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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've finally, officially, started my DeLorean EV conversion project.

First video is uploaded to YouTube, which discusses why I'm doing the conversion and how I selected the donor vehicle:

I just recently purchased the donor (Chevy Bolt) from Copart, and it's in transit now. On July 5th I will take the first steps to remove the engine, transmission, and fuel components from the DeLorean in prep for swapping in the EV components... once I get the design finalized and battery box built and everything!

The plan is to release videos every month or so.

I'm happy to answer any questions if you've got any! :)
 

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If not for those gawd-awful gull-wing doors and their impact on my back..... Yea, this was THE CAR model I have wanted to convert since the idea first entered my head, way back when you could purchase one for $5k in today's money.

Following :D
 

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It seems like the DeLorean DMC-12 has some popularity as a conversion target, because the car is interesting but the engine is seen as so undesirable. I assume that you've seen the TesLorean, and projects such as that one might supply some planning information (such as the weight of the engine and transmission)... but since you're plunging ahead anyway, you can just pull them out and weigh them to verify or update your planning assumptions.

So far, I've seen DeLorean conversions using a WarP 9 and lead-acid, Leaf drive unit and battery, Tesla Model S small drive unit and Spark battery, Tesla Model S front drive unit and battery, and now the Bolt drive unit and battery. I'm sure there are others.

By the way, although I understand and agree with the selection logic which eliminated the Tesla Model 3 due largely to the battery module length, what you showed in the video is not the wheelbase and the Model 3 modules are not longer than the DeLorean wheelbase. Wheelbase is the distance between front and rear axle centrelines (not between the wheel well openings), and for the DeLorean that is 2,413 mm (95.0 in)... shorter than a Model 3 but still much longer than the Model 3 modules. It's still a fit problem, of course, since the modules can't get close to either front or rear axles, and in a vehicle with anything like the DeLorean's stock structure, modules can't go under the floor at all - everyone puts in them behind the rear axle, ahead of the rear axle, and in the front.

The backbone frame which splays at the back around the transaxle and engine works well for the longitudinal rear engine layout, but is a terrible situation for fitting in large rectangular battery modules, even the moderately sized modules from the Bolt. Good luck with that challenge. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Yep, I've seen the TesLorean. There's at least a dozen EV DeLoreans that have been built, probably another dozen in construction now. I've never found a list of all of them, but I'm sure somebody has a directory with their specs!!

I plan on weighing the car here on Monday (all 4 corners), then pulling the engine, transmission, and larger fuel components, and weighing the 'shell' again. That should give me a much better idea of weight distribution and final weight. I have to weigh the engine and transmissions so that I can crate them and ship them to their new owners anyway. The scale is one I built myself using a livestock scale - it can go up to 1000 pounds and I built platforms for the 3 other corners to sit on. Since I've got a 2 post lift, it will be a breeze.

Thanks for noticing the slipup on wheel base - you're right, it's axle-to-axle and not "between the wheels". I'm not sure if that has a standardized name?

I've done mockups of the battery layout, which I will show in a future episode. Short version is you are exactly right. :) 5 modules in the back, basically sitting on the motor, and 5 modules up front. One of those will be in the 'gas tank' area, which is a big triangle (leaving room around it for the BMS!), the other 4 will sit side-by-side (or maybe stacked?) across the cross member. Biggest challenge up there is avoiding the steering linkage and brake master cylinder & booster, but I think I'll be able to squeeze it in there.

Also, some good news, I should have the Chevy Bolt donor here on the 9th or 10th!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Nice start what did you pay for your Bolt from Copart?
Those pics look cool! Looks to be a small Tesla Model S drive unit?

I won the auction for $8,900. After fees, taxes, transportation, etc, total will be around $13,000. That's for a 2019 Bolt with, what I would call, very severe rear end damage. Looks like the car was parked and got hit at 60mph+. The rear wheels are smashed in and suspension is mangled... But the battery modules are about a foot in front of that and don't appear to be damaged.
 

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Those pics look cool! Looks to be a small Tesla Model S drive unit?
That looks like the original Model S front drive unit. The TesLorean used the Model S small rear drive unit, which has essentially the same motor and gearing as the front unit but arranged a bit differently. The latest Model S variants have different drive units.

Due to the shape of the rear part of the DMC-12 frame, it's easiest to fit a drive unit which has the motor on the axle line (such as the Bolt), or behind it (such as those Model S units), not ahead of the axle line (such as the Model 3). Even with the motor behind the axle line, the large Model S rear drive unit might be a challenge because the motor is so far off centre. The Leaf unit apparently fit despite being ahead of the axle line, but it can be shifted to be more central which would help the fit.
 

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Hey Bill,
I do not yet speak fluent electric car power and control components yet, maybe you do.
Just in case the Volt power and control components are clearly shown here along with the complexities of adding dc fast charge.
 

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I used in-wheel motors for my Delorean EV conversion. After weighing everything I found it adds close to 30% to the unsprung weight.

