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Building new vs stripping components vs stock

887 Views 2 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  madderscience
I have decided that the vehicle that I really want is an Electric Suzuki Samurai. However, as I looked into it, I am realizing that 1.) I could buy a used Nissan Leaf still under warranty for under $10k and I could live with a broken dream 2). Build a Suzuki Samurai with similar mileage for $10k by buying new components. or 3.) I could buy a perfectly good Fiat 500e for under $5k and strip from it the 24 kWh 364 V lithium-ion battery, 83 KW motor, 6.6 KWH charger, and some of the other components.

On a price vs convenience vs performance curve, the Leaf wins. On a "but I want it" scale, the Samurai wins. I guess my question is, can you transplant the electrics from a fiat 500e to another vehicle?
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The standard law of hot-rodding applies. Fast, pretty or cheap -you can only pick two.

Yes you can cannibalize parts from an existing EV and transplant them into a different vehicle. On this forum we have one guy taking the whole system from a Leaf and adapting it to a cooky old Saab. We have another guy that adapted the transmission from a rear wheel drive hybrid into his own ideal EV.

This is the future of the old hot-rodding culture of mixing and matching parts into something we think is cool. Just like putting a big V8 into an old roadster. You can take any fraction of an existing EV and re-use it.

Word of warning though. The big OEMs spent millions of dollars on teams of hundreds of people to figure out how to make those cars. If you choose to mess with stuff you will have to re-create some of their effort. That's not to say it can't be done, it just becomes more of a thinking person's project.

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· Registered
1,033 Posts
the biggest challenge with reusing OEM EV components is not the mechanical hookups - its the electrics. Interfacing with the CAN bus and getting other control signals right can be challenging and a lot of people are digging into this.

The best thing right now is basically to retain as much of the original electrical system, includinig all the little body sensors and other components from the donor vehicle. Essentially you are trying to keep the "nervous system" intact so it doesn't know its been moved to another vehicle.

Depending on the vehicle and the component it may be possible to strip things down or reverse engineer the protocol.

I suspect with time more products will come out that allow easier reuse of some of these components by faking or replacing all the signals from other portions of the donor that you don't really need or want in a conversion.

Your best bet is to get parts from a very common and cheapest donor vehicle as it has the highest likelihood of having people working on this problem. Right now thats probably the nissan leaf.
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