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Discussion Starter #1
I am preparing to convert my 1986 Winnebago LeSharo into an all electric vehicle. I hope to complete this and take it on an extensive cross country road trip this Winter of 2018.



I have been building my electronics skills up to this project, tinkering with batteries and go-karts over the last 8 months. I am hoping to ask for some support from all the people on this forum, with your experience and knowledge! I would like to explain my planned approach and am inviting any and all feedback about how I might be able to improve upon this plan.



I am hoping to find a reasonably priced 2016 or later Nissan Leaf SV for salvage with a smashed up body but working guts. (Suggestions beyond Copart for where to look for this?) The Nissan leaf has a motor rated at 107 hp -- the LeSharo has a 100 hp Renault engine. The Nissan Leaf has a GVWR of 4,431 lbs -- the LeSharo has a GVWR of 5,830 lbs (as close as I can tell, though this may not be exact for my model.) The 2016 Leaf SV has a range of 100 mi. I am hoping to achieve a range of 50-70 miles with a top speed of 50 mph.



Does this seem like a good fit for this conversion? Does anyone have any potentially better or entirely different suggestions to consider for how to proceed?



Some questions I am wondering are. . .

Is there a way I can bypass the 3-speed automatic transmission and hook the electric motor straight up to the drive-train? Or would this be ill-advised? Mainly I would like to remove as many clunky and unreliable parts as possible. . .



Are there any resources for how to break-down a Nissan Leaf and get all the goodies out of it?


Is it possible to salvage the HUD screen and computer system from the Leaf and use it in the LeSharo?



Am I going to run into any brake master cylinder issues, or any other systems that might be tied into the petrol motor?



More thoughts and background, for those who are still interested to read-on ;)



My inspiration for doing this conversion is many-fold. I feel the desperate need to eliminate the petrol addiction from my own life. I have often wanted to make a small RV my daily driver, as it has an appeal of "always carrying my home on my back," and also, that it would be more fun for my kids and family to have an open free space to enjoy and interact while we drive for groceries, etc. The LeSharo is one of the more efficient RVs out there, with a decent aerodynamic profile, and a fuel economy of 17-18 mpg. I've really enjoyed this LeSharo so far, but I don't trust the aluminum french engine for a long cross country trip. There's only 1 place to order parts, and the thought be being stuck in a podunk town at the mercy of a chevy/ford mechanic while I wait for a part in the mail is not appealing. . .



I also intend to put solar panels on the roof of this vehicle. It just seems reasonable to me that there should be solar panels on an electric vehicle with such a large roof. I intend to include a simple and lightweight system for being able to tilt the panels when parked to better catch what sun is available.



I would most love and appreciate any comments, thoughts, suggestions, encouragements, or warnings that you all might have!



Looking forward to sharing this journey with such an amazing community~


~Sean
 

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I am hoping to find a reasonably priced 2016 or later Nissan Leaf SV for salvage with a smashed up body but working guts. (Suggestions beyond Copart for where to look for this?) The Nissan leaf has a motor rated at 107 hp -- the LeSharo has a 100 hp Renault engine. The Nissan Leaf has a GVWR of 4,431 lbs -- the LeSharo has a GVWR of 5,830 lbs (as close as I can tell, though this may not be exact for my model.) The 2016 Leaf SV has a range of 100 mi. I am hoping to achieve a range of 50-70 miles with a top speed of 50 mph.
If you're satisfied with the performance of the LeSharo, I expect that the Leaf powertrain would work for you.

The difference in Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) isn't an issue, because GVWR is mostly about structure and suspension, and you wouldn't be using either of those from the Leaf.

A bigger issue would be the Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR), and the total loaded weight of the motorhome plus anything it is towing. This indicates how much load the powertrain can haul around. The Leaf's GCWR may not be much higher than its GVWR, and may be overloaded under the sustained heavy load of moving the motorhome.

Between size and shape the LeSharo probably has enough drag to make more of an energy consumption (and thus range) difference than that... but we're all just taking educated guesses.
 

