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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
as recommended


  • Your skill level with auto mechanics and fabrication
    • Auto Mechanics: High (classic VW only), I've built other VWs from ground up to exacting stock specs and to mild street customs.
    • Fabrication: Mid. I can fabricate frames and weld body panels, but I'm not a machinist.
  • The range you are hoping to get (how many miles/charge)
    • This is for a commuter in a large city.
    • would like 65 - 70MPH (needs to play well with other freeway traffic)
    • commute is 40-50 miles per day.
  • What level of performance you are hoping to get
    • 60 mph in an 1/8 mile would be dream.
    • I just don't want to get run over trying to get on the freeway. ;)
  • How much money you are willing to put into your project
    • unknown at this time
  • What parts you've already considered, if any.
    • none at this time. This is my first step in my evaluation process.

So, Hi, my name is Alan, my friends call me Big Al. I'm into the classic VWs and I'm currently building a 1956 bug (from component parts) to be a commuter vehicle because my current daily driver is getting too costly to maintain and I have no idea how to work on that car without a computer programming degree. ;)

I can do pretty much anything on the mechanicals and electricals on the classic bugs, and actually have already built a stock 1600cc motor to go in the bug...

but then the cost of gas shot up a dollar per gallon (ok an exaggeration) and the thought occured to me to see what it would take to make it run on electricity instead.

so, google pointed me here and I've been reading to see what is possible.

My priorities for this project:
1. It needs to go at least legal highway speed. 70mph would be acceptable.
2. It needs to get up to freeway speeds fast enough that I don't become a grille ornament to the pickup truck behind me.
3. It needs to go 40-50 miles per day without recharging. Commute is about 40 miles. It would be good if I could do some other side trips on the way home.

First, it needs to pass these three things before cost is even considered.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

So, first dumb question from the n00b:
Is the manual transmission on an EV conversion changed so that it is direct drive?

What I am reading currently talks about driving an EV like an automatic... but I'm OK with manually selecting my gears. Can I retain a clutch and select my gears on an EV conversion?
 

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Keeping the clutch and the manual transmission is a very common practice.
Other options are to go direct drive coupling the motor to the differential (may need to get a different gearing on it) or directly coupling the motor to the transmission input shaft, this makes shifting harder but still possible (sometimes). I guess some people will just lock the transmission in like second gear which a lot of the time will work for all driving speeds but I think you will probably have better performance with all the gears available.
 

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Is your whole commute going to be those speeds? If so I think your only option is going to be lion batteries. I am casually looking for a cheap beetle to do the same thing so I have read through lots of beetle conversion. Normal for lead acid is in the 30-50 mile range. That is driving about 45 mph though. To get that range going 70 mph is going to take a lot more juice. The problem is the bugs ability (or lack of it) to carry a large load. If you will notice Joe Adcock's bug broke with the batteries he has in there. I would guess you are going to need 3 of these http://www.cloudelectric.com/inc/sdetail/2195 to get the performance you want. You might also look at http://www.everspring.net . Hope that helps. make sure you document your build. I would love to see updates.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
First off, Thanks a LOT for giving me your very helpful suggestions!

helixev: thanks for straightening out the n00b question. I guess I just hadn't seen the evidence yet. :) So I'm assuming that either the e-motor would attack to the stock flywheel or more likely a replacement, lighter weight flywheel and could then operate the stock clutch for the tranny. Would that be correct?

joseph3354: thanks for the link! I'll contact Joe and his suppliers. Evidently, I might want to think about moving some of the batteries rearward from his layout.

onesojourner: Thanks for the info. Yes, about 80% of the commute is at 65-70mph, thus the reason for the requirement and because of the gas use, the reason for the interest in EV conversion. :)

The cloud electric battery pack option (at first glance) seems out of feasibility for my needs. Here's my thinking at this point: (and keep in mind that these are rough numbers for evaluation)
3 packs equal around $20,000.
My 1600cc stock VW motor will use about $20.00 of gas per week.
Gas for the year would be about $1040.00
Therefore it would take 19 years to make this equal.

and we're not including the other conversion parts in this as of yet.

