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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My first post (yes, I am a newbie on this forum, please be patient)
I am comfortable fabricating entire vehicles (my creation is at http://www.indycycle.net), am competent with MIG and TIG (mild and stainless steel, chromoly and Aluminum), and have helped students construct four Electrathon Competition vehicles at three different schools as well as a recumbent electric tadpole bicycle.

This will be my first ICE-EV conversion, so I want to do it correctly, but possibly in stages (running prototype, then possible upgrade in motor/batteries, etc).
I would like to have a 50-70 mile range per charge, but more importantly would like to get massive torque (300-500 ft-lbs) with little weight difference (or even lower weight).

Running prototype costs will be minimum ($2K range), so most likely a forklift motor or similar will be the first motor choice along with Lead Acid Batteries. I know this won't get me the performance I want, but it will get it on the road.

However, I am leaning more towards just biting the bullet and getting the right components for the performance/range I want, so spending $4K for the motor/controller and $10K for LiFePo battery pack would not be unreasonable. I have looked into EV West's packages (Warp11 motor with Reid transmission) but am not familiar enough with other alternatives to commit yet.
 

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Hi
IMHO - you are right to skip the lead,

Motors - DC is cheap and powerful, AC is expensive or wimpy or both

DC motors
So far nobody has been able to convince me that an expensive EV motor is anything other than a forklift motor with advanced brushes (easy to DIY) and a nice coat of paint

DC controllers
I used a Soliton for a while - it is much more expensive than an OpenRevolt
BUT it is amazingly well made and powerful
If I could afford one (get it past the wife) I would love to have one
Pricey but really nice

In your shoes I would be looking at
Lithium
Forklift motor
Soliton
 

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Lithium, or LiFePo specifically?
LiFeP04
Is whats normally used on EV's
You can get decent sized batteries and its quite robust and reluctant to burst into flames

LithiumPoly is used in RC cars - its light and powerful but has short life and a tendency to explode
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
After several days (weeks) of reading various threads and posts, e-mails and online conversations, I believe my plan will go like this:

Phase 1 - Donor Car: Acquire 1969-1972 El Camino & move to Garage Mahal. Budget: $5000

Phase 2 - Prep: Modify drivetrain/body/bed for conversion (Remove ICE components, swap bench seats for ABS Racing Seats from JEGS, repair body damage, replace front clip with fiberglass fenders, hood, & header panel). Budget: $1000

Phase 3 - Motors: Acquire Impulse 9 (with Turbo 400-splined end) and Warp 9 Motors, connect with adapter plate. Approx cost: $4500

Phase 4 - Power: Acquire ~262V worth of 60AH LiFePo cells (88 cels at 3.4v each yeilds 299v) & design packs (to be placed througout vehicle to balance weight). Also acquire JuiceBox charger for battery packs. Approx cost: $8-10K

Phase 5 - Controller: Acquire Controller - either Zilla Z2K or Soliton 1 (the latter being $1k less, may not be the best choice in the long run). Approx cost: $4K

Lets see, that would be about $25K for the total project budget. Allowing for 20% cost overrun, I will plan on spending around $30K on this vehicle.

Anybody see anything wrong with my math, or can recommend changes for the long haul?
 

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Phase 1 - Donor Car: Acquire 1969-1972 El Camino & move to Garage Mahal. Budget: $5000
I've never owned an El Camino but I have always liked them. With this old of a vehicle there will be issues. Fix everything that is going to stay with the car as a conversion. Rust, brakes, suspension, that kind of stuff. Do your upgrades before you pull the ICE gear out. If you can do it yourself that is great but easier to drive it to a shop if you choose to farm out some of the repairs.

Phase 3 - Motors: Acquire Impulse 9 (with Turbo 400-splined end) and Warp 9 Motors, connect with adapter plate. Approx cost: $4500
This was the one that caught my eye when I read the post. So your plan is to siamese an Impulse 9 with a Warp 9? You really only want to do this with identical motors or they don't share the load well. The plan is to wire the motors in series?

Phase 4 - Power: Acquire ~262V worth of 60AH LiFePo cells (88 cels at 3.4v each yeilds 299v) & design packs (to be placed througout vehicle to balance weight). Also acquire JuiceBox charger for battery packs. Approx cost: $8-10K
I like your high voltage approach. It is what I would do today if I was going to do it over. 88 of the 60AH cells yields a 16.9 kwh pack. If the vehicle ends up weighing 3500 lbs then this gives an estimated drop dead range of 48 miles and a reasonable range of 34 miles. I would consider taking a hit to the weight and going to 100AH cells to increase the range but also to make them happier at peak loads. Hitting 1000 amps is a lot for these 60AH cells. If you use a zilla 2k that implies that the peak battery loads might be even greater.

