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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
3/12/20 Update
-Increased budget to $15-$18k
-Samsung SDI Modules are being chosen instead of the LG Chem ones. There was a typo in my math and it has been updated.
-Will be adding Nissan Leaf specs. The pricing and parts could work well with what I'm trying to achieve. I would most likely buy a spare pack w/ a salvaged/used Leaf.


Here's the original post for context!

Hi Everyone!

I'm looking to convert my 1980 Camaro Berlinetta to an EV engine. I've noticed that tesla swapping seems popular, but can cost as much as a base Tesla Model 3 when all is said and done. So, I wanted to experiment with building a classic car while retaining as much of the original systems as possible to bring costs down.

I have a few parameters I wanted to follow during my build:

-Range of 200 mi
-70mph Highway Speed
-Retain stock th350 auto trans drivetrain & suspension
-Retain stock brake booster (vacuum pump?)
-Electric pump for power steering (I will have a small reservoir for excess fluid)
-A budget that stays around $10,000

Here is what I'm working with:
-SBC 350 stock (Gen 3/4 350)
-TH350 AUTO Trans with B&M Hammer shifter
-American Autowire 510581 Full-car wiring harness
-Dakota Digital Gauge Cluster


I referenced the wiki while I was researching different motors and battery pack sizes. You can check out the spreadsheet and let me know if I've missed anything. At the moment I would be going with batteries from LG that are not only budget-friendly, but appear to pack a lot of juice and reduces the stock weight by approx 100lbs! {debunked due to mathematical error}

The spreadsheet is still a work in progress, but everything I purchase for use of the conversion will be added to the spreadsheet for future reference!


I have a few questions about how to use the turbo 350 transmission with an electric motor. It's an AUTO turbo 350, th350, CBC 350, etc.

1. Would keeping the torque converter be necessary? I found on some threads that it should stay along with the flex plate.

2. Would I have to set the e-motor at an "idle" rpm so the transmission fluid flows at stop? Can an automatic handle the instant torque without it?

3. If I wanted the trans to shift, would that be possible? Should it be locked to one gear? If so, how would that work?

4. Would I need to manage the shift points via vacuum pump and its modulator or could it be operated as an auto-manual by using the hammer shifter?

Thank you very much for your help and comments!
 

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At the moment I would be going with batteries from LG that are not only budget-friendly, but appear to pack a lot of juice and reduces the stock weight by approx 100lbs!

Looking at the battery page on your spreadsheet, i couldnt help but notice that you are showing the capacity of a 38lb battery as having 26kwh! (cell G7) That sure would be nice, but you are off by a factor of 10. Those are 2.6kwh modules.



I hope an expert will weigh in on that transmission, but if range is important to you, an automatic is probably not a great plan.


The best advice I can give you is to be open to adapting your plans. This is a very complex undertaking, but is also a fascinating way to pass the time!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
At the moment I would be going with batteries from LG that are not only budget-friendly, but appear to pack a lot of juice and reduces the stock weight by approx 100lbs!

Looking at the battery page on your spreadsheet, i couldnt help but notice that you are showing the capacity of a 38lb battery as having 26kwh! (cell G7) That sure would be nice, but you are off by a factor of 10. Those are 2.6kwh modules.
Thanks for letting me know! I made the changes in the spreadsheet.
 

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I have a few questions about how to use the turbo 350 transmission with an electric motor. It's an AUTO turbo 350, th350, CBC 350, etc.

1. Would keeping the torque converter be necessary? I found on some threads that it should stay along with the flex plate.

2. Would I have to set the e-motor at an "idle" rpm so the transmission fluid flows at stop? Can an automatic handle the instant torque without it?

3. If I wanted the trans to shift, would that be possible? Should it be locked to one gear? If so, how would that work?
I continue to not understand why so many people are so determined to use a heavy and complex transmission which is designed specifically to handle a completely different input, and works so poorly with an electric motor.

  1. The torque converter is both unnecessary and problematic... unless you want the motor to turn at idle speed while the car is stopped.
  2. Idling the motor is done to make the transmission hydraulics work. Without it, or a separate electric motor driving a hydraulic pump, the transmission doesn't function at all, with any source of input torque.
  3. If the transmission doesn't shift, it is almost completely pointless (just use a plain shaft and fix the gearing the axle); yes, if you go to all of the work of making it operate, it can shift. If it doesn't shift at suitable points a "full manual" valve kit could be installed, since this is an antique transmission for which this kind of thing is available.
 

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I referenced the wiki while I was researching different motors and battery pack sizes. You can check out the spreadsheet and let me know if I've missed anything. At the moment I would be going with batteries from LG that are not only budget-friendly, but appear to pack a lot of juice and reduces the stock weight by approx 100lbs!
There's some strange stuff in that spreadsheet. Some parts are probably confusing because your intent is just not clear. For instance, there is a table in the Conversion Breakdown table with columns labelled "Battery Qty Amps" and "Battery Qty Voltage"... are those the number of "batteries" needed to meet current and voltage requirements, perhaps? Some of the listed items are cells, and some are modules - in EVs, there is one battery for the car, made up of one or more packs, with each pack containing multiple replaceable modules, and each module made of a group of semi-permanently connected cells.

