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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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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