbag and aircon added to the later models if I can get it, but not super fussed.

The plan as far as electric motivation is concerned is to add 2 x 8KW QS motors to the rear wheels.
Image

As for controlling them, I actually thinking of getting 2 x Adaptto MaxE's and linking them together. What do you think?
With adequate cooling on the controllers, that would allow 20KW peaks (per motor) which would be sure to get the little hatchback moving. Built in temp monitoring on these controllers would make it super easy to push the hubs hard without fear of melting things down.

For batteries, I would probably start with 4-8Kwh of LiPo and place it in the spare wheel well and ditch the spare. That would be more than enough to get me the 50km to/from work I think. I would also like to rig up a 12V charger so I could charge the main pack off the ICE motor.

At this early stage there are only a few things that come to mind as potential problems:
1 - Torque capturing. I have no idea how the torque of a hub motor is captured in a car and no idea how Regen effects this.
2 - Disc brakes. I'm pretty sure the Mirage has rear drum brakes. I have no idea how to convert them.
3 - Dual power plant control. I plan to make it possible to run the ICE engine at the same time as the electrics, or independently, so making the control system work will be a little tricky.

Also, before everyone comments on this not being the best idea...yes I fully realise this thing will weigh a fair bit after everything is done...and performance will not be great. That's part of the reason I'm starting off with a sub 1000kg hatchback. My needs (for now) only extend to the 50ish km range. This is also a learning experience for me, so I'm sure I will have to learn some things the hard way as I always do. :roll: :lol: 8)

So what does everyone think?
Is this a stupid idea...why haven't I been able to find anyone else trying this?

Cheers
Last edited by Cowardlyduck on Oct 29, 2016 12:11 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Hatchback 2 Hybrid - With hub motors

Post by Hillhater » Sep 13, 2016 8:02 am

Have you looked over on DIYECar ?
A few folk have tried using similar hub motors with limited success.
ES member Ripperton also used a pair to power a small hatch, It did run for a while, but he had to give up after many frustrating problems and failures
http://www.diyelectriccar.com/forums/sh ... 82349.html
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Re: Hatchback 2 Hybrid - With hub motors

Post by Cowardlyduck » Sep 14, 2016 1:12 am

Hillhater wrote:Have you looked over on DIYECar ?
A few folk have tried using similar hub motors with limited success.
ES member Ripperton also used a pair to power a small hatch, It did run for a while, but he had to give up after many frustrating problems and failures
http://www.diyelectriccar.com/forums/sh ... 82349.html
Thanks for pointing that out to me Hillhater!

I just read through the first 25 odd pages of Ripperton's thread and have determined several things from reading it.
1 - I'm somewhat naive, and to think that this would be simple is an understatement.
2 - Rippertons issues with using hub motors stemmed primarily from low speed take off cogging caused by a combination of the kelly controllers power limiting features and the KV rating of his hub motor's not being the best match to his battery voltage choice.
3 - Even a sub 1000kg car is not going to be light enough to make this work.

So based on all that, I think I need to re-evaluate my initial hatchback purchase. I actually like the Daihatsu Mira and might look around for one of those cheap as well.

The other big question I've recently realised is how do I make this legal. Reading through Rippertons conversion, there's 0 mention of compliance requirements etc, however one of my work mates reckons it's a minefield as soon as you start changing anything significant on a car and having never done anything like this before I haven't got a clue.
Any local Aussies know...what's really involved in doing this kind of thing? Will I need to get the car re-engineered, etc?

Cheers
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Re: Hatchback 2 Hybrid - With hub motors

Post by Cowardlyduck » Sep 14, 2016 2:31 am

Actually scratch that...just read the rest of Ripperton's thread and after seeing the damage to his Mira from a mere 40kph crash, I'm not keen to repeat that.

I also think I won't be able to do my conversion any time soon...I have to save enough $$$ first...I don't have anywhere near enough gear/tools and/or experience yet either.

That being said, I would still like to buy something now that I will eventually be able to convert, but if it's going to have to be driven as a wet weather commuter for years to come first, I don't exactly want something that will break down, hurt in a crash, or be uncomfortable either.

So with all that being said, I think I'll keep a lookout for reasonably priced 2002/2003 Mirage as was my original plan. I will worry about it's power steering later. :)

Cheers
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Re: Hatchback 2 Hybrid - With hub motors

Post by Punx0r » Sep 14, 2016 9:49 am

If your main priorities are low cost, reliability and crash protection you're probably best off buying a used hybrid or battery EV. They're only going to get cheaper and more common as time passes, while DIY conversions will increasingly be about doing it for the love of a project or to achieve specific goals.

