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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi,

my name is Alex and I'm from Germany. After being a reader only for quite some time now, I want to show my Nissan Leaf Inverter mod for the second gen drivetrain. I'm doing this to build my own electric Mini.

At first I developed a plug-and-play PCB to put into the inverter. It has my own FOC integrated and it really works well. Here is a pictures of my prototype board integrated in the Leaf's inverter:



After doing this I was interested in controlling the original inverter via CAN- Bus and managed to reverse engineer the messages for my 2013 inverter and now I'm able to demand the torque and get all the necessary information from the inverter. After all I'm currently developing a small PCB that will turn the signals of my pedals into the necessary CAN- Bus messages so I can run my Mini with the original inverter and motor.

Thats actually all there is to say at the moment ;-)
 

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Very interesting. Is this an open source project?
 

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I must say that i'm also quite interested in weather this is open source or not. Having a list of the Can-messages would be extremly helpful for my upcoming first-time conversion project. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Hi guys,

sorry for the late reply but the project was part of my master thesis and it took some time so finish everything.
But nevertheless I build a prototype ECU to control the Nissan Leaf inverter and motor via CAN-BUS. In addition, the inverter had to be customized so that it is closed and has appropriate HV-connectors. At the moment the whole unit is installed into my Classic MINI electric car for real world testing debugging and it performs really well.
At the moment I’m not sure if I will make it open source. The inverter needs some serious machining to make it usable in another car, so its not a plug-and-play thing.
Unfortunately, I didn’t take pictures of the Drivetrain outside of the car but here are some pictures of the drivetrain installed in my Classic MINI (the drivetrain is under the charger but I will take more next week if you are interested):










And two short videos of the drivetrain on the testbench and working in the MINI (sorry for bad quality again but I will do better quality nexttime):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S8UVol4CxRw

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p2Tz6eZ74PU
 

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Looks nice. Given the tight physical size of the mini, I can see why you ditched the Nissan charger. I was going to go the Chevy Volt batteries route and may still make a secondary pack but now have a Leaf pack. What batteries are you using?



Other than physical size, what at the advantages of doing the custom inverter over the old one?



More importantly, what did you use to mate to the motor spline?
 

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Definitely interesting. Thesis online?



If you decide to go open source, you may lose control of the project with your name at the bottom of the list of contributors.
 

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In addition, the inverter had to be customized so that it is closed and has appropriate HV-connectors.
...
The inverter needs some serious machining to make it usable in another car, so its not a plug-and-play thing.
I can see some work on the housing being required to operate without the charger mounted on top, but in other cars the charger could be retained. If the charger is kept, there would be no customization of the inverter, right?
 

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You're using the Leaf inverter and motor, but are you also using the Leaf transaxle (reduction gearing and differential)?
 

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I too would be keen on more information on this project

The workshop you have looks pretty amazing, I cannot wait to break my BMW and leaf apart and do some serious work like this, its taking all my will power not to start ripping it apart in the driveway.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Nice to hear that there is so much interest in my project.
To answer a few questions first:

1. my thesis is not public and also written in german :p

2. The inverter would not have to be modified, if the charger would be used further. But I have not reverse-enginnered it, because for many vehicles the height would not be enough. That's why I didn't see any sense in it at first. But I will soon build a second powertrain with a Nissan Leaf powertrain for a second project, then I can make some more pictures for the modifications.

3. I use the engine with the original gearbox and I have custom made drive shafts.

4. As traction battery I use Nissan leaf modules.

Here are some photos from below and from the batteries in the trunk:












 

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Looks very good. Great conversion.
German is OK. I can read it. Und schreiben auch, aber nicht alle Woerte kommen gleich wenn ich sie brauche. Limited vocabulary. Can we at least know the title and subject of the thesis?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks!Some more interesting features are coming soon.

The english title of the thesis is:

Investigation of a commercial drive train for
electric vehicles and implementation of control algorithms
unsing universally applicable hardware and software
 

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That is a nice tight conversion. I like trying to translate German too and luckily have German speakers around as well so if you have a link in German it would be better. I'm not finding it with the English translation.
 

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May I ask your reasons for not making this design open source?
 

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Hi, We have a similar project using a geo metro and our own vcu. Great to see others are doing this too! Our vcu has user programmable features so you can adjust to your own needs. see here https://www.thunderstruck-ev.com/dilithium-vcu.html
thanks Brian

Looks like a great product. If it could control the charger(s), AC, and the DC to DC (anything else?) on the Leaf components , it would be even better for DIY and commercial conversions.
 

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Looks like a great product. If it could control the charger(s), AC, and the DC to DC (anything else?) on the Leaf components , it would be even better for DIY and commercial conversions.

I just bought one of Pauls controllers for the Leaf but I'm still not sure what it controls and what it does not control. I don't know if this is more comprehensive or not.
 
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