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Hello All,

Newb here getting my feet wet and wrapping my head around the possibility of taking my insurance total 500e and integrating it into my pretty rust free 1978 Fiat X1/9.

Last month, a lady in an Acura decided she wanted to cross the road right in front of me, and the best I could do to avoid her was smack my right front corner into her left front corner.



I am getting the car towed back to me this week, and I will start with assessing the carnage. After the wreck, I noticed the cooling system took a hit and started to leak coolant near the now bent radiator.

The insurance company sold me back my car for $1002 and so I have two options now, repair my 500e and put her back on the road, or put my mechanical and fabricating skills to work and convert my favorite little mid engined sports car with all of the 500e's guts.

pic of my "spare" X1/9:


So - what do you think about such a project? crazy? too many pitfalls? Love to hear what you all think.

RJ
 

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... my insurance total 500e and integrating it into my pretty rust free 1978 Fiat X1/9.
That's a write-off? The book value of a 500e must be very low!

... my pretty rust free 1978 Fiat X1/9.
Rust-free and X1/9 don't usually go together, do they? ;)

A good body makes the car more valuable (so do you want to use it?) but also makes the conversion easier.

Since the 500e and X1/9 both have the same powertrain configuration (engine/motor transverse ahead of drive axle)
and are not wildly different sizes, the swap seems reasonably straightforward; I'm not saying it won't be a lot of work,
just that radical surgery on the X1/9 shouldn't be required. If you can figure out where to put all 600 pounds of the battery
without ruining the usability or handling of the X1/9, then it could work.
 

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The write off value was $6600, primarily because the car has a branded (lemon law) title. I thought it was low too but I must admit I bought the car for less than that just 4 months prior.

I think the X1/9 might lend itself well to the conversion - it originally has non power assisted steering and brakes, and a front and rear trunk area with a capable amount of room. The front trunk area (without any cutting) can fit a cube 31" x 16" x 12" and the rear trunk has 32" x 12" x 8". It would take a minimum of metal work to increase the storage capacities in both areas.
 

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The write off value was $6600, primarily because the car has a branded (lemon law) title. I thought it was low too but I must admit I bought the car for less than that just 4 months prior.

I think the X1/9 might lend itself well to the conversion - it originally has non power assisted steering and brakes, and a front and rear trunk area with a capable amount of room. The front trunk area (without any cutting) can fit a cube 31" x 16" x 12" and the rear trunk has 32" x 12" x 8". It would take a minimum of metal work to increase the storage capacities in both areas.
 

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The trunk spaces do seem generous for a mid-engine car of this size. It would be bad to put any large fraction of the battery in the rear trunk, as it would both shift mass distribution more rearward than suitable for this chassis, and because putting mass out at the ends of the vehicle makes it unresponsive (that is, not like an X1/9 should be). On the other hand, even if you could put it all in the front, that would be far too front-heavy.

The rear trunk is 12" front-to-back and only 8" high? Depending on the dimensions of a 500e battery module with packaging, perhaps a couple of modules could be placed at each end (long stack dimension fore-aft), with some storage left in the middle. If the muffler is under the trunk - and it looks like it probably is because in online photos the floor looks really high - it might be worthwhile to cut the floor out to deepen the space, and put a row of modules in the bottom with storage above.

Keeping both fuel and the spare tire out of the front (they're behind the seats, if I recall correctly) has worked well for front trunk space. Perhaps, it could fit a layer of six modules (sitting one edge) on the bottom with a bit of trunk space left on top, or two layers of six each (which would be a lot of mass).

It would be nice if you could fit some battery modules in the engine compartment, because otherwise both trunks will be full - the cells alone (without wiring, mounting hardware, or packaging) occupy 94 litres, and the trunks are about 97 litres (front) and 50 litres (rear).

Battery Information
Fiat 500e Battery Modules
  • 5-cell and 6-cell modules
What the future holds for the Fiat 500e?
  • 97 cells
  • 63 Ah Samsung SDI:
    • Capacity: 63 Ah
    • Voltage: 3,75 V
    • Watt-hour rating: 236,25 Wh
    • Mass: 1.880 g
    • Size: (125 x 173 x 45) mm
Fiat and Chrysler unveil 2014 battery-electric 500e

These sources suggest an all-series (no parallel) connection of the 97 cells. They appear to be in stacks (flat sides against each other) in modules of 5 or 6, so the modules are about 125 mm by 173 mm, by two different lengths (245 mm and 270 mm). The pack is liquid-cooled; retaining that might make repackaging in anything other than the original module configuration difficult.

Other X1/9 Conversions
Of course other people have converted X1/9's; a bunch of X1/9 conversions show up in a Google search for "fiat x1/9 ev":

Electric X19
  • old conversion
  • looks like lead-acid batteries taking all of both trunks and remaining (after motor and transaxle) engine compartment space
EV Album: 1979 Fiat X1/9 Bertone “Baby Ferrari”
  • 32 100 Ah prismatic cells, all in the front trunk (the 500e battery is much larger)
X1/9 Reference
While looking for other conversions, I stumbled across this site with some specs and drawings that might be useful for planning:

1975 Fiat X1/9 (1300cc) - Specifications & Data
 

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Newb here getting my feet wet and wrapping my head around the possibility of taking my insurance total 500e and integrating it into my pretty rust free 1978 Fiat X1/9.

Did you end up moving forward with this project? I'm looking at something similar and would love to compare notes.


-Zandr
 
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