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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
  • Your skill level with auto mechanics and fabrication
    • Auto Mechanics: Some, but not a whole bunch. I have worked on my own cars without trouble, but not too fancy, however, I have friends who are much better car people who can help when I get stuck.
    • Fabrication: I can build wood boxes, but that's it. :) I won't even try any metal fab. If needed, I'll get someone.
  • The range you are hoping to get (how many miles/charge):
    • Just under 20 miles round trip. (With one good but short hill)

  • Speed desired
    • Max 40, usually 25-30mph.
  • What level of performance you are hoping to get
    • I'm only worried about performance up the hill. I don't want my neighbors behind me while I'm going 10MPH.
  • How much money you are willing to put into your project
    • Guessing at around $1200 for car, $4K-5K for conversion.
  • What parts you've already considered, if any.
    • I started this whole thing looking at the e-volks kits.
OK, that's my intro.

I have a few questions already. (And some I've posted already :)

My first question, as is most peoples, is volts. How many. Some people say 72 would be good. Some say you need to start over 100. It's a bit confusing. I've used the calculator, and then read about conversions that seem to do better than the calculator says they should do with that equipment.

So, my initial thought was:

Get a bug, convert it using the e-volks 72volt kit. Seems to be in my skill level (well, I'm sure I'll use some help :) and doable.

But some people say 72V isn't enough, although some say it is. I was reading on the ZAP car yahoo forums and several people have added a battery to their cars, same controller, to get to 84V. So, my thought was, if 72V is close, 84V might give me a bit more and an extra boost up the hill.

Of course, I could go with a 96V kit. But there's a problem there. It's using the Curtis controller, which I realize a lot of people like and are happy with, and I'm happy for them. :) However, when my wife saw the youtube videos, that went out the window. The Curtis whine is too (In her and mine to a point opinion) annoying. I realize it's not as loud as engine noise and only at slow speeds, but engine noise is more like white noise, not the grating whine. And, on the way home, a chunk of my driving (maybe a mile or two) can be stop and go, so I'd have alot of the whining. I heard it can be less in a rear engine, but we're thinking about people around us as well.

Also, I don't want to get MORE power than I need. One of my goals is to not build a car than can do 65mph for 100 miles. If I need max 40MPH and 20 miles, I want to shoot for that. I have another car, so this is just for the trips to work. However, I understand that if I build a car that can give me a 25 mile range, that would bring the batteries too low and be a bad thing, so I need to overbuild to a point.

So, I like the concept of the Alltrax 72V, probably going at 84V. But I'd hate to build that, and then find out that the people who claim 96V is a minimum were right. :)

Also, initially I'm looking at the really big 12V batteries. I know what everyone says, however I have two reasons for thinking this.

1: I want to keep this as simple as possible. Finding places for (and wiring) 6 or 7 batteries is much easier than 12 batteries. (and I shudder to think about the over 100 volt setups in a bug???)
2: A lot of people say they damaged their first set of batteries. So, if I can get an easy to install set to last a bit, when they are done, I'll most likely be ready for an upgrade to a better system, and possible better technology if it's a year or more out. And if it does last 2 or 3 years (as some people say they have gotten from 12Vs), then great.

I also have a concern and a lot of questions about battery chargers.
It seems the kits come with chargers that match the batteries. So, you get a 72V kit, you get a 72 volt charger. If you add a battery or more (depending on your controller), you have to get a new charger as well??
And most people seem to recommend the Zivan charger, which apparently is exactly this type, you order it for your voltage?

You apparently really have to get your requirements right first, but the only way to really do that (considernig hills and such) would be to drive an EV on my loop with an amp meter. But there aren't any handy around here. At least not yet.

So, that is where I am right now. And as excited as I am, I am also feeling quite a bit like: :eek:

Thanx

desiv
 

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Kelly make a huge range of controllers without the whine, If you are worried about it then It's probably safer going 96V although it would be a little more expensive. I have seen EVs with as low as 48Vs (eg the forkenswift) but it takes a good 30 secs to reach the top speed. 96 volts gives you better performance if you need it and better efficiency too since the lower amp draw means less heat losses in the batteries, cables and motor. I'm pretty sure the zivian chargers have a range of charging voltages, just take a look at them in more detail.

