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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi everyone. Here's my initial post as recommended in the How to get started thread.

About me. I run a fabrication shop specializing in the things you cannot find anywhere else. I use wood, metal, plastic and electronics to bring even the most obscure ideas to reality. I reproduce parts for antique machinery, repair obsolete equipment, and help artists add technology to their art pieces. When it comes to auto mechanics, I can rebuild an engine, a transmission, and a steering box and I know because I've successfully done all three.

My project is a 1963 Ford Econoline pickup conversion. Looking for enough performance to leave most gas cars in my dust and have a 200-mile range. I like the idea of using a Powerglide transmission because they're cheap and bulletproof. I think the front suspension from a Toyota 3/4 ton pickup is a good upgrade from the current straight axel, and for simplicity's sake, I'll probably use the rear-end from the donor vehicle as well. My initial budget for the project is $10,000.

Areas where I have zero knowledge are; EV heat and air conditioning; ABS; Air bags; batteries; charger; controller and motor.
 

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I think this will be a really cool conversion. I considered doing something similar but I don't have the height in my garage to store it on my lift.

I'm not familiar enough with this vehicle to offer specifics but some generic thoughts come to mind.

I don't know that there have been many Econoline conversions, but I would research the commonly done restomods for this vehicle type and then see if there are EV conversions based around that hardware. You mentioned Toyota 3/4 ton) - here are some links around truck EV conversions:

https://tundraheadquarters.com/electric-pickup-truck-conversion-links/
Also - do a search on www.evalbum.com
Here's an interesting conversion: http://www.evalbum.com/5209

This also seems to be a good resource for EV/Powerglide specific knnowledge.
https://www.diyelectriccar.com/forums/showthread.php?t=77105&highlight=powerglide

Please keep us updated. I'm excited to see where this goes.
 

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My project is a 1963 Ford Econoline pickup conversion.
I think a conversion of one of the cab-over-engine vans would be great, because it could eliminate the doghouse, or at least lower it enough to walk over it... but that isn't much of an advantage in a pickup.

Looking for enough performance to leave most gas cars in my dust and have a 200-mile range. I like the idea of using a Powerglide transmission because they're cheap and bulletproof.

... for simplicity's sake, I'll probably use the rear-end from the donor vehicle as well.
You only need the transmission if you need to change gear ratios to keep the motor at a suitable speed... which implies a relatively low-voltage system, rather than something salvaged from a modern EV.

That's an aggressive set of performance goals, especially for old technology. With an energy consumption of 35 kWh per 100 miles (higher than a typical EV, but you're using old tech and driving a brick), 200 miles would mean 70 kWh of battery. That's a lot of battery for a conversion; none of the reasonably priced current EVs have that much battery capacity. The 1965 Ford Falcon Clubwagon “EVanBetterFalcon” in the EV Album link from Pete has half that storage capacity (apparently filling the under-floor space) and gets one-quarter of your target range.
 

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Yeah, I had the same thought, Marsh. A good rule of thumb seems to be 10% of your vehicle weight (in lbs) is the watt-hours per mile. That 70kwh pack is easily going to weigh 1000lbs, which makes me think that 350wh/m is an underestimate if anything. Also, 125$/kwh is about the lowest price around at the moment (for salvaged OEM cells), and it would range up over 400$/kwh if you wanted to buy brand new prismatics. You should probably figure something between $5000 and $14000 per 100 miles of range (and the extra weight of the first hundred miles will add expense to the second hundred.)
 

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A good rule of thumb seems to be 10% of your vehicle weight (in lbs) is the watt-hours per mile.
I doubt this van has a coefficient of drag typical to the vehicles that meet that approximation. I'd estimate closer to 450-500Wh/mile for something that so closely resembles a brick.
 

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I doubt this van has a coefficient of drag typical to the vehicles that meet that approximation. I'd estimate closer to 450-500Wh/mile for something that so closely resembles a brick.

I will agree that one big part that is left out of that approximation is the vehicle speed. Every vehicle should at some speed be able to move down the road at that 10% value. With the same weight, a more aerodynamic vehicle will be able to sustain a higher speed. I would agree that if we are talking about driving at 70 mph, then yeah, you will need to budget a lot more power per mile for a big blocky car. Also, I will say that all of my experience on the matter is based on theory and spreadsheets :) I hope to some day have some real-world numbers to contribute!
 

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Very cool project.

As others are pointing out, a huge pile of your cost is that 200mi range. A Leaf pack is maaaybe 100mi, and they weigh 400lb.

For $10k, you could buy a whole Nissan Leaf (maybe $6k), and (unless you want to hack the CAN protocol) another $4k worth of controller, charger, BMS, and incidentals.

Then it's mostly a question of how you'll connect the motor to the driving wheels. EVs don't like autos, and solid-rear-axle trucks don't like losing their diffs.
 
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