looking for ideal base for electric car conversion

General Discussion about electric vehicles.
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izeman
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looking for ideal base for electric car conversion

Post by izeman » Oct 18, 2017 4:08 am

i had a discussion with a friend lately, where we talked about the ideal car for electric conversion.
the goal is to have a low cost, reliable car that can do highway speeds and a 200km range.

my ideal candidate would have been a mercedes 190 w201. it was produced between 1982 - 1993.

pro:
old enough to be a youngtimer - starts to look cool nowadays again
high volumes produced (1.8m cars)
big enough for 4 adults and luggage
reasonable safety features like ABS, side collision protection, airbag etc ...
not TOO much electronics
reasonable comfort features like power windows, power lock etc ...
good chassis frame and suspension
enough space for batteries

con:
didn't find any, maybe expensive spare parts?

let me know what you think!

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Re: looking for ideal base for electric car conversion

Post by Lebowski » Oct 18, 2017 5:19 am

How about one of those old volvo's that has rearwheel drive with the motor in front and the gearbox in the back ? Especially in the alps I would keep some sort of gearbox to reduce motor heating when going uphill. The separate motor/gearbox make it easy to just replace the motor. I imagine the driveshaft has a universal joint in it so lining up the E-motor is not so critical. The engine bay of for instance a 940 is huge so lots of room for batteries (especially if you get the estate version, even more room).

Aren't the Mercs 190's not considered classics ?

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Re: looking for ideal base for electric car conversion

Post by izeman » Oct 18, 2017 6:17 am

hmmm volvo is nice as well. and a class bigger. 740, 940 etc .. the mercedes is much smaller. will need to check weight.

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Re: looking for ideal base for electric car conversion

Post by Hillhater » Oct 18, 2017 7:45 am

Chooseing the ideal car for EV conversion, is like chooseing a woman to marry !
Whilst some of the basic details will be common to all (!!??) , It will depend on many personal preferences and individual needs. Some will want a small light hatchback, others a tough utility type vehicle,
It all depends on the intended use, performance expectations, and of course budget.!
Personally, i question the advantage of a electric conversion now that cheap used Leaf's, Sparks, 500e, and volts etc are available for similar if not less cost than doing a conversion.
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Re: looking for ideal base for electric car conversion

Post by billvon » Oct 18, 2017 10:21 am

izeman wrote:i had a discussion with a friend lately, where we talked about the ideal car for electric conversion.
the goal is to have a low cost, reliable car that can do highway speeds and a 200km range.
Get a Leaf with a dead battery (they are dirt cheap) and do the conversion on that. You'll need to do a lot of work so the system accepts a new battery, but from there most of the work is already done. (And the Leaf motor is capable of a lot more power than the existing battery allows.)
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Re: looking for ideal base for electric car conversion

Post by Drunkskunk » Oct 18, 2017 2:50 pm

The Mercedes looks good. I always liked the estate with a wide body kit. mean looking beast.

What about a BMW 5 series?
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Re: looking for ideal base for electric car conversion

Post by Lebowski » Oct 19, 2017 2:45 am

Any ideas about motor, controller and batteries you're going to use ?

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Re: looking for ideal base for electric car conversion

Post by izeman » Oct 19, 2017 4:15 am

Seeing Arlo's conversion with the Leaf motor it was my first to mind.
Batteries are another thing. Custom made 18650 packs or A123 pouch packs?
Buying a wracked Leaf would be the best way to start, then put it's motor in the donor car and add a Lebowski controller. REAR drive tire smoking [SMILING FACE WITH OPEN MOUTH AND TIGHTLY-CLOSED EYES]

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Re: looking for ideal base for electric car conversion

Post by Lebowski » Oct 19, 2017 4:22 am

maybe a motor from an i3 ?

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Re: looking for ideal base for electric car conversion

Post by liveforphysics » Oct 19, 2017 4:33 am

If you want range, you have two options, a slippery car or a ton of battery. An old Mercedes is not aero, not lightweight, nor does it do anything meaningfully better than options that do have some things going for them.

Buying a running Nissan leaf (in the bay area) is $5k. Doing the double leaf battery capacity modification (by adding a donar cars pack), likely yields your range and performance expectations for sub $10k.

