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Discussion Starter #1
I'm hoping to someday make an EV based on an Audi A4/A6
maybe something like this:




doesn't have to be white. probably silver or black.
I like the Audi designs a lot. has an air of sophistication and elegance unlike any other that I think will go great with the EV philosophy. much better than small ugly and weak as we see too much of.
Audi are bastards because they don't make EVs themselves but they do great design.

which would you like?
 

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Average Joe
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I think an A4 with a blown engine would be a great donor car to start with. I'm a big fan of sport/luxury cars. The A4 is slightly lighter than the A6 as well, so that's a plus, and it has plenty of cabin room.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
there are the occasional good deal on one with a blown engine yes but that gives transportation problems instead (I have to get the car from germany 400-1000km away). also the engine parts couldn't be sold as working but I considered it. if somehow they could ship the car to me and I could buy it without seeing it first then it might work.
 

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I've always (since the model came out) liked the shape of these:



With their light weight, they'd make a snazzy looking EV.
They seem to have rescued Suzuki's dull sales too.
 

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Each of those Audi vehicles weighs in at over 3,700 pounds. Most conversions gain weight in the process of being converted into an EV, so imagine what the end result of starting with a lead sled is... There's a reason that many EV conversions are built from "small, ugly, and weak" econo-box donor cars. Those cars have a much more favorable power-to-weight ratio without having to go overboard on motor, controller, and battery specs. That and the fact that a used A4/6 donor car even with a blown motor is going to fetch a price high enough to pay for the entire conversion costs of an economy model. Lug around an extra 1,700 pounds of heated seats, power mirrors, load-and-terrain adjustable susupension, etc, and you'll soon see that lighter is better.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
not sure where you got your info but actually we have versions of the A4 that weigh less than 2800lbs. maybe some deranged americana 4 liter version weigh that much but the 1.6L version weigh just under 2800 (1270kg) including motor and all its supporting parts
further I intend to use a small lithium pack so it might end up at stock weight. maybe even less if you count a tank of gas.
 

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I would really like to start with an extremely light station wagon like a Mini Traveler or a Morris Minor. Unfortunately, these are rather expensive to start with here in the US since they were never imported. Also, most parts for these cars need to be ordered on line or fabricated, so that is a hassle. Another thing that makes these cars impractical is their not-so-aerodynamic or boxy shape. That's why I am planning on building a Ford Escort wagon. It is still a wagon, so I can take the wife, the kid, the dog, and a bunch of stuff, the donor car can dirt cheap, parts are super available, and the car is fairly aerodynamic, and it is reasonably light. Too bad Ford Escorts look so boring. :rolleyes:
 

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Being that weight and space are the big issues, I actually see an S-10 sized truck being a great option. It's fairly light and you can fill half of the bed with batteries.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I _really_ don't get the fascination with trucks :)
to me it's like taking a wife because she has big hands so she can lift the tractor out of the mud when it gets stuck. where is the sophistication, the elegance. I just don't get it.
 

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Yep, I think that's the attraction to EV truck conversions. "Strong on plow!" Also, if you need a truck... well, you should convert a truck right. :)
 

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I've been doing some thinking on this, and I've learned how hard it is to find weight comparisons of various cars.

There's a guy here whose name escapes me right now that likes the VW pickup of the early-to-mid 80s. What I liked (and remember) is that he'd done several of them, and he used a clothes dryer plug and a big honkin' diode for a charger. It sounded mostly like breathing new life into a beater car, and using it to whirr (I was going to say "putt") around town on the cheap.

I used to have an '81 Jetta, and I had it weighed once. It was 1990 lbs with me in the driver's seat and half a tank of gas. That meant that empty, the car was under 1800! Does that sound a bit light to anyone else here? I mean, I know it was a light car, and it went plenty fast with an 80HP gas engine, but ????? I don't know how sturdy it would be for an EV conversion, and unfortunatly, they corroded pretty badly and few survive today.

I'm very interested in hearing others' experience with the weight vs strength (and therefore, suitability) of various existing car platforms for EV conversion. I've only done gokarts so far, but I've managed to learn a little. Unless you have piles of money, you'll probably wind up using SLA batteries or some related variant for power, so there's a big weight issue. Even if you do have piles of money, the batteries are bound to represent a lot of weight.

