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Discussion Starter #1
Hello All


Wonderful site to have stumbled across. Am currently doing alot of reading on electric conversion the past few years as I have a real dream of driving an electric vehicle. Dont know if this one would work, but would LOVE to convert my old cargo van to electric. This is a shorty Van with no guts/windows...only the front seats...would like it to be able to tow a hot dog cart.

My mechanical skills are decent, do basic maintenance no problem, am pretty comfortable with tools and have a good surrounding of friends to tap into.
I am hoping to get approx a range of 80k on a charge...This is more than what I use but just as a safety net.
I am willing to invest approx 5-7 Thousand to make this happen.

I havent considered any parts just yet but am hoping to tackle the project next winter, when my hot dog season ends. Would love to pick peoples brains on here.
I have warehouse space and lots of room to work.

If the Van wouldn't work, am open to anything maybe a truck/small suv that could use to haul a hot dog cart and have room inside to throw in our coolers etc.

Hello to all from thenoob!!
 
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Awwww, heck your budget may not even get enough batteries for your needs. I assume you need the distance at more than 30 mph. It is quite possible but will be expensive. Even used parts and such. Mostly the batteries will be the worst expense. If your Van is a rust bucket don't bother. Be sure it is in excellent condition. Hope it's not another converted junker. Too many of those already. Might try something smaller like a VW Bug in good condition. Might try a Honda Civic S. Those sporty little cars just beg to be electric. Look good too. Not a Tesla but well in the affordable range of most folks. Just think about why you want such a large vehicle for your first conversion.

Pete :)
 
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Is your VAN something you REALLY want? Is it really practical? Are you looking for practical?
 

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Costco sells a 220AH 6V flooded lead acid battery that is somewhat comparable to a Trojan T105; it is not a very robust battery, so it may give you some operating cost issues(< 3 years life), but at under $80/each, you could get your van on the road with the range that you want(@ 35 mph) with about $3,000 worth of them.

Say, two parallel strings of 120V($3200), a home built ReVolt 500A controller or used 120V Curtis controller($600), a used Russco charger($300), and another $800 budgeted for your motor(you want at least a 9" diameter ADC motor, or an 11" diameter forklift motor). Add in another $1,000 for all of your wiring, connectors, DC-DC converter, and other parts and labor(I assume you know how to fabricate and have the tools to fabricate your motor mount, motor couplet, adapter plate, ect.), and your budget is doable. Such a battery pack is going to take up your entire floor, but could be sunk underneath the vehicle to make room; this pack would weigh almost 2500 lbs. Don't forget it will need watering and periodic maintenance of all its connections.

Assuming your vehicle needs 400 Wh/mile at 35 mph from the battery, you should get somewhere around 50 miles range at that speed to 80% discharge.
 

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I agree with toecutter.. you could do it with lead acid batts. Since you have the entire cargo area, you could even put a floor over the batteries for minimal storage/hauling capabilities. However, consider using lithium as they would be MUCH lighter and have more energy density. Yes, they will cost more up front. By all indications, however, they will be cheaper in the long run.

35 - 3.2Volt 160Ah Thundersky cells would give you 112volts and cost $7000.

112*160/300(wh/m for your van at lower speeds)*.8(DOD)=47.8 miles

If you only drove 30 miles/day usually, this would be better on the long term usability of your batts, but you'd still be able to go nearly 80km if you needed to. Still, you'd be way over your $7k budget with these cells.

Build your own controller or find a used one (like mentioned). Look for a used motor or an appropriate forklift motor (see thread in motor section). Do your own adapter plate; it isn't that difficult. Lots of people have done crazier builds!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I also have a 2004 Honda civic 4 door and am looking at an old 1978 civic which I loooove. I'm guessing these would be a better conversion?
 
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A 35 mph lead weight obese golf cart is not a practical EV. There are better choices. I did my Ghia for $3200 including lead batteries and it will do 85 mph but only a solid safe 25 miles with out killing the batteries. It won't do 25 miles at 85 but it will at 45 to 65 mph. Mostly around 55 mph. So with that you could do one within your budget. If you want an electric van, go buy one already converted that needs new batteries. I'd bet you can find one and you only need to replace the batteries. That is a much better idea.

Pete :)
 
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I also have a 2004 Honda civic 4 door and am looking at an old 1978 civic which I loooove. I'm guessing these would be a better conversion?
They might. Be careful of going over the GVW if you use lead batteries. My Ghia is pretty close to the limits but the VW can handle more weight than many other vehicles. The Ghia drags along 1020 lbs of lead and only gets 25 miles. If you need more miles you really need to look into lithium. I know the up front cost is great but so will your range if you build and pick correctly. Is the old car rust free? Easy to restore? Worth restoring? Do you love it that much? Then if so go for it. A small car like that might do just fine with an 8" motor but no less. I am all for the larger ones. My Ghia has a 9" motor. My Bus will have an 11" motor.

Pete :)
 

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Ven will be fine
50 miles ok with Lithium batteries
AC motor 90HP 336 volt
the build will be easy with a van
$7000.00 no way no way the batteries will be $11,000.00
However the batteries will last 10 years and if OB keeps the doller on a downward slide you will be looking a $5.00 a gal. gas real soon.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
ya the old civic is more of a project, just a bit of rust on the rockers, but a classc little car. The 2004 civic is totally fine. Would like to do the 1978 civic, BUT am worried it might be too small? How much space did you guys take up with your batteries?

