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I just joined this site after reading a lot of the discussions. I've had the bug about building an EV for a long time, and just bought a possible donor car. It's an 1989 Ford Probe.

I plan to drive it for a while as an ICE vehicle before I commit to the conversion - why risk spending all the time and money only to learn that I don't actually care for the car?

In any event, I've noticed that there are multiple thread, blogs, etc. where people talk about starting to convert a Probe, but the thread and blogs seem to fade away before the projects are complete. Is this because it's a particularly difficult vehicle to convert, or just because conversion projects have a low completion rate in general?

Other than that, I'm not looking for any particular input, but here are my thoughts so far:

Being a "sport compact" rather than an "economy car", it should have a slightly beefier suspension, steering, and braking system. So long as I don't try to push the performance envelope, these should handle the extra weight just fine.

My absolute minimum requirements for the vehicle will be 1) at least a 30 mile range, with some to spare because I live in a spread-out part of Maine. Thirty miles round trip is about the minimum to go anywhere and do anything. 2) Regenerative breaking is critical because I live in a very hilly area as well. 3) Enough acceleration that the car doesn't insult it's "sport compact" origins. This means I want about 80kw peak motor output.

AC drive systems are out of my price range, as are Lithium batteries... I bought a Probe, remember?

The need for regen on a budget seems to limit me to SepEx motors. I haven't been keeping good notes yet, but it seems there are only a handful of these motors aimed at the conversion market - a couple of D&D motors, the larger of which goes to 72 volts, and the 9 and 11 inch Kostov which I believe go up to 168 volts.

Even with a 650 amp controller, a 72-volt motor would produce a max of 46KW or 62hp. This would make it perfectly acceptable for bug or a metro, but a little anemic for my needs.

I believe either of the 168 volt motors could deliver close to stock performance if there were a 168 volt, 500 amp controller for sepex motors on the market. However, if I built this today, the best controller I'm aware of for sepex is a Kelly 120v 500 amp model, which would limit me to 60kw or about 80hp. Unfortunately, this still strikes me as Geo territory.

I like the "poor man's ev" controller for it's steampunk styling, but it seems better suited to the drag strip than the high way. I like the idea of connecting the armature of the motor across a 168 volt battery pack, drawing something on the order of 2000 amps, and applying 336kw (448hp) of power.

I just don't like the idea of welding a contactor shut doing it - but at least the motor would probably melt down before I suffered any bodily harm.

In any event, this really would just be a grocery getter, not a drag racer or a supercar, so maybe I should just refine my power expectations.
 

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I just joined this site after reading a lot of the discussions. I've had the bug about building an EV for a long time, and just bought a possible donor car. It's an 1989 Ford Probe.

I plan to drive it for a while as an ICE vehicle before I commit to the conversion - why risk spending all the time and money only to learn that I don't actually care for the car?

Makes sense to me. I'm actually selling my donor car at a loss after realizing that I didn't actually want to be inside it... :p

In any event, I've noticed that there are multiple thread, blogs, etc. where people talk about starting to convert a Probe, but the thread and blogs seem to fade away before the projects are complete. Is this because it's a particularly difficult vehicle to convert, or just because conversion projects have a low completion rate in general?
Probably the latter. A lot of us spread our projects out for a long calendar period too - life happens and gets in the way of the work. Stupid work. :p

As for the rest, your reasoning is fairly spot on. 72v definitely won't make you happy. As for the regen, looks like the kostov is not really perfect for it, check this thread for what I'm referring to:

http://www.diyelectriccar.com/forums/showthread.php/regen-kostov-11-zillai-34275.html
 
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