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New member. Plenty of experience building things and understand what a C rate is. Decades on boats. Background in science.

I'm trying to plan a trip to Europe with a smaller diesel RV. A truck camper. I want to ship it to Europe from the USA and travel there. However, there are now so many regulations on emissions in Europe (all at the local level, with $200-$300 fines for driving in a given area), that I give up.

I want to determine the feasibility of converting my 2002 Dodge RAM 2500 (with truck camper in the back) to an EV. It has a perfectly functioning Cummins 5.9l diesel engine. Sad, but this engine is regulated out of practicality in Europe and it can't be long before this type of thing happens here.

Specific questions from this n00b are:

1) What size and type of electric motor would replace a Cummins 5.L turbo diesel?

2) How would you size the battery bank for maximum range, keeping in mind there are 3000lbs worth of weight in the bed of this truck and massive wind resistance at all times?

4) What sort of range can I expect from such a setup?

5) What would the shortest charging time be?

6) What would the highest charging rate be in KW per hour?


Thanks! I'm new to this, but have an ok background. My post here is to try to get a quick handle on the basics and best practices, size them up for this beast of a vehicle, then start designing.
 

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Once you are ready to set out with your newly-converted zero-emission vehicle, please remember that in many European cities, to avoid getting fined or clamped, you will have to pre-register your numberplate, or purchase a windscreen sticker, to prove you are exempt.
The website urbanaccessregulations.eu has information about the various rules.
 

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Run the numbers but I strongly suspect you would be better advised to simply buy a European camper when you get there and sell it before you go home

Almost certain to be a LOT cheaper and will get around all of the issues with using a converted vehicle in Europe
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the responses. I'm still interested in a conversion because there is no doubt emissions regulations are coming here to the States as well eventually.

Plus, I want to have my own motorhome (truck camper) to explore in. It's a more comfortable setup and is off grid, fully self sufficient. Full climate control, etc.

Also, we plan to stay a while. 90 in, 90 out for a year or so.

Does anyone have any basic, off the cuff answers to the questions about the conversion? This is different because it needs to be higher power.

I know the torque is there (from 0rpm), but the overall sizing of everything, tips, tricks to replace a 245HP Diesel engine with 505 ft-lbs torque?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Also, we plan to stay a while. 90 in, 90 out for a year or so.
Please explain what you mean by this phrase. Is a year the limit of the time you plan to operate this vehicle?
It's how tourist visa immigration works. You're allowed 90 days in 6 months inside the Schengen zone. Then you have to leave until you're not more than 90 days in the preceding 180 days.

I'm a citizen (dual citizenship) so I could stay indefinitely and work. However, my girlfriend is not, so I'll follow the 90 in / 90 out she has to follow. The vehicle itself can stay for years.

I would hope to use this vehicle indefinitely. We have used it full time in the States for a couple years. Lately, I've been spending about 6 months on the boat and 6 months on the vehicle each year. But this vehicle is our second home. It would be in constant use. The boat is our other home. It could sit for 6 months occasionally while we are on the boat.

I'm a full time traveler.
 

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A Cummins is not easy to replace!

Options - use a Leaf or Tesla drive unit

Use DC - two 11 inch forklift motors

You should be able to fit 100 kWh of battery - which will take a Tesla about 320 miles and will take you about 150 miles if you keep the speed down

The power supply at camp grounds may be 16 amps and 230v - 3.6 kW
So a full charge will take 30 hours

Using actual electric car chargers will be a bit more technical - the Tesla Superchargers are Tesla only
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
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A Cummins is not easy to replace!

Options - use a Leaf or Tesla drive unit

Use DC - two 11 inch forklift motors

You should be able to fit 100 kWh of battery - which will take a Tesla about 320 miles and will take you about 150 miles if you keep the speed down

The power supply at camp grounds may be 16 amps and 230v - 3.6 kW
So a full charge will take 30 hours

Using actual electric car chargers will be a bit more technical - the Tesla Superchargers are Tesla only
Great overview. Thank you.

With a pair of 11" DC motors, these would somehow be wheel mounted?

