I'll be keeping track of what you are doing generally
things are definitely going in the right direction.
heres some food for thought:
- how many people need a track car?
- how many people need a cheap, reliable small vehicle to get around in?
- of either of those options, do they want a smart car?
- how popular are smart cars vs other cheap options in Australia?
- which of these has been popular enough to have a very low priced second hand market?
the first is a cool, fun thing to have and is applicable to those with disposable income. the second is a much, much larger market which is currently satisfied with very expensive factory ready alternatives. A struggle to get the whole small pie, or get a slice of a much larger pie? I considered the smart vehicles closely when deciding to buy the swift. it had a number of things going for it, including the race applications/Hayabusa etc when the missus wanted (eventually) a replacement (and the swift gets left to my devices... hmmm)
, parking 'options' or 'technique'.... but the swift offered more and has a more suitable wheelbase.
the base model was selling new
in Melbourne for approx. AUD15k when we bought our sport version 2 years ago. Second hand (albeit higher kms) can be had for as low as 3k. move space, more feasible for both track and 'domestic' activities... swifts, including the older chassis/look style have been converted many times before. the base model is all that would be required as other than looks, the sport only offers a more powerful motor, fancier interior and 'sport' suspension. either way, the plan was to use bucket ish seats from a wrx/evo or similar, coilovers (weight distribution after conversion).. no real need for the sport model, base is fine. Parts are readily available and they are cheap here! this matters for long term ownership and panel repairs for accidents. Whilst a small car, there is enough room to work on these more comfortably.
a real, decent solution to replacing a fuel tank with an energy dense enough, cheap enough battery pack to be useful enough - that is really the remaining, major challenge for me... most of the conversions I've seen so far use either the back seat or boot as a battery storage (which I don't want to do). I think a 18650 or similar pack designed to take the fuel tank as a drop in replacement, motor/gearbox mounts to leaf (or similar), 'standard' kit controller, wiring harness and cooling solutions standardized into a kit. this could easily be a very, very successful answer for a retrofit business. Swifts are very, very common in Melbourne, which means they are a popular choice already here. just needs a user friendly, cheap electric answer.
Questions that are running through my mind are:
- are leaf motor setups cheap enough imported from the states?
- is there a non OEM kit that could be reliable enough and put together cheaply? (warp etc)
- are electric vehicles becoming more common in australia and what will the wreaks likely be in the next 5 years?
- how to solve the battery issue? is it possible to make a floor pan/fuel tank pack that is good enough?
- are tesla modules the answer?