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1961 Volvo PV 544 to EV 544 - Build Thread

14902 Views 195 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  remy_martian
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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"...and should be revised." So what is stopping a revised version to at least verbally being described, beyond isolating battery boxes and the shut-off location?

There seems to be a distinct lack of good basic starting point diagrams. But plenty of criticism of what does float up to the surface.
Revising your diagram, or anyone else's, is not in my job decription. Take it up with my union steward if you have a problem with that.
If you are like you are, I don't want to meet your representative...

Although there may be a few harassment claims I would like to file with , uh, her?
On the other hand, as many breaks that you get, I may want to sign up!
You're confusing HR with the union.

And, according to HR training we got, it's only considered harassment if you do it twice.
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Remind me never to hire you...
And I don't think that strategy worked for Dilbert. Oh, wait.. that was one mention x megamillion users.
That wasn't harassment, but racism. Big difference.
Not much action this week, as I await some unsafe components to size up the front contactor/fuse box. I was able to mock up the PB8 (thank you ThunderStruck) to confirm that my stock throttle linkage would work, which will now help bookmark another area on my firewall to save. Seems this project has had more mock ups and book marks than all my previous ICE projects.

I found a cross over wiring diagram that essentially took the recently condemned version and reworked it to my exact selected components. I'll let you know if I survive it.

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Far be it for me to have an opinion, but is there any way to get that potbox inside the cabin, out of the weather, and then run its signal wires thru the firewall (you already have 12V in there)?
I was already thinking of coming up with a cover for the box. Maybe Polycarb or something, but the box, in and of itself, is pretty ugly I admit.

Hey, you convinced me my motor could not be seen, at least let me show off the pot box! I am thinking of some sort of light show that might be displayed with the box.

That would be SO COOL!!!
My main motivation was not merely the life/rel of the pot, but to get rid of that POS throttle linkage.

Maybe use a real e-pedal inside the car - @MattsAwesomeStuff iirc has a collection of pedals he can speak to.

If I'm not mistook, you need a 0-5V signal most e-pedals put out.

"see those two wires? I converted the car from a mechanical throttle linkage to Drive by Wire" - that line gets you the babes every time. Ugly potboxes in a polycarb box gets you street corner leftovers.
The damn thing (PB8) has a mechanical lever on it. Does it really care how it is activated???

The feel of the original taught spring activated throttle pedal will keep me bonded with the car.
The feel of the original taught spring activated throttle pedal will keep me bonded with the car.
As will the semi that plows into you at the side of the road because that outdoor pot failed.

Modern e-pedals do not use 1940's resistors with wipers that fail due to moisture, dust, and mechanical wear.

The potbox is from a time when there weren't any e-pedals. If you're getting it as a recommendation from a "Convert your car to an EV book", I'll bet it was published in 1992.

It's your build, your cred among restomodders, so you decide. I'm not gunna say anything else about it, though I do reserve the right to use this icon now and then if I see or hear about it: 🤣
I'm realizing I didn't get the message across and you're thinking the potbox is being actuated by the e-pedal. No. Your potbox goes into the cylindrical container with the lid on it that you drag to and from the curb every week.

The e-pedal output signal wires plug directly into your inverter/controller with its 0-5V signal, which is identical to what the landfilled resistor put out.
I deny you the right to use that icon in response to my posts. I will call in Stanford University anti free speech specialists if you do!
Yeah I understood the concept. It's telepathy. Or just plain psychopathy. Thus, my response stands.
At this point I should be posting stuff about your school bus's length, but the downstream laughs are too precious to push too hard on this calamity in the making.

Old school is cool, allegedly.

So, in support of your imminent epic failure, I'm thinking 8 fuelie velocity stacks on top of your battery stack, with the potbox hidden inside one of the cosmetic throttle bodies.
I've moved on from the stacks...

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