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I'm in the early stages of planning a fun/runabout EV conversion on a 10K budget. Currently looking at a fiat 850 spider for the donor car and hashing out motor/battery options.

There are quite a few different motor/transaxles available from China intended for trikes and utility carts. Just looking at rough measurements one of the 115cm 72V versions would fit nicely in a fiat 850. I'm not trying to go any faster than 50 or 60 mph anyhow.

Has anyone had any experience with these? Are there any builds that someone could point me towards. I did a little searching but came up with nothing.

I have bought quite a few pieces of machinery from china over the years (including industrial electric motors) so I would probably use my existing contacts rather than Alibaba, but the link below is essentially what I am talking about.

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Ele...000&pvid=f613069c-db46-42d6-a41f-496444ace132
 

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I'm in the early stages of planning a fun/runabout EV conversion on a 10K budget. Currently looking at a fiat 850 spider for the donor car and hashing out motor/battery options.



There are quite a few different motor/transaxles available from China intended for trikes and utility carts. Just looking at rough measurements one of the 115cm 72V versions would fit nicely in a fiat 850. I'm not trying to go any faster than 50 or 60 mph anyhow.



Has anyone had any experience with these? Are there any builds that someone could point me towards. I did a little searching but came up with nothing.



I have bought quite a few pieces of machinery from china over the years (including industrial electric motors) so I would probably use my existing contacts rather than Alibaba, but the link below is essentially what I am talking about.



https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Ele...000&pvid=f613069c-db46-42d6-a41f-496444ace132
That is not a lot of power from that unit... Is that the one you plan on using, or do you have a bigger one in mind? OEM components have consistently been cheaper, more powerful, and of dramatically higher quality than the cheap Chinese stuff in my experience.

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That is not a lot of power from that unit... Is that the one you plan on using, or do you have a bigger one in mind? OEM components have consistently been cheaper, more powerful, and of dramatically higher quality than the cheap Chinese stuff in my experience.

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I would probably shoot for a 3000watt unit if weight and packaging constraints don't force me smaller. I should also be able to get a custom final drive.

Is there a similar OEM axle set on the market? The only thing similar that comes to mind are rear drive hybrid units from a salvage vehicle, but I am having a hard time coming up with measurements. because of the small size of the donor vehicle I need to keep weight and size low. Sacrificing power isn't too much of a concern.
 

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I would probably shoot for a 3000watt unit if weight and packaging constraints don't force me smaller. I should also be able to get a custom final drive.



Is there a similar OEM axle set on the market? The only thing similar that comes to mind are rear drive hybrid units from a salvage vehicle, but I am having a hard time coming up with measurements. because of the small size of the donor vehicle I need to keep weight and size low. Sacrificing power isn't too much of a concern.
Those cars came with at least a 25Kw ICE originally. I don't know what the peak rating of that 3Kw unit is... but I'm afraid you might be really disappointed with it. You'd be lucky to ever hit the speed limit. That unit really looks like it's more at home in a golf kart.

A lot of the VW kits use a transaxle. So does the Leaf, Tesla, Kia Soul, and surely others. I'd rather overbuild than underbuild, especially when were talking drivetrains. Anyway, that's my 2c.

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Although you don't necessarily need the multiple gear ratios of the car's original transaxle, it does have some advantages over other transaxles:
  • you already have it (probably)
  • it can handle enough power for the weight of the car
  • it fits in the car, including between the suspension components (semi-trailing arm independent in this case)
  • it works with the axles
This leads to the very traditional EV conversion method of adapting a suitably-sized motor to the original transaxle... and desperately searching for space to mount enough battery.:D

There are lots of single-speed transaxles intended for EVs which are available to manufacturers, but a single unit at a reasonable price to a do-it-yourselfer is another matter entirely. That's why people use either the vehicle's original transmission or transaxle, or the transaxle which comes with a motor salvaged from a production EV... most of which are not the right size for an 850.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the input guys. I did some soul searching regarding jbman's comment about overbuilding rather than under building. I've contacted some suppliers to suss out the upper bounds for motor power on a transaxle set, and I'll share what I find out here, but from what I am learning from reading about other builds it seems that using as many stock parts as possible is the safer bet.
 

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Thanks for the input guys. I did some soul searching regarding jbman's comment about overbuilding rather than under building. I've contacted some suppliers to suss out the upper bounds for motor power on a transaxle set, and I'll share what I find out here, but from what I am learning from reading about other builds it seems that using as many stock parts as possible is the safer bet.
Hello, Did you buy the EV conversion KIT from China, could you please recommend me a supplier?
 

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Maybe I have a lot of stereotypes, but every time someone say "Chinese", I hear "low quality". Am I wrong?
Yes.

Cheap stuff from no-name suppliers is likely of low quality, but a buyer who is willing to insist on better quality and willing to pay for it can have as good as they want. Do you have an iPhone (or just about any other Apple product)? It was designed and built in China.

Unfortunately, it would be difficult to find a premium supplier of EV motor and transaxle assemblies in individual quantities from any area, and if there is one available from a supplier in China it would be difficult to pick it out of all of the cheap stuff.
 

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Maybe I have a lot of stereotypes, but every time someone say "Chinese", I hear "low quality". Am I wrong?
Not "wrong" just out of date

Just as "Japanese" used to mean cheap and poor quality - and now means expensive and high quality

China is going the same way
 

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Yes.

Cheap stuff from no-name suppliers is likely of low quality, but a buyer who is willing to insist on better quality and willing to pay for it can have as good as they want. Do you have an iPhone (or just about any other Apple product)? It was designed and built in China.

Unfortunately, it would be difficult to find a premium supplier of EV motor and transaxle assemblies in individual quantities from any area, and if there is one available from a supplier in China it would be difficult to pick it out of all of the cheap stuff.
China has billions of manufacturers. How can I know that the one I'm buying from is not the bad one? The problem is: we have a lot of low quality stuff in the U.S.A. too, but it still is less. Because we have some standards. But I see what's your point.
 

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China has billions of manufacturers. How can I know that the one I'm buying from is not the bad one? The problem is: we have a lot of low quality stuff in the U.S.A. too, but it still is less. Because we have some standards. But I see what's your point.
Yes, that's the problem (although a country with a couple billion people obviously doesn't have billions of manufacturers). A company buying production quantities sets quality standards, inspects the manufacturer's facilities and processes, and tests products... and as individual consumers we can't do any of that.

The safe approaches are to either assume that everything will be junk that had better be cheap to be worth putting up with, or to salvage parts from a vehicle by a reputable auto manufacturer regardless of where the components were made (because the auto manufacturer will have done the quality control).

The problem is: we have a lot of low quality stuff in the U.S.A. too, but it still is less. Because we have some standards.
I don't think product standards are the difference at all. North American workers are expensive, and regulatory requirements are relatively stringent, so manufacturing costs are high here; as a result, if building cheap crap it makes much more economic sense to do that in a cheaper country. Any owner of a car built in North America in the 1970's and even for decades after that (depending on brand, and day of the week) knows that North Americans can do shoddy work, too.
 
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