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When "forklift" motors are used in EV conversions, they are normally used with a much higher-voltage battery than the actual forklift would have, to allow the motor to work at higher speed and to push more current at low speed. The controller from a forklift would likely have both input voltage and output current limits which are too low to give acceptable performance in a road vehicle... but you could check specs on whatever controllers you can find, especially since you are looking for modest performance.

Is this for the separately excited or compound motor that you found? The controller for the traction motor in a forklift with a DC motor is likely only for a series-wound motor.
 
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