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Electric car conversion?  RSS feed

 
Nathan Wrzesinski
Posts: 79
Location: Austin Texas
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Ive been struck with the electric car bug. I saw a Tesla roadster driving a few weeks ago and I wanted to know how feasible it would be to build an electric car into a truck body.

battery specs: 16x 6volt 250Ah [5hour] batteries gives me 4kAh @96Volts, the battery bank weighs in at 1,328lbs and the motors around 200 put that in a gutted truck and wire controls to the motors, lights, brakes etc.

Does anybody have experience with this sort of thing? What speed/range could I expect from this? is 1/2 ton of batteries too much? is 96v enough? Should I get lower capacity higher voltage batteries?

I want to learn!

Truck?
http://austin.craigslist.org/cto/3036157712.html

Batteries?
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Trojan-J305E-AC-6V-305Ah-Lead-Acid-Deep-Cycle-Battery-/370419966262?_trksid=p3284.m263&_trkparms=algo%3DSIC%26its%3DI%26itu%3DUCI%252BIA%252BUA%252BFICS%252BUFI%26otn%3D21%26pmod%3D110577399593%26ps%3D54#ht_4184wt_698

 
Craig Moore
Posts: 15
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I am a hypermiler, and there are many electric conversions from guys over at ecomodder.com. This is just one guy doing an S-10 conversion. Salvages S10 Build Thread
 
Zack Brohan
Posts: 1
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If that became a reality, that would be incredibly exciting to hear about. If you do get to it, you should keep videos and document key points and such.
 
Mike Dayton
Posts: 149
Location: sw pa zone 5
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The Chev S-10 is a very good PU to convert to electric. You can hinge the bed and place the batterys between the rails for safety. The 96 volt system you are looking at is very marginal as far as speed and range. There are many kits that will sell you all the parts for a 72 volt system for around $5000. Everyone that I know that went with a 72 volt system was not happy with their final car. If you go for 120 volt or 144 volt you will have much better hyway speeds as well as a much longer range. I have a 1986 Ponti Fiero convertion unit. 144 volts, 9" advanced DC motor, curtis controller, 75 mph, 15 to 20 mile range. 12 deep cycle lead acid wet cells plus a small 12v battery that runs the lights, horn, turn signals etc. It is about 2950lb as it sits with the batteries. The car was 2750 from the factory. If you buy new parts the curtuis controller is about $1500, 9" motor is about $1500, the pot is around $150, a DC to DC converter [ it acts as your alternator to keep the smll aux battery charged ] is maybe $200. You have the cost of the car, cost of wire, and battery connections as well as the Batterys themselves. I would say that you will have something in the $10,000 range to complete an electric car with any speed and range. If you look around you can find used parts, as well as cars for sale in various stages of completion, some running some not. Look on EV Trading Post.com or EV album to get an idea of what might be out there. If you live in a city and 35mph is a good speed for you then the 72v or 96v systems will be enough for you. If you have to go 55mph on the open road I would go for more power.
 
Mike Dayton
Posts: 149
Location: sw pa zone 5
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The Trojan batteries that you are looking at are very popular for electric cars. They are good quality and last pretty well. I went with Deca Batteries, a good bit cheaper. You get more amps from 2 6 volt batteries whan from 1 12 volt. The volts are the same, but more amps. Think of it this way, volts make the car go fast, amps push you up the hills. Amps are your power. The tech to build an electric car that works well has been around for years, it is not rocket science. Look for an electric car club in your area, they will be a huge help to you with your convertion project. There are better controllers than what I have as well as better electric motors. Cost was a big factor with the unit I have. If you are truely interested I would say go for it, there is alot of help out there from alot of different places. Good Luck.
 
Nathan Wrzesinski
Posts: 79
Location: Austin Texas
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I would really like to build it, I am thinking about using a 1/2 ton van as the frame, leaving plenty of interior space.
I would LOVE to keep costs down. As for Volts and amps. Is there a calculator where I can see how many volts/amps I would need to pull my van along at highway speeds for 50 miles per charge?
 
Mike Dayton
Posts: 149
Location: sw pa zone 5
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I am not an engineer, so I can not help you with those calculations, but I am sure that there are charts and or formulas that can figure that our for you. There is a woman who runs the Sustainable living festival in Kompton Pa than converted a full size van with a group of kids. There is also a High School group from New England, Maine I think, that converted a full size van. Either of those people might be able to help you with what its like to convert a van, what it cost, and how much range they get. Look on the net and do a search to get more info on both of these people, They should both have a web site. Good Luck.
 
Mike Dayton
Posts: 149
Location: sw pa zone 5
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Here is a link to the EV Trading Post, they have cars, trucks, vans as well as used parts for sale. http://www.evtradinpost.com/list/5 Here is a link to the EV Album, they have pictures of all type of electric car, with specs and info about each one. Some of these car will be for sale. It will give you ideas of what has been done by others so that you do not have to re-invent the wheel. http://www.evalbum.com/type
 
Mike Dayton
Posts: 149
Location: sw pa zone 5
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When you look at the EV album take a look at Jet Industrys cars. They were built as Electric cars from the factory back in the early 1980's. The 120volt system had a range of 50 to 60 miles and they have pretty good highway speed. In electric cars it seems that you can go fast, or you can go far, but you can't do both. That is unless you buy a Testa that goes 125 mph and runs for 225 miles on a charge. It is a GREAT car, but the price tag of the 2 seater sports car was $109,000. The 4 door sdn with a smaller battery pack is cheaper, $50,000 to $60,000 I think. A friend of mine got a Jet 007 and has been fixing it up. His wife drives it to work everyday. He replaced the controller and bought batteries of course, and has been doing a bit of body work to it, but the car runs fine now. He got it cheap and the range of the car is what you are looking for . I beleive Jet industries made a van back then as well, I do not know what range it has. If it is a little bit heavier, it takes a little bit more to push it down the road.
 
