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Introduction and Project Description

2039 Views 22 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  Ben_Volvo_Wagon_Leaf
Hello forums!

My name is Ben, and I am in the early (read: learning!) stages of a project to convert a Volvo 122 Wagon (1966) to electric. I have worked on and brought back from the dead multiple vintage Volvos, so I have experience there, and I have had a few Nissan Leafs as well. Whenever I finish a Volvo project, I quickly sell it and start another, because as much as I love these cars, I just don't enjoy driving them. What I do enjoy driving around town is my Leaf, constrained range and all. I am working on bringing these two things together!

Currently, I have emptied the wagon, and done some rust repair on the battery box area, floor pans, etc. I have rebuilt the rear suspension and front suspension. I had built a b20 with fuel injection (megasquirt) and have an m41 overdrive transmission, but those I will be selling off and I am committed to this direction of the project.
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I have purchased a crashed but functional 2013 Leaf. From the A-pillar back, the car is immaculate. The car drives and charges. The batteru shows 73% state-of-health on LeafSpy, and that is good enough for my purposes. I have since stripped the front down to access the radiator, which is cracked, and will be addressing that first so that I have a stable test bed I can charge safely while I diagram, label, and learn. Ignore the home improvement stuff encroaching on my garage space :).
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The plan is still coming together. I'm thinking at this moment of using n m40 4 speed, driveshaft, stock differential, mounting the Leaf stack in the engine bay (EV West adapter plate I have read here exists), and building a battery box above the rear axle for the Leaf batteries. I will either try to find a Resolve-EV controller, or Thunderstruck, or do some significant CAN work to try to re-use as much Leaf as possible.
  • Skills: I am a computer engineer by training, and have good mechanical experience working on vintage cars. I have some experience with electronics (megasquirt conversion, regular 12v car stuff) but no experience with high voltage, yet. Reading and learning.
  • Range: Around-town here in Sacramento, 40-50 miles will do for me. Grocery store, kids school, Volvo meets etc.
  • Timing: I love a project, and this is at least 5 of them at once. I give myself a few years.
  • Investment: I chose two cars I was comfortable with, and cheap compared to Tesla parts. I am into the Volvo for 1k, and into the Leaf for about 3k. I figure another 3-4k for a controller, wiring, gauges, PPE, etc. Reasonable? I will find out.
Appreciate any advice! There are some great threads here on a Volvo 544, and a Volvo wagon, and just so much great details in general. Thank you!
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the full drive stack canbus has been decoded. running the leaf motor, charger, dcdc, chademo, etc. check out

the zombiverter has a full implantation for running the full leaf stack

the bms is pretty straight forwarded to read messages from.

i have adapter plates and couplers for the leaf motor.
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Thank you both for the info! I’ll be in touch about the adapter plates when I get that far. The Volvo M40 and M41 transmissions, while not a plentiful as vw, would be great to have CAD drawings for!
defiantly on the list of belhousing to measure and have a adapter plate for!
the zombiverter is a good option aswell, fully supports the full leaf stack (motor, charger, dcdc, chademo) and supports a variety of other parts (heaters, chargers, ccs, etc) and its opensource.

i dont think the thunderstruck controller runs the charger and dcdc. only runs the leaf motor.

also i just picked up a volvo bellhousing... so ill have adapter plates for the volvo gearbox soon :)
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