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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello All 馃憢
I was thinking for a wile to convert my classic mini to a EV.
I鈥檓 reading for wile different builds of you all.
Now I come across a 2011 Think I like the motor with its gears. Also that it got a working 12v system for the lighting etc.
There is only something wrong with the controller so the Car doesn鈥檛 drive anymore.
Parts are hard to find and soon not at all.
I was thinking to solve it with a controller like a zilla or so.
Then someone on Facebook tells me zilla is for 2 wire motor not 3 like the think motor. Then they said I could better go with a leaf donor.
what is newer more costly in my case and also that motor is 3 wires.
I like any advice of you all.
thank you andI hope I can make soon a decision on how I鈥檓 going to realize my EV build with your advices in mind.
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Just fyi, Where your talking about 2 wires and 3 wires in regards to the motor itself, im going to assume your talking about the big fat orange wires.

Generally speaking, a motor with 2 wires is a DC motor, like an old forklift motor.
A motor with 3 wires is a AC motor, usually a 3 phase induction motor.

yes, the controller needs to 'match' the motor. the DC motor is older tech, but can still be useful in a cheap basic conversion.
One of the very big differences between DC and AC motors is that DC motors don't generally give you regen braking wheres AC motors do.
 

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The motor in your photo looks quite big, I take it you have checked it will fit in the engine bay?
Also is it left or right hand drive car?
If it's left hand drive then the steering rack may get in the way.

Sent from my moto g(8) power lite using Tapatalk
 

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...
Now I come across a 2011 Think I like the motor with its gears. Also that it got a working 12v system for the lighting etc.
There is only something wrong with the controller so the Car doesn鈥檛 drive anymore.
Parts are hard to find and soon not at all.
I was thinking to solve it with a controller like a zilla or so.
Then someone on Facebook tells me zilla is for 2 wire motor not 3 like the think motor. Then they said I could better go with a leaf donor.
what is newer more costly in my case and also that motor is 3 wires...
As TeZla already explained, in this case "2-wire" means DC and "3-wire" means 3-phase AC. The person on Facebook is correct: a Zilla is a DC controller, which is basically just a very big light dimmer. For an AC motor you need an inverter, which takes in DC power and converts it to three coordinated AC (alternating polarity) outputs. Coordinating the AC power with the motor is not trivial, so you can't just use any 3-phase inverter.

You could get a controller/inverter for the Think motor, but it could take significant understanding of the motor to get it work properly. The voltage (127 V) is low compared to a normal modern EV, so a controller intended for industrial equipment such as those from Curtis Instruments might work. From a quick online search, it appears that a lot of Think controllers failed, so there are probably online discussions of what replacements work.

All modern production electric vehicles for road use (rather than little things like golf carts) have 3-phase AC motors. DC motors are still available and some people still use them for conversions, but manufacturers don't use them for production cars. The Mini is small, so any regular car-sized modern EV will have a powerful enough motor (but perhaps not the Think, which was very light), but generally they will be larger than you want to jam into the Mini. The drive unit (motor and gearbox) of a Mitsubishi i-MiEV would be an excellent match, because that car was comparable to the Mini in weight and its motor was reasonably sized.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
thank you very much for your explanation, makes all sense, i thought it would shortcut a lot with going with a think.
but since the controller on a AC is more difficult to get it right it might not be a good fit.
I thought about a Nissan leaf but were do I leave all those batteries and do i need to modify the controller as well?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
The motor in your photo looks quite big, I take it you have checked it will fit in the engine bay?
Also is it left or right hand drive car?
If it's left hand drive then the steering rack may get in the way.

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well i dont have dimensions yet but the think is small, I had once a Suzuki 16V engine in the mini and that fits well, I believe I could place even a Nissan leaf motor in it as is but it could be to tall and the diff casing could be to bulky
 

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Another Classic MINI!:love:
There are at least 2 classic Mini conversions which used a Th!nk-drivetrain (although from the earlier A266-model), a third one is currently under construction.
Your engine/gear-unit is from the later A306. It looks as it could fit into the MINI (as the A266 does perfectly), but you should check if the differetial housing (where the drive shafts connect) interferes with the steering rack (as scottherrington mentioned). No matter if RHD or LHD, by the way. You may need to cut a small "half-moon" section into the front subframe's right beam (for the motor itself) and add a reinforcement.
If you have a chance to fix your controller problem, I strongly recommend that. Should make your project a lot cheaper and easier. I understand, however, that many of the A306-Th!nks have problems with the controller and only few people are capable to fix some of them (at least here in Germany). So maybe a new 3-phase inverter/controller (properly adapted to the motor!) might be the right way to proceed. With a possible benefit that implementation of battery/bms could be way (!) easier.

Wish You good success!
Markus
 

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... i thought it would shortcut a lot with going with a think.
but since the controller on a AC is more difficult to get it right it might not be a good fit.
I thought about a Nissan leaf but were do I leave all those batteries and do i need to modify the controller as well?
The Think components might still be easy to use, if you can get a controller that someone else has already done the work to select and work out the configuration. It's still not a very powerful motor.

You'll have the battery space problem regardless of the motor that you choose.
 

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The motor in your photo looks quite big, I take it you have checked it will fit in the engine bay?
well i dont have dimensions yet but the think is small...
It's hard to judge size without anything else in the photo for reference. The Think is a glorified golf cart, and the motor is not very powerful. I don't have the dimensions, but it seems unlikely to me that this motor is too bulky for any car, even a Mini.
 

