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What cars make the best candidates for EV conversions?
Generally, the smaller and lighter the car is, the better. You'll get better performance, more range, and the conversion will cost less. It's a similar story to petrol vehicles, except there is a far greater economic advantage to keeping it small. It is not impossible to do heavier vehicle conversions but you will spend a lot more money to match the same performance as a lighter car. Generally look for the smallest car that will fit your needs. Aerodynamics will also play a significant role in the energy use of your EV, especially at higher speeds, so choosing a slippery car means it needs less power at a given speed and a smaller battery pack. It also makes sense to convert cars with relatively high mileage or even blown engines, since you can purchase them more cheaply, and greatly extend the useful life of the vehicle.

Here is a short list of possible donor vehicles for EV conversions ranked by weight
Make/ModelLinks to previous conversions
Honda CRX (HF)17137781016http://www.metricmind.com/ac_honda/main2.htm
Geo Metro (1st Gen)1850841
VW Rabbit/Golf (Mk1)1900863
Porsche 9142085946
Honda Civic (3rd Gen)2088949
Mazda Miata (1st Gen, 90-93)2100940http://evmiata.com
Hyundai Accent (1st Gen)2100955
Mitsubishi Tredia2119960
Mitsubishi Mirage (4th Gen)2156980
Toyota mr2 Mk123001043
Toyota Corolla (7th Gen)23101052
Mazda RX-7 (1st Gen)23351060http://www.austinev.org/evalbum/047.html
Datsun 280z 26301196http://www.evconvert.com/article/joes-280z-ev
Transam GTA 89 323014656.4239.7http://www.veperformance.ca
[td]Weight (lbs)[/td] [td]GVWR (lbs)[/td] [td]Weight (kgs)[/td] [td]GVWR (kgs)[/td] [td]CdA (square ft)[/td][td]Economy (mpg)[/td][td]Economy (L/100km)[/td] [td]2240[/td] [td]5.7[/td][td]45[/td][td]5.2[/td] [td]2590[/td] [td]1175[/td] [td]6.8[/td][td]41.5[/td][td]5.7[/td][td]http://www.austinev.org/evalbum/type/GEO[/td] [td]2173[/td] [td]986[/td] [td]6.5[/td][td]30[/td][td]7.8[/td][td]http://www.electroauto.com/gallery/vrabbit.shtml[/td] [td]2800[/td] [td]1280[/td] [td]6.5[/td][td]25[/td][td]9.4[/td][td]http://www.electroauto.com/gallery/vp914.shtml[/td] [td]3020[/td] [td]1370[/td] [td]7.4[/td][td]33[/td][td]7.1[/td][td]http://www.austinev.org/evalbum/106[/td] [td]3784 (lbs)[/td] [td]1716 (kgs)[/td] [td]7.0[/td][td]23[/td][td]10.21[/td] [td]3157[/td] [td]1435[/td] [td]6.6[/td][td]29.5[/td][td]8.0[/td][td]?[/td] [td]3100 (lbs)[/td] [td]1500 (kgs)[/td] [td]6.4[/td][td]27[/td][td]8.6[/td][td]http://www.austinev.org/evalbum/1114[/td] [td]3586[/td] [td]1630[/td] [td]5.9[/td][td]31.5[/td][td]7.5[/td][td]?[/td] [td]2701[/td] [td]1225[/td] [td]5.8[/td][td]26[/td][td]9.0[/td][td]http://www.austinev.org/evalbum/102[/td] [td]3498[/td] [td]1590[/td] [td]6.8[/td][td]27.5[/td][td]8.5[/td][td]http://www.austinev.org/evalbum/1078[/td] [td]? (lbs)[/td] [td]? (kgs)[/td] [td]6.3[/td][td]18[/td][td]13.0[/td] [td]~3310[/td] [td]~1502[/td] [td]~6.7[/td][td]22.8[/td][td]10.3[/td] [td]? (lbs)[/td] [td]? (kgs)[/td] [/td][td]Pontiac Fiero[/td][td]2696[/td] [td]3650[/td] [td]1225[/td] [td]1659[/td] [td]6.75[/td][td]30[/td][td]7.8[/td][td] http://www.evalbum.com/894 [/td][/tr]
Notes for adding vehicles:
The weights of some of the above cars vary slightly depending on the year and options, please record the smallest weight for simplicity. The statistics have been sourced from a variety of unconfirmed internet sources and should therefore be used as a rough guide only.
For the mpg of post 1985 vehicles use http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/findacar.htm
For the CdA of many vehicles try http://www.mayfco.com/tbls.htm, if the exact CdA could not be found record the Cda of very similar vehicles or previous generations and included a "~" to denote approximatly.
Also for weight conversions try: http://www.healthyweightforum.org/eng/converter.asp
And mpg to L/100kms: http://www.fadainc.com/mpg_100l.html
 

