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Old 03-09-2011, 10:54 PM
CRWsound CRWsound is offline
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Default Planning, thinking...Volvo 240 EV conversion

Hello all,

First, thanks for having such a great resource here. This is the forum where I've spent the most time trying to decide what to do in my quest for an EV.

Here's what I'm thinking. For quite awhile I was just going to sell my 1990 Volvo 240DL with automatic transmission for the cash it would bring, and start fresh to build an EV. I bought this car in 1993, I'm the second owner and it has 167,000 miles - but it's in very good shape.

The more I read, the more I think it may be possible to build my EV out of the car I've already got. Here are the cons and pros (as I see them) of converting my Volvo:

CONS:
- It's an automatic
- It's heavy
- Door locks and windows are electric
- Power steering
- It's not the most aerodynamic car out there

PROS:
- I already have it
- It can handle a lot of weight, I think no need to upgrade springs and shocks for batteries
- The trunk is enormous, likewise there's a lot of space under the hood - as much room as I could want for batteries
- I have the Chilton's manual for it, everything on it runs well, I've owned it and fixed things on it for the past 18 years
- Brakes are not power assist
- It's more aerodynamic than a truck

For a long time I figured the fact that it was an automatic made the decision obvious for me - no go. However I've been reading more about guys who've converted automatics and that seems like an okay choice for me.

Likewise I thought its weight would be a huge issue, until I read a reply somebody had made to a request for info about converting a 240...his initial reaction was that the car was too heavy but then he came back later and commented that it could handle the weight of batteries well. Point, Volvo.

Here are other things to know:
- I'm planning on using a forklift motor, not yet procured
- I want to spend as little as possible, get it on the road, upgrade later (this mostly applies to batteries)
- I'm looking for a commuter car that can do 50mph max and has a range of 30 miles minimum in city driving
- It's important that I'm able to throw the family (of 4) in the car for around-town stuff
- I despise working on cars but have done a lot of it
- I love to build things

My skill set
- Electronics: including microprocessor programming, circuit board fab, etc.
- High voltage electricity
- Fabrication in wood, metal, plastic, etc.
- Welding
- Pneumatics and hydraulics

I have a pretty comprehensive shop and I have a friend who wants to help me do my EV, then we'll make one for him. That's good, a little bit more impetus to actually keep working on it and complete it. I'm good with scrounging stuff up and doing things on the cheap, I just need knowledge.

I don't need to work on this immediately, so I can spend a little time looking around until I find the right deal on a forklift. Hopefully when I've sold off the pieces that I don't need I can get the cost of the motor down to a very reasonable figure.

So when it comes right down to it: Volvo 240 with AT...super bad idea or just some unique challenges?

Thanks,
Chris
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