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Re: Hatchback 2 Hybrid - With hub motors

Post by Cowardlyduck » Sep 14, 2016 6:32 pm

Punx0r wrote:If your main priorities are low cost, reliability and crash protection you're probably best off buying a used hybrid or battery EV. They're only going to get cheaper and more common as time passes, while DIY conversions will increasingly be about doing it for the love of a project or to achieve specific goals.
Thanks. You are spot on and I 100% agree with you....for every country except Australia.
Because most people in Australia seem to have been allergic to EV's up until very recently, there's pretty much 0 decently priced used EV's around.
I've been looking, however the cheapest EV currently is a 2010 Miev for 17k....not a great deal and about 6 times my current budget.

Cheers
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Re: Hatchback 2 Hybrid - With hub motors

Post by Hillhater » Sep 14, 2016 6:34 pm

^^+1...yes agree, go with a used hybrid, though the fuel savings are not great and would not justify the extra cost.
All Electric drive in Oz is just not practical currently, let alone financially sensible.
The commercially available vehicles are few, and crazy costly..even a Leaf is near $$55k new and so rare on the used market that the prices stay high ($20+k). There are no Government incentives to go EV, so you have to be a wealthy , extrovert, environmentalist to consider changing.
And conversions ??... Well, lets just say "good luck"... Cops here have been booking people for such non standard modifications as tinted windows, altered ride height (-30mm !), modified brakes (uprated !), etc, etc .
They would probably book anEV conversion for having a modified exhaust system !
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Re: Hatchback 2 Hybrid - With hub motors

Post by Cowardlyduck » Sep 14, 2016 7:20 pm

Thanks Hillhater.

Yeah, I'm realising that either way, right now all I want is a something that will do the job as a second occasional use car and something that will make a good conversion car down the track.
I'm hoping the gov changes tune in coming years and makes it easier to do EV conversions at which point having a clapped out Mirage will be perfect.

Cheers
High Power LiPo wiring harnesses - 4P - XT90, HXT4mm, 5.5mm. 200Amp+ capable. Global shipping.

Modified Stealth Fighter - Force air cooled Leaf motor @ 5KW, Heat-sinked Adaptto Mini-E. Battery = 20AH, 72V LiPo.
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Re: Hatchback 2 Hybrid - With hub motors

Post by Hillhater » Sep 15, 2016 1:58 am

Cowardlyduck wrote:Thanks Hillhater.

Yeah, I'm realising that either way, right now all I want is a something that will do the job as a second occasional use car and something that will make a good conversion car down the track.
I'm hoping the gov changes tune in coming years and makes it easier to do EV conversions at which point having a clapped out Mirage will be perfect.

Cheers
I only see our authorities making things harder, not easier for that sort of vehicle !
Probably best to wait for a "Hail Damaged" Leaf or iMEV Insurance write offto turn up at the auctions.
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Re: Hatchback 2 Hybrid - With hub motors

Post by kiwiev » Sep 15, 2016 4:31 am

There was a Toyota Prius that was for sale in the ACT mate was converted to electric only with a 16 Kwh LiFe pack not sure if its sold.
And the ACT do pes give free Rego parking and charging.

If you are going to convert anything go pre ABS etc.
Good luck mate.

Cheers Kiwi

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Re: Hatchback 2 Hybrid - With hub motors

Post by Cowardlyduck » Sep 15, 2016 6:41 am

kiwiev wrote:There was a Toyota Prius that was for sale in the ACT mate was converted to electric only with a 16 Kwh LiFe pack not sure if its sold.
And the ACT do pes give free Rego parking and charging.

If you are going to convert anything go pre ABS etc.
Good luck mate.

Cheers Kiwi
Thanks!
Yeah, I've just been looking at used hybrids and I reckon that might actually be a good option instead.

Looking around there are a bunch of used Honda Civic hybrids and Prius's for under 5K. I could make that work, then a bit down the track replace the battery or convert to full electric. :D

First I have to generate the cash though by making then selling my Chrome Alpha.

Cheers
High Power LiPo wiring harnesses - 4P - XT90, HXT4mm, 5.5mm. 200Amp+ capable. Global shipping.

