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Discussion Starter #1
Some time ago we were approached by a City Municipality that was in the process of doing a fleet conversion of their gas vehicles to electric. Their bottom line was to achieve vehicle performance and functionality that replicated that of the gas vehicle while of course providing long term energy cost savings. Their approach was to follow the lead of so many others by setting up the driveline with a “stick” type transmission.

Their first prototype proved to be very successful in all areas except one: Drivability. This unfortunate outcome was due to the use of a high torque electric motor in combination with repeated clutch engagements necessary during the normal gear changes. Numerous attempts to feather the clutch to prevent the sudden jerking of the vehicle and its passengers proved to be unacceptable.

They realized that the only solution would be to replace the stick with an automatic type transmission. On the surface this sounded easy enough, except that they discovered that throughout the EV industry most were skeptical about using an automatic for this type of application. So after much resistance to this idea, they decided to go outside normal channels and they contacted us. The result has been their complete satisfaction in achieving their “bottom line”.

Our objective here is to make everyone aware that the automatic transmission is absolutely a viable alternative. Let me start off by briefly acquainting you with our company. FB Performance Transmissions is a family owned and operated business. We’ve been successfully producing high performance and racing transmissions for a variety of automotive aftermarket applications since 1988. One of our specialties over the years has been the ability to adapt various transmissions to different types of motors. More recently of course we’ve been applying similar technology for Electric Vehicle purposes.

We’ve developed these transmissions and engineered the related equipment specifically for use in these types of applications. We now offer two 3-speed automatic transmissions. Both of these units are based on the original Ford AOD and AODE transmissions. We chose these transmissions because of the availability of a Low Gear Planetary set and the fact that we can custom build them to handle 1000+HP if necessary.

The AODE is fully automatic with a programmable Power-train Control Module (PCM) where all of the shift points can be varied and set as desired. The AO3 uses a Full-manual valve body where the driver always has total control over the transmission functions. The valve-bodies in both of these units are designed to eliminate the normal fluid bleed off, so that the transmission can react immediately to the input torque of the electric motor. They both have the strength and durability to handle the typical torque of these motors in conjunction with the weight of vehicles. Yet they provide a smooth transition when shifting from one gear to next, without the sudden jerking response typically found when using a clutch with stick type transmission.

We have also successfully engineered and fabricated the entire mounting interface between the Electric motor and the transmission. These components include the following and are listed as options on our spec sheets (See Links Below):
1) Motor to Transmission Billet Mounting plate – easily adaptable to a variety of electric motors that incorporate a surface mounting plate.
2) Motor shaft Rigid Steel Coupling – designed to fit a number of different motor shaft diameters and torque requirements.
3) Steel Flexplate – permits direct mounting of the Torque Converter (Fluid Coupler).
4) Torque Converter/Fluid Coupler – engineered for minimum stall and maximum coupling efficiency and fluid dampening.

The completed package of components provides for a very rigid assembly and permits a very simple installation into almost any type of rear-wheel drive vehicle. To better illustrate this I’m enclosing a series of assembly photos. (See Attachments below). The following links cover both of these transmissions:
Heavy Duty AODE (4R70W) Non Lock-up- Electric Motor Conversions
http://www.fbperformance.com/viewtrans.asp?TransmissionID=100

Heavy Duty AO3 (AOD) Non Lock-up - Electric Motor Conversions
http://www.fbperformance.com/viewtrans.asp?TransmissionID=101

If you have an interest or any questions about what we’ve developed, please contact us and we be glad to go over all of the details with you.

Contact: Mike or Fred
In NY: 1-631-242-0008
Outside NY: 1-800-769-1118
FAX: 1-631-243-3054
E-Mail: [email protected]
Web: http://www.fbperformance.com
 

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How are you dealing with the need for the motor to "idle"? Do you run an external pump or are you relying on the controller to be modified to provide the idling rpm for the pump. Would be neat if you solved it without the controller having to idle the motor. Also are you using a very low stall speed on the tranny? Standard stall would be a waste of energy as the torque multiplier isn't really needed.



