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Hi there. I am interested in using a forklift motor to convert to an EV. An owner of a forklift wreckers told me that a 24V electric palletjack motor would be good for a small car. He said that he would sell me a motor that can lift about 3.5 tonne, and a variable SCR, gearbox and accelerator, all from a pallet jack for $600-$1000 (AUS$). He said I shouldn't overvolt this motor. I'm not sure whether it will be good because I never heard of an EV with decent acceleration and range being under about 96V. but then I thought that maybe I could use lithium batteries to get decent range??? they are between 2-3V each. Or could AGM gel batteries be put in parallel effectively? Would this make for very poor acceleration? When I asked him that he said something about the gearing making it fast and he says it will fly up to about 100kph. Should I instead be getting a 36V or 48V forklift motor, because they can be overvolted and hence can put more batteries, and the cheaper AGM. Can they be overvolted to say 96V? Can you recommend any motors that are under say $1000 and will fit under the bonnet/boot? The forklift guy said that the 48V motors are too big and heavy. I have no idea what they cost.


On another topic… is a rear-engine RWD car easiest for a novice? or front-engined FWD? Is a Porsche 924 an easy car to convert? Some other cars I’m thinking of converting are an old BMW such as a 318i, 1994 EUNOS 30X, Maserati Bi-Turbo, Lotus Elite; Mazda MX5, RX7, Pontiac Fiero; Nissan Exa, 200SX or any number of sporty Nissans, Toyota Celica or any number or sporty Toyotas, Honda Integra or any number of sporty Hondas, MG 1997-8, old MG sports. How do I roughly work out what acceleration, speed and range I'll get from an EV? Or any other more expensive cars with a blown engine. Any useful discussion (or confidence instilling talk) would be appreciated. I'm looking to begin soon.


Other topics: Is a battery management system essential and what is a good one? What is the cheapest way to charge the batteries, whilst preserving their life?
 

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Im using a 48 volt forklift motor in a Saturn(4door). The conversion isn't complete yet, but im starting at 72 volts. If this guy thinks you can get 100kph out of a 24volt motor on anything but a radio controlled car, hes nuts. I know guys that run 54 volts on Bicycles! Id get one of the 48 volt motors. Mine is a Hyster 36/48 that measures about 7 inches around, and is probably too small. Id recommend just about anything in the 9 inch diameter range for a car.

:) my 0.02$
 

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I'm new to the whole EV conversion bit myself. But as I understand it the volts and amperage of your electrical system is going to directly effect the top speed and acceleration of your car. The heavier the car the higher these numbers need to be. While having good batteries can help extended the range of the car, neither the top speed or acceleration can be improved with batteries alone. Please, correct me if I'm wrong, like I said I'm new.

As for ease of conversion. RWD vs FWD vs AWD and front engine vs mid or rear engine. It all boils down to the same thing. We're converting a drivetrain, not reinventing it. Regardless of what you choose you'll mount the motor on the transmission, in the space the old ICE once occupied and build support mounts to go from the motor to the motor mounts the ice motor once used. The mechanical completexity of this is the same no mater what drivetrain you adapt. But a front engine RWD would provide the most accesable elbow room to you to work in. Just my opinion.
 

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Hi guys! My name is Orlando Luis, and I live near Sao Paulo, Brazil. I'm searching for a forklift electric engine, however (curiously!) every time I ask for one the shop seller requests me a "part number" or a "forklift brand/model". Could any of you please help me giving some information about such (forklift electric engine) "part number" or "brand/model"? Any suggestion will be trully welcome! Thank you!
 

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Orlando, your best bet would be to not look for a part number or make and model but to take a tape measure and look for a suitable motor by reading the spec plate and measuring the diameter and the length and number of comm bars.

I am also looking for a motor at the moment and I am spending my time getting dirty looking at them and measuring them.

Ease of conversion, as already said it is just a case of replacing the ICE with a motor but I think a front engine rear wheel drive make things easier due to having more space and flexibility for choosing and installing the motor.
Transverse mounted ICE conversions are going to be limited by space across the width of the car and also clearance for the drive shaft running beside the motor.
 

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Thanks for all your contributions. I haven't done anything yet because due to travel. Woodsmith, can you elaborate on the 'take a tape measure and look for a suitable motor by reading the spec plate and measuring the diameter and the length and number of comm bars'??

Let's say I want to convert a small mid-engined sports car, what is maximum size forklift motor I could shove in it without it weighing it down?
 

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The easiest thing to to is to have a read of the sticky thread on the motors forum on how to find a good fork lift motor.

Generally you would be looking for a motor that is around 9" to 11" diameter depending on the size and weight of your car. The length of the motor will depend more on the space you have to fit it so you will need to know this by measuring the engine bay. A bigger car will need a bigger motor but most seem to get by fine with a 9" motor.
The motor will weigh around 150lbs. Lighter is nice but fork lift series wound motors are heavy. Too heavy isn't good as it is a lot of dead weight to carry around but too light and there may not be much copper or iron in it.

The commutator bars on the armature should be narrow and there should be lots of them, I guess about 4mm wide bars and about 60-75mm long. The brushes should be nice and wide to match the length of the com bars. Some times you have a single brush that is very wide and sometimes the brushes are in pairs. The should be 4 sets of brushes.

You should be looking at the speed and voltage of the motor, they are sort of proportional. A 48v motor that spins at 1700rpm would spin at about 3400rpm at 96v say.
Also you would look for a motor that has a higher voltage so that the current is lower for the same power. Lower current means lower heat.
I am looking for a motor at around 72v that I can over volt to about 144v.

All this is just a place to start looking. If you find a motor that may be right you can photograph everything that matters and the spec plate and post it on the thread menationed above. Then the guys here can give their opinion on it. I am no expert at all and have only gained a little knowledge from the forum.
 
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