The cloud electric battery pack live expectancy is about 200,000 miles and I'll do more than that in 19 years, so I'll have to invest anouther $20,000 after around the 12th year... just for the battery pack. (still not sure what the motor and other component lifespan is at this point.


So, your post has also made me realize a ballpark budget limit.

Keep in mind that I am being perfectly honest here when I say that cost feasibility will overrule the environmental aspect in my evaluation. (even as much as I dislike oil profiteering :) ).


So, continue to post information that would help me make the decision!
Y'all have been very helpful!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
is there any chance that you could recharge midway? Most batteries can be recharged to 80% in 4 hours on 110. that would really open up a lot more options.
Not sure. I'd have to ask the property manager. I park in a large parking lot that doesn't have any outlets that I know of, so I'd have to see if this is even possible... then would probably have to get special permission to make EV-only parking space(s). And they'd probably want $ for me to use their electricity...

Would be an interesting discussion. :)

I kinda assumed the answer would be "no" before thinking about asking.

But before I even ask... let's say I can and see what the cost will be if I could charge at work.

So, anyone dealt with http://www.electroauto.com/index.html ?
or does anyone know of another source that offers a EV adapter kit to classic VWs?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
new info from this week's research:

http://inertext.homeunix.com/newkaylor/New Site/Photos.html

This conversion uses a Kaylor Adaptor Plate that utilizes a stock VW flywheel, clutch and pressure plate!


So I found the company:

http://www.kaylorkit.com/aplate.html

KAYLOR ADAPTOR PLATE
The KAYLOR adaptor plate interfaces a standard VW rear transaxle with any standard 6" flange, 6 bolt, 7/8" x 16 tooth splined shaft aircraft starter generator.

The KAYLOR adaptor plate allows you to retain the original VW flywheel and clutch assembly. This provides smooth gear shifting, excellent control at low speed, and operating safety. Use of a clutch is compatable with simple, yet reliable relay voltage switching speed control. The shunt type aircraft motor generator coupled to a transmission with a clutch provides effective regenerative braking that puts free energy back into your batteries. The adaptor plate assembly uses the highest quality materials and the finest workmanship. 5356 T-6 Aluminum alloy is used for the cast and machined plate and 4140 (R-38) chromium molybdenum steel is used for the machined and ground connecting shaft. Large electric motor grade bearings are lifetime prelubricated.


I've contacted them for pricing and other information.

I'll let you know what happens.
 

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Hi Al;
I got my kit from WildernessEV, and they use No Clutch and use the D&D Motors.. I have just got mine back from the shop, after putting in Heavier Torsion bars and such. I run 96 Volts, with 6 Volt Batteries, I had to take out the back Seat and make a flat platform in the whole back area for all of the batteries... I don't have any distance measurements as of yet. But that is a possible solution...Otherwise, you would need to find another vehicle to better hold all of the weight for Lead-Acid Batteries.... Bugs are not made for all of the weight... The batteries in the front are limited to three and the rest are in the back... I put the three front ones in the old Gas tank Hole...
THANK YOU Marty
 

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Hi Al;
I got my kit from WildernessEV, and they use No Clutch and use the D&D Motors.. I have just got mine back from the shop, after putting in Heavier Torsion bars and such. I run 96 Volts, with 6 Volt Batteries, I had to take out the back Seat and make a flat platform in the whole back area for all of the batteries... I don't have any distance measurements as of yet. But that is a possible solution...Otherwise, you would need to find another vehicle to better hold all of the weight for Lead-Acid Batteries.... Bugs are not made for all of the weight... The batteries in the front are limited to three and the rest are in the back... I put the three front ones in the old Gas tank Hole...
THANK YOU Marty
Not to hijack this thread, but it is directly in line with what I'm looking at. But here's my dilemma:

I'm not a mechanic, but I've worked on my cars, and looked at the kits and (most importantly) have friends who know much more than I. So, I'm fairly confident I can handle a kit. And I am looking at the Wilderness conversion kits.
I only have a (just under) 20 mile round trip, and mostly 25-35 MPH zones. And there's a small but decent downhill leaving my house.