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I am hoping to find a reasonably priced 2016 or later Nissan Leaf SV for salvage with a smashed up body but working guts.
...
Does this seem like a good fit for this conversion? Does anyone have any potentially better or entirely different suggestions to consider for how to proceed?

Some questions I am wondering are. . .

Is there a way I can bypass the 3-speed automatic transmission and hook the electric motor straight up to the drive-train? Or would this be ill-advised? Mainly I would like to remove as many clunky and unreliable parts as possible. . .
The LeSharo has a first-generation Renault Trafic powertrain, which is front-wheel-drive, with the engine longitudinally oriented and placed ahead of the front axle line. The Nissan Leaf is an electric version of their common compact cars, and follows the pattern of the engine installation, with a transverse motor placement just ahead of the axle line.

I wouldn't even consider using the Renault transmission. An automatic seems like more trouble to deal with than it is worth. It might be possible to swap in a manual Renault transmission, but it's not like there are a lot Renault anything in North America, especially with that longitudinal layout with the engine overhanging the front. Audi used the same format for many years (and some VW versions of the same cars), so there might be a possibility there. You could even use the transaxle of an air-cooled VW, as long as you use a strong version, and one that can flip to the engine/motor ahead of the axle.

Since both the Trafic/LeSharo and the Leaf are front wheel drive, that suggests the possibility of using the complete Leaf drive unit (inverter, motor, and reduction gearbox with final drive) to replace both the Renault engine and the Renault transaxle. Unfortunately, the Renault is longitudinal (a configuration which was popular for early front-wheel-drive cars, especially from Europe), and the Leaf is transverse (like the vast majority of modern front-wheel-drive cars), so the Leaf unit might not fit well in the engine compartment, and certainly some significant construction of mounting brackets would be required. It can be done, and would be easier than the conversion to a transverse Pontiac engine that I ran across.

Whatever gearing bits are used, the Leaf motor will need a reduction ratio of at least 7:1 from motor speed to axle speed to work properly.
 

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Am I going to run into any brake master cylinder issues, or any other systems that might be tied into the petrol motor?
The LeSharo's brake booster will presumably need vacuum, although there was a diesel version which would have had some other boost source. You can add a vacuum pump, but another solution is to replace the entire brake master cylinder and booster with the equivalent from the Leaf, which is electrically powered.

The air conditioner (if you have one) will be run by the engine. If the RV part has a 120 V AC powered air conditioner, it might make more sense to use an inverter to run that rather than to make the Renault air conditioning work on electricity.
 

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I also intend to put solar panels on the roof of this vehicle. It just seems reasonable to me that there should be solar panels on an electric vehicle with such a large roof. I intend to include a simple and lightweight system for being able to tilt the panels when parked to better catch what sun is available.
Solar panels are good for any RV that camps without a powered campsite. Tilting panels does help, if you can position the motorhome to be able to use the tilt (most only tilt side-to-side, not front-to-back).

The solar system will extend how long you can camp without needing to move or to run a generator. It won't collect enough to make a meaningful difference to driving the vehicle.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
If you're satisfied with the performance of the LeSharo, I expect that the Leaf powertrain would work for you.

The difference in Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) isn't an issue, because GVWR is mostly about structure and suspension, and you wouldn't be using either of those from the Leaf.

A bigger issue would be the Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR), and the total loaded weight of the motorhome plus anything it is towing. This indicates how much load the powertrain can haul around. The Leaf's GCWR may not be much higher than its GVWR, and may be overloaded under the sustained heavy load of moving the motorhome.

Between size and shape the LeSharo probably has enough drag to make more of an energy consumption (and thus range) difference than that... but we're all just taking educated guesses.

Thank you for all this information Brian! Thank you for clarifying some of this terminology also. . . I was having some trouble finding the GCWR for both the Leaf and the LeSharo. I couldn't even find the curb weight for the LeSharo. I'm noticing that while the GVWR of the Leaf is 4,430 lbs, the curb wight is only 3,340 lbs, which is not terribly encouraging. But I did find this article:
http://www.mynissanleaf.com/viewtopic.php?t=19293
Which leads me to believe that the Leaf should be quite comfortable towing up to 2,500 lbs beyond it's own weight. I'm hoping that after stripping down the LeSharo as much as I can, it wouldn't be too bad for the Leaf drive train. And indeed, I've been happy with the performance of the 100 hp Renault motor on this vehicle. . . though I wouldn't trust it for tremendous longevity.



