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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Our "Voltswagen" is complete, but upon delivering it to Vegvesenet (The Norwegian Public Roads Administration), they decided to be real strict (no home-made EV has ever been tried and tested for registration by them, so our vehicle will be leading the way and set an example for the future, and they need to tread carefully).

Here's the list they've given us:

Security and protection of batteries; §24
  • The battery-installment at the rear needs to be more secluded from rest of the cabin
  • More protection is needed directly over the battery terminals, both for front and rear battery-packs.
  • More protection between the battery-terminals and the racks/negative of the car body.
  • Some sort of device that will prevent the power to short upon collision
  • Protection of the leads inside the cabin
  • Protection of the lead directly under the back seat.

Power
  • Minimum of 5.89kw/8hp per 1000 kg total-weight (The total-weight of the beetle is set at 1200kg, regardless of the car currently weighing 974kg.) The current motor (rated at 5.2 kw) is at 4.2kw per 1000kg total-weight.
  • You need ECE 100-approval of the motor (from the manufacturer)

Ventilation
  • §17: A closed cabin must be able to be heated and ventilated in a satisfactory manner.

Electromagnetic noise
  • There mustn't be noise that can interfere with radio and/or television signals

Weight
  • Front axle: 452 kg | Rear axle: 522 kg | Total 974 kg | Original weight: 810 kg
  • Registered total-weight for this type of car is 1200 kg, leaving passengers/cargo to be 226 kg, meaing only 2 passengers excluding the driver. A heavier vehicle would only allow 1 passenger + driver. The number of seats in the vehicle MUST be the same as the maximum number of people allowed in it.

Conclusion
  • As you see, there are a few changes that must be made. This conclusion made in dialogue with the conversion-branch in Oslo, and SFOOR, but you have the right to complain/demand a reevaluation. This must be done at the local traffic-station you first presented the vehicle at.
Most of these things are fairly straight-forward to do, however the part about preventing shorts in case of collision, we have no idea how to do.
We have a 3 batteries in the gas-tank and one at the very front of the vehicle where the spare tire sat.
Our batteries are of the GEL-type, so they won't spill, and I know for a fact that Volkswagen having a gas-tank right at the front of the vehicle wasn't exactly safe either. It's just that the placement of the gas-tank originally makes no difference to the officials... We're most likely going to fabricate some hardcore plastic and rubber-stuff to stick over the battery-terminals that won't break in case of a collision, but the officials are still going to demand what they call "a surge protector".

Also, how do we do in ways of heating the cabin? Living in Norway, it can get quite icy (not that the batteries have complained so far) and the windshield is going to need to be heated somehow. Are there 12V heaters that would do the trick here, and then make new channels leading up to the vents below the windshield? Would plastic/rubber tubes be sufficient, or do we need more heat-resistant stuff? Maybe they make 12V hairblowers? I don't know.

It's also sad that we have to remove the back-seat to get the weight-bureaucracy have it's way.. It looked really clean and stock with the rear-seats in.

Here are a few pictures of the car during the build and as it is today:


The struts that support the batteries in FWD-REV motion. I've done calculations of them not breaking under the load of a 60 km/h to 0 collision at 50 milliseconds. Should do the trick. There's an aluminum bar going across the width of all three, at the other side of the wall.





The batteries secured. After this picture was taken, we've pulled rubber-hosing (bicycle-tubes) over the aluminum profiles to make sure they don't short the battery-terminals. We're going to add floor-profiles in front of the batteries as well, to be on the safe side.


The front batteries and charger.


Plexiglass-cover added to prevent unnecessary shocking experiences.






Before we started


After

Youtube-film of the car running:
http://www.youtube.com/user/magnareikerol#p/a/u/1/qxsSzuZgOvA
 

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  • Minimum of 5.89kw/8hp per 1000 kg total-weight (The total-weight of the beetle is set at 1200kg, regardless of the car currently weighing 974kg.) The current motor (rated at 5.2 kw) is at 4.2kw per 1000kg total-weight.
  • You need ECE 100-approval of the motor (from the manufacturer)
The first bullet point should be easy to meet even if the power rating requirement is the S2-60 (ie - what the motor can deliver continuously for 60 minutes).

ECE-R 100 is a revision to the original safety rules established in 1958 to encompass EVs. You can download the draft proposal here.

A brief list of what you need to do:

1. Every "group" of batteries (e.g. - the 3 in the front bonnet; the 4 along the back seat) needs its own fuse.
2. All terminals/connections at 60VDC or higher need to be fully covered such that a finger can't contact them.
3. The motor manufacturer has to submit to testing for approval under ECE-R 100 (you can't make the motor "safe" yourself, which definitely sucks).
4. You need a charger interlock that prevents the motor controller from operating whenever the vehicle is plugged into the AC mains for charging.
5. The 12V side and traction pack sides must be isolated from each other if the traction pack is 60VDC or higher.
6. Provide a heating system is self-explanatory. Many people use the ceramic "PTC" heating elements from "intrinsically safe" portable heaters for their conversions.

