You can absolutely do a conversion. Anyone can given enough time. I've been learning as I go and it's gone great. As long as you understand basic safety procedures for working with high voltage and don't accidentally short the batteries, it's hard to mess something up that you can't go back and fix. Set a pessimistic timeline (9 months), and try to surprise yourself.My first questions:
Appreciate any feedback!
- Ridiculous? Not gonna happen? Too ambitious for someone who’s never pulled the engine out of a car before? Considered starting on something simpler like putting an EV West kit on a bug for my girlfriend, but go big or go home
- Would a Leaf part swap work here or is the Scout gonna be too heavy? The battery box as is (per googling some measurements) would kinda fit in the bed initially (a little wide, so might need to sit on top of the wheel wells and be otherwise supported)
- Or would I need to be looking at something like a Tesla motor?
- I'm assuming the mechanical challenge with the Leaf would be mating the motor with the transmission?
- Is there another obvious clear best path forward as far as motor and related parts selection goes?
- I'd probably need to upgrade the brakes right?
- Likewise with power steering?
For what it's worth, I started this process having never done anything with cars. Not even changing the oil. But with hands-on experience, I have learned loads about everything related to engines than I thought was possible.
The kinds of conversions that are much more challenging are ones where you're either working on a very tight budget or are programming and building some of your own components (a lot of people build their own inverters for example). Using off-the shelf parts or a leaf motor, its relatively straightforward.
I'm going to echo what Tremelune is saying here. The leaf motor would be more than enough power to get to 75 mph IF you use a gearbox, which I highly recommend. The only challenging bits of the leaf are adapter plates for adapting it to the transmission and the voltage. Nissan leaf inverters require 300-400 volts I believe for full performance (although they will spin with less), which is why I'm not going to use a leaf motor in my conversion, since I need at least 140-150 miles of range and I am using tesla modules for their energy density. If you are going to use a leaf motor, I would just buy an entire salvage leaf (<$10k) and pull the motor and battery pack from it. The leaf motor has a fixed differential bolted on but that can be easily removed if you want to mate it to a manual transmission. This option is the cheapest and would definitely be a good choice.
Another option is to go with a Netgain Hyper9 HV motor, which is a motor designed specifically for conversions. They're $4300 for the motor, inverter, and contactor. You can pair that with 7 Tesla modules ($1000 each about) for 35kwh of battery capacity. This should give you at least 80 or so miles of range, and driving conservatively I'd guess you would get over 100 easily. A total for this option would be somewhere around $20k.
A Tesla motor is unnecessary for your needs and requires a lot of fabrication work.
Don't go with EV West. They have a 5-year waitlist for conversions they do themselves and they have made it clear to me that they don't want the business of individual enthusiasts from my email exchanges with them.
You probably won't need to upgrade brakes or power steering assuming they are working fine in the current vehicle. All in, post-conversion the car will only weigh a few hundred pounds over what it weighed before I would guess.