My wife loves bugs (we both had bugs back in the day) so she thinks it is a great idea!! Huge hurdle cleared there!!! :)

I was looking at the 72 volt kit (and the Alltrax controller with the computer port appealed to the geek in me), but the nice coast downhill in the morning is a bad climb at the end of my day. It's not long, but it's a steep slow (15MPH posted but most people take it faster) bit, then it evens out, and then it climbs again, but at 40MPH. If I don't get enough momentum on the flat area, I have to downshift my Subaru to 3rd to get to 40. Again, it's not that long tho..

So, I started thinking, that I needed more volts. And the next jump is the 96 volt kit. I loose the Alltrax computer hook up, but that's no biggie. However, I went on the web and saw Gav's videos. GREAT STUFF!!

But my wife balked at the Curtis controller whine. :-( And she has a point. On the way home, we're in stop and go traffic for parts of the drive, and the driving would be in the "whine range" so I can imaging it whining a fair amount surrounded by other slow moving cars.

But the kit's don't have any other option.

Also, with what I've been reading (in this thread as well) about battery levels, I'm wondering if 96 volts would be enough. The EV Calculator link (which seems to show ranges much less than people are saying they get???) shows it with a 22 mile range in 3rd gear with the 8 volt batteries I was considering.

So, I have 2 problems. Does the "not let them get below 50%" rule mean I have to have a setup than can do 40+ mile range for my 20 mile round trip??

What are the controller options? I can buy the kit in pieces and get a separate controller, but if so, which one???

Thoughts?

We don't want to get rid of the back seat, so I don't see us getting more range by going to 6 volt batteries. With 96 volts, we're talking 12 8-volt batteries. I was planning the 6 you can fit behind the seat, 2 in the engine compartment and 4 in the trunk. (Or 3 in the trunk and 1 under the back seat or where ever it'd fit.) Not having a bug handy, I can't measure yet.

I suppose I could drop down to 72volts and use 6 volt batteries.

That would give me much more range, but will 72 volts climb any hills? It's a short hill, but I don't want 15 cars behind me because I can only do 10 MPH.

I have a friend at work that was stuck behind a Zap electric car on a hill doing about 15MPH and she complained to everyone she could talk to about "stupid electric cars" for weeks. (She still mentions it from time to time.. :)

Wow.. That was more than I thought I would type.. Hmm.. Probably should have been my own thread. :)

Thanx in advance,

Desi
 

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Hi Desi;
One of the possiblities, is now that I have mine I kind of know better...If possible I would go with the 96 Volt, I would put 3 Batteries in where the Gas tank was, three more behind the seat, I don't think you can fit more than 4 here.. and two batteries in the back trunk with the motor...
THANK YOU Marty
 

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Hi Desi;
One of the possiblities, is now that I have mine I kind of know better...If possible I would go with the 96 Volt, I would put 3 Batteries in where the Gas tank was, three more behind the seat, I don't think you can fit more than 4 here.. and two batteries in the back trunk with the motor...
THANK YOU Marty
Thanx!!

Interesting, I found this link:
http://www.evalbum.com/1261
And he has the 72 volt kit from Wilderness with 12V batteries. (Big ones tho, 12V 134 AH)

He says he's getting 27 miles with 45% capacity remaining.
I'm wondering if that would work for me, even with the hill.

Then, there's another possibility. I've read that the Alltrax controller can do 84volts with no problems and possibly 96V (although I wouldn't want to chance that until I find someone who's done it. But 84V sounds reasonable. The say it has a 100V max, and I'm afraid a 96V pack might spike over that just after a charge or??? :)

But, if it's close, or just to get a bit of extra buffer, might the 84V solution work???

