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I'm planning a '55-'60 Chevy Apache project. Still very early in the planning stages, I haven't decided on a donor vehicle quite yet. I'm taking my time and being picky.

Thinking about the drivetrain, I'm not crazy about three on the tree or the engines that went in those model year trucks so a full replacement is going to be necessary. I sat by the pool with a cold beer considering engines over the weekend and decided that whatever platform I go with, in a decade or two, it's going to be an ancient internal combustion dinosaur in a world of EVs. I started researching EV conversions and was amazed at the huge amount of parts available and how far the technology has come recently.

I need to decide whether to go EV or ICE. The truck is going to be heavy, obviously, but I don't need to go crazy fast; just highway speed. I don't really use highways much, I live and work in the city, but I'll take trips occasionally with my motorcycle in the back.

I'm expecting somewhere around $10K for the EV conversion, after getting the donor and fixing her up. If it's more, no biggie, It'll just take longer.

From the research I've done so far, I like the hyper9 since it does everything I want for the price and should have enough power. I've seen some things on the boards about them though and they don't seem super popular. Seems like a few Tesla modules under the boards in the bed should get enough power and provide some range.

I'm pretty mechanically and electronically savvy. I build stuff with arduinos, I'm an IT systems engineer, I worked as a heavy equipment mechanic to get through college. I write code and work with APIs pretty heavily so getting everything to talk together shouldn't be too much of a challenge as long as there's resources available to reference.

I feel pretty good about getting into this. What do you guys think?
 

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I think you're plenty skilled and reasonable enough to accomplish this.

Sounds fun. Take lots of pictures and document it here. We all love watching a good build.
 

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Keep in mind that this truck will be a lot like a barn door, aerodynamically. Plan for substantially more energy (battery charge) to be needed for a given distance than a modern vehicle.

The three-speed manual with column shifter may not be such a bad thing to keep. With an AC motor you would not need to shift for reverse, and with the right motor and enough voltage you would not normally need to shift when driving; you could just drive in (likely) second gear, leaving the other gears for occasional use if you wanted (e.g. first as an extra-low, third for better efficiency on the highway). Production EVs have single-speed transmissions, with only very rare exceptions.

Of course the transmission takes up space which the motor could occupy, if you can arrange a suitable gear ratio without the original transmission. You could use a smaller single-ratio reduction gearbox, or (with a large enough motor for which lower speed is appropriate) just the reduction of the axle's ring and pinion.

I assume that there will be room for lots of battery. :)
 

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Seems like a few Tesla modules under the boards in the bed should get enough power and provide some range
I'm not sure what you meant by "in the bed", but it might work to put modules under the bed, between the frame rails, on brackets from the frame. The modules need enclosures, and nothing can rest on them.

If you don't fill the engine space with motor, some modules can sit there, as well... just remember to allow space for the controller/inverter, charger, and all of the various components that are so conveniently omitted from marketing images of EV powertrains. ;)
 

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Yep, I think the tesla modules would fit well under the bed between the frame rails. There should be more than enough room under a long bed for plenty of them. They're just so damn expensive lol. I'd like to get enough range for a 4 hour-ish trip but I think that's going to be a tall order without stopping, especially considering it has the aerodynamic profile of a giant refrigerator and is made of old detroit iron.

Any suggestions for motors?
 

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Does anyone have any experience with an on board solar array to extend range? I'm considering removing the bed boards and installing solar panels in their place.
 

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Does anyone have any experience with an on board solar array to extend range? I'm considering removing the bed boards and installing solar panels in their place.
You'll probably have a little more panel area than the cars most people have this idea with, but your main problems will be achieving the proper angles so the panels are perpendicular to the direction of the light and the basic maths of only getting a few miles of charge per hour of max lighting, due to the relatively small output you can fit on the vehicle plus the poor efficiency of your conversion, in therms of Watt-hours per mile.
 

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Hi
All of the "new" AC motors that you can buy are all a bit too wimpy for something like that - I suggest either old technology DC - Or - the drivetrain from a production EV
 

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Check out the EV West shop truck: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=osKEOiZ31zA. It is a VW van with the hyper 9 motor. Seems adequate to get around.

I am in the same spot except I know nothing about coding/APIs. I want to convert a 1968 Chevy C10 truck that I already have. And I would love a small rear drive unit from a Tesla (like the 220 kW from HSR) but the cost is somewhat prohibitive. EVTV sells a 350 kw Tesla motor with all the necessities for the motor and harness and rear clip but it is $25,000. With a truck, you would likely have plenty of space for the Tesla cradle/subframe.
 

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It would help to decide what you want this truck to be. If you want a Chevy truck with an electric motor, you need to work with a rear live beam axle; if you want an Apache body on a new vehicle, you can consider an entire drive unit (motor with transaxle) from a Tesla or whatever, perhaps complete with subframe and suspension... and if you're using a Tesla rear, you might as well take the whole thing and get the complementary front suspension.
 
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