Welcome to the site!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Kelly make a huge range of controllers without the whine, If you are worried about it then It's probably safer going 96V although it would be a little more expensive
Thanks!!

The Kelly controlers look possible. Especially the 24-120 volt model. I love the fact that I can start with 72 or 96, and increase if needed. I do understand that above a certain point, I'll have to upgrade a lot of parts, but I like a range.

I'm ok if it costs several hundred more for the controler; it coud save me hundreds if I misjudged my requirements, which is likely. ;-)

Anyone familiar with the Kelly's? They look new??

All the order pages I've seen for the zivan chargers have models for specific voltages tho, at least the NG1 and NG3.

desiv
 

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Kelly are pretty new but from all the reports I've seen they have amazing customer service i.e. replacing faulty parts within days (including shipping) of just hearing about a problem. I'm going with a 72V Kelly for my motorcycle conversion.

Ok I see the particular models of zivans are available at different voltages but each individual charger is set at 1, sorry my mistake. If you went with 12V individual chargers for the batteries then you would be able to just buy a couple more if you wanted to upgrade.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
OK,
How about something like this?
http://www.quickcharge.com/series charger.htm

It says it will charge a range from 12-127vols. They have 2 models that use a 117v plug; a 6 amp and a 15 amp.

I asume the 15 would be better?

Any drawbaks?
Better options?
I haven't ruled out numerous 12v chargers, but I am trying to keep this as simple as possible also.

Thanks

desiv
 

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I found a good kit for you:
http://www.cloudelectric.com/inc/sdetail/1082
Don't know about how good value it is but it seems like the type of components you were after.
Your charging amps should be matched to the Ah of your battery (so as to balance overcharging versus recharge time) but 15A looks like a better option.
 

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  • Your skill level with auto mechanics and fabrication
    • Auto Mechanics: Some, but not a whole bunch. I have worked on my own cars without trouble, but not too fancy, however, I have friends who are much better car people who can help when I get stuck.
    • Fabrication: I can build wood boxes, but that's it. :) I won't even try any metal fab. If needed, I'll get someone.
You'll definitely want to have metal battery boxes fabbed.

  • The range you are hoping to get (how many miles/charge):
    • Just under 20 miles round trip. (With one good but short hill)
That's certainly doable.

  • Speed desired
    • Max 40, usually 25-30mph.
  • What level of performance you are hoping to get
    • I'm only worried about performance up the hill. I don't want my neighbors behind me while I'm going 10MPH.
  • How much money you are willing to put into your project
    • Guessing at around $1200 for car, $4K-5K for conversion.
  • What parts you've already considered, if any.
    • I started this whole thing looking at the e-volks kits.
OK, that's my intro.
It's looking like you want a Neighborhood EV instead of a true EV. Still may be better to target a better top range.

I have a few questions already. (And some I've posted already :)

My first question, as is most peoples, is volts. How many. Some people say 72 would be good. Some say you need to start over 100. It's a bit confusing. I've used the calculator, and then read about conversions that seem to do better than the calculator says they should do with that equipment.

So, my initial thought was:

Get a bug, convert it using the e-volks 72volt kit. Seems to be in my skill level (well, I'm sure I'll use some help :) and doable.

But some people say 72V isn't enough, although some say it is. I was reading on the ZAP car yahoo forums and several people have added a battery to their cars, same controller, to get to 84V. So, my thought was, if 72V is close, 84V might give me a bit more and an extra boost up the hill.

Of course, I could go with a 96V kit. But there's a problem there. It's using the Curtis controller, which I realize a lot of people like and are happy with, and I'm happy for them. :) However, when my wife saw the youtube videos, that went out the window. The Curtis whine is too (In her and mine to a point opinion) annoying. I realize it's not as loud as engine noise and only at slow speeds, but engine noise is more like white noise, not the grating whine. And, on the way home, a chunk of my driving (maybe a mile or two) can be stop and go, so I'd have alot of the whining. I heard it can be less in a rear engine, but we're thinking about people around us as well.

