DIY Electric Car Forums banner
1 - 2 of 2 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,175 Posts
Welcome!

about 40 minutes north of Ann Arbor, Michigan.
That's a first... I've heard of the Upper Peninsula (UP), the lower peninsula, and even the thumb (of the mitt-shaped lower peninsula) :)), but never mid-Michigan. :D

I joined this forum to start doing research on the concept of adding an electric motor/motors to the rear of a FWD vehicle in the hopes of creating a occasional use AWD system for speeds below 10mph.
My guess is that you already know that this is how the Toyota and Honda hybrid AWD systems work - the rear axle is only driven electrically, and is only driven when needed (plus used for regenerative braking).

Of course the ProMaster (Fiat Ducato) is not a hybrid, but you could add a belt-driven generator to make a parallel hybrid. There is an AWD Ducato in Europe, so a final drive unit and suitable suspension/axle have been used under the rear of this van.

Problem is if you look at a Transit they don't make AWD and Sprinters are available but cost so much more when you add that option.
The operating cost and tendency to rust of a Sprinter would scare me away from them, even if the AWD were affordable. The Transit, on the other hand, is available with 4X4, as a Ford-approved conversion from Quigley; it's not cheap, and I don't know if the Magna transfer used is a full-time ("AWD") unit or just a basic part-time thing. There also appears to be a Ford factory AWD version, but only in Europe and presumably based on the front-wheel-drive variant of the Transit which is not sold in North America.

While you wouldn't be using a van with an Al-Ko chassis (they build rear chassis sections for motorhomes and speciality vehicles using the front of front-wheel-drive vehicles such as the Ducato), you might find their Hybrid Power Chassis interesting (see also: announcement with documents).

Here's an old (2010) variant from a Practical Motorhome article about the "Electric Power Chassis":


I don't really like the old setup with a separate motor and final drive shown in the Practical Motorhome article, since the integrated drive unit of a Toyota (RAV4, Highlander, RX, etc) or Honda (Pilot) makes more sense to me... but it is the sort of thing that a DIY builder could put together with whatever motor and controller they want to use, without hacking the Toyota or Honda OEM controls. It was just a demonstration system, since Al-Ko's website shows a much better integrated design, now labelled as "hybrid" rather than "electric". Of course you would use a different suspension, since that Al-Ko setup (based on their trailer chassis components) is only available in Europe. The Honda system even has separate left and right side motors (all in one housing and coordinated) so it doesn't need a differential and can apply desired torque independently to each wheel.


I'm looking forward to see the project in the conversions section of the forum, or discussion of potential components in the technical, motors, or controllers sections.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,175 Posts
I will most likely purchase the vehicle and then get it fitted to my liking over the next few months while I research and gather parts for this project.
My only caution would be to not purchase the van before confirming either that the conversion is feasible, or that you will be happy with the van without the electric drive modification... because it's a far from trivial project, even for someone with relevant experience.
 
1 - 2 of 2 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.
Top