Phase 5 - Controller: Acquire Controller - either Zilla Z2K or Soliton 1 (the latter being $1k less, may not be the best choice in the long run). Approx cost: $4K
If you are planning on drag racing and pushing the motor to over 1000 amps then go with the Zilla.

It really depends on your goals but unless you are planning on drag racing it you probably don't need two motors. You mentioned you wanted a lot of torque. A single Warp 9 will do around 300 ft-lbs at something like 1100 amps for a short period of time. If I was doing my car over I would use a WarP 11 HV and a high voltage pack. You might consider a regular WarP 11 and a little lower voltage battery pack consisting of 120 AH cells (use pairs of 60AH cells.) At least 60 cells in series. That would give you a pack of 23 kwh with an estimated drop dead range of 65 miles. These are really rough range estimates and without knowing more it is probably only within 20% margin of error.

I wish you the best on this build!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thank you for the feedback, Doug! I may have my motors mixed up (Transwarp vs. Impulse), but the intent is to have the motors direct to the rear driveshaft, and the Transwarp comes fitted with just that.

If I could get 300 ft-lbs out of a single Warp11 with less than 200 volts, I could see going the single motor and soliton controller route. Perhaps a single warp 11 with a EVGlide tranny would give me the best combination of oomph and range?

I agree that going with 100AH cells would be better (200 would be GREAT!), because my furthest commute is 39 miles each way once a month, with an eight hour stop before returning. For that, I would just use my normal ICE Ford Explorer.

I forgot to add my plan of putting a PV array onto the rear tonneau cover and being able to switch between charging the 12v accessory pack and main pack. Also toying with an on board range-extending generator (like a small honda unit) in the bed of the truck, but that defeats the battery conversion somewhat.

I am about eight months from beginning Phase 1, and will definitely get the donor car up to snuff in phase 2 (possibly upgrading to a Hotchkiss front end and rear swaybar) before beginning electrification, so I have time to make up my mind. The one thing I like about the dual 9's is that if I choose to try to take on some loud, rumbly mustang or corvette at a local stoplight (or Xmas tree), I could have a better chance of showing them my rear lights.

Silent but deadly...
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
After reading a bit more, I am leaning towards the following build to maximize cost and performance, as well as scalability:

Warp 9 motor + EVGlide trans + Soliton 1 + (88) 100AH CALB cells.
This will put initial costs at roughly $2k + $3.5k + $3k + $10k = $19k

The weight will be almost identical to the original curb weight with ICE, and allow for brief 300 ft-lbs of torque (not allowing for transmission changes) plus highway speeds and decent range.
 

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Okay, I'm going to be a bit contrary and suggest picking up some flooded-cell NiCd batteries. Although they are heavier than liths, their internal resistance is lower, and they just will not sag, for a real neck-jerking experience off the block.

There are SAFT 180 AH batteries floating around out there, surplused from some bus company going under. You could easily get 5C, or 1,000 amps out of them!

Come to think of it, the extra weight will be useful on top of the drive wheels to keep them from smoking too much. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
More reading and more changes to the plan...

My current (revised) plan is to use a single Warp 11 mated to an EVGlide tranny, controlled via Soliton 1, and powered by 88 100AH Cells. I am still not sure about whether I will go with LiFePo or CALB yet, but I have time to decide upon that.

My reasons for the single 11" + EVGlide are:
- simpler build for first project
- plenty of torque @ 1000a if I need it (~300 ft-lbs)
- Tranny will give more low end grunt and top end speed, plus reverse and speedo
- if more power is desired in the future, there is room under the hood for tandem 11" with adapter plate (similar to EV west's BMW).

Any comments/issues/advice that I am not considering?
 

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More reading and more changes to the plan...

My current (revised) plan is to use a single Warp 11 mated to an EVGlide tranny, controlled via Soliton 1, and powered by 88 100AH Cells. I am still not sure about whether I will go with LiFePo or CALB yet, but I have time to decide upon that.

My reasons for the single 11" + EVGlide are:
- simpler build for first project
- plenty of torque @ 1000a if I need it (~300 ft-lbs)
- Tranny will give more low end grunt and top end speed, plus reverse and speedo
- if more power is desired in the future, there is room under the hood for tandem 11" with adapter plate (similar to EV west's BMW).