Also, I don't want to get MORE power than I need. One of my goals is to not build a car than can do 65mph for 100 miles. If I need max 40MPH and 20 miles, I want to shoot for that. I have another car, so this is just for the trips to work. However, I understand that if I build a car that can give me a 25 mile range, that would bring the batteries too low and be a bad thing, so I need to overbuild to a point.

So, I like the concept of the Alltrax 72V, probably going at 84V. But I'd hate to build that, and then find out that the people who claim 96V is a minimum were right. :)
There are three major points about voltage. All point to higher is better:

1) The more voltage you have, the more power capacity you carry. More voltage extends your range.

2) The more voltage you have, the higher your top end speed.

3) The more voltage you have, the more power you can extract from the batteries. It's an effect called the Peukert effect.

So these are some reasons that in general higher voltages are better.

Also, initially I'm looking at the really big 12V batteries. I know what everyone says, however I have two reasons for thinking this.

1: I want to keep this as simple as possible. Finding places for (and wiring) 6 or 7 batteries is much easier than 12 batteries. (and I shudder to think about the over 100 volt setups in a bug???)
2: A lot of people say they damaged their first set of batteries. So, if I can get an easy to install set to last a bit, when they are done, I'll most likely be ready for an upgrade to a better system, and possible better technology if it's a year or more out. And if it does last 2 or 3 years (as some people say they have gotten from 12Vs), then great.
Both are logical arguments. Generally the problem with 12V batteries is the fact that the power capacity is about the same as the 6V batteries. So if you're carrying half the number of batteries, you have half the available power, and therefore half the available range.

Be aware that 12V batteries are made with thinner lead plates than the 6V batteries. So they can get damaged more quickly than 6V batteries.

I also have a concern and a lot of questions about battery chargers.
It seems the kits come with chargers that match the batteries. So, you get a 72V kit, you get a 72 volt charger. If you add a battery or more (depending on your controller), you have to get a new charger as well??
Sometimes. More advanced chargers will adjust the charging voltage to match the bank.

Another possibility is individual chargers for each battery. Take a look around for GreenFlight's blog as an example. Then if you upgrade your battery voltage, you can just add an additional charger.

And most people seem to recommend the Zivan charger, which apparently is exactly this type, you order it for your voltage?

You apparently really have to get your requirements right first, but the only way to really do that (considernig hills and such) would be to drive an EV on my loop with an amp meter. But there aren't any handy around here. At least not yet.

So, that is where I am right now. And as excited as I am, I am also feeling quite a bit like: :eek:

Thanx

desiv

Well good luck in your build.

ga2500ev
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
It's looking like you want a Neighborhood EV instead of a true EV. Still may be better to target a better top range.
Actually, I started by looking at the Zap, and then some NEVs.
I wasn't sure about the Zaps safety (not that a Bug is built Ford tough, but it feels safer than a Zap ;-) and it's ability on hills.
The NEV I looked at was cramped, making the Zap feel roomy. But the big problem with the NEV is the laws. In Oregon, NEVs (or LSVs low speed vehicles) are limited to 25 mph and roads posted 35 and less. I work on a 40 mph road.
I wouldn't be legally allowed to drive to work, which would be a problem. :)

Also, the Zaps and NEVs are over $10k, and it looks like I could do better for less.

(And my wife had a Bug when she was younger, as did I, and likes the idea. A huge plus!!)

desiv

p.s. The people I talked to who own NEVs would say that they are "real" EVs. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
More charger questions.
The rusco chargers look nice.
I assume I'd want/need the timer option?
http://www.russcoev.com/ The SC18-120/72-156 model.
There's also this Octopus charger:
http://www.quickcharge.com/octopus.htm
http://02a27d4.netsolstores.com/octopuschargers.aspx
It says you can't overcharge and is basically 10 individual chargers in one, if I'm reading it right. How does this compare to the rusco?

Intesting thing about the rusco is that it will charge as low as 72v, but it needs a transformer option to go that low. The option costs more than another battery would though. ;)

Thanks

desiv
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
OK, starting to narrow things down.
I think I've seen enough to make me lean towards 96V to start. I want to keep the batteries as simple as feasible, but I think 8 - 12V batteries should be fairly easy to mount in the bug. I'm still trying to leave it flexible enough that if I need/want to, I can fairly easily add some range/power.

