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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone!

I am new and here to learn. I put a long post with various questions in the “Where do I start?” thread a few days ago, but maybe a dedicated thread is a better idea.

I’ll be converting a 190E "Baby Benz" to use as a daily driver. I’ve done a fair amount of research over the last year, so my range requirements have by now been tempered by the realisation that proper range tends to cost big money. 150km would be a dream, but I’m aiming for around 100 km, and will live with 70-80 – it`s a question of balancing “nice to have” with affordable. I’m in the countryside, so the car must be able to cruise at highway speeds (100-120 km/h). As my first build, this will be a standard conversion keeping the clutch and manual tranny for ease of use, and my aim is to not exceed the current empty weight of about 1100kg by too much. I'm reasonably experienced mechanically and happy to tinker, the electric stuff I'll hopefully learn as I go. This is a hobby project so I will be trying to do this (relatively) cheaply, but have come to the conclusion that sourcing proven and well matched components from one of the kit suppliers might cost more but will probably save me a lot of time and frustration. No doubt there will be enough challenges in the build without adding in more unknown factors.

1/ So, first question. I have been offered the following solution as a possible option:
- 96V, 28kw Asynchronous AC motor (60kw peak)
- 550 amp controller
- 30 Calb or GBS 160 Ah batteries totalling 15 kwh and 96V (range will be less than 100km with this configuration, I realise)
Do these specs sound viable for what I have in mind? Or will it be an anaemic dog with miserable range?

2/ What are the advantages/disadvantages to using LiFePo batteries (Calb, GBS, Winston etc) as opposed to sourcing a used Nissan Leaf or Tesla pack? I assume the OEM energy density would be better, but I have noticed that LiFePO battery specs quote a pretty broad temperature range for charging and use, which might be a bit more critical with OEMs. So is it correct to say you OEMs would be more efficient but possibly more complex to work with (heating/cooling required, more critical battery management etc)?

3/ I am also still considering finding a cheap DC forklift motor, as many people seem to have gotten good results with these. Also, braking regen would be nice but is not a critical priority as I don't do much city driving. Obviously this would complicate the build (sourcing suitable motor, controller etc). Is this still considered a viable option, or are new AC motors so much better that it’s crazy even considering an old DC? For the same outlay in batteries, would there be a noticable performance or efficiency difference between the two? And how much of a mission is it to set up a given forklift motor with a controller?

4/ Finally ... legalisation. From what I read, in Europe this is generally a bit more tricky, and I suspect that Spain might be super hard as there just isn’t the culture for this kind of thing here. Has anyone on this forum ever legalised an EV in Spain or have any pointers?

Thanks to you all for a really great forum, and I really look forward to thoughts from some more experienced builders!


6,544 Posts
The OEM batteries are a whole lot better and cheaper than new Lithium from China
To the extent that I would not even look at buying new cells
A Chevy Volt pack is 16 KWh - and about $2000

I like DC forklift motors - you can get a ton of power out of them

After that option look at a motor from an EV -

The "New" AC motor would be a distant third choice
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