Modified Stealth Fighter - Force air cooled Leaf motor @ 5KW, Heat-sinked Adaptto Mini-E. Battery = 20AH, 72V LiPo.
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Re: Hatchback 2 Hybrid - With hub motors

Post by Hillhater » Sep 15, 2016 8:59 am

Do you remember the "Blade" ?....the Aussi built Electric conversion based on the Getz .
http://www.themotorreport.com.au/58332/ ... car-review
There may be one or two of those unwanted somewhere ?
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Re: Hatchback 2 Hybrid - With hub motors

Post by Cowardlyduck » Sep 20, 2016 5:22 am

I've talked this guy down to $4000 and checking out the car tomorrow afternoon.
http://www.carsales.com.au/private/deta ... -4177059/?
Image

Failing any obvious issues with it I think I'll snap it up. :)
He reckons the rear tyres need replacing before it can be registered, but I don't mind that so much as I'll take the opportunity to move the front tyres to the rear and get some very decent safe tyres for the front.

Anyone have any tips on specifics to what to check with a used Prius?

Cheers
High Power LiPo wiring harnesses - 4P - XT90, HXT4mm, 5.5mm. 200Amp+ capable. Global shipping.

Modified Stealth Fighter - Force air cooled Leaf motor @ 5KW, Heat-sinked Adaptto Mini-E. Battery = 20AH, 72V LiPo.
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Re: Hatchback 2 Hybrid - With hub motors

Post by Cowardlyduck » Sep 29, 2016 7:32 pm

eTrike wrote:Did you get the Prius? I was going to suggest a first gen Honda Insight but idk if they sold in Aus...
Nah didn't get that one. As far as I could tell, it was an absolute lemon.
I took a mate who does road-side assist for a living and we had a good look over it. The motor made a horrible whirring sound, but my mate reckoned it was only an idler bearing, so not a big deal.
The main problem with it was it's main battery. It would barely move in EV mode before the motor needed to kick in. We also couldn't get the main screen functioning properly. It would not show any energy flow like this:
Image
All we had was black lines, and the way the motor kicked in almost immediately whenever you touched the accelerator made me think the main battery must be toast. It also complained about the Air Conditioner not being connected, but if you kept hitting the up/down temp buttons it would still work, but we couldn't get anything showing on the main screen for climate control.
So I'm glad I passed that one up...even for 4K it wasn't worth it.

I'm actually checking out another one tomorrow:
http://www.carsales.com.au/private/deta ... AD-4222193
Image
Hopefully it's in better nick, but not too sure with 280000kms on the clock. At least it's got registration till November.

I did have a look at the Honda Civic hybrids, but the 1st gen only has a 10KW motor, and the second Gen only 30KW where as the 2004+ Prius has a 50KW motor. So for future modding and EV only driving capability the Prius wins out that battle.
I've also seen a few others who have done Prius conversions to plugin hybrid by adding Lithium batteries that feed into the old NiCad pack which means you don't have to mess around with any of the stock electrics.
This is a good example:

I might do something similar with a slightly smaller battery, and also add Solar to the roof. :)

Cheers
High Power LiPo wiring harnesses - 4P - XT90, HXT4mm, 5.5mm. 200Amp+ capable. Global shipping.

Modified Stealth Fighter - Force air cooled Leaf motor @ 5KW, Heat-sinked Adaptto Mini-E. Battery = 20AH, 72V LiPo.
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Re: Buying a Used Prius for conversion to Plugin/Solar PEHV

Post by Cowardlyduck » Sep 30, 2016 12:08 am

eTrike wrote:Ah yes Prius will be hard to beat. If you can get away with a smaller vehicle and still thinking of the hubs the first Gen Insight (<2006) is lightweight and aerodynamic. They sold them at a loss initially because they were over engineered for maximizing efficiency. Is the Volt available there?
Yeah, the Insight's aren't available here...nor are any Volts.
AFAIK, the AUS market is limited to the Prius and Civic hybrid only for older used hybrids.

Cheers
High Power LiPo wiring harnesses - 4P - XT90, HXT4mm, 5.5mm. 200Amp+ capable. Global shipping.

Modified Stealth Fighter - Force air cooled Leaf motor @ 5KW, Heat-sinked Adaptto Mini-E. Battery = 20AH, 72V LiPo.
Cowardlyducks - Stealth Fighter Videos

BikeE recumbent commuter - Golden motor, 6Fet Infineon, 20AH 12S LiPo, with on-board solar charging.