In the Car and Engine sheet there is a table with a column labeled "Amps/hr", which is nonsensical. It also has units of "Ah", which would be amp-hours, a perfectly good unit of measure of charge capacity... but it's in a table of motor data. :confused:
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I referenced the wiki while I was researching different motors and battery pack sizes. You can check out the spreadsheet and let me know if I've missed anything. At the moment I would be going with batteries from LG that are not only budget-friendly, but appear to pack a lot of juice and reduces the stock weight by approx 100lbs!
There's some strange stuff in that spreadsheet. Some parts are probably confusing because your intent is just not clear. For instance, there is a table in the Conversion Breakdown table with columns labelled "Battery Qty Amps" and "Battery Qty Voltage"... are those the number of "batteries" needed to meet current and voltage requirements, perhaps? Some of the listed items are cells, and some are modules - in EVs, there is one battery for the car, made up of one or more packs, with each pack containing multiple replaceable modules, and each module made of a group of semi-permanently connected cells.
Yeah that's my fault. Qty Voltage is for the set of series to get the Volts needed and qty amps is for the number of parallel batteries.

There are some modules. The Samsung (I think) and LG are modules whereas the Prius and Calb are indiv. cells to build a module.

I've added a type column in the battery sheet to differentiate them.

In the Car and Engine sheet there is a table with a column labeled "Amps/hr", which is nonsensical. It also has units of "Ah", which would be amp-hours, a perfectly good unit of measure of charge capacity... but it's in a table of motor data.
Sorry I made this pretty late at night so changes would be inevitable! That should read continuous amp rating (A) so I made that change.

The breakdown sheet uses the amp hours acquired from the range sheet
 

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You could do $10k by buying a whole Nissan Leaf and using everything you can. Figure that's $6k. From there, you'll need to hack the CAN protocol or buy about $4k more for a controller, BMS, charger, DC-DC converter...You'll still catch more from the various pumps you'll need to maintain power stuff, and this assumes you're doing all fabrication and labor yourself.

That'll get you maybe 100mi of range. For 200mi, you're looking at 600-800 lb total of Leaf battery and another $3-4k. Tesla batteries are lighter, pricier, a tricky shape, and require liquid cooling (though I wonder how much of this is due to fast charging).

You'll need to mate the motor to the rear diff somehow, or replace the rear diff with the Leaf motor (which involves cutting the trunk and possibly redesigning the rear suspension, which...sounds hard).

Doable, but I would expect it to run over $15k with the range you want.
 

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Yeah that's my fault. Qty Voltage is for the set of series to get the Volts needed and qty amps is for the number of parallel batteries.
That's better :)... but still, the listings are for modules or cells, not batteries, in common terminology.

There are some modules. The Samsung (I think) and LG are modules whereas the Prius and Calb are indiv. cells to build a module.

I've added a type column in the battery sheet to differentiate them.
Whatever you found from a Prius, you seem to be assuming that it runs at about 7.5 volts. A non-plug-in Prius uses NiMH cells, which have a nominal voltage around 1.2 volts, so that must be a module of about six of them. It is unlikely that any combination of NiMH cells will make a cost-effective EV battery... and none of the data for this option makes much sense (over 200 in parallel?).

The CALB CA series are individual LiFePO4 cells. The distributor (CALB USA) provides detailed specs. While some good conversions were done with these individual prismatic cells, it's no longer a popular choice due to the cost, compared to salvaged EV modules.

Although EV West uses the term "battery", the Samsung and LG Chem items that you have linked are modules, both with 16 cells in series internally. I don't know what those Samsung modules were built for, but the general understanding is that the LG Chem module sold by EV West (and others) is the one used in the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid van (which has six of them).

I'm not sure where you found the "Mighty Max" product, but if it runs about 12 volts and is LiFePO4, it has four cells in series internally. LiFePO4 cells run about 3.2 V nominally so four would be 12.8 V, but sellers of drop-in replacements for lead-acid batteries usually call that "12 V" to indicate that it would replace a nominally 12 volt (six cell) lead-acid battery. If it is intended for use as a standalone item (not as part of a larger battery pack), then it would be a "battery" rather than a "module". My guess is that it is this: ML100-12LI - 12V 100AH Deep Cycle Lithium Battery That is intended as a drop-in lead-acid replacement, so it should have a built-in internal battery management system including overcharge and low-voltage disconnect, which distinguishes it from a normal module... but disturbingly the product page doesn't mention a BMS at all. This supplier makes me nervous...

Generally, it doesn't make sense to me to use these drop-in replacement batteries as modules in an EV pack, because you need a few in series (to reach desired voltage and energy capacity) and you are buying the BMS and disconnect in each one, but it would be better to have one coordinated BMS and you only need one disconnect system (not one per module).