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It's hard to judge size without anything else in the photo for reference. The Think is a glorified golf cart, and the motor is not very powerful. I don't have the dimensions, but it seems unlikely to me that this motor is too bulky for any car, even a Mini.
As pointed out above by Shelle it's where the diff might interfere with the steering rack whilst lining up the drive shafts.
I'm having this issue myself.
Good news that similar builds have already been completed so hopefully the OP will be onto a good thing.

Sent from my moto g(8) power lite using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Another Classic MINI!:love:
There are at least 2 classic Mini conversions which used a Th!nk-drivetrain (although from the earlier A266-model), a third one is currently under construction.
Your engine/gear-unit is from the later A306. It looks as it could fit into the MINI (as the A266 does perfectly), but you should check if the differetial housing (where the drive shafts connect) interferes with the steering rack (as scottherrington mentioned). No matter if RHD or LHD, by the way. You may need to cut a small "half-moon" section into the front subframe's right beam (for the motor itself) and add a reinforcement.
If you have a chance to fix your controller problem, I strongly recommend that. Should make your project a lot cheaper and easier. I understand, however, that many of the A306-Th!nks have problems with the controller and only few people are capable to fix some of them (at least here in Germany). So maybe a new 3-phase inverter/controller (properly adapted to the motor!) might be the right way to proceed. With a possible benefit that implementation of battery/bms could be way (!) easier.

Wish You good success!
Markus
Thanks for your input, I didn't know about the complexity with building or matching a controller to a AC motor but beside that, I thought the think conversion become easier due to swap all to the Mini
 

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I consider the 17/27kW (nominal/peak) from my A266-Th!nk as more than sufficient. (Admitting that this figure refers to 114V, where I have 144V in my Mini.) Acceleration ist really nice (the car weighs 660kg!), speed is limited to 10.000rpm (motor rating from Siemens) which gives 100km/h only. You should check your gear ratio(s) and wheel diameters in order to find out if your drivetrain offers enough top speed for You.

I could hide 16kWh of batteries so that most people won't even notice them. Another 8kWh will easily fit, still remaining a 4-seater. As a 2-seater, your only restriction would be weight (and budget). Don't put too much weight to the rear: with a light front, even the torque of a "tiny" 17kW-motor is more than your wheels can transfer to the road. This is why I consider more than ~30kW as useless in a front-wheel driven light car. Especially if it is a reasonable (still making fun!) daily driver, and not a sports car.

And Yes, if the Th!nk components are functioning, a complete swap from one car to the other is easier.
But: I assume battery and BMS (incl. charger) will need to be "new", and to match with the rest.
Markus
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
As pointed out above by Shelle it's where the diff might interfere with the steering rack whilst lining up the drive shafts.
I'm having this issue myself.
Good news that similar builds have already been completed so hopefully the OP will be onto a good thing.

Sent from my moto g(8) power lite using Tapatalk
I do believe that with this smaller motors you can move it over a little so your not stuck on the steering rack thickest part, with th e1.3L 16V suzuki motor that was not possible to move it over to solve the fit in that case was place the motor in a 5 degree angle
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
The Think components might still be easy to use, if you can get a controller that someone else has already done the work to select and work out the configuration. It's still not a very powerful motor.

You'll have the battery space problem regardless of the motor that you choose.
I'm not so understanding of the calculation of the batteries, I understand you have to match the motor its Voltage but the KW (kw/H) determine the distance you can drive, do I get that right?
also if I would use a Nissan Leaf battery cells I will not need all sells that are used in the Nissan leaf for this 127V motor of the Think, sins the leaf motor is a 300+V motor right?
 

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Volt, kW, A, ... these causes confusion if not properly used (at least to me). Some basics, just if You are interested. If not, just skip this post.

We have three voltage levels:
  • 3-phase AC voltage: this is what the motor needs and what the inverter supplies.
  • High-Voltage DC: this is what your battery pack has, and what the inverter needs to do its job.
  • 12V-voltage: this is what your wiper, lights, radio etc. needs. You will have a DC/DC converter which acts as a alternator - it charges a tiny 12V battery.
When discussing about matching motor and inverter, voltage is not the issue, as most inverters can supply any voltage level. There are many (!) other parameters which need to be correctly set.
DC-high-voltage can be from 48V (golf-cart) up to 400V or even more (Porsche, ...). Most inverters have a big voltage range in which they can operate.

Some real -life figures to clarify a little bit:
The current which flows through a cable is measured in A (Amp猫re). A headlight bulb takes some 4A, when I accelerate my Mini there is 250A which the battery pack supplies.

If you let the mentioned bulb "on" for one hour, your battery delivered 4Ah. One hour accelerating the Mini will require 250Ah. (Assuming the voltage does not drop down significantly.)

The bulb operates @12V. This means the power (=W) equals to 4A x 12V = 48VA =48W.
My battery pack has 144V. When fully accelerating, power consumption is 144V x 250A = 36000W = 36kW. If I do this for one entire hour, I will have consumed 36kW x 1h = 36kWh.

My Mini needs some 12kWh to make 100km. Consequently, with my fully loaded battery-pack (18kWh) I could theoretically drive 150km. (Which must not happen, as You never should discharge your battery down to 0%!)

When I come home and by battery is 50% discharged, it needs 9kWh to load it. My charger supplies 3kW, this means within 3 hours the battery is full again. (which is not totally correct: the charger starts with high power (3kW), and decreases power when the battery charge is above 80%, in order to let the battery live longer. This means it takes longer to fully charge the battery.)

As mentioned above: I felt this could help a little bit; if you don't like this post, just forget it.

Have a great day!
Markus
 
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