DIY Electric Car Forums banner

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.
Car Land vehicle Tire Automotive parking light Wheel

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 :).
Motor vehicle Automotive tire Hood Vehicle Automotive lighting

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!
See less See more
  • Like
  • Helpful
Reactions: 5
1 - 2 of 23 Posts
I look forward to seeing your progress! If you decide to go down the "significant CAN work" road, get in touch - that is where I'm at currently with my leaf/tractor conversion. I have yet to see anyone else go all the way down that road on this forum. I've seen several get things running outside of the car, but then fade away.
Looks like progress... are you still considering using the original VCM/BCM, etc? Is that why your digging into the dash? Or just taking out what you can just in case? It took me a while to get all the wiring harness and stuff out. I can't believe how many different connectors Nissan used and each one with a different trick to unlatch them.
1 - 2 of 23 Posts