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Discussion Starter #1
New to the site but based upon the recommendation on how to get started, posting the following...

* I'm fairly skilled with auto mechanics. Have done most of my own maintenance including replacing gears inside a manual transmission although have steered clear of internal motor work lately.
* I'd like to be able to use as a daily driver locally. Maybe be able to take some trips up to the next city which is about 50 miles away, drive around while there, and make it back home without a charge. So, maybe 150 - 200 miles a day although 50 miles a day would be okay.
* The level of performance already experienced with the gas powered Geo Metro has been underwhelming. Not sure what to expect although I'd assume it would just be better by default.
* Currently the car has suspected bad valvles. A local shop refused an estimate in the spirit of 'repairs would exceed the total vehicle value.' I had thought of trying to reluctantly and slowly tackle that repair on my own, but knowing that there'd be additional machine shop costs, and it needed other exhaust parts, I wasn't sure I thought I'd end up spending up around $500 but then I saw a video by Ben Nelson who actually had a Geo Metro and converted it to electric, more searching and I found this forum.
* I haven't considered any parts. Just started poking around and having second thoughts about sending the Geo Metro to the junkyard. Open to ideas and/or suggestions and start working on this project.

Thanks!
 

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Any conversion will cost more than the engine repair, and much more than just buying another old Metro or similar.

On the other hand, if you want to try a conversion to an EV, the Metro is a light car (less power and energy required), and it has been used for conversions before so there are examples to follow. Adapters to mount motors on the Metro's transaxle are available, if you want to use the original transmission. If you don't need the rear seat, that makes a substantial amount of room available for the battery.

What's the point exactly? It already gets like 40 MPG.
It would... if it ran, which it won't be doing for much longer.
 

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I'm sorry to threadcrap. I do appreciate converting classic cars to EV as a means of preserving them. But I'm not sure the Metro is worth preserving Maybe I'm scarred from my experience from driving a 92 Metro XFI as my first car. While it had a little bit of charm as minimalist transportation, I feel like any car you could get for the cost of motors/battery/etc would be heads and shoulders ahead of the Metro. Good luck either way
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
I was a bit encouraged by seeing a 1993 Metro with a total build cost of $200, top speed of 100Mph and range of 120 miles which is quite a difference from Ben Nelson's 1996 Metro with a build cost of about $900 and a top speed of 71Mph and range of 20 miles, but just thinking if I was going to fix it, junk it, or convert it, that I might just try to convert it. It's been sitting in the garage for a few years....waiting...for something...

Resources:
http://www.diyelectriccar.com/garage/cars/722

http://www.evalbum.com/1595
 

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I do appreciate converting classic cars to EV as a means of preserving them. But I'm not sure the Metro is worth preserving
It's not. I don't think I've seen a DIY EV conversion yet which preserves a car that is better than the new equivalent; it's not like people are taking half-century-old Ferraris and making them usable by sticking outdated motors and salvaged batteries in them. :rolleyes:

Maybe I'm scarred from my experience from driving a 92 Metro XFI as my first car. While it had a little bit of charm as minimalist transportation, I feel like any car you could get for the cost of motors/battery/etc would be heads and shoulders ahead of the Metro
If that other car is better because of the engine, that's irrelevant to conversion. If it has other desirable features that won't survive the conversion (such as air conditioning), they're irrelevant, too. If the other car is just bigger, that's not an advantage for EV conversion. Of course, if what someone wants to build is inconsistent with the Metro (actually Suzuki) body and chassis, then they should build with something else - flog the Metro for whatever it brings, and buy a more suitable non-runner with the cash.

The cost of the conversion parts still applies, no matter what vehicle you start with, so I don't quite get what point is of comparing the cost of those parts to the cost of a starting vehicle. Sure, it makes no sense to put $10,000 of electric hardware into a $50 car, but it also makes no sense to me to turn a decent $10,000 gas-engined car into a barely usable cheap EV.
 

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I was a bit encouraged by seeing a 1993 Metro with a total build cost of $200, top speed of 100Mph and range of 120 miles...

Resources:
http://www.diyelectriccar.com/garage/cars/722

http://www.evalbum.com/1595
That's just fiction. :D It looks like a reality check is needed.

Each and every part individual part listed costs more than $100, so the cost values are likely just random numbers. For an example, this car has 36 cells connected in series, and each cell costs at least $100 if new. Another thing that leads to nonsense project costs are people not counting the cost of parts and materials that they have "just lying around"... which means that another project paid for them. In this case, the multi-thousand-dollar motor is apparently from another Metro, where it was replaced by an even more expensive motor; no one gives away AC-35 motors! The aluminum used for mounts would have cost more than $200. There's a couple hundred dollars worth of fiberglass core, fabric, resin, etc. in the cored composite box used to house electronics.

