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I had written another post that seems to have been lost into the lint trap of the internet, so I'll try once again.

I'm planning on completing an EV conversion of some sort in the next 1-3 years.

The project I'm currently considering is a 1964 1/2 ford Mustang. This particular candidate is rust and bondo free, has a straight and rust free frame, and mostly suffers from 55 years of parking lot dings and sun damage to the paint and interior. The floor pan is solid, and this would be an excellent candidate for restoration in general, but it's the least desirable 105 HP straight six 3 speed trim package, and not one of the V8 cars that are so lusted after by collectors. I'm negotiating for the car currently, but it's not a done deal yet. If I get the car, I'll likely be selling off the zero mile rebuilt engine and transmission to help defray costs.

Over the last few years I've been considering an EV conversion, and as a result of my general hoarding nature, I've gathered up some components that may or may not be of use for a conversion. I don't recall all of the brands and specs, so I'll have to update some of that as I pull things out of storage.

Right now I have:

ADC FB1 4001A electric motor. Rated for 144 volts. Adapted and attached to a 5 speed transmission.
DC-DC converter
2 different charging systems
12VDC vacuum pump and some related ancillaries
Curtis 1231 controller (in need of some repair, might not be worth it)

I don't have a usable lathe in the shop at the moment, but I do have a manual mill, welders and other fabrication equipment, and generally at least the minimum of skills needed to use them.

I've never done my own EV build before, but I have helped other folks with fabrication and mechanical parts of their builds, and I've done a number of engine swaps and repowering projects with combustion engines.

My goal for the project would be to build a low maintenance (something I don't HAVE to tinker with more than I want to) daily commuter. AirCon is an absolute necessity. I generally drive 35-40 miles in a day, so a realistic usable range of 60-65 miles would be my desire, a top speed of 75-80 will be fine. I would really like to have acceleration in the 8 second range or better to 60 MPH. 6 seconds would be ideal, but it seems like it might cost substantially more to hit 6 seconds compared to 8. It seems like cells from an OEM EV would be the best answer, and I'm thinking that something in the 30-35 KWH range is where I should be aiming, but that's a nearly blind guess.

I don't have a large budget set aside for this, but I also have an open time table. The cheaper the components are, the sooner it can be finished, and conversely, the longer it takes to finish, the more cash I'll be able to divert to the project.

I would welcome comments and thoughts; Specifically I'd be interested in hearing everyone's thoughts on the suitability of the components I already have for such a project. I'm sure some of it's scrap, I'm especially dubious of the curtis controller. I suspect that even repaired, it wouldn't likely get the performance or efficiency I'm hoping for, but what do I know?
 

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Your plan sound pretty good to me!

I agree about the controller - you will want something a bit beefier
The motor already on the transmission means that you won't need a lath for anything

OEM battery is the best bet - a Leaf and a half or two Chevy Volt ones

Air con is one area I have no idea at all - but I do believe that you can buy electric air con units - would be ideal (Not a problem here)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I know this showed up kind of weird, but does anyone have any input on my potential project?
 

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Hi, and welcome-

A pack from a crashed Leaf or Volt is your best option for batteries. A Volt pack at 16 kWh will likely JUST get you to your 60 mile driving target with your car- of course you can drop that to 50 or 40 with heavy-footed driving behavior as your DC motor setup will have no regen.

You need to be realistic about your budget. You've got a motor and a controller- I'm not a DC guy so PM Duncan or one of the others here who are. But you need a few more bits and it's going to take some money.

From my own experience- have a quote in hand for insurance FIRST before starting. Don't think this will be easy- depending on where you live, it could be a 1 hour project or a total deal-killer.

If you've got the motor coupled to a tranny which you wish to keep, and which is strong enough for the job, you don't need a lathe- you'll need a driveline shop to make and BALANCE a transitional driveshaft for you, but that won't cost the earth and there's no need to DIY it as you can't balance it yourself anyway.

Best of luck- troll the forums here and PM a few people. A few of us lost enthusiasm with this site because the site's administrators botched things and killed the Garage in the process- it really turned people off.
 

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What you're doing is basically an engine swap.

You'll need probably 30+kwh to get to 60 miles range. The OLD rule of thumb was to take all up weight and divide by ten for watts per mile. Watt Miles X desired range is the target capacity of the traction pack. Since AAA can't refill your pack, you'll need to pad capacity a bit.

The curtis is a bit weak, imho. The motor is roughly the same power as 3liter gasser for 60 minutes, more if the power system can provide it, but for shorter duration because you'll melt the internals.

Don't worry, pretty soon all the experts here will be telling you everything you are doing wrong and have tons of data to prove themselves.

I'm using AAA for insurance, they said as long as your DMV approves the swap, they would insure it. That was 8 years ago, things may have changed and possibly only here in Nevada.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the input guys.

When I say I don't have a budget set aside, I mean that I haven't set a specific limit and haven't set a specific amount aside. I know that I'm probably looking at another $5K+ for batteries, plus whatever the other components end up costing. I know how these things end up costing more and taking longer than planned, so rather than setting unrealistic hard goals for timeline or budget, I'm leaving them open, simply with the goal of completion as soon as possible with as little spent as practical.

What controller would folks suggest for my goals? I strongly suspect that the Curtis will fall short for my desired performance, so I'd probably be better off setting it aside and getting a more appropriate controller rather than dealing with the frustration. I've heard good things about the "Paul and Sabrina" controller, but their shop is down at the moment for a move. Would that controller be sufficient for the speed and acceleration goals I've set?