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Discussion Starter #2
I thought i would make a disscussion around this thread, to discuss the accuracy of the information, usefulness of the topics and possible changes to the table. I am curious as to how useful you consider the fuel economy colomns, the theory behind it was that generally gas gussling cars become amp guzzling EV's but a lot of that purely has to do with the quality of the engine that you are removing and not to do with the weight, aerodynamics, rolling resistance etc. Do you think it is still worth having the fuel economy column for these cars? Also if there are any cars you wish to see added to the table but don't have the information for them or are unable to edit the wiki (i don't blame you, its pretty tricky) please post the car and any information you have about it in this thread and i will track it down for you.
 

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More useful to me (but not perhaps to others more experienced in the art of the conversion) would be a column which shows the GVWR of the vehicles included in the table. For me, the information on gas mileage is not as critical. I would rather see how much payload (above curb weight) a given vehicle is rated to carry, thereby telling me something about how much potential capacity I have for batteries.

Steve
 

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According to your (and others') good suggestions i added some GVMR columns to the table, they're empty at the moment but it took me a good while to manually copy and paste them into the table. You have to do each cell individually and after doing them side by side i realised they would be better next to their curb mass (in metric/imperial) so i went back and re-did it. If anyone wants to add information just click edit and take a deep breath (the text will look a bit intimidating if you aren't used to programming). Find the name of the car you want and just replace the "GVWR (units)" with the appropriate data and make sure you preview it before saving. If you don't want to go to that trouble just post the data here or personal message me and i'll do it. It would be great to get a few more people contibuting so we can build on this resource.
 

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You should consider adding the air cooled beetle. It is light and there are a number of companies that make kits to convert them.
 

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If you look up the specs I'll add it for you. It takes a bit of research time but I'm sure it would be helpful for others...
 

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You should consider adding the air cooled beetle. It is light and there are a number of companies that make kits to convert them.
+1

Also, the classic/super VW beetle (aka Type 1) has cheaper and easier to find parts then half of those other cars. :p
 

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61-64 beetle

Engine: Horizontally opposed four, overhead chain-driven cams, two valves per cylinder, cast-magnesium crankcase and cast-iron cylinders and alloy pistons, 1,192cc (72.74 cubic inches)
Horsepower: 40 @ 3,900 rpm
Torque: 61-lbs.ft. @ 2,000 rpm
Induction system: Solex 1-bbl. carburetor
Gearbox: Four-speed manual, fully synchronized
Length: 160.2 inches
Width: 60.6 inches
Height: 59.1 inches
Curb weight: 1,720 pounds
0-60 mph: 27 seconds
Top speed: 72 mph


My own car, which has an aftermarket 2332cc engine, wieghs in at only 1550lbs, it has lost it bumpers, rear seat and running boards.

***The earlier 64 and back cars have a much stronger king pin front end. There have been reports of some ball joints front ends (1965 and later) breaking with heavy curb weights.****

Thanks for a great forum and resource!!:)
 

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How strong is the Super Beetle front end (MacPherson Struts)? If you like "newer car" handling, then you would be converting a Super Beetle, not a standard one.

Maybe that should be added seperate? Or perhaps just extend the year range to include 61-75 and add a note...
 

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No I meant the specs as in matching the donor car section:
Make/ModelWeight (lbs)GVWR (lbs)Weight (kgs)GVWR (kgs)CdA (square ft)Economy (mpg)Economy (L/100km)Links to previous conversions
 

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New here and looking at the donor table see that the GVWR of a Miata is 3784 lbs.
This is incorrect, my 2000 miata is 2332 curb and 2835 gvwr. Probably a typo, 2784 lbs maybe?
 