You bring up a good point about the drag too. As much as the LeSharo is a reasonable aerodynamic profile for an RV. . . I'm sure it's drag coefficient is still way higher than the Leaf ;) I am prepared to beef up the battery pack if need be to achieve a 50-70 mi range. I have been strongly considering building large battery packs out of 18650 batteries, Tesla style, but way cheaper to DIY.



Btw. . . I would love to find a salvaged Tesla in my price range for this project. But I don't think it's going to happen ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
The LeSharo has a first-generation Renault Trafic powertrain, which is front-wheel-drive, with the engine longitudinally oriented and placed ahead of the front axle line. The Nissan Leaf is an electric version of their common compact cars, and follows the pattern of the engine installation, with a transverse motor placement just ahead of the axle line.

I wouldn't even consider using the Renault transmission. An automatic seems like more trouble to deal with than it is worth. It might be possible to swap in a manual Renault transmission, but it's not like there are a lot Renault anything in North America, especially with that longitudinal layout with the engine overhanging the front. Audi used the same format for many years (and some VW versions of the same cars), so there might be a possibility there. You could even use the transaxle of an air-cooled VW, as long as you use a strong version, and one that can flip to the engine/motor ahead of the axle.

Since both the Trafic/LeSharo and the Leaf are front wheel drive, that suggests the possibility of using the complete Leaf drive unit (inverter, motor, and reduction gearbox with final drive) to replace both the Renault engine and the Renault transaxle. Unfortunately, the Renault is longitudinal (a configuration which was popular for early front-wheel-drive cars, especially from Europe), and the Leaf is transverse (like the vast majority of modern front-wheel-drive cars), so the Leaf unit might not fit well in the engine compartment, and certainly some significant construction of mounting brackets would be required. It can be done, and would be easier than the conversion to a transverse Pontiac engine that I ran across.

Whatever gearing bits are used, the Leaf motor will need a reduction ratio of at least 7:1 from motor speed to axle speed to work properly.

This transverse vs longitudinal issue is one I had not considered! I'm having trouble finding information on the internet about specs/dimensions on the EM61 motor in the Leaf, which makes it hard to determine if it will fit in it's original orientation. I plan to work with a metal fabricator who has done a lot of engine swaps on this project. I know enough to tinker with some electronics and wiring, but I know I would do a sub-par job for welding/mounting/sprockets etc. . . so I'm going to enlist some strong professional help in this department. I'm hoping he can find a creative way to fit the longitudinal leaf drive train into this engine compartment.



Lots of good suggestions here for how to proceed with the gear-box, and I also appreciate the tip about the 7:1 ratio for the leaf motor. A lot of these sound viable, but I agree with you using the whole drive-train from the leaf sounds like the most attractive option. I would be slightly more concerned with the constant overweighting of the gear-box than the electric motor. . . but with the trend towards over-engineering these days. . . I think it might be OK?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
The LeSharo's brake booster will presumably need vacuum, although there was a diesel version which would have had some other boost source. You can add a vacuum pump, but another solution is to replace the entire brake master cylinder and booster with the equivalent from the Leaf, which is electrically powered.

The air conditioner (if you have one) will be run by the engine. If the RV part has a 120 V AC powered air conditioner, it might make more sense to use an inverter to run that rather than to make the Renault air conditioning work on electricity.

Good heads up on the brake booster. I'll have to explore and decide if I want to stick with the LeSharo brake system of switch out to the Leaf. If I use the Leaf system. . . would I have to do this for both front and backs? Seems like it might be more simple to keep the existing brakes and add the vacuum pump. . . ?



We don't use the AC. Though we will probably get a 120V inverter for charging phones and such~
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Solar panels are good for any RV that camps without a powered campsite. Tilting panels does help, if you can position the motorhome to be able to use the tilt (most only tilt side-to-side, not front-to-back).