Alot of smart people on here and i appreciate all of the feedback, unfort the van isnt going to work hahaha.

BUT, if I can convert our other car to ev just for doing little erands and what not I would be estatic. I am currently reading Build your own EV by Bob Brant and trying my best to understand everything...SLOWLY lol.

I see alot of you guys lean towards the Ion type battery....i keep reading although expensive, they will last you a long time.

What type of range are you guys getting on your ev's? I am really hoping that our civic could get us up close to a 60-80 mile....am i dreaming?
 
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With lithium you should be able to reach that goal but your interior space may be gobbled up unless you can do some creative mounting of batteries. You might be able to do it without removing the rear seating. Just be safe in the placement of the batteries. That you will have to figure out. If you go with lead acid you won't get 60 miles per charge unless you do like maybe 10 mph. Then you might. An 8" or 9" motor and good controller and lithium will do you just fine. Maybe a 120 volt system. 96 volt system at the smallest. 160 to 180 AH lithium and a good controller like a Zilla 1K or Soliton1 or maybe the Netgain controller.

Pete :)

At the worst you will loose your back seat and cargo area and have it only a two seater for commuting. At best you retain your rear seating and have no batteries in the passenger compartment. It should be a doable thing. Just plan it well.
 

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What type of range are you guys getting on your ev's? I am really hoping that our civic could get us up close to a 60-80 mile....am i dreaming?
60-80 miles range, if it is at highway speeds, might be too optimistic with lead acid for that car. The Civic's aerodynamics aren't that good. There are lead acid EVs that get even 80 miles range at 60 mph, but they have 40% of their weight in batteries and are very streamlined cars with the LRR tires, or they are small pickups with low frontal area that use 2,500 lbs of golf cart batteries.

Even 100+ miles range has been done with lead acid.

One of the first hobbyist conversions to break the "real world" 100 mile range barrier was "Red Beastie", a Toyota truck conversion designed by the late Dick Finley, built in 1997. It had a solid 120 miles range to 100% DoD at 60 mph and 150 miles range in the city; using an ADC 9" motor and DCP Raptor 1200 controller, it was loaded with 2440 lbs of Trojan T105 batteries(which negated its cargo capacity), but it could still be used to tow "White Zombie", John Wayland's race-ready Datsun 1200 EV, to the track! 0-60 was not unusable, at about 19 seconds, and it topped out at 85 mph. The truck's ownership was later transferred to Tony Ascrizzi; during a freak accident at the Ascrizzi residence involving a stay dump truck whos parking brake failed, and a subsequent house fire, it was destroyed.

Another hobbyist conversion to exceed 100 miles range on lead acid is "Polar Bear", a converted Chevy S10. Using a pack of 40 Trojan T125s, Polar Bear's highway range was about the same as "Red Beastie", getting 120 miles range to 80% DoD at 50 mph and 80 miles range in the same conditions during winter. The builder claims it could reach 75 mph. The battery pack in this truck lasted more than 45,000 miles because the percentage discharge was regularly low due to the truck's long range; this pack broke even at about $1.60/gallon gas, factoring its replacement cost for the initial price paid for it, according to a comment its builder made on an evworld blog!

The most impressive lead acid conversion I have ever heard of is Dave Cloud's "Dolphin", a modified Geo Metro with an elongated and reinforced chassis and custom body. Using two ADC 8" motors mated to the differential and two Curtis 1209B controllers, this trucks' pack of Interstate Group 53 blemished batteries can take it 200 miles on a charge at 65 mph! The range will improve when Dave corrects some driveline vibration issues and installs LRR tires. He built this car for $3,000 in used/scavenged parts. 0-60 mph in 18 seconds with a top speed of more than 70 mph is good enough for most peoples' needs.

There is the Porsche 550 Spyder conversion named "Spyder Juice", built by the “Simpler Solar Systems” team in 1995. At 2700 lbs, with half of its weight in batteries, this car could do 130 miles range to 100% DoD at 50 mph. During the 1996 Tour De Sol, it got 160 miles on a charge!

Another sports car, a converted Fiat X1/9 named “Solar Bolt”, built by a team of school kids from Bolton high School to enter into the Tour De Sol, was streamlined to a drag coefficient of 0.30, and loaded with a 120V pack of Trojan T145 batteries. 130 miles range to 100% discharge!

There is “Phantom Sol”, a custom fiberglass streamliner built on an S10 chassis. With a 240V pack of Trojan T105 batteries, an ADC 9” motor, and a DCP T-Rex 1000A controller, this car could accelerate from 0-60 mph in 8 seconds, and do 100 miles on a charge driven aggressively, and 140 miles per charge hypermiling in the Tour De Sol.

Alan Cocconi of AC Propulsion also knew how to get the maximum range and performance possible from lead acid, with his 100+ mile range CRX conversion and the TZero, both using the Optima Yellowtop AGM batteries of the 1990s. They did 0-60 mph in 7.8 and 4.1 seconds, respectively, with packs weighing 1260 lbs.



The vast majority of lead acid conversions get 20-40 miles on a charge.

If you want long range using lead acid, you are going to have to design for it, and part of that process, perhaps the most important part, is chassis selection.
 
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