ECE-R 100 is fairly straightforward, and except for the requirement that the motor be certified by the manufacturer, not particularly burdensome. Not covered in ECE-R 100 are the electrical noise emissions requirements. These are technically covered by the "e-mark" regulations and they are exceptionally difficult/costly to meet. It is unlikely that any manufacturer of products specifically for EVs has paid to have e-mark certification done (we are considering it for the Soliton1/Soliton Jr., but as of now we are strongly leaning towards ending sales to Europe, the cost of testing is so high).

That's what excessive regulation, especially of a nascent industry like EVs, gets you - otherwise worthy products disappear from the market because the manufacturer decides the incremental sales from complying with the regulations just aren't worth the costs.
 

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Even though Norway is not a member of the EU, your country may still have an agreement that any car that can be registered in the EU can also be registered in Norway, likely based on European Trade Agreements (EEA, EFTA). If that is the case, you may be able to pass initial inspection in Sweden, Denmark, or another country with somewhat relaxed laws (in driving distance).

Germany is as strict as Norway. From what I read (I have not taken that hurdle yet), the process depends heavily on the interest of the engineer who's testing your vehicle. Try to do a ton of research here first. Find that one engineer who's fascinated with EVs and will let you retest for free. A lot of issues here are largely influenced by the interpretation of the person checking your vehicle!

> More protection is needed directly over the battery terminals, both for front and rear battery-packs.

You can get relatively inexpensive rubber protectors from industrial motors. Make sure the tester knows that you use industrial supplies as those are proven and tested by temselves already.

> Some sort of device that will prevent the power to short upon collision

In English these are called "Inertia Switches". I am surprised that they are still required. It's basically a metal ball between two contacts. In case of a collision, the inertia will rip the ball out.

> Minimum of 5.89kw/8hp per 1000 kg total-weight (The total-weight of the beetle is set at 1200kg, regardless of the car currently weighing 974kg.) The current motor (rated at 5.2 kw) is at 4.2kw per 1000kg total-weight.

With a smart engineer, you will be able to argue about torque vs. power.

> You need ECE 100-approval of the motor (from the manufacturer)

This may or may not depend on the year your car was built.

> A closed cabin must be able to be heated and ventilated in a satisfactory manner.

It's ventilated in bug through the little grids behind the rear window. The front ventilation motor should still work on 12V. The heat can either be generated by a cheap 22V AC fan running on whatever DC you have. In Germany, only the windshield needs a heated defrost function - if that's the case in Norway, you may get away with units mounted to the dashboard. If not, the Beetle is (was!) air cooled. There are heater channels running from the back to the front of the car that carry the heated air that is blown around the ICB. Get some bendable aluminum hoses (quite cheap for bugs) and mount an air heater in the back, blowing air through the channels.

> There mustn't be noise that can interfere with radio and/or television signals

Again, this may not be required for cars built before 1996. In germany it is up to the engineer to have this tested or not. Keep the connection between the controller and the motor as short as possible. You can run those lines through metallic hoses that are grounded on one end. Make sure the controller has a metal case. Some noise may be reduced by mounting capacitors directly across the motor contacts.

> Weight. The number of seats in the vehicle MUST be the same as the maximum number of people allowed in it.

Yes. Removing the rear bench in a Beetle takes less than 20 seconds. Make sure that all electric contacts are still fully covered after you remove the seats.

For testing the insulation, they may do the rubber finger test. They basically have a rubber finger mounted on a broom stick to prod at all the stuff you put in. If the rubber finger comes in contact with any electric contacts, or could be harmed in other ways, you will fail.

I wish you good luck, a friendly engineer, and all the best. Looking forward to hear from the (hopefully positive) results.
 

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...but as of now we are strongly leaning towards ending sales to Europe, the cost of testing is so high).
How do you handle the Electronics Recycling laws? I was trying to manufacture home robots for a while, but was forced to buy an insurance (Eur 7,000) that would recycle my robots (or old TVs, whichever comes first) in case I would go out of business.

Now Germany has one robot manufacturer less. They really do anything to keep small business out of the country/EU. :-(
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hi, and thanks for all your help!
From the looks of it, it's all about finding the right loopholes!

Also, a little extra info:
There are actually 4 batteries in the front. One is at the very front where the spare tire used to sit and three are in the modified gas-tank.
Also, we're running 48V and 220Ah (8 12V batteries with 110Ah each). The motor still packs a good enough punch, and we're happy with it. Probably makes the inspection-engineer less skeptical too, when it comes to approving it with 48V rather than 96 or a gazillion hundred volts.

Regarding the heater it's pretty much a non-issue, trying to fit a heater working through the original air-channels from the back. We've got high-voltage cables inside vacuum-cleaner-hose inside door-sill-channels now.

A simple front-mounted ceramic 12V heater, SHOULD do the trick to keep the windshield clear, right?

We'll look into "inertia-switches" and regulations some more:)
 
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