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Old 12-19-2008, 04:41 PM
BenNelson BenNelson is offline
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Default Ben Nelson's Electro-Metro

Just under a year ago, I decided I was going to build an electric car.

Well, guess what, now I have one.

I converted a '96 Geo Metro to all battery-electric with a used forklift motor and batteries.









Works pretty well for running errands around town and going to and from work.

The whole project if extensively documented on Ecomodder.com, but I wanted to get some information about it out here as well.

Take a look at the specs in the garage.

I have a number of videos on YouTube about building the car.

Here's the latest one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sZS3bbEPshY

I even put together a "structable" on the car for Instructables.com

Please, let me know what you think of the project.

Thanks,

-Ben Nelson
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  #2  
Old 12-19-2008, 05:37 PM
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madderscience madderscience is offline
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Default Re: Ben Nelson's Electro-Metro

You've certainly got most of us beat on conversion cost. And for the amount that went into it, it looks like it turned out beautifully.

Congratulations and enjoy.
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Old 12-19-2008, 07:36 PM
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Default Re: Ben Nelson's Electro-Metro

hell, you can't beat the price!
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Old 12-19-2008, 08:04 PM
Voltswagen Voltswagen is offline
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Default Re: Ben Nelson's Electro-Metro

Wow! Good job Ben...I'm amazed that the body is in such good shape for a $500 car. Good luck with it.
Roy
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Old 02-11-2009, 10:45 AM
BenNelson BenNelson is offline
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Default Re: Ben Nelson's Electro-Metro

Hey guys,

It's time for an upgrade to the car. My controller is a 48-72V and I already have 6 batteries, so I am maxed out there.

I think the next step is add an additional parallel 6 batteries as "buddy-pairs" to keep the system voltage the same, but double my capacity. If I can ever get my hands on an affordable 144V controller and charger (or just a second 72V charger) I could easily upgrade to 144V later.

I know I will have to upgrade the suspension. I did do a rolling test a while back by setting 6 more batts in the back seat. Suspension was harsh, but the brakes were great, no problems there. That's also right at my GVW, so 12 of these 12V lead blocks is my absolute maximum.

I would like to sink battery boxes down into the frame (er, unibody) of the car. I would do 4 batteries where they are, but lower, in the hatch/spare tire well are. I would sink 4 more straight down in the back seat as that's where the gas tank originally was. And I should be able to fit 4 total batteries under the hood.

Does anyone have suggestions for me about the best way to build battery boxes sunk into the frame? I have limited welding experience, but have plenty of new EV friends who can help me with that.

I also want to make sure to keep the structural integrity of the car. I think that I want to make the "holes" as small as possible. Four of my batteries in a row take up a space of 13" by 28". That easily fits in the footprint of the back seat without cutting into any structural metal folds.

I am imagining cutting a hole in the car with a plasma cutter and then dropping in a pre-built battery box which would have and angle iron lip that would stick out and catch on the the existing metal. In the rear side, that would catch directly on the cross support that the seat belt bolts went into. and I am sure I could extend it just enough to catch, on the front, the structural section of the car body where the metal bends down to form the vertical part at the front of the back seat.

Here is a photo of the back of my car with the existing 4 rear batteries, and the back seat removed.


You can see right in front of the batteries is a structural cross member that I am sure I would want the battery box to mount to.

It's been some time since I removed that gas tank on this car, but I would think that the bolt holes to attach the gas tank could be reused as attachment points for batteries as well. (Not all by themselves of course!)

Any hints or tips on building a box down into the car? Please let me know!

Thanks,

-Ben
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Old 02-11-2009, 11:17 AM
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Default Re: Ben Nelson's Electro-Metro

Quote:
Originally Posted by BenNelson View Post
Does anyone have suggestions for me about the best way to build battery boxes sunk into the frame?
I am *almost* done with a 1997 suzuki swift (geo metro). I sunk a rack under the rear seat... There is room for 6. I am using us8vgchcx, which may be slightly different size than your batteries. You have to be careful of the brake lines when cutting. You don't need plasma... just start the cuts by plunging a 4" angle grinder at the corners, and use a sawzall with metal blade.

I have a ton of pix on my site www.envirokarma.org/ev for design ideas.... I used 1x1 steel angle rails, and lined with 1/4" polypro plastic.
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Old 02-11-2009, 11:34 AM
BenNelson BenNelson is offline
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Default Re: Ben Nelson's Electro-Metro

Thanks Dan,

Your web site is great!

That's exactly the kind of info I am looking for!!!

My 12V batteries are a little longer than yours, so I wouldn't be able to fit those two "turned" batteries in there.

Your photos help a lot. Looking at those makes me realize I will have to watch where the parking brake cables go too!
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Old 02-11-2009, 12:59 PM
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PatricioIN PatricioIN is offline
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Default Re: Ben Nelson's Electro-Metro

I did a very similar design but used a handheld jigsaw for most of the straight cutting.. the upper frame for my rear box has 2x2 angle iron outward to sit over rear frame rails and bolt down. I takes all the space between the rear frame rails side to side and from the suspension crossmember to the rear of trunk wall front to back. My back seat was too low to really use the space where the gas tank used to be (without losing my rear seating - then my daughter would have to ride in the trunk!)

I used aluminum for the rear box and a treated plywood box for rigidity.
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Old 02-11-2009, 02:00 PM
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Default Re: Ben Nelson's Electro-Metro

Quote:
Originally Posted by BenNelson View Post
My 12V batteries are a little longer than yours, so I wouldn't be able to fit those two "turned" batteries in there.
I think you can.... There are a couple more inches I COULD have gone wider on the rear-most ones (but not the front 4). It is a very close fit between the seat lip, and the rear wheel suspension with my batteries....

I think that is the orientation used for the pre-fab battery tray sold by the guys at CanEV.com . I would have considered pre-fab except for the expense and that my 8v batteries are considerably taller than 12v batteries and I wanted to retain headroom for the rear seat.

In my case I made the top of the rack level with the seat lip, and still have about 6.5" clearance between the bottom and the ground.
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Old 02-11-2009, 02:56 PM
BenNelson BenNelson is offline
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Default Re: Ben Nelson's Electro-Metro

Here's a video of what I have been up to the last couple days.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ayDbefcj9SY
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