Veering back closer to on-topic, however, I'd have to say that I like the Lotus Elise form that Tesla uses. In the slightly more affordable realm, I really like the Smart Roadster, and to a lesser extent the Smart Car, but I don't know if they have the needed "beef". They're also very rare and expensive here in the US. Locally, I'd have to say I like some of the Scion stuff, although the Shoe Box (XB) isn't my cup of tea. I've noticed that old Datsun 1200 cars are pretty rare, despite their proliferation "back in the day" - perhaps this is inspired by Plasma Boy and the (in)famous White Zombie. I have to admit that if I found a 1200 in decent condition (aside from the motor, which I don't want), I'd probably snap it right up.

-Mark
 

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Average Joe
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Is there a chart that lists all major makes/models by weight? I'd be curious to see this data and maybe put it up on our wiki.

The elise is an excellent car. I have one and drive it a few times a week. People have asked me if I'm going to convert it, but I think it'd be a pain and cost just as much as buying the tesla to get it to equiv. performance. The cool thing about it is that it's under 2000 pounds, but that means there's very little space to work with. You'd have to be very, very crafty in how you engineer your battery pack to fit it in there.
 

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I _really_ don't get the fascination with trucks :)
to me it's like taking a wife because she has big hands so she can lift the tractor out of the mud when it gets stuck. where is the sophistication, the elegance. I just don't get it.
Depends on what "does" it for you. Do you like "sexy", or do you like "useful"? (Ok, in my case, I'll concede that "sexy" ="useful", but you know what I mean. :D )

It's like asking "what's your favorite car/vehicle"? Do I have to pick just one? If I could afford it, I'd have a sports car for just me, a nice sedan for me +friends, and a wonderful truck for utility. (I particularly like the railroad maintenance trucks with heavy payload, build-in welder, 6000 lb lift boom, locking tool boxes, pintle hitch, crew cab, etc.) But what do I drive? A Nissan sedan. It does the job.


-Mark
 

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Some of the best EVs I have seen are based on a Saturn SL or SC. These are very light yet the SL has 4 door and room for real driving. I thinks it's about 2,200 lbs before you dump the old ICE engine , exhaust , gas tank etc.

Check the best performers in the Tour De sol and you'll see they are very practical.
You can get them very cheap,and parts are available.
 

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VW Rabbits were VERY light cars. 1800lbs does not sound unrealistic. I'm sure that's one of the biggest reasons why the Volts Wagon came into existence. Another good one is the old Chevy Sprint at 1700 lbs. By buddy's 3cyl Sprint Turbo is only rated for 70hp, but it hauls butt!

I too like the idea of a smart car, but like you say, the price is unreasonable.

The Saturns are also nice since they are reasonably light, they're made out of all GM stuff, so parts are easy to get a hold of, and they're aerodynamic. I really want to build a wagon though, and the Saturn Wagons hold their value pretty well. I'm going to look for an Escort wagon instead for this very reason.

Wikipedia often lists weights for various cars.
 

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I'd have to agree with Dan. I'd love to use a car that looks, well, like a car!
The only reason I'd consider a ute/truck would be for simpler layout of batteries, certainly not styling!
 

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Actually, a stylish looking cross-over sport-ute with car type lines would be nice and could potentially handle the additional weight of batteries. Unfortunately, cross-over utes are still pretty spendy compared to any number of 10 or 20 year old cars. maybe a Hyundai SantaFe with a blown motor could be affordable. Shoot, those things look funky though. :p
 

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Honda CRXs ...especially the "HF" version which stands for "high fuel efficiency". Basically, Honda stripped down the CRX of all the extra weight they could to make the lightest car possible. Wiki says this about the "HF" version of the CRX, "The original 1.3 liter car and the later American-market CRX HF model could reliably achieve better than 50 mpg, more than a decade before gas-electric hybrids appeared on the market".
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honda_CR-X
Another tidbit from the net, "The lightest of all CRXs are the HF models. Designed with the singular goal of exceptional gas mileage, the HF is in many ways the low-tech spiritual predecessor to the Honda Insight."
Lots more from this website on the HFs http://www.sportcompactcarweb.com/projectcars/0012scc_project_honda_crx_part_1/index.html

One of the most high tech conversions around is Victor Tikhonov's CRX HF
http://www.metricmind.com/ac_honda/main2.htm

And if this is not enough!...there are TONS of aftermarket upgrades for CRXs. You can go nuts and get a superlightweight carbon fiber hood, fenders, header panel, even the rear hatch! Brakes, suspension, lights, interior stuff...components galore! Lots of lightweight and fun pimped out parts to maximize your bling factor.
 
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