You might want to be more specific about the chemistry: LiFePO4 is one of several lithium-ion electrode chemistries; "lithium-ion" is a general term. On the other hand, the nominal voltages and performance of the other common lithium-ion chemistries (other than LiFePO4) are pretty similar, so they could be grouped together.
 

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You could do $10k by buying a whole Nissan Leaf and using everything you can.
...

You'll need to mate the motor to the rear diff somehow, or replace the rear diff with the Leaf motor (which involves cutting the trunk and possibly redesigning the rear suspension, which...sounds hard.
Not just "possibly": the Camaro (any year before 2010) has a live beam rear axle, so placing a motor at the rear axle means a complete replacement of the axle and suspension. The original plan here is to "Retain stock th350 auto trans drivetrain & suspension", and even if the transmission is not actually kept, putting the motor up front and driving the original rear axle is the practical solution.

Of course, with enough effort an almost completely new car can be built, using nothing but some of the original body shell. People do that (not just in EV conversions), but why?

The "whole Leaf" approach can still work, but using the Leaf motor without the Leaf transaxle, and either mounting the motor to a conventional transmission or just a simple gear reduction box (such as the ev-TorqueBox).
 

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Discussion Starter #11
That's better :)... but still, the listings are for modules or cells, not batteries, in common terminology.


Whatever you found from a Prius, you seem to be assuming that it runs at about 7.5 volts. A non-plug-in Prius uses NiMH cells, which have a nominal voltage around 1.2 volts, so that must be a module of about six of them. It is unlikely that any combination of NiMH cells will make a cost-effective EV battery... and none of the data for this option makes much sense (over 200 in parallel?).
You're right. I updated the sheet to show that it's a module. Whenever I researched the module it did come out to only 6.5 amps which is pretty small...

The CALB CA series are individual LiFePO4 cells. The distributor (CALB USA) provides detailed specs. While some good conversions were done with these individual prismatic cells, it's no longer a popular choice due to the cost, compared to salvaged EV modules.

Although EV West uses the term "battery", the Samsung and LG Chem items that you have linked are modules, both with 16 cells in series internally. I don't know what those Samsung modules were built for, but the general understanding is that the LG Chem module sold by EV West (and others) is the one used in the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid van (which has six of them).
Generally, it doesn't make sense to me to use these drop-in replacement batteries as modules in an EV pack, because you need a few in series (to reach desired voltage and energy capacity) and you are buying the BMS and disconnect in each one, but it would be better to have one coordinated BMS and you only need one disconnect system (not one per module).

You might want to be more specific about the chemistry: LiFePO4 is one of several lithium-ion electrode chemistries; "lithium-ion" is a general term. On the other hand, the nominal voltages and performance of the other common lithium-ion chemistries (other than LiFePO4[/SIZE) are pretty similar, so they could be grouped together.
I tried looking for that, but I couldn't find it so far...I'll keep looking and update the spreadsheet if I find it.

I'm not sure where you found the "Mighty Max" product, but if it runs about 12 volts and is LiFePO4, it has four cells in series internally. LiFePO4 cells run about 3.2 V nominally so four would be 12.8 V, but sellers of drop-in replacements for lead-acid batteries usually call that "12 V" to indicate that it would replace a nominally 12 volt (six cell) lead-acid battery. If it is intended for use as a standalone item (not as part of a larger battery pack), then it would be a "battery" rather than a "module". My guess is that it is this: ML100-12LI - 12V 100AH Deep Cycle Lithium Battery That is intended as a drop-in lead-acid replacement, so it should have a built-in internal battery management system including overcharge and low-voltage disconnect, which distinguishes it from a normal module... but disturbingly the product page doesn't mention a BMS at all. This supplier makes me nervous...


I'm definitely not going with the Mighty Max. I removed it from the spreadsheet. Where the spreadsheet stands the Samsung batteries are the best configuration for the motors.

Thank you so much for all the help so far!
 

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You could do $10k by buying a whole Nissan Leaf and using everything you can. Figure that's $6k. From there, you'll need to hack the CAN protocol or buy about $4k more for a controller, BMS, charger, DC-DC converter...You'll still catch more from the various pumps you'll need to maintain power stuff, and this assumes you're doing all fabrication and labor yourself.

That'll get you maybe 100mi of range. For 200mi, you're looking at 600-800 lb total of Leaf battery and another $3-4k. Tesla batteries are lighter, pricier, a tricky shape, and require liquid cooling (though I wonder how much of this is due to fast charging).

You'll need to mate the motor to the rear diff somehow, or replace the rear diff with the Leaf motor (which involves cutting the trunk and possibly redesigning the rear suspension, which...sounds hard.

Doable, but I would expect it to run over $15k with the range you want.
I looked at Leaf prices and compared it to my spreadsheet. If I set the Range to 73 the price is comparable to buying a leaf so I'll look into seeing how much extra packs are.

Regardless it looks like I was a bit too ambitious with the pricing xD. I'll try looking for salvaged leaf cars I could pick up to get closer to the 10k mark, but the budget is expanding between 15 to 18k.
 
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