If you are interested in car hacking to learn stuff, I would pick something either aerodynamic and/or lightweight, as it's way easier to get range by not wasting as much heating air with turbulence than adding more battery.
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Re: looking for ideal base for electric car conversion

Post by amberwolf » Oct 21, 2017 2:26 am

Yes--as an example, my SB Cruiser trike is about as aero and light as a brick with a parachute behind it, if the brick was lead and the parachute heavy canvas. ;) So under base conditions (flat roads, no wind, 20MPH cruising speed in normal traffic), I get around 1mile per Ah, or worse.

My slightly more aero, and lighter, CrazyBike2 takes a little more than half that consumption to do the same thing.

So the trike has to have a battery pack that's twice as big, and twice as heavy, to do the same thing the bike can with a lighter/smaller pack.


If the trike were made more aero, it'd improve significantly, but it's still heavier so it'll still take more power in traffic or on non-level roads.

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Re: looking for ideal base for electric car conversion

Post by fechter » Oct 21, 2017 10:58 pm

A first generation Honda Insight would be pretty good.

Hopping up Nissan Leaf would be less work.
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Re: looking for ideal base for electric car conversion

Post by izeman » Oct 22, 2017 4:54 am

luke i agree with all you said, but i forgot to mention, that this is a FUN project. it's not meant to build the best/lightest/cheapest/longest-ranged car. if i would do so, i would probably just buy a used electric car and add batteries and stuff.

what i'd like to do is build a sleeper (like arlo's CRX), but a bit bigger. and as i'm over 1.90 tall, the honda is just too small :) other than that, there are far more mercedes around than those small hondas.

so to sum it up: classy car, strong motor, lot of batteries, and tire smoking fun. and if i can go to my office and back and have a stop at the groceries, than that's a big plus.

btw: i can charge at the office' parking lot for free :)

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Re: looking for ideal base for electric car conversion

Post by jonescg » Oct 23, 2017 2:33 am

As a two-seater the CRX is actually quite comfortable. I still hope to do a project on mine one day before it rusts...

And if anybody does do a hack on a Nissan Leaf with a much bigger battery I'd be keen to know how it goes. I hear the BMS and guess-o-meter are easily confused :?

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Re: looking for ideal base for electric car conversion

Post by liveforphysics » Oct 23, 2017 3:37 am

I'm 1.88m, and never had head height issues with CRX (B-series and turbo B-series), or 1st generation aluminum body Honda insight, even while wearing a helmet.

Front and rear Nissan lead motor powered 1st gen Honda insight running a pair of Arlins controllers. A stock p100d would still be in your ballpark for acceleration through the 1/8th mile, but it should run away on top if it's got the right battery in it.

The insight chassis and both leaf motors would be under $5-7k, then $6-8k for controllers and harness, and major savings in battery cost and weight to make your range objective (maybe gang GM Volt packs together?)

Maybe possible to get a sub $20-25k single digit daily driver EV if you decide you want to make something that reshapes hotroding.
izeman wrote:luke i agree with all you said, but i forgot to mention, that this is a FUN project. it's not meant to build the best/lightest/cheapest/longest-ranged car. if i would do so, i would probably just buy a used electric car and add batteries and stuff.

what i'd like to do is build a sleeper (like arlo's CRX), but a bit bigger. and as i'm over 1.90 tall, the honda is just too small :) other than that, there are far more mercedes around than those small hondas.

so to sum it up: classy car, strong motor, lot of batteries, and tire smoking fun. and if i can go to my office and back and have a stop at the groceries, than that's a big plus.

btw: i can charge at the office' parking lot for free :)
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Re: looking for ideal base for electric car conversion

Post by Toorbough ULL-Zeveigh » Oct 24, 2017 9:30 am

liveforphysics wrote:If you want range, you have two options, a slippery car or

If you are interested in car hacking to learn stuff, I would pick something either aerodynamic and/or lightweight, as it's way easier to get range by not wasting as much heating air with turbulence than adding more battery.
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Re: looking for ideal base for electric car conversion

Post by Lebowski » Oct 24, 2017 1:34 pm

Mazda MX 5 ?

Oops, OP want 4 adults and luggage...

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Re: looking for ideal base for electric car conversion

Post by izeman » Oct 24, 2017 2:14 pm

Lebowski wrote:Mazda MX 5 ?

Oops, OP want 4 adults and luggage...
mx5/miata is a no-go. a friend had one. i could not decide if i looked under or over the windscreen frame ;) both was very uncomfortable. this car is WAYS too small for me ... and it has nothing you can call trunk.