The solar system will extend how long you can camp without needing to move or to run a generator. It won't collect enough to make a meaningful difference to driving the vehicle.

I'm thinking of building some custom mounting brackets that would allow me to tilt the panels in all four directions. (Though I haven't worked out all the details on this yet~) This way we can get the sweet parking spot with the good view out the back dinette, as well as capture decent sun.



This video was one of the main inspirations for me on this project:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fGZ1zbqAGA0


He says he's getting about a 50 mile range just off of a full-day charge on the solar panels on his VW bus. I don't expect I would get that on the LeSharo, but I'm hoping that I would be able to get a full charge after 3-7 days of camping. In the video he describes how he's loosing probably 10% of this solar energy to heat build-up in his voltage boosters. . . He's only having to boost up to 144V, and I'd have to boost all the way up to 360V. . . so I will need to research more.



Do you think it might make sense for me, maybe even be more cost effective, to find a lower voltage motor, and build batteries from scratch? I was mainly leaning towards using the Leaf because it seemed like the most bang-for-buck to get all the EV components in one quick go~ I'm not familiar enough with the salvage market to know what price is reasonable to expect for a Leaf with all functional components and a banged up body~:confused:
 

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I'll have to explore and decide if I want to stick with the LeSharo brake system of switch out to the Leaf. If I use the Leaf system. . . would I have to do this for both front and backs? Seems like it might be more simple to keep the existing brakes and add the vacuum pump. . . ?
I think the Leaf parts are only a solution for the master cylinder, not for the disks, calipers, & pads (front) and drums, wheel cylinder, & shoes (rear).

Adding a vacuum pump probably is simpler. I don't know how much noise it would make or how much power it would use.
 

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... I was having some trouble finding the GCWR for both the Leaf and the LeSharo. I couldn't even find the curb weight for the LeSharo. I'm noticing that while the GVWR of the Leaf is 4,430 lbs, the curb wight is only 3,340 lbs, which is not terribly encouraging.
GCWR is often hard to find for vehicles which are not expected to tow very much, and especially for those for which towing is not recommended at all.

But I did find this article:
http://www.mynissanleaf.com/viewtopic.php?t=19293
Which leads me to believe that the Leaf should be quite comfortable towing up to 2,500 lbs beyond it's own weight.
It's good that the performance was acceptable, and the stability and structural questions won't matter to the LeSharo, but I would be a little cautious about the long-term reliability under substantial load. Presumably the motor and electronics would be protected by power reduction triggered by excessively high temperature, but the battery doesn't have active thermal management.

I'm hoping that after stripping down the LeSharo as much as I can, it wouldn't be too bad for the Leaf drive train.
All the stuff in an RV costs the manufacturer something to put there, so there usually isn't much of anything extra. Rather than just removing anything, there are sometimes lighter (and more expensive, which is why the RV manufacturer didn't use them) alternatives. Go for lighter weight, but keep your expectations low.
 

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Lots of good suggestions here for how to proceed with the gear-box, and I also appreciate the tip about the 7:1 ratio for the leaf motor. A lot of these sound viable, but I agree with you using the whole drive-train from the leaf sounds like the most attractive option. I would be slightly more concerned with the constant overweighting of the gear-box than the electric motor. . . but with the trend towards over-engineering these days. . . I think it might be OK?
It is reasonable to be concerned about the gearbox being used in a heavier vehicle than what it was designed for. On the other hand, those Leaf gears look substantial.
 

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This transverse vs longitudinal issue is one I had not considered! I'm having trouble finding information on the internet about specs/dimensions on the EM61 motor in the Leaf, which makes it hard to determine if it will fit in it's original orientation.
You might want to check out CanadaLT28's VW LT doka with Nissan leaf, and perhaps to ask him about the Leaf drive unit dimensions... which he is using intact.
 

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This video was one of the main inspirations for me on this project:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fGZ1zbqAGA0


He says he's getting about a 50 mile range just off of a full-day charge on the solar panels on his VW bus.
Without really watching the video (although I did later fast-forward through it), if 50 miles requires 15 kWh of energy stored in the battery, that suggests a 2000 watt (peak) solar array, and full sun exposure. That's 20 square metres (or square yards) or so of panels, or at least far more than what fits on a VW van. So, what were his power and energy numbers?