So, here's my thoughts on parts:

Motor: D&D ES31B - 72V-144V 18HP (12HP cont @96V) Peak 49HP
Controller: Kelly 24V-120V 600A (cont 300A)
Batteries: 12v High Amp Hours (120+ AH, not sure on which ones yet..)
Charger: 8 - 12V 12A individual chargers, Japlar Schauer Model # JAC1212
DV/DC: Kelly DCDC96VTO12V (It's a 96V, but the operating range is 75V-130V)

Adapter/Clutch plate: Wilderness EV makes/sells these for the bug to the same motor

Throttle: PB-6 0-5000 ohm
Contactor: Haven't looked at those yet.
Other stuff: Yes... :)

That should give me a system starting at 96V (or 84V if I wimp out) and with range to 120V without major changes.

Thoughts so far?

Thanx,

desiv
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Are there any concerns about beetle transmissions breaking under EV torque?
Well, I wasn't concerned until you mentioned it!!

:)

I haven't heard about any problems, and there are quite a few beetle conversions. Probably because most of the conversions are fairly low power???

desiv
 

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Are there any concerns about beetle transmissions breaking under EV torque?

HIGHLY doubtful... although I have no first-hand knowledge of EV motors, I have lots of experience with A-C VWs and their trannies.

For example:
if you have an IRS VW (1969-1979, the ones with 4 CV joints to the wheels) the motors of those times were 53 HP and greater.

If you have a swingaxle VW (1968 or earlier, two CV joints to the wheels), these motors were 40 HP back to 25 HP.

Now I don't know how high the motors you're wanting to use, but the motor you specified was only 18 HP, so you should be good.

The only time in traditionally-powered VWs that you need to reinforce the tranny is when you're using a 100 HP and/or you're drag racing.

As I understand it, you're not supposed to be doing either of those. ;)


I'm looking at a similar conversion some good information is also there on clutch and adapters.
 

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Desiv,
It's like you're my brother! I'm thinking along the exact same lines of interest/expense/capability/vehicle and, I live in Aloha!
Thanks for doing all that research for me!
There is no shortage of bug parts although I also considered;
Toyota Starlet, Chevette, Pinto, Metro, Escort and Justy because they are near disposable.
I hope to have an all-weather 20 mile commuter when I give up riding on 2 wheels (scooter)
Alan
 

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Don't forget that the 18hp is continuous. The peak HP will be 2-4 times higher than that.
Good info to know!

Even though... that's only 72 hp peak. If you don't attempt to drag race with it, you'll be ok.

By the way, I forgot to add in my previous post... The upsides and downsides of the different trannies in a-c VWs.

IRS good points:
* If the tranny goes bad, it's easier to replace with simple shop tools because of the 4 CV joints.
* Rebuilt IRS trannies are cheaper than rebuilt swingaxle trannies.

The most likely thing to go bad will be the CV joints when the cv boots rip and dirt gets in to the CVs.

Swingaxle good points:
* only two CVs and the boots are split so you don't have to remove the axles to replace them.
* stronger case that takes abuse more than the IRS case.

Bad points are that if you have to change out the swingaxle, you have to take apart the entire rear end of the car (wheels, brakes and everything else).

So, for normal city driving with no drag racing, I'm going to be using an IRS... just my opinion though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Desiv,
It's like you're my brother! I'm thinking along the exact same lines of interest/expense/capability/vehicle and, I live in Aloha!
Thanks for doing all that research for me!
There is no shortage of bug parts although I also considered;
Toyota Starlet, Chevette, Pinto, Metro, Escort and Justy because they are near disposable.
I hope to have an all-weather 20 mile commuter when I give up riding on 2 wheels (scooter)
Alan
Great! The only problem will be finding a bug here in the Pacific Northwest without too much rust. ;) I'm starting my Bug search now. If I find a great deal, I'll jump on it, but I'm in no real rush. I have to do some landscaping, and then some cleaning out of the garage before I can really start this project. I'm still hoping to be working on it (and maybe done) by August.

Desi
 
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