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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I might as well start a build thread. It seem to be all the rage, right?! :).

I am also shooting video as I do and will try to put a few videos out there as I can.

About me: 47 years old. Engineering background but most of that was in software coding. Limited electronics experience. Limited mechanical experience. First time converting anything.

Why the VW Cab? Wife's favorite car as she was growing up after watching the movie "Can't Buy Me Love". This is her b-day present and she wants it converted.

Why am I doing it? See above but I really want to learn how EV's go together and working on projects while learning is actually a way that I unwind from my "day job".

Now onto to the stuff you all probably actually give a sh*t about. :)

GOALS

1. Weekend/fun driver
2. Range: 75-100 miles
3. Remove the manual & clutch
4. Heater
5. Don't need AC
6. Preserve the look & feel of the car as original as possible.
7. Retain power steering
8. Finish within 6 months... I will take a moment for you to stop laughing! :)

Moving on.

BUDGET

I am hoping for $35,000 US all in but understand it may go over. I know that if I did the analysis this is absolutely a dumb 'investment' but I don't care. See above, for me it's a way that I relax. Plus it makes my wife happy and that makes me happy. I will do my best to track costs for anyone interested.

CONVERSION CAR

1985 VW Cabriolet. I did 'overpay' for it but considering that the market for cars is absolutely nuts (thank you, inflation) and I did not want to do any real body/interior restorations I opted to find one in the best condition possible. AND, I did!

Wheel Tire Car Automotive side-view mirror Vehicle


I am now working on removing all ICE components. Happy to report that the motor is out and SOLD! woot.

Motor vehicle Automotive tire Workwear Vehicle Automotive design


(that's me but you all are smart and figured it out already, i am sure.)

I decided to go the Nissan Leaf route after seeing the number of leafs at the junk yard. Figure for a good price you can get a decent start on all the major components. AND it seems that ResolveEV's VCU is pretty good.

To that, I am bidding on a Leaf right now and did already purchase the VCU. Spent an hour today labeling it. Hope that this helps as I am working.

Circuit component Font Electrical wiring Electronic component Computer hardware


At this point, I am 1% in the conversion. I will continue to remove what is not needed in the car and then clean. Once I secure the doner car I plan to remove the motor and battery pack and wire it up and see if I can get this thing to work out side of the car. Once that is done, I will disassemble the pack and begin the process of figuring out where to place the batteries. Right now, I am trying to:

1. get as close as the original balance of the car
2. try to keep batteries out of the main cabin

Helmet Communication Device Font Gas Office supplies

(original weight)

I am thinking putting a few where the gas tank was and towards the front of the trunk. Also, I will probably have to get a few in the front.

I have lots of questions but here is one that I know you all know. Where is the best place for me to pick up the bits I will need like fuses, wire, momentary switches and the ilk?

Thank you and happy holidays!
 

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I might as well start a build thread. It seem to be all the rage, right?! :).

I am also shooting video as I do and will try to put a few videos out there as I can.

About me: 47 years old. Engineering background but most of that was in software coding. Limited electronics experience. Limited mechanical experience. First time converting anything.

Why the VW Cab? Wife's favorite car as she was growing up after watching the movie "Can't Buy Me Love". This is her b-day present and she wants it converted.

Why am I doing it? See above but I really want to learn how EV's go together and working on projects while learning is actually a way that I unwind from my "day job".

Now onto to the stuff you all probably actually give a sh*t about. :)

GOALS

1. Weekend/fun driver
2. Range: 75-100 miles
3. Remove the manual & clutch
4. Heater
5. Don't need AC
6. Preserve the look & feel of the car as original as possible.
7. Retain power steering
8. Finish within 6 months... I will take a moment for you to stop laughing! :)

Moving on.

BUDGET

I am hoping for $35,000 US all in but understand it may go over. I know that if I did the analysis this is absolutely a dumb 'investment' but I don't care. See above, for me it's a way that I relax. Plus it makes my wife happy and that makes me happy. I will do my best to track costs for anyone interested.

CONVERSION CAR

1985 VW Cabriolet. I did 'overpay' for it but considering that the market for cars is absolutely nuts (thank you, inflation) and I did not want to do any real body/interior restorations I opted to find one in the best condition possible. AND, I did!

View attachment 125674

I am now working on removing all ICE components. Happy to report that the motor is out and SOLD! woot.

View attachment 125665

(that's me but you all are smart and figured it out already, i am sure.)

I decided to go the Nissan Leaf route after seeing the number of leafs at the junk yard. Figure for a good price you can get a decent start on all the major components. AND it seems that ResolveEV's VCU is pretty good.

To that, I am bidding on a Leaf right now and did already purchase the VCU. Spent an hour today labeling it. Hope that this helps as I am working.

View attachment 125675

At this point, I am 1% in the conversion. I will continue to remove what is not needed in the car and then clean. Once I secure the doner car I plan to remove the motor and battery pack and wire it up and see if I can get this thing to work out side of the car. Once that is done, I will disassemble the pack and begin the process of figuring out where to place the batteries. Right now, I am trying to:

1. get as close as the original balance of the car
2. try to keep batteries out of the main cabin

View attachment 125676
(original weight)

I am thinking putting a few where the gas tank was and towards the front of the trunk. Also, I will probably have to get a few in the front.

