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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello! I am considering converting my 2002 Golf to electric. For my daily commute, I need a range of at least 60 miles and a top speed of at least 75 mph, although I would prefer a range closer to 90-100 miles if I can make it work with my budget, which should probably max out around $13000. For the motor/controller setup, I am hoping to use this kit (144V, 250A AC motor ME1616). I have been assured by the seller that it will work for my project, but if anyone has any feedback about that, I'd love to hear it. My real questions, though, are these:
The car has an automatic transmission, so I'll probably have to take it out. Does anybody know if there'd be a reasonable way to replace it with a EV gear reducer (e.g. from a Nissan Leaf)?
For the batteries, am trying to decide between Tesla Model S 18650 and Nissan Leaf G1 or G2. Which would you people recommend, and what would I need to get to accompany them? The Leaf modules are cheaper, but I don't really know what the lifetimes are or what hardware might be required to charge and control each type.
I also live in Colorado (high altitude, low humidity, lots of hills, temperature range approx. -5 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit) if that affects anybody's responses.
 

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Hello! I am considering converting my 2002 Golf to electric. For my daily commute, I need a range of at least 60 miles and a top speed of at least 75 mph, although I would prefer a range closer to 90-100 miles if I can make it work with my budget, which should probably max out around $13000. For the motor/controller setup, I am hoping to use this kit (144V, 250A AC motor ME1616). I have been assured by the seller that it will work for my project, but if anyone has any feedback about that, I'd love to hear it. My real questions, though, are these:
The car has an automatic transmission, so I'll probably have to take it out. Does anybody know if there'd be a reasonable way to replace it with a EV gear reducer (e.g. from a Nissan Leaf)?
For the batteries, am trying to decide between Tesla Model S 18650 and Nissan Leaf G1 or G2. Which would you people recommend, and what would I need to get to accompany them? The Leaf modules are cheaper, but I don't really know what the lifetimes are or what hardware might be required to charge and control each type.
I also live in Colorado (high altitude, low humidity, lots of hills, temperature range approx. -5 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit) if that affects anybody's responses.
I've looked at that kit in the past. In all honesty, I just dont see how it is suitable for a full size car, especially when hills are concerned. It may work, but it'd be a slug.

You will still need some kind of transmission to get useful performance out of that motor. Perhaps a manual transmission swap is in order? That would be many times cheaper than the purpose built EV transmissions, and a CanEV adapter plate and hub may fit, making it pretty easy.

You'll want to work out some sort of cooling for the Leaf batteries, but I believe the Tesla batteries are liquid cooled. Cold days here (I'm also in CO) can really hammer your range. You may need to warm the batteries up in cold weather to keep your range up. An inline fluid heater might be nice for the Tesla batteries. I've considered silicone heating pads for warming my batteries, but I've had trouble finding them suitably rated. That would probably be easier for you at 144v. You should also include a BMS and a suitably powerful charger. J1772 support makes charging around town easier, which can help with range issues.

Dont forget a cabin heater or some other form of statung warm! I've heard people recommend heated seats and a heated steering wheel cover as reasonably comfortable and more efficient than fully heating the cabin.

First things first, I'd consider a more powerful motor kit. I just dont think that one will make for a good build.

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You mention using the gearbox and battery from a Leaf...

The Leaf and Golf are about the same size. Why not just drive a used Leaf?
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
You mention using the gearbox and battery from a Leaf...

The Leaf and Golf are about the same size. Why not just drive a used Leaf?
Part of it is just that I love building things and hate getting rid of things that can still serve a purpose, but mostly I was hoping that getting the parts and installing them into the body of the car I already had could save me some money (especially since Colorado has a $5000 tax credit on conversions that does not apply to buying used vehicles). I am keeping that option open (there are some used Leafs and eGolfs in my area for around $14000), but unless it comes to a point where it really just wouldn't be any cheaper to convert than to buy a whole new car, I'd like to keep exploring in this direction. Do you think that's reasonable?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I've loved at that kit in the past. In all honesty, I just dont see how it is suitable for a full size car, especially when hills are concerned. It may work, but it'd be a slug.
Okay - thanks for the input! Do you have a suggestion for what I could use instead, given my budget constraints?
 

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Okay - thanks for the input! Do you have a suggestion for what I could use instead, given my budget constraints?
I dont know the dimensions of the engine bay and the drivetrain, so it's hard to say. I dont know much about VWs. Evwest has a good selection to give you an idea of what's available.

It sounds like you want a commuter, though. Would this be your daily driver?

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I understand the desire to make use of what you have, to do an interesting project, and to put something together for less than the cost of a used EV. On the other hand, the result will be inferior by any objective measure to a used EV, so I suggest keeping expectations low... for power, range, and how well sorted-out the controls are. If buying a used EV, the e-Golf is the obvious choice: it may not be as good an EV as a Leaf of a comparable age (VW just did what was necessary to build something electric to say that had one), but it's a very direct replacement for a regular Golf.

Compact transverse-engine front-wheel-drive cars are all very similar dimensionally and in configuration, so the complete drive unit (motor plus transaxle) of any EV of this format would likely fit in place of the powertrain (engine and transaxle) of any conventional car of this format. To simplify mounting and axle shafts, the obvious choice for a Golf would be an e-Golf, but the ability to work with the controls of the EV outside of the original car is an important factor, and there is much more DIY experience with the Leaf than with the e-Golf.

I don't think it makes sense to adapt any motor to fit the Leaf transaxle - using the original Golf (manual) transaxle would be easier. But if using the Leaf motor, it might make sense to make the Leaf transaxle mount in the Golf body (since the Leaf motor is already perfectly mounted to it) and figure out the axle situation, rather than adapting the Leaf motor to a Golf transaxle.
 
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