Any comments/issues/advice that I am not considering?
Hi Vhclbldr,I'll be watching on thru the build as I plan to convert my Ford Falcon utility to EV. From my recollection the elcamino is about the same size as my ute so I could gain a lot of experience from your build(at no cost HeHe).I am going to install a sound proofed generator into mine as well as pv,I have been playing around with the generator in my motor home installing a hydrogen generator on it and so far it's working out great, a lot less fuel use and cleaner emissions(smells better) and it seems to dip a lot less when ac starts etc, more power or holding load better,no concrete tests just seat of your pants feeling. Best of luck Casper10
 

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More reading and more changes to the plan...

My current (revised) plan is to use a single Warp 11 mated to an EVGlide tranny, controlled via Soliton 1, and powered by 88 100AH Cells. I am still not sure about whether I will go with LiFePo or CALB yet, but I have time to decide upon that.

My reasons for the single 11" + EVGlide are:
- simpler build for first project
- plenty of torque @ 1000a if I need it (~300 ft-lbs)
- Tranny will give more low end grunt and top end speed, plus reverse and speedo
- if more power is desired in the future, there is room under the hood for tandem 11" with adapter plate (similar to EV west's BMW).

Any comments/issues/advice that I am not considering?
Hi Vhclbldr,I'll be watching on thru the build as I plan to convert my Ford Falcon utility to EV. From my recollection the elcamino is about the same size as my ute so I could gain a lot of experience from your build(at no cost HeHe).I am going to install a sound proofed generator into mine as well as pv,I have been playing around with the generator in my motor home installing a hydrogen generator on it and so far it's working out great, a lot less fuel use and cleaner emissions(smells better) and it seems to dip a lot less when ac starts etc, more power or holding load better,no concrete tests just seat of your pants feeling. Best of luck Casper10
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Casper, I plan to add PV panels on the tonneau for charging while parked and had also considered adding a range-extending generator as well. Hydrogen may be the more environmentally friendly option, but I may go with a small, quiet gas one. Plenty of time to explore those options, especially since it will be a removable one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Donor Vehicle

DougIngram and John Metric, I could use your input on this one:

The Donor Elky has been found and purchased, now awaiting shipping from California.
The car is in near perfect condition for the build, already without engine/trans and engine bay/frame cleaned/painted. Several steps easier for me.

Definitely going the Zilla Z2K controller route, and likely 68 100AH CALB or Thundersky cells - 60 for a 198v main pack, then two separate 12v packs to run the accessories - switchable between use and solar charging during the day using panels on a custom tonneau.

I have read good things about the Elcon chargers, perhaps a 1500 for overnight charging.

I am torn between two Transwarp 9s (like John Metric, and possibly purchased through Lone Star EV) or just a single Transwarp 11.

Dual 9's with the coupler would cost more, but potentially produce more rear-wheel horsepower with the Zilla+hairball.

A single 11 might give me the performance I am looking for and end up weighing less overall and be less complex, as well.

Advice/thoughts/recommendations?
 

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Re: Donor Vehicle

If I were you, even if you decide to go with one motor now, get the high voltage Zilla so you can put a second motor in series when you inevitably decide you want it.

The motor choice between 9 inch and 11 inch is not as big deal as you might think. They will mostly just change the torque curve in such a way that can be mostly be compensated by gearing changes. But putting a second motor in series, assuming you have the controller capabilities, truely doubles your power.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Re: Donor Vehicle

If I were you, even if you decide to go with one motor now, get the high voltage Zilla so you can put a second motor in series when you inevitably decide you want it.

The motor choice between 9 inch and 11 inch is not as big deal as you might think. They will mostly just change the torque curve in such a way that can be mostly be compensated by gearing changes. But putting a second motor in series, assuming you have the controller capabilities, truely doubles your power.
I was thinking that same thing, instead of using a single Soliton1 and having to purchase a second one.

Also, I am leaning more toward the dual nines as it would give me more RPM range when coupled to the EV glide.

Too bad Lone Star doesn't sell a 2-speed with reverse, then I could get the package deal and known reliability.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Not sure if you mentioned already or not, but you're going to need a charger too... The Juice box is just an EVSE or charge station.
Agreed, which is why I like the Elcon. Given the many places in the rear panels of the El Camino, I should be able to mount it out of the way, but still accessible as needed.
 
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