That frees up enough space to fit the Volt battery quite neatly into the Delorean. The only surgery needed was to move the front module to where the gas tank used to be. (It is high at the front and therefore pokes through the bottom of the fiberglass frunk.)
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The other three modules remain on their original T-shaped base (so only one cut with a Skilsaw was needed to separate the front module). Their center of gravity sits on the cross-member that used to support the engine.

Routing the cables from the two inverters to the two Elaphe M700 motors via the pivot at the front of the trailing arm replaces flexing of the cables by twisting of about a foot of them at the pivot.
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I replaced the rear rims as the originals were just slightly too small for the motors, which in any event was delivered with 5 14 mm bolts (Mercedes pattern).
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Here's a zoomed-out view.
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Next steps: need to source a suitable BMS to manage the four modules (any suggestions?), an onboard charger (I have a 2014 Kia Soul OBC, just need to figure out its canbus commands), and a DC-DC converter (this 1500W Vicor module looks promising).

The inverters, power distribution unit, etc. are managed by Elaphe's software.
 

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As a follow-up to my question just now about managing the individual Volt modules, this thread from 2019 seems to have a lot of useful information. It looks like all I need to do is power up each of the four BICMs with 12 volts and chat with them over canbus. I believe there's enough info out there concerning the relevant canbus commands.

While a Raspberry Pi or an Arduino could handle that I'd be inclined to use an MSP430--fewer components to break.
 

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Out of curiosity, how were you able to source the Elaphe hub motors? I reached out to them and got back nothing but crickets...
 

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Out of curiosity, how were you able to source the Elaphe hub motors? I reached out to them and got back nothing but crickets...
That's because hub motors are not yet a commodity. The typical Elaphe customer is not a DIY hobbyist but an OEM with a novel hub motor design the customer is planning to bring to market in practical volumes, like Lordstown or Aptera.

In my case I'm just a small research outfit interested in alternative fuels like hydrogen, ammonia, etc for fuel cells. That combined with my prior research background and the novelty of a Delorean as a demonstration platform got Elaphe over the threshold of being willing to coinvest in the project. It's an expensive gamble on both our parts. Think an order of magnitude over a typical DIY EV budget.
 

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That's because hub motors are not yet a commodity. The typical Elaphe customer is not a DIY hobbyist but an OEM with a novel hub motor design the customer is planning to bring to market in practical volumes, like Lordstown or Aptera.
Not only are they not a commodity, they're not a production product. If something is a commodity, it is produced by many suppliers and the consumer can get effectively the same thing from any of them. Industrial electric motors are a commodity; EV motors are available to anyone willing to buy in sufficient quantity but are not interchangeable so they're not a commodity. Elaphe's in-wheel motors are not even in production - no one has ever bought enough of them to make them even a unique production item. I'll note that the Lordstown fraud fell apart about a month ago, and Aptera has never gone into production despite being around for 16 years.

I am impressed that vauron was able to obtain two Elaphe motors and actually make them function in a vehicle. As he says, this is not a typical DIY EV project; the motors are not a viable choice for a typical DIY builder.

Out of curiosity, how were you able to source the Elaphe hub motors? I reached out to them and got back nothing but crickets...
You would get the same lack of response from almost any EV motor manufacturer... even those that actually build motors for production vehicles rather than just demonstration units. Individual consumers are not of any interest to major manufacturers.
 

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My bad, I should indeed have said "production" instead of "commodity".

I also shouldn't have written simply "like Lordstown or Aptera" since they're such different animals.

The following interesting timeline for Lordstown Motors can be found at relevant Wikipedia articles and various news articles such as

1998: Steve Burns founds Workhorse Group Inc. (WG) in Cincinnati, OH as its CEO.
2017: Prototype of WG's W-15 plugin-hybrid pickup demonstrated at
2018: Burns founds Lordstown Motors Corp. (LM) in Detroit, MI.
2019: WG replaces Burns by Duane Hughes as CEO, puts W-15 on hold to concentrate on vans and last-mile delivery systems. LM takes over W-15 development, renames it the Lordstown Endurance, drops its gasoline range extender, and puts four Elaphe L1500 motors on its wheels to claim peak power of 450 kW (600 HP). LM buys GM's Lordstown plant.
2020: LM licenses the W-15's IP from WG. LM gets listed on NASDAQ by merging with SPAC DiamondPeak Holdings to give LM a market cap of $1.6B.
2021: Hindenburg Research reports many irregularities in LM's claims to investors, leading to a one-day 16% drop in LM stock, SEC investigation, and subsequent resignations of CEO Burns and CFO Rodriguez.

Aptera Motors is different in that it is just one of several companies all building three-wheel electric vehicles recently supported by Munro & Associates. Munro's rationale for their interest is that a three- wheel vehicle is much easier to take to production because of less stringent regulations than for four-wheel vehicles.

While it's true that Aptera had a prior existence during 2005-2011, back then it had been banking on $150M of federal funding that did not come through, resulting in the company folding in 2011. That changed in 2019 with the combination of new funding plus Munro's interest. So I wouldn't count out Aptera the way I would for Lordstown Motors.

All this is way outside DIY EV territory. The saying "If you have to ask you can't afford it" applies to anything R&D that hasn't yet reached volume production.
 
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