Thanks
Renny
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hi Renny
No. From what we gathered when we first got involved in the EV market place was that many felt that the automatic was not suitable for these applications because the electric motors are normally not idled. When they’re turned off there’s a tendency for a certain amount of fluid bleed off in the transmission. As I mentioned in my opening comment regarding the (2) transmissions, we have been able to significantly reduce the bleed off:

The valve-bodies in both of these units are designed to eliminate the normal fluid bleed off, so that the transmission can react immediately to the input torque of the electric motor.

The fluid restriction and internal pressure readings were initially tested by simulating the “on and off” operation of the transmission on our Dyno. It was later confirmed in the actual operation of the EV vehicle itself. In fact, one the converted vehicles was a full size van weighing over 6,000 lbs. Even with all of this weight and the high low-end torque of the motor, the transmission and converter provided a very normal take-off after each stop.
 

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Happy New Year Mike, Fred!

This is exciting news! I only wish I lived closer to your shop to see and experience your application. Hope you guys get involved with other electric car needs! Thanks for sharing.

Can you fab an adapter plate for an AC motor?

May the New Year bring you much success and property.

Ernie
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Hi Ernie
Thanks! We certainly share your passion for using automatics for EV conversions. In fact, every motor manufacturer that we’ve been in touch with has also been very enthusiastic about it.

The Adapter plate that we designed can be used with any electric motor as long as the motor has a face plate with mounting holes. Motor shaft diameter is not an issue either because the Taper lock bushing can be sized to fit the both the shaft diameter and the Steel Rigid Coupler. We intentionally designed all of the adapting components to be as accommodating as possible for different applications.

Happy New Year!
 

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Mike/Fred,

Some shops will build a part "just enough to make it work" but couldn't care less about it, so I'm relieved to hear that you share the passion for EV conversions.

May I ask you, what does the trans weight dry/weight please?

Is there any possibility of you guys getting more involved with EV conversions along with the automatic conversion - like motor swaps/kits?

Thanks for your time - I'm excited for you guys!

with respect,

Ernie
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks, I'm considering an auto for the wife. She has a Civic, 2001. Any ideas on that?
I wish we could help you with that but we rarely get involved with front-wheel drive vehicles of any type. All of our transmissions are built for rear-wheel drive and 4x4 applications. I would recommend looking for those who have successfully done front-wheel EV conversions.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Some shops will build a part "just enough to make it work" but couldn't care less about it, so I'm relieved to hear that you share the passion for EV conversions.
May I ask you, what does the trans weight dry/weight please?

Is there any possibility of you guys getting more involved with EV conversions along with the automatic conversion - like motor swaps/kits?

Thanks for your time - I'm excited for you guys!

with respect,

Ernie
That seems to be the way it is sometimes. Fortunately we had an opportunity to develop not only the (2) transmissions for the EV conversion, but all of the adapting components as well. When we were informed that these transmissions would be used in a variety of vehicles, it became even more important to make these components as universally adaptable as possible.

Obviously there’s also a big difference when you’re fabricating something like this for yourself versus being contracted to do it for someone else. An individual inclined to do this on their own can more or less tolerate his own mistakes and the time (and money) involved to get it done right. However, a customer will not share similar tolerance if they’re paying for an engineered product if it doesn’t work properly. Most in business realize that you won’t often get a second order if your original equipment doesn’t perform as quoted. We also believe that there’s an intrinsic value in achieving a solid reputation for providing quality equipment. It’s something that we hold in high regard.

Both of these automatic transmissions weigh about the same as they did when they were first introduced into the automotive market: 135 lbs. The torque converter weighs 28 lbs.

At this point we feel comfortable just supplying the transmissions and related adapting components. There already seems to be an enormous amount of expertise and capabilities when it comes to actually doing an EV conversion. Our hope is to make more people aware of their options when it comes to selecting a transmission for their planned EV.
 

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Hi Mike, Fred, (whomever is responding to my comments please - LOL!)

Thank you for taking the time to provide the info I inquired about. I really appreciate people/shops like yourselves, who step up with quality parts and stand behind them. Thank you for your time!

Ernie
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thank you for taking the time to provide the info I inquired about. I really appreciate people/shops like yourselves, who step up with quality parts and stand behind them. Thank you for your time!