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I own 2 Beetles.
1973 Sedan - Torsion Bar front end - ICE powered
1977 Convertible (my EV) - MacPherson Strut front end. www.evalbum.com/2187

I had to add spring spacers to the MacPherson Struts when I added 360 lbs of LA Batts in the trunk. I'll be removing those batts once my Lithiums arrive.
I don't like the way the vehicle handles with that much weight and spacers on the front end. The steering feels stiff and of course the suspension is much stiffer and rattles your teeth when you hit a bump.

I have completely restored 4 Beetles in the past 15 years and YES, the parts are readily available and inexpensive.
However, if I were to convert another, I would choose a 1973 or earlier with the Torsion Bar front end. There are coil-over shocks which can be used with that front end to regulate the height and stiffness.
I have a pair on my 73 and it handles just fine.
Roy
 

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I have a fairly rare, ultra-lightweight English 2-seater, a '59 Berkeley, originally powered by an approx. 20 hp 2-stroke 2-cycle motorcycle motor. The whole car weighs only 680 lb, and with the motor and gas tank out, it will be about 550 lb. I wonder if more experienced EV-ers than I have advice on battery numbers and sizes? Because lead-acid would double the weight of the car, clearly lithium (Thundersky or similar) makes good sense-- under 180 lb, leaving the car not much heavier than original. So: Can I get by with less than 96v? I'm looking for bursts in the high 60mph (like the orig. 20 hp ICE), moderate 60-ish maintained for maybe 10 miles on the freeway, and a total usable range near 50 mi. The car's frontal area is small and fairly aerodynamic (google BEC and Berkeley or Berkeley and coldplugs to get a look-- somewhat Italian front end). Would 72v be clearly too little-- or is there such a thing as 84v? Do I need to go with 200 a-hr? All advice appreciated. -Chris in VA
 

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I have a fairly rare, ultra-lightweight English 2-seater, a '59 Berkeley,...bursts in the high 60mph (like the orig. 20 hp ICE), ...maybe 10 miles on the freeway, and a total usable range near 50 mi.
sounds like 120v worth of 160ah would be a fab build..... w.a.g. You MIGHT even get by with 100ah, but the 50 miles would lean to the higher capacity as a better bet. sticking to 120v would lower max amp pull while holding to the lower v rated (less expensive) components.

d
 

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Hey I found a lot of cars that look to be self reported or something from an ecomodder forum. The data is pretty unwieldy in internet form so I finagled it into an excel 2007 workbook (xlsx) :) I added some calculations because the numbers reported seemed a little off for CdA and frontal area. The ecomodder link has the formulas that I used, and they are below as is the link. I hope you guys find this useful.

Frontal Area formula = Height * Width * .84
(Height and Width in feet)
Frontal Area formula = (Height/12) * (Width/12) * .84
(Height and Width in inches)
CdA formula = Cd * Frontal Area

http://ecomodder.com/wiki/index.php/Vehicle_Coefficient_of_Drag_List
 

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Hi guys,

Please let me make you notice, this is my first post here.

I have been searching the internet for a decent ranking table of possible donor cars. This thread seems to be the best find yet, and I'm sorry to be unsatisfied.

Can anyone please redirect me to a more complete list?
I am very interested in helping out on completing and possibly making a true query-able database from all submitted specifications.

I do understand the limits to the impact of which donor car you choose. But not having a donor car at hand and many different options (on european secondhand market), such list comes in really handy.

So where do I go?

It seems carfolio has a lot of info on cars, but you can't sort by weight or aerodynamic coefficient... I'll be contacting them.
 

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Hi,
I am working on converting my 1st generation Miata (MX5). Does anybody know the source for the GVWR listed above:
Make/Model Weight (lbs) GVWR (lbs) Weight (kgs) GVWR (kgs)
Mazda Miata (1st Gen, 90-93) 2447 3784 (lbs) 1109 1716 (kgs)
I need to be able to prove this for my certifier.

Thanks
John
 

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Hi Guys,
This is my first post. I am asking if someone can help with this decision. I know someone with a Mazda Miata 1996 M Edition for sale, and would like help if I can convert it? Or will it not work seeing that it's an automatic, please help.

Jonathan
 
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