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Hi there ladies and gents,

So I've been creeping around this site, and a few others, and wanted to post what i'm trying to plan for an EV conversion.

Long story short, where I live we can drive UTV's on the road, and I have one as a daily driver, and the ICE is getting sad. I'm going to have to dump $1-1.5k into it, or look at electric conversion.

I already own an i3, and love it, but want to convert the SxS to use around town, and occasional trips out into the woods. I'm completely sold on electric vehicles, and know their limits/etc.

Its lifted, and has a bunch of doo-dads on it that came with it, as well as being paid for, so going to keep it rather than trade it in.

We have sand and hills here, so working on some basic design parameters now, and would like to get some input.

basing this on these parameters:

1) Vehicle is about 1300lbs as it sits. has the aerodynamics of an elephant's rear end. Tows occasionally, weight of trailer is about 700lbs.

2) trying to avoid spending $6k for a kit and some batteries.

3) i don't care about power costs with recharging, as I have solar energy at my disposal.

So, for the purposes of this, here is what I have, and here is what I need help with.

1) Motor - looking at a nissan leaf motor for the combo of cheap, reliable, and readily available. Would take suggestions though. Forklift drive motor?

2) controller - Not a clue, this is the mystery I need help with.

3) Batteries - used cells from leaf/volt/etc, I have room under the seats to stack quite a few of them.

I don't need regen braking, and would like a range of roughly 30-40 miles. Top speed is 55mph or less, and most of the driving this thing does is around 25-35mph.

So here are a couple of questions for whoever might be able to help.

1) controller - this is something I don't have a clue on, except I do know that re-programming a stock on isn't happening. can someone point me to a controller to buy/build that will drive a leaf motor? I just need it to turn, and frankly probably need less than half the rated capacity of it. but fast is fun, lets face it. I've looked at Kelly controllers, and Curtis.

2) Charging - best to just use a stock charger with the batteries? I have a L2 in the garage already.

3) Cooling - do leaf motors need liquid cooling? I can always keep stock radiator if needed.

4) Specs - does anyone know rated voltage of stock leaf motor?

What else am I missing? been searching and reading all I can, but I do make mistakes like anyone else.

Thanks in advance, trying to move my whole fleet to electric by 2020, just need to figure out how to afford that Rivian R1T!
 

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I won't do solar charging on this, I have grid-tied PV on the roof of my properties, so power is free to plug into.

But I would like to make it clean, fast and quiet.

Looks like the controller is the hard part, the rest of this is fairly simple electric wiring.
 

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A Leaf motor is pretty big for this purpose, and it isn't trivial to get any inverter working with it. But it's certainly a reliable and powerful choice.

I assume that a Leaf motor certainly needs liquid cooling, since it isn't designed for air cooling at all.

The nominal battery voltage of a Leaf is 360 volts, and all of that is needed to produce full rated power at the top end of the speed range. I haven't seen data for power available as a function of speed at lower voltages.
 

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In my town, in Iowa, UTV's have no path to being street legal. I've currently got a Tomberlin Vanish that I use for utility purposes - it is based off of the Polaris ranger 500 chassis and converted for electric. Running that thing around back and forth between my two properties gives the desire for a UTV that is quite a bit faster, and street legal. Instead of a leaf - you may want to look into the Smart for Two electric vehicles. They are actually incredibly cheap, and the major components would be easy to repurpose as they are rearwheel drive with a swingarm style suspension. The nice thing about basically just rebuilding a vehicle like that is you have all power solutions already finished... charger, battery, bms - it's all there and all works! Removing glass, body, etc and fitting a minimal tube chassis and a box or however you want your UTV setup can nearly cut the weight in half, so the 70hp becomes much higher performance!
 

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... Instead of a leaf - you may want to look into the Smart for Two electric vehicles. They are actually incredibly cheap, and the major components would be easy to repurpose as they are rearwheel drive with a swingarm style suspension. The nice thing about basically just rebuilding a vehicle like that is you have all power solutions already finished... charger, battery, bms - it's all there and all works!
The Smart ForTwo (and Roadster) rear suspension is actually a weird variant of de Dion beam axle (not trailing or semi-transparent trailing arms or swing axles) but it might work okay.

I agree that the Smart ED hardware seems reasonably sized for a UTV, and the package on a subframe might be easy to adapt to a typical UTV structure. There were multiple generations of Smart Electric Drive, with substantial changes to the EV systems, and at some point they stopped using the subframe... so choose your donor Smart ED carefully.
 

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Not sure if the OP is still around and moving forward with the EV conversion of the Polaris SxS.

I have a Ranger 700XP that I would like to convert. I know Voltronix has a kit for the Li-Ion batteries and management systems for $5000. Eck??

Has anyone look at their systems? Kind of expensive. But I would figure the entire cost would be around $7-9K.

I have seen where people are using electric motors from forklifts as well. Anyone have experience with those?
 
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