Ernie


Thank you for providing your products to the EV DIY Market!
Browser330


You’re welcome! We have always believed in providing as much information as possible so that our customers can make intelligent decisions about their cars.

We’re hoping that if we can produce more of this equipment that it will help to bring the costs down particularly with the adapting components. Although they’re completely engineered right now they’re being produced one at a time.

Mike @ FB Performance Transmission
 

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on the cars i've converted, i simply removed the clutch and mounted the motor directly onto the flywheel. no clutch since you don't idle. it requires smooth shifting, but it works!
 

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You are saying that you leave the flywheel in place. I got the impression that it was no longer required, aka dead weight. I must ad that a gearbox close by also said he is going to leave the flywheel in. Basically stating that it will keep the momentum.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
by electrc109
on the cars i've converted, i simply removed the clutch and mounted the motor directly onto the flywheel. no clutch since you don't idle. it requires smooth shifting, but it works!
Hi electrc109
You’re right, there seem to be many options for setting up the driveline in EV conversions. However from what we’ve gathered from the customers we’ve dealt with, they wanted their EVs to have the same drivability as an ICE. As you know in the Automotive Industry there are far more automatics in service these then sticks. Of course, everyone has their own preferences and what they are willing to tolerate as far as drivability goes.

by Marco
You are saying that you leave the flywheel in place. I got the impression that it was no longer required, aka dead weight. I must ad that a gearbox close by also said he is going to leave the flywheel in. Basically stating that it will keep the momentum.
Hi Marco
With an automatic transmission the flywheel is replaced with a much lighter flexplate, but the torque converter that’s added certainly adds more weight and of course maintains the momentum you mentioned. It also dampens the initial shock to the driveline each time the electric motor is restarted.
 

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Hi again. Sorry, i did not know that you were talking about automatic gearboxes and reading now what i posted last you must think i am a retard or something..... This shock you are talking about is this also applicable on manual gearboxes? and do i need to keep the flywheel for a manual gearbox?
 

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no you do not have to keep the flywheel for a manual. an adapter has to me made to attach where the spline shaft where the flywheel would to the motor shaft.
 

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Do you specifically like the Ford AOD and AODE transmissions? Or were they specified bu the customer? I know you mentioned that the Low Gear Planetary set was easier to come by.. Can this be done with a Powerglide, TH350, TH400 or any other GM type automatic?

My first thought for my project was an automatic, then I switched to a manual but most other EV projects using the manual said they only use a few (maybe 2) gears out of the 3,4,5 or 6 speed tranys they are using.. Then I started looking for a 2 or 3 speed manual but those are far and few between and I'm not sure the gearing would be right for an electric motor project..

Sorry for all the questions!
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
There’s never anything wrong with asking questions, especially if there’s out-of-pocket money involved. We’ve always found that when a customer has lots of questions that we can answer, it helps them make good decisions about the direction they want to go with their project.

Over the last 15 years we’ve become very familiar with both the AOD and AODE (4R70W) transmissions. We’ve devoted a lot of time upgrading them for variety of ICE applications. We’ve developed these transmissions and engineered the related adapting equipment specifically for use in EV conversions. The older type transmissions, like those you mentioned use much older technology and are limited to having Low Gear Planetary sets readily available at a reasonable cost.

We now offer two 3-speed automatic transmissions. Both of these units are based on the original Ford AOD and AODE transmissions. We chose these transmissions because they are readily available. Their strength and durability have been proven time and again and we can custom build them to handle 1000+HP if necessary.

1) The AODE is fully automatic with a programmable Power-train Control Module (PCM) where all of the shift points can be varied and set as desired.

2) The AO3 uses a Full-manual valve body where the driver always has total control over the transmission functions.

The valve-bodies in both of these units are designed to eliminate the normal fluid bleed off, so that the transmission can react immediately to the input torque of the electric motor. They both have the strength and durability to handle the typical torque of these motors in conjunction with the weight of vehicles. Yet they provide a smooth transition when shifting from one gear to next, without the sudden jerking response typically found when using a clutch with stick type transmission.
 
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