Some info from that Garage page, with some pricing added (from a random supplier, just for a rough idea):
Battery Type: Lithium Ion
Battery Manufacturer: Tornado
Battery Configuration: 36 series (about $3000 to $6000)
Battery Pack Voltage: 115v
Charger: EMW $550+
Charge Time: Fast

- Drivetrain -
Controller: Curtis 1238 $2150 @EVWest
Motor: AC 35 $4449 @EVWest

- Accessories / Other -
DC-DC Converter: Elcon $229 @ EVWest
Yes, that's at least $10,000 USD worth of conversion parts (and there are lots of parts not listed), if purchased new.

The Garage page lists a main build thread:
Tevie2 Metro
It is 287 posts long, so I haven't read it all, but buried in there somewhere there might be an indication of actual costs (and effort). The builder appears to be still active in this forum, so you could send a message to him and ask.
 

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solectria did the geo metro hatch back and sedan conversions using ac drive some have done the metro conversion with dc drive .. but not for 200.00 for the car to get decent mileage( 100miles) the batterys alone would cost >6k ..
lots of the metros have rust issues esp if they where in the salt zone chk the frame make sure it is solid before you start the conversion.
look around there are several solectria conversion up for sale .. might be a better way to go
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Interesting comments, suggestions, and maybe discouraging points to ponder.

For what it's worth, I'm very familiar with this Geo Metro, it's current problems, and history. I'm the 2nd owner. Lived next door to the 1st owner for 6 years. Just thought of going a different route based upon some of the seemingly never ending gasoline engine problems that nickle and dime me to death. Even if I do dig in mechanically and fix it, it still 'is what it is' and I guess I was thinking or hoping for something different.

Thanks though!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I've got a 1993 Honda Civic DX that might be a better and safer vehicle to attempt a conversion with but it is in worse shape and is an automatic.
 

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I've got a 1993 Honda Civic DX that might be a better and safer vehicle to attempt a conversion with but it is in worse shape and is an automatic.
The Civic has a more sophisticated suspension (double A-arms in front - rare for small front-wheel-drive cars - and multilink rear suspension); you don't need that specifically for an EV conversion, but it is a nice chassis. We have one - the CRX version.

The automatic transmission is probably not worth the trouble to make work, but you could swap it for a manual (some irritating details in that, such as mounting the shifter). If you use a complete motor with transaxle salvaged from an EV (such as a Leaf), the car's original transmission won't matter.

The Civic is heavier and has more frontal area (bad for energy requirement), but it is still relatively light (only 2275 pounds plus options for that '93 DX hatch) and should have a higher capacity to carry additional battery than the Metro (compare the GVWR on the placard at the driver's door to the weight of the car)... so it's not a bad choice. Of course, if the Civic still runs well, it doesn't make sense to me to convert it, rather than buying another one with dead engine.

If the Civic is a hatchback (it also came as a 2-door coupe and 4-door sedan) then you have the same opportunity as I mentioned for the Metro: if you sacrifice the rear seat, you can replace it and the fuel tank with a good-sized battery pack under a nice and low cargo deck height. I don't think this makes as much sense for the coupe, and even less for the sedan, and I don't know if the rear seating is valuable to you or not.
 

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Hi Butch,

My mates and I finished converting a 1993 Suzuki Swift 3 door hatchback in late 2010. I came up with the idea of converting a car to electric in 2007 and checked with my mates. One is a motor mechanic, one an auto electrician and another, my brother, an electrician. My knowledge of electricity was absolutely zero! Like me they all thought it would be a very interesting project.

We started with a 96v system using 100ah lead acid batteries. I bought the donor car for $150 as the motor had blown. Two and a half years later, my mates and I working maybe one weekend a month, I had a working registered electric Suzuki Swift. Range was just 30km and acceleration was slow.

Late 2013 the lead acids were exhausted. I replaced them with 32 Lithiums 100ah. Nominal pack voltage was then 102.4v. In the last 4 years I have been gradually increasing the pack voltage which is now at 122v nominal and will soon go to 136v nominal. Range is now about 100km and acceleration has improved considerably. I have also done some aerodynamic changes which also have helped.

The advice Brian has given you in previous posts in this thread should be taken on board in my opinion.

I have really, really enjoyed the challenge that my conversion has been - and still is. I also really enjoy driving around in something I built myself (with help!). I also don't mind that my car uses $0.02 of electricity per km.

You mention a nearby city to which you wish to drive occasionally. Are there any public charging stations there? My Suzuki would not be able to make what sounds like a 150 mile round trip without a re-charge.

Regards
Paul
 
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