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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
After may years of dreaming, I finally have an EV project. I'm now officially the owner of a 1971 Citroen D Super (ID 20) EV conversion. There are very few of these in Alberta. I've never seen one on the road here but I did see one up for sale once. I am a newbie to Citroen's, although I've thought they were cool since my dad told me about them as a kid. I have wanted to build an electric car for a long time, though, and this was an opportunity I couldn't pass up. As far as I can tell it is the first one of these cars to ever be converted to electric and the only one in N. America, making it extremely unique. Here is the link to the former owners EV album page. http://www.evalbum.com/423 I think there may only be 4 of these in the world that have been converted to electric. Sadly, the car hasn't run in 11 years and time weather have taken their toll. It is going to be a huge project to get it on the road again. I expect it to be a long slow process as it needs to be fully restored again. Nevertheless, all the EV parts are there except a battery pack and I'm excited at the prospect that I may actually have a "one of a kind" electric car to drive one day. The fellow who built it has given me the chance to carry on his dream project, so I hope I can do it justice eventually. I look forward to learning from you all as I go along.
 

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Congratulations!

That's an interesting car. :)

Where did the original builder put all of those batteries? I assume that the motor is in the location of the crankcase of the original engine, and some of the 16 batteries could be above the motor, but presumably not all of them.

I find Citroëns fascinating, but all I know about them is what I can find online. It looks like a D Super (ID 20) would not have power steering. True?

I hope that the mechanical systems (suspension, steering, brakes) are in good shape - they're all weird (not just by current standards, but even by 1970's standards) and are presumably hard and/or expensive to get parts for.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
He had some batteries in front of the transmission. Transmission is mounted backwards to most cars so the motor is behind the trans. The rest of the batteries were in the rear seat area and between the front seats. That won't work for me so all that will be getting redone. I need a car that seats at least four people. Lithium takes up much less space so shouldn't be an issue.
Parts are still mostly available but they will be costly as they have to come from Europe or the U.K. I'm sure there will be issues after all these years of sitting. Hopefully not too many. The car does have power steering and brakes that work in conjunction with their hydropneumatic suspension. It's all a self contained system that runs off one pump. I want to change the way the pump drive is set up, but it gives me opportunity to get all that sorted before I even need to start shopping for a battery pack.
 

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Battery locations

He had some batteries in front of the transmission. Transmission is mounted backwards to most cars so the motor is behind the trans.
Wow, all the way up in the spare tire space? That's pretty far forward, even for a front wheel drive car. Although lithium cells won't be as dense as lead-acid, it would still be good to avoid this location.

For those not familiar with this setup...
The longitudinal engine behind the front axle, with the transmission in front of the axle, was traditional for Citroën. The only other vehicle with this setup that people in North America are likely to have seen was the Renault 5 (or "LeCar"). It is fundamentally the same as any of the common longitudinal rear-engine cars (VW air-cooled such as the original Beetle, and rear-engine Porsche, Chevrolet Corvair, etc), but at the front.
This setup means that the space in front of the transmission is not just ahead of the front axle, it's the length of the transmission further than ahead than that.

The rest of the batteries were in the rear seat area and between the front seats. That won't work for me so all that will be getting redone. I need a car that seats at least four people. Lithium takes up much less space so shouldn't be an issue.
Between the front seats seems strange for a conversion of an existing vehicle, but I suppose that since this car doesn't have a tunnel there would be some flat floor area there, as long as a bench seat isn't used.

I don't know why there were no batteries in the original engine space. I realize that the motor is long so the likely wasn't room behind it, but there should have been room above it. Perhaps those batteries were just too tall, and the size of the lithium cells will work better for mounting there.

It looks like there was an interesting box running across the car under the front seat (and open to below) which contained the muffler. Although it may not have been tall enough for the lead-acid batteries, perhaps it is a potential lithium battery pack location.

The fuel tank appears to be in a larger box under the rear seat, and bizarrely open only on top (and covered by a sealed panel). My guess would be that this wasn't tall enough for the lead-acid batteries, so they omitted the top cover and rear seat, using the fuel tank space as the bottom of the rear battery compartment. Perhaps there will be enough space for a useful number of lithium cells with the top and seat replaced.
 

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Parts are still mostly available but they will be costly as they have to come from Europe or the U.K. I'm sure there will be issues after all these years of sitting. Hopefully not too many.
It's good that they're available - no need to custom-build replacements! :D I'm sure that there's lots of expertise out there, but just at a guess, the suspension bearings (they're not just bushings) might not be in good shape if the grease dried out. The extensive hydraulic system will need a thorough check-out, and perhaps some new seals.

The car does have power steering and brakes that work in conjunction with their hydropneumatic suspension. It's all a self contained system that runs off one pump. I want to change the way the pump drive is set up, but it gives me opportunity to get all that sorted before I even need to start shopping for a battery pack.
It's nice to have the power steering, and since you need that pump motor for the brakes and suspension anyway, you might as well have the whole set of functionality. :)
 

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Re: Battery locations

It looks like there was an interesting box running across the car under the front seat (and open to below) which contained the muffler. Although it may not have been tall enough for the lead-acid batteries, perhaps it is a potential lithium battery pack location.
Thinking a little more about this.... this is a shallow and narrow (front to back) space, so maybe if it won't fit any battery cells it might be useful for components such as the charger, DC-to-DC converter, or high voltage junction boxes. The original exhaust pipe spaces could accommodate cables running to those components or between the battery box under the rear seat and the underhood space.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Re: Battery locations

Wow, all the way up in the spare tire space? That's pretty far forward, even for a front wheel drive car. Although lithium cells won't be as dense as lead-acid, it would still be good to avoid this location. I don't know why there were no batteries in the original engine space. I realize that the motor is long so the likely wasn't room behind it, but there should have been room above it. Perhaps those batteries were just too tall, and the size of the lithium cells will work better for mounting there.