In the video he describes how he's loosing probably 10% of this solar energy to heat build-up in his voltage boosters. . . He's only having to boost up to 144V, and I'd have to boost all the way up to 360V. . . so I will need to research more.

Do you think it might make sense for me, maybe even be more cost effective, to find a lower voltage motor, and build batteries from scratch?
It seems unlikely to me that there would be a great benefit to a lower system voltage, just due to more efficient voltage conversion, but this is not my area of expertise.

There are certainly lower voltage motors, but you can still use Leaf (or Chev Volt, or whatever) modules for the lower voltage - just use fewer modules in series.
 

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Without really watching the video (although I did later fast-forward through it), if 50 miles requires 15 kWh of energy stored in the battery
https://youtu.be/fGZ1zbqAGA0?t=280

He claims he gets "around 80ah" per battery. It's a bank of 12 lead acid batteries, 144 nominal.

He claims "150-300 watt-hours per mile."

Duncan first pointed this out to me, but, a fantastic rule of thumb is that anyone who uses lead acid batteries, lies about them. So just expect to be lied to whenever anyone talks about their lead acid batteries. It's become a bit of a game for me, read or hear about a build using lead-acids, wait for the lies, wait for the lies, find the lies... oh there they are, right on schedule. People even get a particularly identifiable "lead acid liar" look in their eyes when it's their time to lie about lead-acids. It's like they're in court trying to give testimony they know is misleading but maybe technically correct in some circumstances, and are trepidatious about the possibility of getting called on it.

Yeah, this Volkswagon with a rectangle on it outperforms electric Miatas on Wh/mile. Sure bro. 150. Y'know, downhill. This one time.

Let's check some math.

12x 12v = 144v nominal.

"around" 80ah batteries (any 'around' qualifier means he's hedging a lie, that's probably rounded up, and it's probably measuring what he puts into them at 60% efficiency, but whatever we have to start somewhere, let's take that)

80ah * 144v = 11,520 watt-hours absolute max. MAX. Brand new, 20-hour discharge.

His peukert losses when discharging in under an hour are probably 40%.

11,520 * 60% = 6912 watt-hours. BRAND NEW.

He gets 50 mile range he claims.

6912 watt-hours / 50 miles = 138.24 watt-hours per mile.

Sure.

He claims he uses "150, 250, 300 amps... uhh.. per battery... and that gives me my 50 mile range. A lot of people like to talk watt-hours so that gives me 150-300 watt-hours per mile."

Well,
150wh * 50 miles = 7,500Wh, which is not enough even for his likely best case with new batteries.
300Wh * 50 miles = 15,000 Wh .... which is higher than his batteries are even spec'd for at 20hour discharge, brand new, by 30%.

His actual current draw is more revealing.

150 amps * 144 = 21,600 watts.
300 amps * 144v = 43,200 watts. Boom. The actual power requirements of driving.

6910 watt-hours available / 43,200 watts of what it actually takes to move the vehicle at speed = 0.16 hours of battery capacity. 9.5 minutes.
Suppose he's going 50mph at that draw (with a 100lb motor?). 0.16 hours * 50mph = 8 miles.

His actual range, on brand new batteries, is 8 miles. 10 if he's going 60mph.


Ya think this guy's family is just tired of Dad's non-stop bullshit? They're humping down the road at a crawl, panicing every time a vehicle comes up behind them, shuffling forward 20 miles a day, if they're on a hill they can see farther than they can drive in a day, and then every time another camper talks to them Dad's out there bragging "50 miles".

I mean, if you're going to just phrase stuff in the most lenient way possible, why not go all the way? Why not calculate your range at jogging speed and tell people that? It's some kind of half-truth people feel comfortable with quasi-misleading people. They know when they say 'range' what everyone thinks, so they fudge it enough to not be laughed at but no further.

that suggests a 2000 watt (peak) solar array, and full sun exposure. That's 20 square metres (or square yards) or so of panels, or at least far more than what fits on a VW van. So, what were his power and energy numbers?
He said 8 amps in full sun, 150v.

