DIY Electric Car Forums banner
1 - 10 of 10 Posts

· Registered
Joined
·
45 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
HI everyone, so I'm still doing a ton of research but am coming up with a price range of $5000+ for the conversion I want to do. I essentially want to grab an old Volkswagen Beatle from the 70s or 80s which should weigh 1.7 tons without anything and around 2.5 tons with me, the motor, batteries, etc. My understanding is that those VWs had manual breaks, manual steering, no A/C, and overall very few luxury features. This seems like a great model to start with for my first conversion. I'm planning to start the conversion in 9 months or so. This should give me plenty of time to come up with the list of parts, ideas, etc.

Do any of you have any kits you would recommend? The main reason I ask is because I've seen some controllers which are $1000+ and some that are $500 and am not sure which would benefit me more and I want to keep things as cheap as possible. I know some here have been able to do conversions for as little as $500 though I doubt that will be possible for me as I am starting from nothing. I was considering purchasing a warp 9 motor but still need to see if that would work for what I want (gotta do the math). Some have mentioned for me to try to find an old forklift motor and use that. My understanding is that it is meant to move 6 tons at 10 mph so it should be able to move 2 tons at 40 mph. If this is incorrect, please correct me so I learn and have a better understanding.

Some have also told me I am better off buying a used Nissan leaf for $8k but I feel that, though financially a better option, it is not as fun. Also, if the battery pack of the Leaf reaches the end of its life it will cost me $6k to replace.

I'm posting this in order to hopefully receive more guidance and more advice from you guys. Maybe some things that you guys post will be things I don't understand and that gives me more to research and then hopefully not only a better understanding but possibly another route I can take.
 

· Administrator
Joined
·
6,607 Posts
Hi Hunter
Batteries are the big expense - and the cheapest way is a Leaf or Volt pack

A complete crashed Leaf would be the "best" but it would involve a bit of faffing around to put the Leaf motor/controller into the VW

As far as forklift motors are concerned the "Warp" motors are forklift motors with brush advance (which you can do yourself)

DC - like forklift is cheap and high performance - BUT old tech
AC is either expensive and wimpy or it is re-using something like a Leaf motor
 

· Registered
Joined
·
45 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi Hunter
Batteries are the big expense - and the cheapest way is a Leaf or Volt pack

A complete crashed Leaf would be the "best" but it would involve a bit of faffing around to put the Leaf motor/controller into the VW

As far as forklift motors are concerned the "Warp" motors are forklift motors with brush advance (which you can do yourself)

DC - like forklift is cheap and high performance - BUT old tech
AC is either expensive and wimpy or it is re-using something like a Leaf motor
I likely did the math wrong then because I figured I would need about 14 lead acid 12v batteries. Which I thought would come to around $2000 with everything. Would it be more realistic to expect it to be more??
 

· Registered
Joined
·
1,033 Posts
replacing a worn out pack in your conversion will also cost a fair amount. Don't do a conversion to try to save money. Do it for the fun/unique/learning aspect of it.

A 70's beetle (there are no 80's US market ones) With one occupant weights more like 2000lbs, or one ton. The only weigh you would add 1000lbs in a conversion is with lead acid. Don't do it. Just don't. There is no reason not to go with lithium these days.

A beetle converted to electric with a full LEAF pack would still only probably weigh around 2500lbs.

Your 5K budget will be challenging. You can get a leaf pack for less than that, or do half a pack and split the cost (and range) with somebody else, but in either case will only leave a couple thousand for motor, adapter, BMS, and charger. DC forklift motors are cheap and can be adapted by somebody who knows what they are doing. The major electronic components DIY'd from plans or bought as kits, but you are trading time for money and you must know how to work with electronics to be successful. Unless you know what you are doing in that regard, or are patient and willing and able to learn, not a recommended approach.

That 8K leaf is starting to look like a great deal, purely from a cost/benefit perspective...

I'd budget 10K minimum if you want to move forward with the conversion.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
45 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
replacing a worn out pack in your conversion will also cost a fair amount. Don't do a conversion to try to save money. Do it for the fun/unique/learning aspect of it.

A 70's beetle (there are no 80's US market ones) With one occupant weights more like 2000lbs, or one ton. The only weigh you would add 1000lbs in a conversion is with lead acid. Don't do it. Just don't. There is no reason not to go with lithium these days.

A beetle converted to electric with a full LEAF pack would still only probably weigh around 2500lbs.

Your 5K budget will be challenging. You can get a leaf pack for less than that, or do half a pack and split the cost (and range) with somebody else, but in either case will only leave a couple thousand for motor, adapter, BMS, and charger. DC forklift motors are cheap and can be adapted by somebody who knows what they are doing. The major electronic components DIY'd from plans or bought as kits, but you are trading time for money and you must know how to work with electronics to be successful. Unless you know what you are doing in that regard, or are patient and willing and able to learn, not a recommended approach.

That 8K leaf is starting to look like a great deal, purely from a cost/benefit perspective...

I'd budget 10K minimum if you want to move forward with the conversion.

I didn't think the Lead would be a big concern. Honestly, you make very good points and that 8k leaf does look more appealing. The 10k minimum is going to be a problem and you're not the first to tell me so. I won't have the 10k so I might end up doing a gokart or starting off small. Maybe learn from that and work my way up.
 

· Administrator
Joined
·
6,607 Posts
Hi Hunter
What so you expect for range and performance?

If original VW performance and 15 miles range are OK then lead may be OK - but you will need deep cycle batteries and to replace them after 3 years
 

· Registered
Joined
·
45 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hi Hunter
What so you expect for range and performance?

If original VW performance and 15 miles range are OK then lead may be OK - but you will need deep cycle batteries and to replace them after 3 years

My commute is 8 miles to and from work everyday. Then on a busy day I travel another 12 to and from home. Max 20 miles a day. Work has charging stations for electric cars so I would eventually use those. As for performance, I don't want to start at a crawl but I don't need to be in a fast and furious movie either so I would say average acceleration with the ability to go 40-60 mph. I also don't need to travel on the highway. As I'm writing this, I'm starting to consider that 14 batteries may not be enough for the performance and distance I'd like to travel.
 

· Administrator
Joined
·
6,607 Posts
Don't forget that with lead you only get to use half of the capacity - then you should only use 80% of that - so you need a lot of lead

With Lithium you get to use 80% (ish)

I bought a Volt battery pack - 16Kwhrs - for $1800
And there are a lot of other goodies in that pack as well as the batteries
 

· Registered
Joined
·
1,629 Posts
If cost is a main point for you and if you don't need top speed over 50-60 mph, a 72v conversion can be good for you. http://www.diyelectriccar.com/forums/showthread.php/72v-systems-small-car-68596.html

An alltrax controller is 500$
Find a 9'' forklift motor for less than 500$
Connect the motor to the transmission with an home made adapter and coupler 300$
Add 2K$ for Leaf or Volt cells
Add another 1K$ for the rest of stuff and there you go.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
1,472 Posts
With enormous effort you might meet the $5k target. The donor won't be free either.

If it's about just owning an EV, buy the used Leaf. You need only a small fraction of its range so capacity loss is no issue for you.

Want to do the fun project? Unless you want to spen a lot of time at $5/hr, budget $10k or more and do it right.

In any case, the only way forward for conversions is a crashed Leaf or Volt pack. Lead is dead for cars- a total waste of time and money.
 
1 - 10 of 10 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