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Hi all, I'm building (to my knowledge) the first RA28 electric conversion downunder. Please have a look and bookmark for future updates if your interested!

I know this might upset some of the purists out there but it will hopefully be of interest to some.

http://www.cel28ev.com.au/

To those interested I have added a newsletter signup on the homepage, for weekly updates. :)
 

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Are your goals just drag racing or also time attack / HPDE?

Where do you plan to put the batteries if you want to carry the front tires on launch?

Forget the purists - this will be an incredible build.
 

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Had a quick butchers at the first plans
Looks good but I would ditch the CALBS - you want modules from a production EV - I'm using Chevy Volt modules - Tesla would be even better
 

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Oi mate, sounds like a cool project...don't worry about the purists, haha, they won't be happy with anything but nostalgia. You're building the car for yourself, so yours is the only opinion which matters!

I'd noticed in your build plan that you intend to use the LiFePo (Calb) batteries. They are still a great option, but considering your stated performance goals, they might be a bit heavy for your application. I don't know if you have the same choices in Oz that we have here in the States, but you might want to look at some other batteries with higher energy density. The Calb-type cells are stable, simple, and easy to use, but expensive and heavy compared to cells sourced from salvaged EVs and PHEVs...Tesla, Holden Volt...but the Nissan Leaf might be the most available for salvaged modules in Oz.

I had toyed with the idea of soldering together nearly six thousand 18650 cells together to make a custom pack for my '53 Hudson project before I saw a guy here using some Chrysler Pacifica Modules in his El Camino (I don't know if the Chrysler vehicle is available there, but there's always shipping, lol). I have 62kWh of batteries for about 960 pounds (435kg). I did the math, and the same amount of power in 180Ah Calb cells would have cost nearly 4x more, and added 1.5x the weight and space requirements over my LG Chem modules. Keep in mind that to achieve your stated performance and range goals, you may need a 30-50kWh pack.

High-output DC motors have been the choice for high-performance EVs, and the dual WARP9s have shown many a petrolhead the brilliant EV light...however, AC motors are finally catching up. Weight is your enemy in a car like the one you want to build. DC motors are *heavy. Salvaged Tesla motors are very accessible these days. Some bloke in Georgia, USA, sells turnkey motor setups for far less than you'd spend on those DC motors and HP controller. Another gent in Ireland, Damien MacGuire (he's on here, too, I think, as Jack Bauer) has done amazing work with Tesla controllers, and most of his stuff is open source. There are also many other vehicles to salvage parts from, Nissan Leaf, Holden Volt...

I don't know what you've got to play with, or parts availability, but you might want to look into it. Good on ya, good luck with your project! - Brian in Los Angeles, CA USA
** Edit: Looks like while I was typing away, Duncan beat me to it, LOL
 

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Salvaged Tesla motors are very accessible these days.
I have yet to see anyone use a Tesla motor other than with the original Tesla transaxle, but it may have been done. Part of the reason for this is that the motor can rev to something like 12,000 rpm as so it needs a lot gear reduction to make best use of it.

If you use the complete Tesla drive unit (motor, transaxle, inverter) - and I'm not saying that you should or that you shouldn't - you'll need about the original Tesla voltage to use it effectively, and you'll need to make it work in the rear of the Celica. That means
  • complete Tesla Model S/X subframe and suspension (as Chris has done in his R32 Skyline),
  • custom independent rear suspension (not wanted by most drag race fans), or
  • custom de Dion suspension.
... and regardless of the suspension the floor of the body would be cut away from the axle to somewhere mid-trunk.

The Tesla drive unit puts the motor behind the axle line, which would leave the entire rear seat area (after cutting out the floor) for the battery pack, and a lot of rear weight bias (which would be good for traction and lifting the front wheels).

A Tesla transaxle would require a limited-slip or locking diff; Quaife limited-slip is now available but I haven't heard of anyone doing a locker yet.