I am reading all the battery resources here, and it reminds me of high school physics! I loved the theory and hated the math. :) The Wiki helps, but...
According to the battery sizing, I should need (at 72Volts assuming 330 AH/Mile (what the guy claims he's getting from his KillOWatt and 20 mile round trip) 151.25 AH per 12 volt battery.
Range * WH/Mile + 35%
20 * 330 = 6600 6600 + 35% = 10890 10890 / 72 = 151.25
But he's supposedly getting more than that (27 Mile Round trips with 45% charge left), and his 12V batteries are rated for 134AH?

Of course, he doesn't have the hill to deal with, and I don't know his average speed, but my commute will be slow.

It's confusing. :)

I like that option because it leaves me with the Alltrax controller, but I don't want to cut myself too short. (Of course, I could always upgrade controllers..)

Thanx,

Desi

p.s. Yes, I've emailed him to ask him how his numbers look now...
 

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Hey Big Al. Let me tell you about the experience a friend of mine and I had. First of all electric car guys can be defeatists, optimists, or a combination of both depending if they are electrical engineers or not. what I'm saying is don't get discouraged.

In 2 months time we took a VW junker dune buggy and an old Clark forklift and built an honest to goodness working electric car. To date we've spent under $2000 and have had spectacular result considering the 80's vintage junk we started with.

So far we are getting about 20 miles a charge with deep cycle marine batteries. We are still tinkering here and I know there is a lot more to gain in updating the controller and batteries. My point being that we were told it would never work by several engineers.

Our adaptor, we made out of the center of the clutch disk. We just welded it to a splined shaft that fit the motor, bolted everything directly to the transaxle belhousing. No clutch needed. We let off the gas and shift. Easy and deliberate, movements and it works fine right through all the gears. I'm guessing the gear ratio to be just about right in the stock bug tranny. You have to get someone with more experience than me to tell you how much voltage you have to run. I can tell you this. 24 volts gets us about 40-45 mph in top gear. We ran it hard for 15 miles non-stop in an auto cross type track. We're looking at about 20 miles easy with (6) 12 volt deep cycle batteries.

Not bad for 2 ********. We are still learning. My advice.... Keep it simple.
 

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Hey Big Al. Let me tell you about the experience a friend of mine and I had. First of all electric car guys can be defeatists, optimists, or a combination of both depending if they are electrical engineers or not. what I'm saying is don't get discouraged.

In 2 months time we took a VW junker dune buggy and an old Clark forklift and built an honest to goodness working electric car. To date we've spent under $2000 and have had spectacular result considering the 80's vintage junk we started with.

So far we are getting about 20 miles a charge with deep cycle marine batteries. We are still tinkering here and I know there is a lot more to gain in updating the controller and batteries. My point being that we were told it would never work by several engineers.

Our adaptor, we made out of the center of the clutch disk. We just welded it to a splined shaft that fit the motor, bolted everything directly to the transaxle belhousing. No clutch needed. We let off the gas and shift. Easy and deliberate, movements and it works fine right through all the gears. I'm guessing the gear ratio to be just about right in the stock bug tranny. You have to get someone with more experience than me to tell you how much voltage you have to run. I can tell you this. 24 volts gets us about 40-45 mph in top gear. We ran it hard for 15 miles non-stop in an auto cross type track. We're looking at about 20 miles easy with (6) 12 volt deep cycle batteries.

Not bad for 2 ********. We are still learning. My advice.... Keep it simple.
do you have pictures?
 

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Taking some new pics this weekend. Will post ASAP. Wish I had a vid cam along for the first run. We had no brakes but felt the need to test the top speed!!! Like I said we're ********.
 

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12 volt deep cycle marine batteries from Tractor Supply Co. (TSC). 105 AH. They weigh about 50 to 60 pounds. normal car battery size.... like 7"x12" foot print.
 
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