In 1993 Dodge built 54 electric vehicles on the Caravan base. I am working on one of these and wanted to share some things about it and also get some advice which I am seeing that this group does in an exemplary manner.
The TELvan is a real dinosaur of a vehicle. I have a superb service manual and some of the following is fro it.
Traction motor and controller- is a 180v DC (nominal), separately excited (no permanent magnets), brushed, commutated, shunt type electric motor. It is both air cooled and oil cooled.It has 8 brushes. and there is regenerative braking.
Transaxle - is two speed with a clutch for shifting.Reverse is by reversing polarity.
MCU is abig box that also has the charger inside it. It is posted DO NOT attempt to repair. In the past it was decided that the charger was not working ang another was added- mounted in back of van.
Battery pack- there were two types of batteries installed - both 6v - one with NiFe rated at 200AH for first 25 vans and NiCad at 180 AH for the rest. This van is supposedly the later. Both use a KOH electrolyte . The batteries total weight with battery boxes is 1800 Lbs and are located under the vehicle between the frames.
A couple of interesting things with the batteries:
Battery watering system -Uses deionized water and a water deionazion unit came with the vehicle. The batteries are sealed except for two connections to 1/4' tubing. there are 5 water pumps that push water to and through 6 batteries with some sort of valve in battery to keep from over filling the battery. There is a reservoir and hydrogen separation system.
Battery - fan cooling system - 400 cfm fan and duct work to the battery boxes.
Power steering though 180V three phase power pump moto
Heater 8.8KW heater
AC is not working
Has vacuum pump for brakes-I haven't figured out what voltage it works on.
What I am thinking about doing to this van:
Batteries are totally dead and also very heavy- I am in process of removing them. Replacement options are open at moment
I think a lot of things need to be pulled out and more modern units put in.
Motor - I like the AC 51 motor at 144v. with the two speed tranny this seems like a good fit It would make my life easier than trying to get the existing motor and controller working and would probably save a lot of weight.
Heater - I like the idea of a Webasto type forced air diesel heater. I have one in my boat and it has worked for 10 years with no issues.
Power steering - I want some sort of better unit than in there now.
AC- I hate AC as the refrigerant is a green house gas that is much worse than CO2- so maybe no AC
Any way - all is subject to change except the batteries are coming out this week.
My experience - I have built two EV on '86 Mazda pick up . I am good at following instruction and fabricating but I have next to no computer capability.
I also built two 30' Trimarans - last one out of foam core and vacuum bagged CF cloth.