A de Dion suspension would have the geometry of the beam axle which remains popular with drag racers, but without any of the torque reaction which unloads one rear wheel and lifts the diagonally opposite front wheel in traditional live beam axle drag cars.

An all-Telsa solution would be possible, using everything (charger, battery modules, complete drive unit, various other electronic boxes) from a Model S (with the large rear drive unit, so a 2WD or Performance variant).
 

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I have yet to see anyone use a Tesla motor other than with the original Tesla transaxle...
Even though it hasn't been done yet, I believe it's totally doable. If I hadn't already bought my Siemens motor for my Hornet, I definitely would have considered a Tesla motor now that there are options for controlling the inverter. It could be done conventionally through the stock trans with just the motor...or, direct drive to a low-geared rear axle (ultimately, the final gearing would be a little high)...or, weld up the diff in the Tesla gearbox and run a shaft from one side down to the stock rear axle with high gears, if possible (this way, the final gearing would end up a little low, unless some very steep gears could be found for the rear end). His HiLux rear end would probably have some aftermarket gearing choices, much like the Dana 60 in my Hudson. Swapping diff gears, or even whole rear ends is fairly simple, from a hotrod point of view, lol.

We're always in unconventional territory here, bro. I'd been asking around about using a Tesla drive unit for about 4 years. Back then, every person I asked said it was impossible for many reasons. Now, you can order a TDU package off the internet. Maybe he'll be the first...or maybe I will on my next project, an Alfa GTV6.
 

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His HiLux rear end would probably have some aftermarket gearing choices, much like the Dana 60 in my Hudson. Swapping diff gears, or even whole rear ends is fairly simple, from a hotrod point of view, lol.
While I have nothing against the Toyota axle or the diff and final drive gears in it, my guess is that at this performance level a complete axle change would be likely, and I agree that swaps are routine. On the other hand, the builder's blog lists
Toyota Hilux rear axles and upgraded 1.5 way LSD centre modified to suit RA28 rear subframe
among the planned components.
 

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This gentleman is using a Tesla motor and inverter in his Audi with the stock drivetrain.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fFr5Sm8KE5E
Interesting :)

I skipped the ten minutes of chatter so the only information is what I can see, which could have been conveyed in two still images:
  • the motor and inverter have been separated and mounted side-by-side instead of end-to-end, on the Audi transaxle instead of on the Tesla transaxle, and
  • Tesla modules are stacked (it looks like long dimension longitudinal) in a custom box which fills the back seat.

The same approach in the Celica would place the battery box just as high, and extending well into the trunk (because the Celica is a much smaller car with a much shorter back seat area).
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Hey guys, thanks for your interest! Still very early days for the project. In fact I'm only just picking up the rolling shell tomorrow hense the lack of photos apart from the ones from the seller. Then it will be rust repairs and body work for a while then paint.

The electric components list will continue to evolve only thing I have purchased so far is the siamese warp 9's and Powerglide 2 speed to suit which someone just 250km had purchased from EV west but never got to use it. I want to stick with DC motors for the huge torque, this will be more a weekender and track/drag car than a daily driver, however I do want to keep it with full trims and no visible roll caged or anything like that to degrade from the car.

If it were going to be my daily car a Tesla or Volt driveline would be a good choice but in Aus they are pretty much impossible to find unless I go through the hassle of importing.

The CALBS will be decent enough to start with and I can easily add an extra pack in parallel if I decide on extra range. I am hoping to fit the battery pack in the wheel well area which I will refabricate to a rectangular battery tray.

For those interested don't forget to subscribe to updates on the homepage. www.cel28ev.com.au

Exciting times ahead a lot of work but anything worth doing requires a lot of work in my book!
 

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I am hoping to fit the battery pack in the wheel well area which I will refabricate to a rectangular battery tray.
What do you mean by the "wheel well area"? Do you mean the spare wheel and tire well in the trunk? In a liftback is this over the fuel tank, behind the axle?
 
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