8 amps * 150v = 1200 watts.

That's 12 square meters. So, 4m x 3m, or, 6m x 2m? 6m = 19' x 6'?

The van is 14' long and 5'6" wide.

But whatever, call it 4.5 hours of peak-sun per day average. 1200 watts * 4.5 = 5400 watt-hours per day.

Let's check that against his plug-in math.

He says he can plug it into any 120v, but usually he tries for 220v, 30amp plug, which charges it up in about 2.5 hours.

220 *30 = 6,600 watts * 2.5 hours = 16,500 watt-hours.

Roughly accurate for his battery pack size to account for charging losses.

Which also means that he needs 16,500 / 5,400 = 3 days to charge it up, presuming he's not using it for cooking (which he does), refrigeration (never turns it off), and all the other DC systems.

Here's another gem:

"The message here is, slow down. The message is, if you go 40, 50 miles an hour like this, your range goes up so dramatically. You have everything you need with you so you have no reason to go fast, or get to."

I mean, I get his point, but the purpose of a vehicle is to MOVE, otherwise you just have a crappy building. The whole, stop and appreciate the journey this starts to take a backseat to the panic'd charging-planning routine.

His van can literally only travel, at low speeds, best case, with new batteries, fully charged, to full and complete deep discharge, 15 miles in a day of solar charging. You can see farther than that.

At some point I kinda start thinking, if that's all you can do, then why bother with EV? The little generators that most people with a tent trailer bring can supply enough power to move his van along. He's looking at like, $4/day in gas and it's only running it an hour.
 

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His actual range, on brand new batteries, is 8 miles. 10 if he's going 60mph.
Jup, the solar panels are probably 4x 300Wp, and if using them canted, he'll need to turn the van into the sun the whole day...

Nice setup...but he should have used the money from the expensive lead-acid batteries, and bought used lithium batteries for the same money...

Probably next year when the lead's are dead..
 

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Do you think it might make sense for me, maybe even be more cost effective, to find a lower voltage motor, and build batteries from scratch? I was mainly leaning towards using the Leaf because it seemed like the most bang-for-buck to get all the EV components in one quick go~ I'm not familiar enough with the salvage market to know what price is reasonable to expect for a Leaf with all functional components and a banged up body~:confused:

Having taken apart a crashed Nissan Leaf, I think that it's drive train, power electronics, and battery are better than just about anything you can put together yourself, and certainly cheaper on the salvage market than anything you can assemble from purchased components.


BUT, if you are going to make use of them, you really have to commit to using the whole package. Motor/inverter/charger / battery, computers AND WIRING HARNESS, and transplant the whole thing to your project.


Would it be possible to cut out the entire front drivetrain and just transplant the entire Leaf drivetrain (including wheels/brakes etc) into the LeSharo (what is the distance between the front tires in comparison to the Leaf?)? If that doesn't work, perhaps you could have a custom axle made that would allow the LeSharo front wheels to mate up directly to the Leaf gearbox.


If you go with a different motor, you will have to also buy a controller to match it, and at that point you may be able to use the Leaf Battery (either at a matching voltage, or reconfigured to a lower voltage. If you go 400 volts you may be able to use the Leaf BMS, otherwise, if you reconfigure the modules, you'll also need to provide a bms.) I can't imagine this would be more cost effective than using all parts from a Leaf donor car.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Having taken apart a crashed Nissan Leaf, I think that it's drive train, power electronics, and battery are better than just about anything you can put together yourself, and certainly cheaper on the salvage market than anything you can assemble from purchased components.


BUT, if you are going to make use of them, you really have to commit to using the whole package. Motor/inverter/charger / battery, computers AND WIRING HARNESS, and transplant the whole thing to your project.


Would it be possible to cut out the entire front drivetrain and just transplant the entire Leaf drivetrain (including wheels/brakes etc) into the LeSharo (what is the distance between the front tires in comparison to the Leaf?)? If that doesn't work, perhaps you could have a custom axle made that would allow the LeSharo front wheels to mate up directly to the Leaf gearbox.


