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Hey everybody,

A friend and I recently bought a 1969 Subaru 360 sedan that we're planning to make electric. :D

The 360 was the Subaru model that sold in the United States. It is a very light weight, rear engine, two-door, four seat, sedan that makes the VW beetle look large by comparison. Since we are both well over 6' tall we will be removing the back seat, moving the rear seats backwards and leaving some room for electric components and the like.

Between the two of us we have shop space, old parts, and some EV supplier connections.

Goals:
20+ miles/charge
40 MPH

Originially the car weighed 925 lbs (420 kg).
Gross vehicle weight rating is 1400 lbs (640 kg) so we'll have to keep the converted vehicle under 1000 lbs to accommodate two large passengers. I'm working on getting numbers for the weight of the car without the ICE components, rear seat, etc. so we know how much we can add.

The biggest problem:
The engine, transmission, and differential are all one unit in this car. We bought it without the engine so currently we have nowhere for the swing axles to connect to. We've been thinking about buying a transaxle out of a golf cart (about 4 ft. wide) and installing a new suspension, possibly leaf springs. We're looking for ideas on this front.

We'd like to make use of as many of the parts we have on hand to keep costs down. Here's a list of what we've got:
  • Two A123 AMP20 modules, 8s5p, 26.2 volt, 100 AH, 2.59 kWh, 52 lbs each.
  • Kelly DC controller, 400A, 60 volt, regen capable
  • Motenergy ME1004
  • Sevcon DC-DC converter, 300 watt, 36-48 volt
  • Contactor, battery switch, shunt, cables, etc.

I'm a bit worried we won't be able to gear the motor so that we can go 40 mph and still make it up hills. We've been looking at other motors and controllers and found a few candidates, more on this in a later post.

I'm interested to hear your thoughts on this project, the suitability of the parts we have, suggestions for new components, or anything else.

-nbrock
 

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Overall it sounds like you have a pretty good plan.

To figure your top speed and torque performance you need to find the power/torque curves for your selected motor. Given that and a known gear ratio(s) you can figure out how it will perform. I would suspect you would be able to get 40mph out of a 1400lbs vehicle on a 48v system, but probably not much past that. If you are running DC brushed motor, the lower end torque should be fine. You might spring for an alltrax or curtis controller instead of the kelley though. They have had a less than stellar history.

Would the transaxle out of a larger sized quad work well as a replacement? I'm presuming the car probably has independent suspension, in which case you could fab the right halfaxles to mate things up. that would also allow you to keep a few gear ratios which would virtually guarantee the performance specs you want.

Good luck, and neato little car.
 
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