BLAKE'S BUILDS - The stuff I make and modify.

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Re: Buying a Used Prius for conversion to Plugin/Solar PEHV

Post by Hillhater » Sep 30, 2016 1:12 am

Cowardlyduck wrote: Yeah, the Insight's aren't available here...nor are any Volts.
AFAIK, the AUS market is limited to the Prius and Civic hybrid only for older used hybrids.

Cheers
well they did sell the Volt up to MY15,..but i suspect not many sold at the $60+k they were asking.
I have not seen any used one going for less than $30k !
Lots of Camry hybrids go cheap at the auctions..but most of them have 3-400k kms on the clock as they are the Taxi of choice now the gas Falcon is no more. !
And there is also the Lexus Hybrids ..200H , 350H, 450H , etc...they have been around for several years,..nice but spendy.
Best value ( not cheapest) is the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV with 50km all electric range and a 2ltr petrol " generator" . similar tech to the Volt but a 4 wheel drive SUV. typical mixed use fuel consumption is 2 ltrs/100km ( ~150mpg) . you can buy new (ex demo) for $25-$30k as there is a revised model due anytime soon.
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Re: Buying a Used Prius for conversion to Plugin/Solar PEHV

Post by Cowardlyduck » Sep 30, 2016 1:22 am

Hillhater wrote: well they did sell the Volt up to MY15,..but i suspect not many sold at the $60+k they were asking.
I have not seen any used one going for less than $30k !
Lots of Camry hybrids go cheap at the auctions..but most of them have 3-400k kms on the clock as they are the Taxi of choice now the gas Falcon is no more. !
And there is also the Lexus Hybrids ..200H , 350H, 450H , etc...they have been around for several years,..nice but spendy.
Best value ( not cheapest) is the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV with 50km all electric range and a 2ltr petrol " generator" . similar tech to the Volt but a 4 wheel drive SUV. typical mixed use fuel consumption is 2 ltrs/100km ( ~150mpg) . you can buy new (ex demo) for $25-$30k as there is a revised model due anytime soon.
Thanks!
I would love an Outlander, and when I was sizing up my main family car purchase a few years back it was on my shortlist. I ended up with a Hyundai Santa Fe as one of the few 7 seater's that has curtain airbags all the way to the rear, and also offers a manual transmission.

However, this purchase is as a (reluctant) second car, so the budget is pretty strictly sub $5000. It was sub $3000, but the switch from a cheap hatchback to a hybrid brought with it some recognition of an increased budget from the misus. I really can't push for much more. 8)

Cheers
High Power LiPo wiring harnesses - 4P - XT90, HXT4mm, 5.5mm. 200Amp+ capable. Global shipping.

Modified Stealth Fighter - Force air cooled Leaf motor @ 5KW, Heat-sinked Adaptto Mini-E. Battery = 20AH, 72V LiPo.
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Re: Buying a Used Prius for conversion to Plugin/Solar PEHV

Post by Cowardlyduck » Oct 01, 2016 9:17 pm

So I bought this Prius yesterday:
Image
Got it for $4000. Seller was very kind and all went smoothly. :)

As far as I can tell, there's nothing significantly wrong with it. It's pretty dirty, both inside and out, so a bit of TLC is in order.
Probably the biggest issue with it is the front bumper. It's had a minor front impact which has cracked the lower front bumper and shredded some of the plastic skirting underneath. It doesn't appear like it's done any damage to the radiator or pushed anything back into the engine bay, which is why I was still happy to buy it, but also why I was able to talk the seller down to $4000.

Anyway, priority for this car now is to clean it up, repair the bumper, and replace the missing lower front grill which probably came off in the same collision.

Cheers
High Power LiPo wiring harnesses - 4P - XT90, HXT4mm, 5.5mm. 200Amp+ capable. Global shipping.

Modified Stealth Fighter - Force air cooled Leaf motor @ 5KW, Heat-sinked Adaptto Mini-E. Battery = 20AH, 72V LiPo.
Cowardlyducks - Stealth Fighter Videos

BikeE recumbent commuter - Golden motor, 6Fet Infineon, 20AH 12S LiPo, with on-board solar charging.

BLAKE'S BUILDS - The stuff I make and modify.

