WOW ! ! ! it's great to see someone else who beleives that an automatic is a good answer to EV conversions. You sure covered the ground better then I did.
Your personal history sounds a lot like mine, except I have 10 years on you and went tractor pulling indtead of racing. I am a certified Master Technician and was a licensed aircraft tech. I also went into the tech world (automotive specification databases). Got away from the BOOB tube (haven't turned it on in about 10 years. I left it in the corner so I could snear at it ocassionaly. Went to computers in the late eighties and love it.
I have started a couple of threads about automatics in EVs, but I think I was too specific in concintrating on the powerglide to really build general interest.
One problem with EV converters, is a lot of them are fixated on the BIG torque at low RPM of electric motors and seem to resist the idea of a transmission, finally, in the end, settling on a manual transmission because it is in the end easier to install the motor and that is the way everyone does it.
I have been reading these threads for a long time and a lot of people keep saying they want a two speed because all they normally use and need in their 5 speed manual is 2nd and 3rd or 4th.
I kept promoting the powerglide because it is probably the most flexible, strongest, easiest to modify transmission out there that I am comfortable with, AND it,s a two speed with the perfect ratios for electrics motors when used with differential ratios in the mid threes, 1:82 to 1 and 1 to 1, plus it has a Park.
I have pushed the glide in versions from a fully automatic torque converteless replacement for any RWD transmission, to a fully modified shorty turned sideways without bell housing to be used in three wheelers using chain drive.
Ouch, here I go again ranting on about the powerglide.
I mostly got just mild O hum interest and back to "you don't need a transmission if you motor is big enough".
It seems that there are two groups using automatic, those who thought it out and saw the value and those who were forced into it because of circumstances and later became believers.
I know that a lot of the people who have responded to this thread under stand that torque multiplication throught gear reduction allows the use of lighter, higher voltage more efficient motors and battery packs.
Another factor that is addressed by using automatic in conversion is that a vehicle is produced that is more of a "just get behind the wheel" drivable vehicle. No special instruction and scarry procedures.
A lot easier to promote EV that way.
I got to admit that the other way of adapting stuff can be more fun to the DIYer though.
When I started the EV conversion of my tractors, I made a decision not to build a street vehicle because my health precluded the effort. I get the impression that some here brush off what I say because I haven't done a car, plus I'm a bit wordy and not too politic (plus a very poor typest and speller) in my response to comments. I hope not.
Anyway you all have my support and any ideas and information I have available as you go forward.
Good Luck and make believers.