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Re: looking for ideal base for electric car conversion

Post by liveforphysics » Oct 24, 2017 3:19 pm

Toorbough ULL-Zeveigh wrote:
liveforphysics wrote:If you want range, you have two options, a slippery car or

If you are interested in car hacking to learn stuff, I would pick something either aerodynamic and/or lightweight, as it's way easier to get range by not wasting as much heating air with turbulence than adding more battery.
Lotus
Lotus is not slippery, has limited to poor battery mounting options (see Tesla Roadster), and once the lotus goes much over design weight it handles relatively poorly.

You can convert an RV to electric, and it's going to have more cargo space and more passenger seating, but it's also going to suck to drive anywhere and do nothing well as a vehicle and requires a tremendous battery cost to get useful range.
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Re: looking for ideal base for electric car conversion

Post by Ohbse » Oct 24, 2017 5:46 pm

liveforphysics wrote:
Toorbough ULL-Zeveigh wrote: Lotus
Lotus is not slippery, has limited to poor battery mounting options (see Tesla Roadster), and once the lotus goes much over design weight it handles relatively poorly.
Luke - have you seen Sasha's Lotus Evora running Tesla drivetrain combined with two Volt packs? Built as a street/time attack car and it's exceptionally cool. Evora is a very different beast to the Elise/Exige that most are familiar with. Extensive development done with Motec and has created a really excellent package.



There are a number of other episodes covering the build process, the drivetrain and battery packaging are excellent. Rapid charging is achieved by towing behind a truck with regen wound right up, allows for rapid turnaround between time attack sessions! Came in first place at its first event and broke a track record.

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Re: looking for ideal base for electric car conversion

Post by izeman » Oct 25, 2017 3:04 am

lotus is the same size as mx5/miata. they both suck.
super fun cars to drive, but (for me) not more than 5min :)
and all convertibles suffer from too little battery space imho.

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Re: looking for ideal base for electric car conversion

Post by Drunkskunk » Oct 30, 2017 2:09 pm

Miatas are fun. I have one as a backup / fun car.

But forget them. they have the aerodynamics of a brick wall. My NA has a Cd of .38 and a CdA of ~6.8 That would be bad for a mid sized SUV, and abysmal for a tiny car.

The Lotus Elise is even worse. Cd of .407 and CdA of 6.5

These cars were designed to look cool and be fun to drive, not to actually be aerodynamic. In contrast, the Mercedes 190 looks like a brick wall, but actually has a very low CD of .32
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Re: looking for ideal base for electric car conversion

Post by markz » Nov 13, 2017 12:13 am

I would go to the junk yard and take a look around and see what available in the yard if you want to gut and convert. My passing thoughts on me doing a conversion would be anything light, 4 door Suzuki/Samurai SUV or the Ford Ranger / Mazda B Series but they only come in extended cab, not crew cab.

http://www.mycoolelectriccar.com/electr ... rsion.html
If you are the lucky owner of a VW Rabbit, Porsche 914, Chevy S-10, or Geo Metro, you'll find your conversion easier than the rest of us, because you can buy a ready-made electric car conversion kit with everything you need, tailored for those exact cars.
Hatchbacks are good for electric car conversions. So are medium sedans. Light trucks are also okay. Pick-ups have less driving range. But they have plenty of space for batteries and are designed to take weight at the back.

Using a donor vehicle with manual transmission is simplest. In theory, you can convert automatic transmissions, but nobody recommends this.

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Re: looking for ideal base for electric car conversion

Post by zzoing » Nov 13, 2017 7:37 pm

How about a light aluminium car like the Audi A8 from 1997? it was expensive to fix, perhaps only for the gearbox and combustion elements, the wheels should be ok. at least it has the advantage of a light chassis. here's one for 1500 USD for example. https://www.leboncoin.fr/voitures/13136 ... tm?ca=22_s check out the wheels on it:
https://www.leboncoin.fr/voitures/13281 ... tm?ca=22_s

there is a front wheel drive and quattro version of A8, there were ASF aluminium monoqoque after 1997, the A8 cost 700 million to develop from 1990 to 1997

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Re: looking for ideal base for electric car conversion

Post by markz » Nov 15, 2017 1:44 pm

What will it be used for?

A family with a dog, family and gear (bicycles, skis, big hockey bags), single person commuter.

I personally like 4 door crew cabs, half ton type like the Ford F150's but those have high curb weights compared to the typical Sonoma/S10 quarter ton trucks. I have never seen 4 door crew cab quarter ton trucks in North America, one fella has a 4 door Toyota truck SR5 model, so late 90's. Never sat in one myself.

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