If you go with a different motor, you will have to also buy a controller to match it, and at that point you may be able to use the Leaf Battery (either at a matching voltage, or reconfigured to a lower voltage. If you go 400 volts you may be able to use the Leaf BMS, otherwise, if you reconfigure the modules, you'll also need to provide a bms.) I can't imagine this would be more cost effective than using all parts from a Leaf donor car.

So many good comments here! I wish I knew how to quote more than one person in a post :D


Summetj, yes! Exactly~ I have been thinking about this more, realizing it would be easier to take as many Leaf components together as I can since they are already built/designed to work well with each other. It's kind of a crazy idea, but I'm starting to imagine doing a cut-away style Leaf-LeSharo cross-over. Basically cutting the back end off of the Leaf, and fitting it up inside the front-end of the LeSharo. I've been taking measurements and I think it might actually fit pretty well! I can't wait to get the two vehicles side-by-side with a nice measuring tape :p



I am thinking I will have to roughly double or triple the capacity of the batteries to have an effective cross country EV (ERV?) I am excited at the challenge/opportunity to build some custom 18650 battery packs which would fit nicely under the LeSharo.



I understand all your comments about the Solar being pointless. There is something extremely comforting and relaxing about the idea that I could mis-plan my route, miss a charge point or something. . . and all I have to do is sit there for a week and I could travel another 20-30 miles to reach the charge destination. It's like an EV cross-country safety-net. . . maybe not worth all the weight and drag . . . I get it. I'll think about it more and crunch some more numbers. . . I could easily fit 5 (6 if I was pushing it) 300W panels on the LeSharo, bringing it to 1,500W. Am I doing my math wrong, that this would be about 1/5 of a 6.7kw charging station? So say it takes me 12 hours to charge up to full at a station, it might take 60 hours of full sun, or 10 days (in good conditions) to fully charge by solar? It just seems like after a week of camping (not using the panels for any fridge/cooking etc. . . ) that I would be able to go . . . you know. . . somewhere???
 

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Discussion Starter #20
GCWR is often hard to find for vehicles which are not expected to tow very much, and especially for those for which towing is not recommended at all.


It's good that the performance was acceptable, and the stability and structural questions won't matter to the LeSharo, but I would be a little cautious about the long-term reliability under substantial load. Presumably the motor and electronics would be protected by power reduction triggered by excessively high temperature, but the battery doesn't have active thermal management.


All the stuff in an RV costs the manufacturer something to put there, so there usually isn't much of anything extra. Rather than just removing anything, there are sometimes lighter (and more expensive, which is why the RV manufacturer didn't use them) alternatives. Go for lighter weight, but keep your expectations low.
Without really watching the video (although I did later fast-forward through it), if 50 miles requires 15 kWh of energy stored in the battery, that suggests a 2000 watt (peak) solar array, and full sun exposure. That's 20 square metres (or square yards) or so of panels, or at least far more than what fits on a VW van. So, what were his power and energy numbers?

It seems unlikely to me that there would be a great benefit to a lower system voltage, just due to more efficient voltage conversion, but this is not my area of expertise.

There are certainly lower voltage motors, but you can still use Leaf (or Chev Volt, or whatever) modules for the lower voltage - just use fewer modules in series.

Brian, your comments are so awesome! Really helpful for a new guy like me~


I'm amazed that the Leaf does not have an active thermal management system. I've been considering fixing some heat-sinks onto the additional battery packs I will add to have the wind under the vehicle help to pull away heat from the batteries. Is it reasonable to assume that if I double or triple-up the battery from the original Leaf, that the strain (and heat) on the original battery would be lessened?



By "stripping down" the LeSharo, I am referring to the obvious stuff like gas-tank, exhaust system, etc. Though I have been thinking about removing some of the internal stuff we don't use, like the TV antenna and the lieu ;)


Does anyone have any links to specific specs on the EM57 in the newer Leaf's? Things like acceptable input voltage rage, etc, I'm having trouble finding any detailed specs on this motor. . .
 
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