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1961 Volvo PV 544 to EV 544 - Build Thread

15406 Views 207 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  lordmundi
Hello All!

I pondered what to do to this car for over 1 year since driving it home. Yes, it was the first project car I had not needed a trailer for! I have travelled as far as Southern Cal. to pickup other projects with a trailer in tow. Never one only 15 miles from home! And so cheap ($2500) for a running vintage car!

Because the starting point was so favorable, it was tempting to simply do a stock restoration. But then I started digging and found the engine and tranny were not original, coming from a newer Volvo. I felt like it opened the door for a restomod. I am soon 72 years old and have always enjoyed a challenge. My last build was a traditional hot rod which included at totally fabricated frame and flat head V8. Parts were either already in my shop or sourced from multiple swap meets and online sales The various parts spanned years 1928 to 1962 in vintage. I also upgraded a 1958 MGA Coupe to a 2000 Miata drive train. I have done a 1956 F100 PU with a 90's era drivetrain from a T-bird SuperCoupe. This past May I drove Rte. 66 in it. 6000 miles round trip. So major technology jumps with previous projects has been accomplished. And I drive the things! But ICE to EV??? Before last year I didn't even know what those acronyms stood for!

I reviewed the topics I was to cover with my first post, and I can see the logic to determine where everyone enters this EV game. So I can fabricate, I can visualize, I can drive. But this EV thing was a bit intimidating. Then I took a ride in a modern EV and got sucked in! With your help, I hope to make this car an almost daily driver. I am planning for 80 - 100 mile range. I also want to approach this incrementally, both for affordability, but also because I like to mock up restomods to present a car look like it could have come from the factory that way. I have become adept at doing this, but it has always been by trial and error with lots of cardboard and wood mock-ups. I have fabricated things multiple times to get it looking right (as well as for structural integrity!).

I hope I can present this EV conversion similar to my other less radical projects. I want the motor with controller to take center stage, so no battery box on top of it, even though there is a lot of room under the bulbous hood. Likewise, I doubled the HP and Torque on that MGA mentioned above, and it suddenly became a fun (not to mention dependable) sports car! While I will only have a marginal HP jump in my chosen EV gear, I am pretty sure the torque value and dependability factors will be satisfying enough!

That all said, I have been working with EVWest to gain a system understanding and with a local Electrical shop that has dabbled in EV development for the last 10 years. EVWest had done a Volvo P1800 several years ago and just this past week we were able to confirm a match to my Volvo bellhousing and flywheel. So I have the adapter/coupler on order with them. I also have a Hyper 9 HV motor system with chill plate and front motor mount on order with the local shop. Saved much on freight by finding a local source for that! I have other components pre-selected from both EVW and locally, but again will use these first major pieces to anchor the mock-up stage. So because the adapter is a long lead item, I will probably be doing more restoration type stuff in the interim, so bear with me.

I attach pix of the car, the voluminous engine bay and similar trunk. I do plan to put at least some battery packs in the rear where the gas tank came from. However only 100-120 lbs or so to help keep within original weight trim. Which I think will be okay, with so much room in front. But again, I want to showcase the motor. Not the battery packs.

Looking forward to hearing comments from this valued knowledge base in the months ahead!

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John Larsen
Lynden, WA
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Looking forward to seeing this one!
Have done an Amazon wagon myself and currently supporting the conversion of a P210.

Showcasing the motor and have a good weight distribution is going to be a challenge if you put batteries in de back behind the rear axle.
Lars (oudevolvo),

I went to your website where a Volvo 120 series is pictured: Enabling your electric car conversion project - EVcreate

It appears to have a front battery box tucked up to the firewall on the passenger side. Is this the combi project? I thought the combi/station wagon used primarily a rear battery box. Can you provide details and why only one on the passenger side?

Yes, that is an Amazon wagon.
The unit at the passenger side is the inverter.
In the center as close to the firewall as possible (deleted the heater) were 3 Tesla modules in a box. Five more in the rear.
That is needed for a proper weight distribution.
You can find my build blog here
At some point I stopped blogging and you can find updates here OudeVolvo and here
Beware! No happy ending.
See Electric Volvo Amazon wagon from 1967 and converted to 100% electric for overall specs and rebuild process.
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Yes, wagons have a lot of space in de back, but it’s all behind the rear axle.
Optimum for handling is a 50:50 distribution.
Some details here

Nowadays I use racing weigh scales, but in 2017 the regular scales approach worked out fine.
In my view the Hyper 9 is not powerful enough to do a direct drive. The highest voltage version outputs 220 Nm.
The original B18 in first rear would put 3,1 x 150 Nm (ok, at higher rpms) = 450 Nm onto the driveshaft.
Unfortunately for the Dana or Spicer axle there is no replacement rear diff gear to compensate that.