The fuel tank appears to be in a larger box under the rear seat, and bizarrely open only on top (and covered by a sealed panel). My guess would be that this wasn't tall enough for the lead-acid batteries, so they omitted the top cover and rear seat, using the fuel tank space as the bottom of the rear battery compartment. Perhaps there will be enough space for a useful number of lithium cells with the top and seat replaced.
Thanks Brian for your interest. It's not as bad as you might think. With all the weight of the motor behind the axle and the transmission being fairly short, I think weight in front of the front axle is probably less than with most other FWD cars. A few batteries in the front will probably be fine. The last conversion you linked to had batteries there as well as over the motor. Quite a few conversions I've seen have batteries in the front.

With lead, he needed the back seat area and up the center, but to do that, he cut out the center of the exhaust box under the front seats so there is currently a big hole in the floor I need to fix. The exhaust area isn't really usable space for anything that could possibly need to be serviced. Car sits too low to the ground at rest

You called it on the back seat. I'm quite sure lithium cells could work under the back seat but the lead was too tall. The motor setup he used for the pump and the electrical stuff is over the motor. I do plan to update the pump drive.
He did the best he could with what was available to him at the time and on a car no one had ever converted before. It was no small feat, but I have some better options now. I don't need a long range or high speed so I have no intention of changing to AC. Old car and old tech seem to fit in my mind. If I find the motor is under powered, I have a DC series motor I could install and do an Open Revolt controller. I want to see what it's like like it is.

Thanks for the links as well.
 

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Re: Battery locations

It's not as bad as you might think. With all the weight of the motor behind the axle and the transmission being fairly short, I think weight in front of the front axle is probably less than with most other FWD cars. A few batteries in the front will probably be fine. The last conversion you linked to had batteries there as well as over the motor. Quite a few conversions I've seen have batteries in the front.
It's often done, but it's not good. Better with FWD than RWD, but still not good. It's not just load distribution between the axle - mass out at the extreme ends of the car is undesirable for dynamic response. Fortunately, most people doing these conversions have suitably low expectations for handling...

These Citroëns have an interesting design. The engine-behind-axle configuration does lead to the front axle carrying a lower share of the load, but it also has the rear axle set very far back, which provides the long wheelbase which Citroën wanted for ride, and forces the front to carry more load than a more conventional rear axle position. The long wheelbase really is forgiving; some cells out front would work much better in the D Super than in some of the small sports cars that have them.

With lead, he needed the back seat area and up the center, but to do that, he cut out the center of the exhaust box under the front seats so there is currently a big hole in the floor I need to fix.
...
He did the best he could with what was available to him at the time and on a car no one had ever converted before. It was no small feat, but I have some better options now.
Previous projects are great to learn from. I wonder in some cases if it would be easier to start with an unmodified but sound car, rather than having to un-do the well-intentioned work of a previous round of conversion.
 

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Very sad that the Garage here is still kaput and people have to refer to EVAlbum to give others references to similar conversions.

Good luck with your conversion- that is an absolutely sweet and classic car! Subscribing so I can keep track of your build!
 

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Very sad that the Garage here is still kaput and people have to refer to EVAlbum to give others references to similar conversions.
I agree, but Google still has the Garage index cached, and it appears that there are no Citroens in it anyway. I can find other makes in a Google search of www.diyelectriccar.com/garage/cars/, but not Citroen (or Citroën). If you know the number of a particular car (each Garage entry has a number) it can probably be retrieved from the Wayback Machine... but again, I don't think there's a Citroën to be retrieved.
 

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Hello there, a web search has led me to your project. Congratulations trying to do this on your own! I'm looking to do something similar but through vendors/garages in Europe where the car will reside full time. I haven't purchased the car yet, but it will likely be a DS21 from 1969 to 1971 which will be converted both to an EV and to a convertible. At this time I'm looking to gather as much information I can about the transformations, particularly the EV part which is a lot less common than the convertible aspect.
My timeframe is starting sometime in 2022 for a 2024 completion. EV tech evolves so quickly that I will wait until the very last second to pick the electric parts. At this point I'm simply trying to figure out what configuration to select, such as 1-2-3 or 4 motors, transmission integration, power output,... Anyway, I have much to read and learn here!
 

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Cool! Where in Europe exactly?
In case it is The Netherlands changing both the body and drivetrain might be a challenge in terms of registration. You will loose the original title. Some info on my blog https://www.oudevolvo.nl/blog/2015/...wen-volvo-amazon-combi-naar-elektrische-auto/
Thank you for this information. I haven't yet looked a national legislations but your post certainly brings the issue to the forefront. At this early stage I am considering all of the work to be done in the Netherlands (EV Europe has very good packaged solutions), unless it becomes too complicated legislation wise. Perhaps I can do a 2 step process, first getting the car modified to a convertible, obtain the approvals and license, then do the EV conversion of a convertible? More things to look into!
 
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