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Hey, my name is Eden and I want to rebuild a Mazda Miata. I'm 15 so I don't have any knowledge of mechanics or engineering nor does anybody I know. I want to get 200 km per charge (I'm optimistic) and a really good if not average road performance. I'm making minimum wage $14CAD/h and I want it done by the summer of 2022, upwards of $7k(CAD) total. I've been looking at motors such as the Curtis 1238-7601 HPEVS AC-15 Brushless AC Motor Kit - 96 Volt and the Siemens Azure AC Induction 3 Phase Motor 1PV5135 4WS14 they both seem to be on the cheaper end of motors with high voltage. I've also been looking at batteries, I feel that Lithium Ion batteries are my best bet for longevity and functionality specifically the Tesla Model S and the Tesla smart Lithium-Ion batteries. The motor is the only part that I want to buy new, all other items I'd want to buy either cheap or used.
I live in the GTA if there are any engineers or mechanics in the area who want to offer help or old/used items I'd be very grateful.
 

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Are you set on an AC motor?

Because there are tons of scrap-value DC motors, and cheap or DIY DC controllers. It will save you thousands of dollars.

I don't know that Tesla batteries would be where I'd put my money. They're highly priced because they're used for those that are performance minded. Just about anything non-tesla will come up a lot cheaper per kWh.

I'd suggest looking at joining your local makerspace. They probably have a youth rate. You'll get to meet like minded people, and slowly gain access to tools and mentorship that'll help you persevere through roadblocks.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the advice there's a local maker space near me I didn't even think about going there. I am set on getting a good performance out of it so it can last longer but if I can get the same result for a cheaper price I'll definitely check it out. Right now I'm budgeting and planning because I need permission from my parents to continue so they want to see a budget plan, a building plan, etc. just to now that I'm prepared to take on this kind of project. I'm thinking about documenting the build on youtube that way I can get more accurate advice from other people and reach a larger audience. If anyone could recommend good performance motors, and batteries at cheaper prices that'd be great I want to know what I'm looking for and what to expect price wise.
 

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You're pushing on a bubble with every one of your constraints: performance, 200km, $14/hr, tesla modules, GTA (your weather sux for keeping Li-ion happy/functional).

Your budget is blown with 4 modules (96V) and you haven't bought a motor or controller yet, let alone charger, battery heater, TOOLS, materials, services (machining...), etc. Components are still pretty rare in Canuckistan, and will be for quite a while, but I'll let Brian chime in with his experiences. And don't forget that Justin gets a chunk of your paycheck before you see any money, and then he whacks you for more cash when you bring in parts from the US.

Your best bet, IMO, is to hold off on your project, FOCUS your time on SCHOOL, get a >$40/hr job and have play money to do projects.

By the time you graduate from college/university or finish an apprenticeship, the battery modules should be 1/2, if not less in cost than they are now, and these $4,000 Tesla drive unit prices will cave to ~$700. Your situation is a double swing -- increasing wage, decreasing project cost, by going to post-secondary school (that includes trades).

There's nothing stopping you from learning and planning over the waiting period to actually build the car, though.
 

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I can’t push the advice above hard enough. Learn, learn and learn some more. Challenge opinions, form ideas and be prepared to change your opinion and increase your skill set. You already have preconceived ideas that are poorly founded. People are more likely to help when they see you can learn. And minimum wage says no commitment to me. Don’t look at your ability to spend, look at your ability to learn, even on this forum the advice is to go backwards a lot of the time. Read and learn and work out how to remove the distortion from real advise.
And putting your life on YouTube for a wider audience, who are you kidding? The general assembly of advice is moronic and I think I’m being generous there. I’m in the GTA and I’m not looking to discourage you, but you need to stick to your design and throw the components out. What you want may not have even been made yet. By 2022 a lot more EV and hybrid motors will have been invented, driven and crashed. There may be a motor that becomes available for not a lot of money but having your wishlist 3 years early is a disaster. Learn how it all works, then it’s easy when the time comes to pick what you know will make the conversion you are looking for. It’s nice to have a tangible part in your hand but not if it’s a waste of time. This is what your parents need to see, not a gathering of parts you have no idea how to put together.
If you can learn that skill you may be talking $100 an hour because that’s real skill.
 

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By the time you graduate from college/university...
With respect, as everyone has different goals and approaches to life... I would run the opposite way from this advice.

In life, you can always wait longer. You can always put things off. You can always do them later.

Do it when you're young, but be okay with doing it a little bit wrong. If you have a passion for something, do a smart amount of basic research so you're not being foolish, and then just jump in.

The person you will be when you graduate college is completely different than the person you are today. I think older people often forget how fast your life changes in a year when you're young. 15-21 is like the difference between 21 and 51.

