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'80 MGB EV project

1151 Views 12 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  remy_martian
Hello All, I join this group with amazement of the amount of knowledge and support in this community. I like cars - always have. CurrentlyI drive a Lexus 2018 NX200h, a 2003 VW Euro Weekender (pop-top). And just acquired a 1980 MGB. I've owned three of these little MGs over the years and I just love them. Cheap, cheerful perfect for a ride down the California coast Hwy 1. My challenge is to modernize by converting the power plant from a 1940s design-era 4 cylinder smog spewing engine to an elegant EV. But to be accomplished on a tight budget. And that is where the forum comes in... Switching on 'learning mode'.
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Goals are modest: Overall I would like to replicate the power levels of the '67 MGB I had years ago. Zero to 60 mph eventually is ok, but I will be getting on and off Freeways, so I need some kick. Top speed @ 100 -115 mph. Power: 100-140hp. Range 100-150 miles. It would definitely be a touring rather than a sports car.
That all sounds good, but I think you should consider a lower target for stop speed. As a touring car you'll never need 100 mph, and if you go for a single-ratio transmission system (no shifting), then the high top speed will reduce low-speed performance, or drive the need for higher voltage and/or a larger motor than would otherwise be necessary. On any public road I would be satisfied with a 130 km/h (80 MPH) top speed, and as an example a Nissan Leaf is limited (because of this compromise) to about 145 km/h (90 MPH).
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The car is small, but fortunately small sports cars like this have been converted many times so there is substantial experience to draw on. Happy researching! :)
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Question for you: the car has a solid 4-speed (no overdrive) Transmission. All the synchros are intact and it shifts beautifully. What are the advantages or disadvantages of keeping the transmission, clutch and drivetrain set-up as they are already in place and functioning well?
There have been quite a few discussions of this issue in this forum - it's worthwhile to go through some of them to understand the varying viewpoints.

Assuming that you're keeping the rear axle basically as-is, there are three common choices:
  1. keep the transmission
  2. use a smaller fixed-ratio reduction gearbox instead of the stock transmission
  3. connect the motor to the rear axle with no gearbox (stock transmission or otherwise) between them

The advantage of keeping the stock transmission is mostly the choice of ratios - just as with the original engine, you can shift to keep the motor in a desirable speed range despite changing road speed. It also requires no changes from the transmission back (transmission mount, propeller shaft, shifter...).
The main disadvantage of keeping the stock transmission is that it forces the motor to occupy valuable space where the engine was, which could be used for battery. It's also unnecessarily heavy.
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