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Riley Elf / Classic Mini EV Conversion

4834 Views 16 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  boatman
Hi Everyone,

I planning an EV conversion for a Riley Elf but as far as I can tell this setup would work on any classic mini.

I am very early in the planning stage and I don't currently even have a car yet.

The forum has been a good start for learning what goes into an EV conversion but I am by no means an expert in fact I'm clearly a novice.

I have been trying to space out and plan the build using AutoCAD by using scaled 2D drawings I have found for the Elf, subframes, motor and shell. This clearly has its limitations and ideally I would like to get my hands on a scanned mini shell.

I am planning on using the SWIND HPD E 80 motor as this is such a small unit that mounts nice and low in the engine bay. I plan on either using a modified front subframe with mounting points for a battery box above the motor or by using a subframe similar to the design of the B-TEC tubular frame conversion.

This should allow for enough space for a battery box that will hold 8x CALB modules. This may require the inner wings to either be cut back or removed to allow for the width of the box. This will also require the radiator and fan to be mounted in the front grille, vertically for the Elf or horizontally for a normal mini grille.

I chose the CALB 6P2S for their voltage as the motor is 400V and this set up gives the most voltage over the LG version or the 4P3S CALB.

There will be a further 4 or 5 modules in another battery box in the rear subframe. This will require strengthening of the rear subframe and also the boot floor panel to be cut out and a flat panel to be welded in to remove the 12V battery box and spare wheel well. Potential to use a modified mini van rear floor panel.

This means that I should have total battery energy capacity of 26.6 kWh and a nominal voltage of 266.4V.

The controller, DC/DC converter are yet to be decided. I have found the Cascadia PM100DX for an inverter but am open to other options as the costs are starting to escalate by this point. They, along with the charger will be hidden in a fake fuel tank in the boot, this will allow for all them to be located directly underneath the filler neck.

I am looking at the potential of using two Tesla gen 2 charger to give a fast charging capacity of 20 kW. I don't currently have a place to park and charge the mini so would most likely be doing street charging hence the need to be able to charge quicker.

All connections from front to rear will be via exhaust tunnel so no HV inside the cabin.

I think additional weight / balance should not be too affected as the rear weight is over the wheels and nice and low. The front battery box (96 kg) and motor (50 kg) are not much more than the presumed weight of the a series & gearbox.

So what do you guys think? Any advice about this setup would be appreciated.



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At the rear throw the back subframe away - just make a cross bar that is mounted to the front mountings for the subframe - this would carry the bearings for the swinging arms
Beef up the rear wheel arches and use coil springs on the shocks for the suspension

This will free up a lot of wasted space for batteries

As an old "Mini Man" I thought long and hard about making an electric mini - one of the reasons that I did not go that way was rust

In the UK in the 80's there was a fiberglass kit car - the Domino Pimlico

If I was still living in the UK I would have tried to get hold of one

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Hi Duncan, just want to say I'm not having a go at your suggestion, but that it doesn't fit my project design criteria. I have come across the beam axle when researching for this project. It's not the path I want to be going down as it is only really intended for extreme weight loss for track and fast road minis to take as much weight out of the rear to get lift off over steer in the corners, creating a "skittish" handling characteristic. I am not going to be using my Elf on the track, its mainly going to be used for short city trips or the occasional weekend getaway/blast/car show. This mean that I don't really need anymore than the 22kW of batteries. Zero EV get around 100 miles out of their 26kW pack in their MX5 so I should get around 120 miles in the lighter mini with 22kW. The 'wasted battery space' is actually unnecessary additional weight and the subframe is needed to support the battery box.

I have changed my mind on the charger set up after seeing the new 'Tech talk with Chris' video from Zero EV.
these videos along with their MX-5 build have been invaluable for me as a novice. I will be using CCS and a 3.3kW charger, this will allow for normal charging of around 7 hours or rapid charging of around 30 minutes. This also means I'll be going with Orion BMS.

Hi Tremelune, I think that the hyper 9 Honda combo sacrifices to much space in the engine bay that can accommodate batteries. I also have no need for the extra power of the Hyper 9, the Swind is still giving more than double torque and 1.5x the hp. Also goes back to my point about it being predominately a city car. The CALB modules were chosen to get me up towards the 400V of the motor and also because the are able to be arranged in lots of different orientations. I have also heard that they're industry standard size meaning future replacements should be a straight swap.

Hi pickmeup, as the mini boot floor normally rusts away I'm hoping that it won't need an IVA if I'm replacing it anyway during the conversion.

Thanks everyone for your feedback
There are two beam axle designs - one is an actual beam axle - and you are correct that is a track racing mod

The design that I was suggesting is not as extreme!
You basically use the "beam" to replace the front of the rear subframe - and continue to use the usual rear swinging arms

I take claims of high mileage with a small shovel of salt!
Back in the old lead days lots of people claimed mileages that were three or four times the actual mileage

My Device - with its awful aero - uses 14 kwh for about 50 km at 100 kph - so 100 miles (160 km) out of 26 kwh may involve a little "hype"

This was my old mini -
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