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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I’m looking for someone to give me a push in the right direction. We are looking to convert a Citroen relay or Peugeot boxer chassis cab into an EV

I’ve got a budget of around £20k, we also employee an onsite fabricator/welder

Can someone advise what I need to look for in the ideal starting van, the ones we currently have include aircon and power steering

I really don’t know where to start but I also can’t wait 12 months for the factory EV vans we have on order to be delivered

thanks in advance for any help
 

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It's going to take months so you may as well wait if you are getting EV factory vans delivered in 12...

The vast majority of EV conversions are rear wheel drive as it's far simpler layout to convert. In your case you will be designing and fabricating everything from scratch for a front wheel drive vehicle. Or fabricate complete rear wheel drive setup. Either way the aircon and power steering are the least of your worries and I'd bet against you getting it done in under 12 months or under 20k

Take a look at this if you have big pockets and skilled fabricators:

 

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For readers in North America who have never heard of a Peugeot Boxer or Citroen Relay: these are rebadged versions of the Fiat Ducato, which is sold in North America as the Ram ProMaster. It's a full-sized commercial van, and the only front-wheel -drive-only van of this size sold here.

The vast majority of EV conversions are rear wheel drive as it's far simpler layout to convert. In your case you will be designing and fabricating everything from scratch for a front wheel drive vehicle. Or fabricate complete rear wheel drive setup.
Or use the entire drive unit from almost any modern production EV, which could be installed in place of the original engine and transaxle; the major issue there is getting a big enough drive unit, since the van is so big. The big challenge is the battery.

... I'd bet against you getting it done in under 12 months or under 20k
I can agree with that, perhaps, although it shouldn't take £20K GBP, if you're doing your own work (this is a DIY forum, after all).

Aside from labour, actual cost depends largely on performance expectations, for acceleration, top speed,and range.

Take a look at this if you have big pockets and skilled fabricators:

There's no reason to go that extreme. And that project seems designed to make as little sense as possible but to promote the builder's product - they're using a complete Tesla Model S subframe with drive unit and suspension in the rear, but instead of doing that at the front they're fitting a Model S drive unit into a Corvette suspension, in a custom frame under Chevy truck. The builder sells that Corvette suspension modification...
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
some good starting pointers here.

to clear up some things:

performance wise we are looking for a maximum range of 150 miles and a top speed of only 56mph.

the vans we have available to convert are chassis cab vans (nothing on the rear) so we shouldn’t have a problem with battery placement

if it makes the conversion easier we do have the option to change the van to a rear wheel drive version.
 

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performance wise we are looking for a maximum range of 150 miles and a top speed of only 56mph.
Ford UK claims 217 miles (350 km) with a 67 kWh battery for the coming (2022) e-Transit, but North American testing standards are more realistic and under those Ford claims 126 miles (203 km) with the same battery. Consumption is speed-dependent, so perhaps if most the use is not at highway speed then the target 150 miles (241 km) can be reached on only 67 kWh... which is a bit larger than a typical current EV battery.

The modest top speed is good, as it might be possible with a motor of a size more typical of a car than a van.

the vans we have available to convert are chassis cab vans (nothing on the rear) so we shouldn’t have a problem with battery placement
I think battery packaging and mounting will still be a concern. The body - or lack of it - above the floor doesn't matter to the battery, unless you are considering taking cargo space for the battery.

if it makes the conversion easier we do have the option to change the van to a rear wheel drive version.
By that I assume that you mean switching to a Ford Transit or similar, as there is no rear wheel drive Relay/Boxer/Ducato. There is an AWD of the Relay/Boxer/Ducato (although probably not in a chassis-cab); I suppose you could drive just the rear, depending on the conversion design chosen.
 

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I’m looking for someone to give me a push in the right direction. We are looking to convert a Citroen relay or Peugeot boxer chassis cab into an EV

I’ve got a budget of around £20k, we also employee an onsite fabricator/welder

Can someone advise what I need to look for in the ideal starting van, the ones we currently have include aircon and power steering

I really don’t know where to start but I also can’t wait 12 months for the factory EV vans we have on order to be delivered

thanks in advance for any help
Hello yorkstm, I am preparing to start a conversion of a Ford Transit Connect van (smaller than the van you are considering). I have allocated a budget of $30000 (Canadian $) which probably is close to your budget. This budget also includes overhauling the brakes, suspension and steering (if needed), wheels alignment and maybe new tires.

As for the time needed, I would rather measure it in man-hours than months. I did a plan for tasks and man-hours which I can send to you as a guidance. In regards to the equipment, I have selected the batteries, electric motor and have an idea about the inverter, DC-DC converter and charger I am planning to use. Let me know if this will help you.

Cheers,

Paul
 

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Hi Yorkstm
If you scour the internet, you may come across Allied Electric who converted several Peugeots, including the Boxer, ive had 2 off, and broke one of them for spares. The trouble is they are crap, they so nearly got it right, the basic motor and controller are fine, but the poor coms between the BMS and controller, difficulty getting wiring and software details, and a few loose wires, resulted in them stopping for very minor issues, and resulting in never being out of the workshop. Which is a pity, as the battery pack, and the cells are also top quality. I am now in the process of converting mine, including swopping out the motor and controller, and the battery pack, everything you need, and the beauty is, the van is running and driving. Fully charged it can get close to 100 miles, but i have a few low cells, and so just run back and to to work, ( but i have a lot replacement cells to suit) it was just the time taken to fit them. I have now bought a complete 2020 Jaguar i Pace battery pack, this is nearly double the capacity, and one third the weight, so i am hoping for 200 miles per charge. I was going to leave the original motor in place as they are very good, and just fit a Sevcon controller which i also have, but this will then entail a still high voltage system, and i am hoping to go low voltage possibly with a DC motor which i also have. This i know is completely backwards, but i can get a motor and controller, for the price of the software dongle, for programing the Sevcon, and although i will still struggle with DC its also easier to interface low voltage with the roof solar panels i hope to eventually fit. Obviously the vehicle is not for sale, but if you want to come and view, i am happy to show you around, and although it is now off the road, i can demo just outside on a short strip of private road, happy to help. Finally though i am keen to sell on the bits, i cant say its a good idea unless you are good on electronics, and the first thing you would need to do is remove the existing BMS from the battery pack as a minimum, but if you are comfortable with the electric side, why not just buy the motor and controller and gearbox mounting adaptor plate, and get your own later pack or build your own. Either way its an interesting journey, and if you need any more info get back. All the best Dave
 
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