I used a M400 gearbox without pilot bearing.

In my rebuild I’m 100% sure I will eliminate the gearbox. That was a noisy and one pedal drive spoiling thing.
More info here Rear wheel drive EV conversion motor options - Voltvo
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I did a test on my transmission before proceeding on the project and found it to be quiet. I know, unusual, huh? I had a friend restoring a 1967 122S and he tried 3 trannies out from a local Volvo graveyard before finding a quiet one.
I had mine fully rebuild before installing it. Normally it would be quiet enough.
But as soon as the noisy B18 is gone you notice how noisy it is.
On the other hand I already know that after eliminating it I’ll think the rain gutters are noisy.
But in the end it is a classic and old car.
Dropping the rear diff and implement IRS would be best solution but not feasible (for me).
Did the same on this Volvo speedo.
Since he is keeping the M40 the mechanical side keeps working.
So indeed a nice opportunity to modify the old temp end fuel meter.
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There are many dual hall OEM throttles available and cheap.
Why not use one of those?

For example

View attachment 136634
That meter is not a SOC meter.
It’s connected to the charger.
The only information the charger has is delta of actual voltage versus target voltage.
So it’s more like a charging progress meter with three leds.
Will not even work during driving. So apart from unknown IP rating and drawing attention in the dark it’s not a bad place.
Personally I omitted that light.

From the manual.
So it’s state of charging, not state if charge .
Can be for example that the target voltage matches 95% SOC and the charger will report 100% charged.
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Can you elaborate on how you implement that?
The TSM2500 does not have a Proximity input/monitoring feature.
So as far as I know/understand this interlock only works when the car is actively charging.
When the charging is complete (and the plug is in) and the charger is off it does not prevent drive away.
Then you need some kind of Proximity monitoring solution eg the EVCC.
when the charger is plugged in to AC power (even if it isn't charging the battery)

View attachment 137644
Have you tested that?
The problem in my view is that when a charging session has ended and EVSE often does not provice AC power anymore. Same if the EVSE is in a fault condition or when a dead plug is in.
In all those cases you still need to provide drive away protection.
How is that accomplished if there is a plug but no AC on the plug?
In my view that’s where Proximity is intended for. That uses a 5V pullup from the car for plug detection. Cannot be replaced by a charger relying on AC being available.
So the MCU (at least in the thunderstruck ecosystem) should be monitoring that proximity line. And you are making me second guess. I'll test again when I get back, but I believe, yes, any time the EVSE plug is in that the driveway protection is open.
Ah, so you are using the AC charger as second drive away protection and your MCU as primary protection?
Because the switch in the charger is NC. Ie will be open when plugged into AC power. So with a dead plug or an EVSE that is not providing power that switch will be closed while a plug is in so driving should be prohibited.
But if in those cases that is done via an MCU using proximity that is fine. But then that is also sufficient as the only means.
Good discussion in helping me grasp the drive away prevention, as I too am using the TMS integrated MCU and am just into wiring it into the system. Of course, I won't know haw it works for quite some time at the rate I am going.
With the MCU or their EVCC it is relatively easy. In the MCU you can configure the 'plugin' parameter and assign it to an output. From the manual:
"The MCU supports the Output Function (plugin) that indicates when the plug is connected; this signal can be used to prevent the EV from being driven if the charge plug is connected."
I used their EVCC and had an "OK to Drive" signal as an active low.
You can achieve the same with the MCU by using -plugin as config for an output.
When you assign that to an active low output it will be grounded only if there is no plug present (according to proximity).
In my builds I use that for a small PCB I made and call the 'dash-board' (more info here ) and only latches starting pulse (ie starter motor enable wire from ignition lock) to started if and as long as that output is low. And my PCB makes a 12V, ground and closes a NO contact if "started" intended to break Forward or Reverse signal to the VCU so it forces neutral and you can not drive away.
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