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Alfa Romeo Spider - 1998 -2003 ?

3525 Views 5 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  brian_
I love the look of this little Alfa, but can't find any EV conversions done on this model.

Any reason why it wouldn't be feasible ?

I was always told to look at pre 2000 cars as they have simpler electronics, and usually no Canbus


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Maybe the front wheel drive componentry is not that suited to an EV conversion ?
The only real difference in a conversion: sometimes the trans limits your motor selection.
I doubt the transaxle is an issue - if a conversion retains the transaxle, then a motor can be mounted where the engine was. This is likely to require a custom-made adapter.

A more likely issue is finding space in a small car to fit the battery, but if range expectations are low enough, that's manageable. Perhaps without the GTV's rear seat, but with just as much wheelbase, there's room behind the seats for a substantial battery pack.

The most likely explanation for the lack of precedents is simply that the vehicle is relatively uncommon. They were never sold here in North America (which consumes a substantial fraction of the world's cars), and even in Europe I would guess it's not a very common model.

People also tend to convert vehicles which are available cheaply, in some cases because the engine is no longer usable. Maybe it's just a desirable car of which cheap examples are not readily available?

Personally, although I have driven front-wheel-drive (FWD) cars for over three decades, I would not choose to build a front wheel drive electric sports car. The EV conversion could include conversion to rear-wheel-drive (RWD), but with the 916 GTV/Spider rear suspension - which as far as I know was never used with RWD or all-wheel-drive - that would likely be difficult and expensive. I think most people converting a small sporty convertible to an EV start with a RWD vehicle.
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How about the 2007 model ? Looks nicer, but will I run into computer/canbus modern electronic equipment issues ?


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I can see the aesthetic appeal of these cars, but you're certainly finding obscure possibilities for a conversion! :) The Alfa Romeo Type 939 was unique, with none of the other cars planned to use the same platform (underlying chassis design) having gone into production, and this design produced by Alfa for only a few years; fortunately for parts availability, the Type 939 included the much more common sedan variant - the Alfa 159 - not just the Brera and Spider.

Again, it's front wheel drive. In this case, an AWD version was produced (in the Alfa 159 Q4 sedan only, not the Spider or Brera) so with Q4 parts it might be possible to put the motor in the rear, driving the rear wheels, if you're interested in that (and willing to do a lot of work).

Every car produced and sold in both North America and Europe has been required to be equipped with an onboard diagnostics (OBD) port since about 1996 to 2003 (depending on country/state and engine type), to support emission control system monitoring. Auto manufacturers were going to computer networks anyway, but this made those networks universal, and CAN is the most common type (OBD-II has been required to support CAN since 2008).

I don't know what brands and models are dependent on CAN systems in what years, or what you would give up by not working with CAN in a vehicle that uses it. Obviously emission controls don't matter in an EV conversion, but there are potential issues with braking, instrumentation, and even simply turning the headlights on. Even the accelerator pedal may be nothing but a sensor on the CAN bus.
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