Rindert Wesseling
Posts: 5
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I was part of an alt vehicle club in college. The club somehow inhereited a Solectria E-10 with a bad battery pack. We replaced the batteries with some golf car batteries that only filled up about a third of the battery box. We had the Ag Dept technician use it as a service vehicle around campus. This was an ideal use for the truck. In at least one instance the technician's work was made much easier, when he installed a bunch of new computers in the library. He simpley loaded up all the computers and other equipment he needed, and drove the truck through the big fromt doors. There was no exhaust, or fluid drips, or noise or anything else obnoxious or disruptive to the normal functioning of the library.

After several years of experience I have formed the opinion that EVs make excellent utility vehicles, but that they are horrible commuter and travel vehicles.

Rindert
 
Marcos Buenijo
pollinator
Posts: 583
Location: Southwest U.S.
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Nathan Wrzesinski wrote:I would really like to build it, I am thinking about using a 1/2 ton van as the frame, leaving plenty of interior space.
I would LOVE to keep costs down. As for Volts and amps. Is there a calculator where I can see how many volts/amps I would need to pull my van along at highway speeds for 50 miles per charge?


There's no substitute for getting the skinny from someone with an actual vehicle that can provide real world data. However, you can make close estimates by using certain values. Maintaining 65 mph on level ground requires about 25 hp for a typical small pickup truck. A motor consumes energy at a rate of about 25 KW to deliver this power. The battery your described has a capacity of 24 KWh. So, in theory, you could go almost 65 miles before dropping to a dangerously low state of charge.
 
steve raymond
Posts: 7
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I converted a triumph tr7 a few years ago. Standard 18 bats (trojens) @6volts=108v total with a 9" warp, etc (see EV web site as noted above). It worked great!! Did 65 mph with a range about 26+ miles, just enough for me to get to town and back. drove it for about 4 years (summer only) and then the batteries died, about 350 trips (cycles). To replace the batteries it will cost me $1,300.00 so even tho my electricity is only 3 cents/ KWH!!! when you consider the battery replacement cost as a fuel component, it was not that economical to operate. I would like to upgrade to the new lithium systems when the price comes down. All and all I would say it was a good project, and would encourage you to do it.
 
Jim Coate
Posts: 3
Location: Virginia
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Old thread but like to add that I am a bit of an EV nut. 72 or 96 volts is not enough for a truck. First on-road EV I had was a converted S-10 truck. Started out at 120 volts, I eventually crammed in more batteries, tried 176 volts, then ran 132 volts with a bigger controller (1000 amp till I blew and I went to 600amp). And I loved that truck - great for running around town, including building half a house - hauling wood, mulch, gravel, scafolding, etc. The bigger controller made a huge difference to getting the low end torque needed to get it moving.

Then "upgraded" to one of the few factory built S-10 electrics (same drive train as the EV1 as in Who Killed The Electric Car). Nice truck when it worked, but way too finicky with all the computer systems always throwing error codes. Then came a used Solectria Force. Currently needs rebuilding, so missing my on-road EV fix.

Using a van will reduce your range. It all about the ratio of battery weight to total weight. If doing basic lead acid batteries, aim for at least 1/3 of the weight in batteries, better if can manage 50%. To get an idea of how a particular configuration will perform, there is an on-line EV calculator:
http://www.evdl.org/uve/ev.html
It is getting old at this point so doesn't list any of the newer controllers etc. This one
http://www.evconvert.com/tools/evcalc/
appears to be a somewhat newer tool, but I haven't used it.
 
James Franky
Posts: 3
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Have to go with Jim, the truck requires a greater amount of drive to sustain the heavy use which it is intended for. But with developments in the battery industries the electric car conversion efficiency could increase without a second thought. Thank you jim for the resources.
 
Mark Boone
Posts: 10
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Although his project is two wheeled, you might want to check out Craig Vetter's "last Vetter fairing" project. His goal is to make a practical vehicle that meets his goal of 100 mpg at 70 mph, into a 30 mph headwind, with four bags of groceries - that would be the owners first choice of vehicles in the garage. This is basically a streamlining project. Note that 100mpg is meant in energy cost equivalent - alternative fuels are encouraged - his streamlining is being applied to diesel (biodiesel) and has just begun an electric vehicle project. The project has included regular fuel economy 'races' called The Vetter Fuel Economy Challenge.



Over the last 5 years:

http://www.craigvetter.com/pages/470MPG/Intro%20to%20economy.html
http://www.craigvetter.com/pages/2011-Streamliner/2011-vetter-streamliner-p40.html
http://www.craigvetter.com/pages/2012-Streamliner/2012-vetter-streamliner-p52.html
http://www.craigvetter.com/pages/2013%20Streamliner/2013-vetter-streamliner-Vic-nose--p62.html
 
Erbulus Welch
Posts: 1
Location: Billings, MT
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I'm rather new to the Permie's site (about 20 Min.) but just happen to have built an electric conversion on a 1990 Ford Ranger. The truck has been in operation for what is now its eighth year and runs without a hitch. I have a 120 volt battery back using lead acid 6 volt batts, Advanced DC motor and a Curtis controller. This is my third conversion and the only one that is still on the road. My truck is listed on the evalbum.com website under Ford in Billings MT. I have loads of pics and specs on construction of vehicles and what can be expected of an EV when used as a daily driver. Need help just ask. If I use my truck as a daily driver It costs me about 70 cents a day to charge and I figure that's not bad for a hobby.
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