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Build Log: 1985 Dodge Ramcharger EV

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I have been reading build logs here for years, and I am pumped to start my own. This project has been years in the making, launched into motion by the fortunate circumstances.

The Chassis: A 1985 Dodge Ramcharger 2 door SUV. Built on the Chrysler AD platform, it shares a ladder frame and drivetrain components with every Dodge pickup truck built between 1972 and 1993... I purchased mine 4 years ago for 3000$, primarily for its relatively low rust frame and rust free(ish) body.

The Powerplant:
For the last three years my plan had been to use a Siemens 1PV5135 motor as the core of the new EV drivetrain, but I always hesitated because of the slow acceleration estimates I was coming up with in order to have a reasonable top speed. Bottom line, it was under-powered for a 5000lb truck, and I knew I would be disappointed with the result... the lack of a reasonably priced motor option stalled the project until recently.

Two weeks ago a fellow DIY EV enthusiast shared a link for a Smith Electric Box Truck being auctioned... I had to get on google to figure out what it was, but when I did I knew my drivetrain quest was over. I figured out how to place a bid, and this past Wednesday the truck was mine!

The drivetrain is a Magtec P144 motor / P146 controller combo. There is very little information available online outside of the manufacturers website, but what I do know is that it is a 150kw continuous motor capable of accelerating a 22,000 lb box truck to 55mph in 10 seconds... plenty of power for a 5000lb on-road /off-road SUV. I have reached out to the manufacturer for more information, but so far I haven't heard back.

The Batteries:
This is a big ? for me right now. Based on my best research, the truck I purchased was built with 85kWh of Valence U27-12XP batteries, in a 25S2P configuration... the odometer is less than 40,000 miles, with represents 400 charge & discharge cycles... barring some premature battery failure, these could still be completely usable in my build. The unknown right now is whether the batteries are even in the vehicle... the pack containers are in place and don't seem to have been opened, but the auction house was unable to get the HV systems to power on. I will know more tomorrow.

Next Steps: I am going to be inspecting the truck tomorrow and starting to disassemble it on Monday... expect a quick update!