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Re: Buying a Used Prius for conversion to Plugin/Solar PEHV

Post by kiwiev » Oct 02, 2016 12:01 am

PLUS 1 congrates mate on the purchase at this rate you will be voting greens in the ACT elections :lol: whats the nominal voltage maybe able to help you out battery wise.
Cheers Kiwi

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Re: Buying a Used Prius for conversion to Plugin/Solar PEHV

Post by Cowardlyduck » Oct 02, 2016 6:12 am

Thanks guy's. Good to know the damage isn't any indication of anything bad.
kiwiev wrote:PLUS 1 congrates mate on the purchase at this rate you will be voting greens in the ACT elections :lol: whats the nominal voltage maybe able to help you out battery wise.
Cheers Kiwi
Thanks! How do you know I didn't already vote Greens. ;)
I was thinking (hoping) you might actually want to on-sell some of your used cells to me down the track. :)
I haven't measured it myself, but according to Wikipedia the second gen Prius has a 201.6V nominal battery.

If I'm going to integrate solar though I was thinking of just building a lower voltage pack that I can send to a DC-DC for the main pack to seed off. This is how the guy in the video above did it, and it makes a lot of sense in terms of not messing with the stock electrics systems.

Cheers
High Power LiPo wiring harnesses - 4P - XT90, HXT4mm, 5.5mm. 200Amp+ capable. Global shipping.

Modified Stealth Fighter - Force air cooled Leaf motor @ 5KW, Heat-sinked Adaptto Mini-E. Battery = 20AH, 72V LiPo.
Cowardlyducks - Stealth Fighter Videos

BikeE recumbent commuter - Golden motor, 6Fet Infineon, 20AH 12S LiPo, with on-board solar charging.

BLAKE'S BUILDS - The stuff I make and modify.

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Re: Buying a Used Prius for conversion to Plugin/Solar PEHV

Post by kiwiev » Oct 02, 2016 6:47 am

Cowardlyduck wrote:Thanks guy's. Good to know the damage isn't any indication of anything bad.
kiwiev wrote:PLUS 1 congrates mate on the purchase at this rate you will be voting greens in the ACT elections :lol: whats the nominal voltage maybe able to help you out battery wise.
Cheers Kiwi
Thanks! How do you know I didn't already vote Greens. ;)
I was thinking (hoping) you might actually want to on-sell some of your used cells to me down the track. :)
I haven't measured it myself, but according to Wikipedia the second gen Prius has a 201.6V nominal battery.

If I'm going to integrate solar though I was thinking of just building a lower voltage pack that I can send to a DC-DC for the main pack to seed off. This is how the guy in the video above did it, and it makes a lot of sense in terms of not messing with the stock electrics systems.

Cheers
Yeah sounds like a Kiwi in the Video as long as the main pack is still efficient and not a heat sink, I can hook you up with 12 Kwh at 224 volts.
And weigh about 76Kg and fit in the boot or run it as 4p at 56volts

Cheers Kiwi

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Cowardlyduck
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Re: Buying a Used Prius for conversion to Plugin/Solar PEHV

Post by Cowardlyduck » Oct 02, 2016 11:05 pm

kiwiev wrote:I can hook you up with 12 Kwh at 224 volts.
And weigh about 76Kg and fit in the boot or run it as 4p at 56volts
Sounds good. That would equal about 1.33V per cell to the NiMh, but is that nominal voltage or fully charged?

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Re: Buying a Used Prius for conversion to Plugin/Solar PEHV

Post by kiwiev » Oct 03, 2016 4:21 am

Nominal about 5 volts more per pack fully charged.

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Re: Buying a Used Prius for conversion to Plugin/Solar PEHV

Post by Cowardlyduck » Oct 03, 2016 6:47 am

Yeah, I think I would be better off using a DC-DC then as the Prius pack fully charged is 268V.

Anyway, first I'm gonna do the solar setup, and that will mean I need the DC-DC for that to work. Then (probably next year) ill tackle the pack.

Cheers
High Power LiPo wiring harnesses - 4P - XT90, HXT4mm, 5.5mm. 200Amp+ capable. Global shipping.

Modified Stealth Fighter - Force air cooled Leaf motor @ 5KW, Heat-sinked Adaptto Mini-E. Battery = 20AH, 72V LiPo.
Cowardlyducks - Stealth Fighter Videos

BikeE recumbent commuter - Golden motor, 6Fet Infineon, 20AH 12S LiPo, with on-board solar charging.

BLAKE'S BUILDS - The stuff I make and modify.

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