I have lots of questions but here is one that I know you all know. Where is the best place for me to pick up the bits I will need like fuses, wire, momentary switches and the ilk?

Thank you and happy holidays!
We’ll come to you.
I will looking forward to seeing your build.
the battery is huge so it is god to have a plan for the placement,

I make a model of “Styrofoam” not sure if google translated it right.
then you can easy try a lot of different places.
 

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At this point, I am 1% in the conversion. I will continue to remove what is not needed in the car and then clean. Once I secure the doner car I plan to remove the motor and battery pack and wire it up and see if I can get this thing to work out side of the car. Once that is done, I will disassemble the pack and begin the process of figuring out where to place the batteries.
That all makes sense.

But those are normally called battery modules - the whole set is called the "battery".

Right now, I am trying to:

1. get as close as the original balance of the car
2. try to keep batteries out of the main cabin
...
I am thinking putting a few where the gas tank was and towards the front of the trunk. Also, I will probably have to get a few in the front.
More than a few. The set of modules are far larger in volume than the gas tank plus a bit of the trunk. And after you put the entire drive unit (motor with transaxle) with the inverter and PDU (power distribution unit, including charger, etc) in the front - just as it is in the Leaf - I think that you'll find that there's no space left for battery modules. There's a reason that EVs are generally designed with the battery under a raised floor.

The mass (weight) distribution will definitely shift rearward due to the battery.

The Ford Focus Electric used the fuel tank and trunk space, but it took nearly the entire trunk.
 

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Given the minimalist trunk space of that body style, you might need to reconsider your drive strategy to RWD, or hub motors, and put the modules in the engine bay and under the back seat, as well as in the trunk.

The Leaf does make for a nice propulsion solution in place of the ICE/transaxle, but without batteries it's not a propulsion solution.
 

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"considering that the market for cars is absolutely nuts (thank you, inflation)"

Used cars are a component of the inflationary index, CPI, so, no, that's not the reason.

It's the new car supply chain that has caused used cars to go nuts.

Some of that supply chain affects our ability to get stuff for conversions, as well, so make sure you can get all the pieces (and everything fits). I'm waiting on a connector...a few pieces are getting stocked in March 2022.
 

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Let's wait a couple of months and see how he packages the batteries and traction solution before declaring it's a nice platform to convert.

Looks awfully challenging to me.
I agree - it might be a nice car to have (although other than the convertible top it's nothing special), but it's no more suited to conversion than other small front wheel drive cars. A Leaf drive unit into the front is easy; the battery is the challenge.
 

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Good point lol. What I mean is, that would look really cool to drive by electric power
Please check how VW did when they made the original CitySTROMer for inspiration.

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Another cool but very challenging route would be to use the entire floor from the Leaf and install the pack intact.
 

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Please check how VW did when they made the original CitySTROMer for inspiration.

View attachment 125797
Yes, under the rear seat - or replacing it - plus using the bottom the cargo space (which would be all of the cargo space in a Cabriolet) is probably the most viable option without a custom floor design. The Ford Focus Electric and the Chevrolet Spark (and probably a few others) are similar, because they were designed to work with an existing floor.

Another cool but very challenging route would be to use the entire floor from the Leaf and install the pack intact.
A Leaf floor obviously won't fit a Golf, but a similar shape could be custom-built, even using some of the Leaf floor panel. The Leaf has 300 mm (a foot) longer wheelbase than the Golf, so even with a custom floor the Leaf pack is unlikely to fit intact - either the back end runs into the rear suspension or the front end blocks the front seat footwell, or both.
 

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Then there's the issue of having to increase the spring and damping rates with all that added mass over the rear wheels.

The car will handle like your 400 pound mother-in-law is in the back seat, along with her dead sister in the trunk, all the time.

Which may be perfectly acceptable to some people.

All depends what you want out of your build. It will be electric, but it may handle like a forklift.
 

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Please check how VW did when they made the original CitySTROMer for inspiration.

View attachment 125797
Another cool but very challenging route would be to use the entire floor from the Leaf and install the pack intact.
I know with the old beetles sometimes a lift kit to Baha it and then put the batteries in the newly won space in the floor and throw a skid plate over it. I know this would work with 18650 packs. But I know nothing about lift kits for the vw/golf/rabbit. Just a thought.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Please check how VW did when they made the original CitySTROMer for inspiration.

View attachment 125797
Another cool but very challenging route would be to use the entire floor from the Leaf and install the pack intact.
Interesting.. this was pretty much what I was hoping to do -- ie the modules where gas tank, trunk are.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Looking at the traction pack and then the VW Cabriolet...I wonder can I modify the floor pan and find a way to bolt it up in there... never taking it out of the pack assembly? Prob not, but will take a good look this weekend. Hmmm.....
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Please give it a try. Would it be possible to salvage the floor from the Leaf and transplant it to the Golf?
honestly don't know.... will see what it is possible.

i also thought about seeing if i can just disassemble and build a nice underfloor container and rearrange the module in the gas tank area then flat under the body. Either way, it will be done.

promise to report back here!
 
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