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New to the site, hybrid project

708 Views 2 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  dana381
Hello all, I am new here from Ontario Canada.

I have a 2001 F-550 2wd cube van with the 7.3L diesel.

I am totally new to electric vehicles and Researching my project led me here. My crazy idea is to swap the front axle for a 4wd one and power it with a forklift motor using the original forklift batteries charged by plugging it in at night. The purpose is to add horsepower in order to save fuel. Not to drive on electric power alone.

I am a mobile heavy truck mechanic and the truck is my service truck and my livelyhood. Using the Dana 60 front drive axle will allow me to unlock the hubs and isolate the electric system in case of malfunction so I can keep working. I plan to use a stock front drive shaft and mount the electric motor to the frame near where the transfer case would have been.

Here in Ontario used electric forklifts can be picked up for $2-3000 with a charger. I plan to use the batteries, motor, charger and control system from the forklift and sell or scrap the rest. I'm hoping to recover enough to get my cost down to around $1000 plus the axle and drive shaft (appx $400). If the system works I plan to upgrade to lithium batteries in the future.

The axle I have has a 3.73:1 ratio and with the 225/70R19.5 tires the input rpm should be appx 2500 at 100kph. I don't know what rpm forklift motors run at. Is 2500 rpm doable?

Any advice or direction will be greatly appreciated.

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If you use lead acids from a forklift, this whole extremely ambitious effort will be pointless.

The added rolling resistance from them and that steerable Dana will likely delete the 20% gains factory hybrid trucks get in city driving. Yes, the truck will carry them, but I would not do this.

Your estimated cost just went up, massively.
I appreciate your feedback Remy.

I realize the weight will be a penalty, once the system works I plan to upgrade the batteries to lithium. I have extra weight capacity I'm not using. The battery weight with the lead acid will be about 10% of the total truck weight. If the fuel economy breaks even with the lead acid batteries then I will gain with lighter batteries.

Factory hybrid trucks use the engine to charge the batteries, I will be charging by plug in only which should also help the economy.

The axle is a drop in replacement for the solid tube axle currently on the truck. The current steering, springs, brakes and wheel hubs all work. it's a very easy swap. I think the hardest part will be incorporating the throttle pedal to run the electric motor. I have been told forklifts use a tps with a 5v reference signal the same as the truck uses so I may be able to just tap into the return feed.

I don't do much city driving. 99% is country roads with 80kph speed limit, Less than 100km/day. The truck weighs 17,000lbs now and is good for 20,000lbs. I currently get approximately 25L/100km or about 9.5mpg. I'm not sure the extra weight will lower that very much.
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