DIY Electric Car Forums banner

DIY EV in Australia

7355 Views 11 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Karter2
Hi All,
Thanks for the opportunity to get onto a forum for the first time ever.

As a novice, I have absolutely no idea how these operate and as such ask for your patience as I enter this steep learning curve.

I have a new love affair with older VWs and currently have a Kombi and a couple of Beetles (all 1972).

I have recently had success having put a Subaru motor in my Kombi and my next project is to convert my Beetle to Electric.

I have no idea where to start and am hoping that a forum could a good place to hook up with others who have suggestions/experience.
As a resident of Melbourne, I would ideally like to hook up with locals.

Please help.
1 - 12 of 12 Posts

First thing is that you need to be clear on your expectations.

Primary purpose, acceleration, speed, range, cost, weight?

Then we can start to offer guidance on options for your build.
Where in Aus are you? I am in Brissy
I know a guy just starting a Beatle conversion in NSW.

Beatles are a good base because there are some conversion components kicking around and they are light.
Thanks for getting back to me,

Early days for me in terms of expectations.
Like many $ are a priority.

I'm reasonably handy and hoping to do as much as possible myself.

I guess power and range are critical in terms of being able to get max use of the Beetle.

I'm In Patterson lakes Victoria (near Frankston).

So did I understand you to say that it's already been done?
If so I'd love to hear about the results.
See less See more
Yes there are quite a few around. Although I am unsure how many are in Aus.

Yuo can start by looking at the garage section of this forum.

Then filter by make "Volkswagen"

I also spotted this on Ebay:
I am not necessarily recommending this but it is an option. Probably do your own research first.

There are all sorts of kits and adaptors suited to VW like :

Every build is unique. There are so many variables. So the results will vary widely and wildly. You can convert a car and make it go like a golf kart or you can convert the same car and make it go like a drag car.

But if you have limited budget you are probably going to be towards the golf kart end of the spectrum.

Batteries, controller and motor are the main / most costly components. These all have to be compatible with each other and all have to be up to the performance you are asking from them. Set your performance targets and then select a combination to achieve those targets.
Alternatively name your price.......we'll all laugh.....then we'll tell you to double it. Just kidding. But only kinda kidding. EV stuff is still expensive. Particularly if you need decent range. But then again I know people who have spent AU$20,000 on ICE engine rebuilds. So when you look at it like that EVs are not too different. Figure on around AU$1,000 per kwh assuming new batteries. Half that if you can find second hand ones. and figure on around 10km range per KWh assuming you drive like a grand parent. But don't select your battery purely on capacity. You also need to set a target number of volts and maximum current. Just for reference my pack was $2500, 7kwh, 172V and 500amps.
See less See more
I have seen a few ev beetles, from mild commuters to very powerful beasts. The good news is i think there will be premade parts you can buy to fit the original transmission and associated bits and someone whos done it before who im sure would love to share their build story and lessons with you.
I recall seeing a Porsch 914 in the US for sale, was running and driving for $13,000US (I think the username was SCEV). thats a dash over $20k landed in aus, i looked into it pretty seriously but the $$ didnt add up right for what i wanted from it.
It was also very powerful so if you just wanted a commuter it may not be for you (i.e. worth the money) but as almost a straight swap for parts and savings in time buying a complete or incomplete conversion for parts would save you some money and time.

Good luck
Thanks Nucleus for the link.
A good one.
Lead me to good videos.
Do you or any others know of any local parts suppliers and or successful installations to help make the process smooth and faster?
Parts like adapter plates to trans etc.
The Yanks seem to have this pretty well stitched up but for well beyond my budget (whatever that is).

Seems to be a lot more to it than I thought, but certainly more exciting than I thought.
Thanks, Itchyback (I won't ask about the name).

Whilst I do value power, I need to face the reality of cost and as such need to be able to commute cost effectively and have the range to enjoy the car.

It would be brilliant if I could hear from those who could advise about the process and suppliers etc.

I do have some Beetle bits, including running gear, for sale at the moment which I hope will help fund the project.

I'm already very impressed by the responses.
much appreciated, but please, keep them coming.
There are only a small number of local suppliers. Certainly none that will have conversion parts specific to VW. If you aren't in a position to afford import costs I suspect you won't be able to afford the conversion at this time. Realistically the major parts alone will be aroun $8000, excluding the adaptors etc for your specific car, excluding all the time effort and extras required to make it happen. If you aren't figuring on $10,000 plus then I fear you are not in the ball park. It is possible to do it for less but you need to be lucky and you need to spend a lot of time investigating leads and tracking down second hand parts.

I think Galderdi is being a wee bit too negative,
You can do your conversion on a bit less - but he is correct that it will be more work

Adapter bits - make your own
Motor - Forklift - I paid $100
Controller - Paul & Sabrina - $600 kit
Charger - Make a simple charger - my first one was $150

Here you are stuck! - best is the pack from a wrecked Nissan Leaf or Chevy Volt
Expect to pay about $3000

Here in NZ there are very few about - but I got one from the USA - there are lots for sale in the USA
You need a shipper that will stick one in their container
Most will run a mile at the mention of Lithium

I was lucky there is a Hot Rod Import company locally - Hot Rodders have a much better mindset and are not scared of a liddle bit of lithium

Australia is a bigger country - more people - more cars - should be more crashed EV's!!
See less See more
Sorry, I wasn't intending to be negative, just trying to set expectations.

Agreed the figures I used were assuming mostly new/commercial components. Building your own or going second hand will significantly reduce the cost.

Batteries are a big issue here. I have been digging and digging over a 18 month period. There really isn't many cheap options here.
There are the expesive new suppliers.
There is a dodgy second hand importer.
There seems to be only one wrecker in Aus that sucks up any wrecked EVs, there is a long waiting list for the batteries and they don't seem to manage that wiating list very well anyway.
There have been a few second hand Toyota Hybrid batteries pop up of late, to me they seem like the best bet currently.
Toyota hybrid packs are low capacity (1.3 -1.6 kWh) and NiMH chemistry.
...fine for a hybrid but not very useful for an EV.
1 - 12 of 12 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.