My insurance agent has already said there will be no problem with coverage. They've covered some other weird stuff for me in the past, so I'm not too concerned about that.
 

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Welcome Tony


Don't touch the Curtis DC controllers. I had one in a 900Lb car and it was disappointing. Their newer AC controllers may be a different story but aren't suitable for your motor anyway. I know use a ZEVA 1000 amp and I am very happy but I mainly selected them because they are local to me (Aus). Plus for a heavier vehicle like yours you might like to aim for more power. The Zilla 2k is a common choice that pops into mind. I don't personally have any experience with them but plenty of people on here do.


As a point of reference in my 900lb car 1000amps at 170v gets me from 0-35mph in about 2.5 seconds and 0-50 in about 4 seconds. But for me things slow from 50-70mph taking another couple of seconds. This assumes a launch in 1st and a single change up to 3rd or 4th. Putting it simply you are talking about achieving similar performance in a car that will end up being 4 times the weight. I think you need the full 2000amps. But of course that depends on the volts you end up achieving.
 

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My combination of 170v and 1000amps results in a peak of around 100KW. In theory is should be 170v x 1000amps = 170Kw. But in reality the battery output, voltage drop on conductors and controller limitations result in a limited peak. These will be true no matter what combination you pick. It's only the percentages that will be different. Don't be fooled by the peak rating of the controllers. You can only achieve their peak if you feed it the maximum volts and maximum amps they can handle. This is usually unachievable due to battery limitations. For example the Zilla 2k claims a peak power of 640KW. But if you pump 170v and 2000amps through it and allowing for losses you'll probably only see a peak of 300KW. Don't quote my figures. I am just letting you know to allow some fudge factor in your plans.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thank you, That's pretty helpful, I didn't realize the kinds of losses you're describing were to be expected.
 

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Hi Tony
It's not quite as bad as that!

Think in terms of motor Torque - not power - and torque is proportional to motor current

You controller will increase motor voltage until the torque is where to demand

You will start with it only needing 17 volts ish - so the controller will run at about 10%
Motor 17v 1000 amps - - Battery 170 v - 100 amps
As the motor spins up it produces a Back Voltage
Motor 34v 1000 amps - - Battery 170 v - 200 amps
Motor 68v 1000 amps - - Battery 170 v - 400 amps
Until it get to
Motor 170v 1000 amps - - Battery 170 v - 1000 amps - controller is now at 100%
If the motor rpm keeps rising the current MUST drop

It's not too difficult to get a LOT of power BUT you need to worry about your motor

In the forklift it would be 200 amps - and would run all day - if you feed it 1000 amps then it will NOT run "all day"

My car weighs 800 kg - and I can feed my Hitachi with 1200 amps - but it only takes 200 amps to drive along at the speed limit

Your car is a bit heavier but probably MORE aerodynamic
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I'll be spending more time tomorrow going over the finer details of the mustang. Assuming it's all as I remember it and it's been described, I'll try to have it in the garage in the next few weeks.

I'm keeping my eyes out for a good battery pack from a wrecked leaf, or something similar. I'll continue to research controllers.

As for the A/C. It's an absolute necessity. It was 104 here the other day, if it's going to be a practical usable car, A/C must be a feature.
 

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The AC takes relatively little power compared to heat. I drove from Seattle to Toronto in the summer and lost maybe 3% range. With heat I lose 20% range. The model S compressor has been hacked, let me know if you want the can message to activate it. It’s a pretty simple affair.
 

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The AC takes relatively little power compared to heat. I drove from Seattle to Toronto in the summer and lost maybe 3% range. With heat I lose 20% range. The model S compressor has been hacked, let me know if you want the can message to activate it. It’s a pretty simple affair.
That's awesome, thanks! I'll keep that in mind as I move forward with the project. 3-5% I can live with. I hardly use the heat here, so that's much less of an issue for me.

I spent some time going over the mustang yesterday, and I'm afraid it's not going to work as well as I would have liked. I'll leave that to someone else. The good news is that it's not the end of the project, I'll just need to find the right vehicle.

I should probably do the easy (ish) thing and use one of the project cars I've already got in dry storage, but I'm gonna keep my eyes open for something a little more interesting (to me) than what I already have. I'll also continue to keep an eye out for the rest of the components I need.
 

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Hi
Selecting the "right" project for YOU is KEY to you getting something that you really want!

Like all Custom Car, Hot Rod type of projects you are going to spend far more time and money on it than you would just buying a modern car

It HAS GOT to be something that you want - AND that has room for the batteries!
 

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Hi
Selecting the "right" project for YOU is KEY to you getting something that you really want!

Like all Custom Car, Hot Rod type of projects you are going to spend far more time and money on it than you would just buying a modern car

It HAS GOT to be something that you want - AND that has room for the batteries!
I couldn't agree more!

I've built enough projects that I know that I want what I want. The mustang was enticing, but the potential car ended up being worse than I remembered it, and worse than the owner remembered either. 8 years under covered storage wasn't as kind as memory. To his credit, he was willing to all but give it to me, and It would still be a good candidate for someone who wanted to restore an original, or even maybe a rat rod, but the restoration part is something I've done enough of, and I'd prefer this project be more about the conversion than the restoration, that's why I'm not converting one of the spitfires or VW's I have in storage. I daily drive a modified Miata, so converting my old race tub (that hasn't seen a track in a decade) wouldn't do much to turn my crank either.

The right project will come along and entice me, and then I'll start doing something besides adding to my pile of parts...
 
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