I'm envisioning a very large single electric motor attached to the existing NV600 manual transmission/clutch. But maybe that's all redundant and you just leave the manual transmission in a certain gear since the motor has continuous torque at any rpm?

This is really a thread for a n00b. Sorry. Lol
 

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I'm a full time traveler.
Then why are you asking us?

And, who wins the World Series this year? :p

...

Every few months here someone wants to convert a bigger truck or an RV, and, not that it's not possible, but, everyone who starts out determined that hell or high water they will... soon after disappears. I've never seen one even started to be worked on. That doesn't mean you won't, but, same thing I've told the last few people... I suspect when you start to look into this you'll see that the same decisions that led everyone to not do it, will also apply to you.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I'm a full time traveler.
Then why are you asking us?

And, who wins the World Series this year?


...

Every few months here someone wants to convert a bigger truck or an RV, and, not that it's not possible, but, everyone who starts out determined that hell or high water they will... soon after disappears. I've never seen one even started to be worked on. That doesn't mean you won't, but, same thing I've told the last few people... I suspect when you start to look into this you'll see that the same decisions that led everyone to not do it, will also apply to you.
That's why the title of the thread and first post uses the word "feasibility."

Can you short cut me to the reasons this is a bad idea?

I'm totally happy with the Cummins because of the range and the lack of losses converting energy. However, stupid EU laws prohibit the Cummins from operating in a lot of places. All the places you try to see when visiting Europe. So I'm looking at all the options.

Truly, I think there should be an exemption for RV/motorhomes, if not at least for foreign registered vehicles.
 

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With what's available now, in new and repurposed components, this is going to be tough to do unless you have a very large budget and/or quite a bit of time. In a few years, Tesla, Rivian, Ford, and others should have 1/2ton trucks and longer range SUVs vehicles available. Although with less carrying capacity than your 3/4ton, these vehicles will be platforms for all kinds of professional and DIY RV conversions, judging by the interest I've heard about.

Will something like this work for you? And, can you wait this long? Another option is the latest Tesla Model S/X with a close to 400 mile range. Maybe, I'm guessing, 200-250 miles towing a light trailer? An advantage with a stock EV is that you could probably get it registered, serviced, and repaired a lot easier than a DIY or custom conversion. This is important if you are a long distance away from your home base.
 

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Heavy vehicles can certainly be EVs; there have been lots of them. Of course, range is short without an enormous battery.

I don't understand the appeal of the pickup truck. Why not use a motorhome with a more functional body, rather than a camper jammed into a pickup box?

With a pair of 11" DC motors, these would somehow be wheel mounted
No. Hub-mounted motors are generally not feasible for road-going vehicles, and certainly not with these old brushed DC motors.

I'm envisioning a very large single electric motor attached to the existing NV600 manual transmission/clutch. But maybe that's all redundant and you just leave the manual transmission in a certain gear since the motor has continuous torque at any rpm?
Modern EVs typically use a single-speed transmission, but don't use old brushed DC motors. Don't expect constant torque throughout the speed range, especially with a low-voltage system.
 

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Can you short cut me to the reasons this is a bad idea?
- The longer you wait the more prices will drop. You are future proofing yourself at significant expense, before you have to.

- The longer you wait, the more technology will change. You're future proofing something according to today's tech, when tech will improve significantly.

- You are sacrificing 90% of your range.

- You are adding a lot of weight for batteries, in a vehicle already probably limited by both weight and bulk.

- Getting enough power might be a significant challenge. Certainly at a low cost.

- Electric vehicles are great at daily short trips. Lots of miles to justify the conversion, but not a far range on a given day. They are terrible for infrequent medium or long trip, which a fuel tank and engine are well suited for.

- For the cost of converting you could buy something more suitable.
 

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I would be using the two 11 inch motors nose to tail in place of the Cummins - in my car I used direct drive to the diff but if you are a lot heavier so its probably worth retaining the gearbox

You will be able to match the horsepower of the Cummins but only for a short period before getting too hot

Range and cost are your problems - a 100 kWh battery will be expensive and will only permit you to do short hops between recharges

If your traveling is short hops between overnight stays then that will work - but if you want to be able to drive longer distances then it won't
 
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