If you are passionate about something, don't put it off, pursue it today. Pursuit of it will shape the person you become. If you put things off, the only person you become is someone with shifting goals of what you used to want and never gets to have any of it.

When you're 20, if you want to backpack around Europe, do it, not in another 10 years on a prescribed 2 week vacation when you have lots of money. If you want a PS4, buy one now. Not in 5 years when it's 1/4 the price and no one gives a crap about the games you're playing. If you want to have kids some day, have them, don't wait another 5 years, another 5 years, another 5 years, because it always is the smart thing to delay gratification and delay the things you want.

Having a long term project on a low wage is a fantastic thing for someone your age. Rather than blowing your money on stupid stuff you won't care about, and working a job you don't want or care about, you'll go into work knowing why you're there, and what your money is doing, and what you're working towards. Going home and tinkering on a project will add probably the only long term anchor you have in your life that you're not doing because you're obligated to do it. You probably haven't had much of that. You have to go to school because you have to. You have to go to college because it's foolish not to. You're too young to be married or have kids. You're going to have ups and downs over the next while, and having something solid that you progressively move towards is a valuable thing. Failing, succeeding, or learning at it will change who you are. It won't feel like a change, it'll just feel like you're the person you want to be, but that's just it. You'll be the person you want to be, not wake up one day and wonder why you're the person you won't want to be, which happens to a lot of people.

I can't think of a single person who's doing what you're planning on doing (generally), for whom it wasn't a defining point of their life.

The advice I'd give you in terms of goals, is to ignore performance. You're not a racecar driver. Your first car is going to be a piece of crap. In fact, you're going to have to build it just to be a piece of crap. With electric, you can always upgrade it later.

- What range do you need? I.E. Below what point are you going to think "This is stupid, why do I even have a car then?" Start at that baseline.

- Buy your batteries last, they're probably the most expensive part, prices will drop and availability will go up.

- Don't pay for any induction motor new. Either buy an OEM motor from salvage, or go with a forklift motor for super cheap ($0-$200). Motors are just about invincible, it'll probably outlive you.

- Consider whether you'd rather be driving a crappier car sooner, for cheaper, and upgrade as you go. Because that's probably an option.

Anyway, that's my two cents.
 

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Before launching into a car conversion (a type of project most here never start and many who do struggle to complete without assistance), try converting a gokart or golf buggy.
 

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Before committing to a specific motor, there's a lot more planning to do. For instance...
  • what would you use for a transmission and differential: the Miata's originals? the ones attached to a Tesla motor?
  • if you use the Miata transmission, how would you attach the motor to it?
  • if you use the EV's transaxle (such as the complete Tesla drive unit), how would you mount that in the Miata, and would it fit with the body and suspension?
There's nothing wrong with not already knowing these things. The problem comes if you commit to some components and then discover that they won't work for you because questions like this had not been considered.
 

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What Matt said!
You are not too young to do this. Like I would tell anyone who wanted to do this is, are you sure you want to? Many people have started a this project and many have lost interest. It is about overcoming issues or caving in and giving up. It comes at a cost both monetary and personal. How does a project taking up space in your parents going to affect your relationship with them. What is their expectation on time frame as well as cost. How do you deal with failure. There will be a lot of them on this project. If failure frustrates you, this might not be the one. If you shrug it off and try another way to do it, you will be so satisfied when it rolls down the road.
I have "completed" a miata conversion. By the way, I don't think it will ever be finished. It is a warp 9 attached to the trans. As I was working on a better rear battery box, I thought "i'll bet this is a perfect space to mount a nissan leaf motor/controller with the nissan stub axles mated to the miata stub axles. That would give you all that space under the hood for batteries. The leaf motors can have crazy power ( endlessphere- arlos crx build) and can be had here in California for some very cheap prices. I really don't think you can do this project at the price of a low mile (80000 mile) miata NB. Might consider that (I got two and they are fun also).
First steps - find CAD files for the miata and leaf motor to see if it will fit. go to endlessphere to check out arlos build. Then contact wrecking yards and craigslist for miata and leaf motor.
It id fun to drive around in something you've built or highly customized but at what cost.
 

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Drive it where? On what road? Great advice for your neighbor but maybe less so for a different country. I’m all for going full tilt into a project but I’m not earning $14/hr part time living with my parents in a City that does not allowed converted cars. My personal recommendation is start with something you can use. I have an electric downhill bike I built a long time ago. I built the battery, controller, built and modified the frame and bike. I use it to ride around the city and because it’s a bike not a DUI scooter I get to ride in the bike lanes. This would not be advice I would give to someone in NYC!.
 
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