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I'm sure I'm doing this the wrong way round, getting the EV components before having a car to put them in. The problem is that a lot of the cars that I really wanted in my teens and early twenties are now actually somewhat affordable (especially if they have a blown up engine :D )

So on the car front, I don't know yet what I will be converting. I am going with the time honoured tradition of scouring ebay and gumtree looking for some forlorn unloved late 90's or early 00's treasure that jumps out at me from the screen. As soon as I find it, I'll let you all know.

Until then, I am progressing with the electronics, I have the complete drive unit from a 2014 Nissan Leaf that I have started to break down so I can start working on getting it working outside of the car it was designed for.

I am trying to capture as much of the progress in photos and videos so if there is anything in particular you want to see let me know and I will try to include it.

Shane
 

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It may be a bit weird, but I find some of the up close images of circuits fascinating. The view between the IGBT driver boards and the IGBTs in the Leaf inverter is pretty cool.
 

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I don't know that this is the wrong order. If you know what you are trying to achieve, starting with the EV components might be the right way to go for you - you can pick a vehicle in which those components will work well, rather than trying to find components that will work for a particular vehicle and maybe not finding them.
 

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Hi,

Nice to see a new UK guy on here, not too many of us. I'll look forward to following your build.

I'm currently planning my next build and will possibly also use a Leaf as donor. I'm planning to actually use the whole of the Leaf systems as is in the new donor.

Like yourself, I'm currently unsure what the car will actually be :)
 

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I want to convert some kind of convertible using this method(I was thinking a 1995 Saab since they are so cheap!., following...
 

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Thanks for the comments, glad I'm not the only one going this route.

The idea of EV conversions in the UK doesn't seem to have quite the following yet of the US, but it does seem to be growing. No one seems to look at me too weird when I tell them what my latest project is:D Most of my mates want to be kept updated on progress which is cool.

So far I have taken the first steps in breaking down the leaf drive unit, and have started digging into the Power Delivery Module and Inverter
 

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Actually I think conversions are dwindling, if you'd been here 10 years ago you'd see what I mean ;)

My impression is that with most car related DIY projects, their is much less going on in the UK in general. Might be down to cost of properties with suitable workshop facilities these days, or just cultural, I don't know.

But we brave few continue... :p
 

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Thanks! that's saved me some digging.

The current plan is to take an iterative approach to this and potentially try and running this a number of different ways with time. Too much time spent working in the software industry, even my car projects are now agile.:)

First phase will be to see if I can at least get it to turn over by spoofing the CAN messages that the inverter needs to receive. Not sure how successful that will be, but it has apparently been done before (I guess that is probably what the Thunderstruck VCU is doing.)

If that doesn't work (and to be honest, even if it does work) I'm looking to use one of the drop in boards that are out there at the moment. One looks like it's by the same guy as the second link you sent. The other is by a guy in Germany who runs openinverter.org.

If the funds allow it at some stage, I may even try both, just so I can get my head around it and see what level of performance increase you can get still using the Leaf power stage. And also to see if there are any performance differences in the different approaches being taken.

The final option would be to build the inverter from scratch, selecting the components that specifically for performance along the lines of the last link you sent.

I do like the look of the mid 90's Saab convertibles....it would make a cool EV and if it's cheap then you've no excuses:)
 

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Another UK conversion!

if you are anywhere near Malvern feel free to pop in and see some projects.

We are launching a powertrain controller for the leaf motor/inverter very soon.



Sent from my SM-N950F using Tapatalk
 

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I want to convert some kind of convertible using this method(I was thinking a 1995 Saab since they are so cheap!., following...
To me, in Canada, that's bizarre... no Saab was ever very common here, and it would probably be difficult to even find 1995 Saab on the road now, let alone a cheap one that isn't rusty. But go with what works for you, where you are! :)

I do like the look of the mid 90's Saab convertibles....it would make a cool EV and if it's cheap then you've no excuses:)
I had to look up what was available in what year - there's a huge difference between a Saab 900 up to 1993 (the last of the classic Saabs) and the "New Generation" Saab 900 of 1994-1998 (just another GM). Aside from appearance, they're very different mechanically, so it makes sense to pay attention to what you're getting before committing to one of these. I'm not saying which is better - just that they're different.
 

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Our plan involves moving to the LA area sometime later this year to be close to family and therefore sell our current 2014 spark ev. At some point pick up a wrecked spark and customize everything from it stock into the volvo so it would have the power and battery of the spark but we shall see. I'm grinning thinking about the 400ft/lbs in a classic convertible!
 

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... At some point pick up a wrecked spark and customize everything from it stock into the volvo so it would have the power and battery of the spark but we shall see.
This should be much like using Leaf components, but unfortunately without a bunch of other people having done a lot of work to understand the design and develop ways to use the components. Of course there are lots of detail differences
  • Leaf is configured to limit motor power to 80 kW; Spark EV is 110 kW
  • Leaf motor sits ahead of axle line; Spark EV motor sits on axle line (coaxial with axle shafts)
  • Leaf battery has no active cooling and optional electric heating; Spark EV battery has circulating liquid thermal management ('cold plate' in 2014; internal liquid flow - like Volt - starting 2015)
  • Leaf cells are LMO (24 kWh) or NMC (40 kWh); Spark EV cells are LFP (2014) or NMC-LMO (2015+)

I'm grinning thinking about the 400ft/lbs in a classic convertible!
Chevrolet did a good marketing job with the Spark EV. ;) It doesn't matter in the slightest whether the motor puts out 400 lb-ft over 0-1500 rpm though a 4:1 drive ratio or 200 lb-ft over 0-3000 rpm through an 8:1 drive ratio - it's the same power and the same effect on the acceleration of the vehicle. The Spark motor just runs at higher torque and lower speed than most EVs... including the Bolt that replaced it. The Spark has good power for its size (more power than the the larger Leaf, for instance), so its performance is good, but that has nothing to do with the high motor torque.

The Spark EV bits should work in a reasonably light car, but don't expect some kind of performance miracle... unless you change the controller and exceed the factory current and power limits.
 

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We are launching a powertrain controller for the leaf motor/inverter very soon.

Sent from my SM-N950F using Tapatalk

Mike,


This is very exciting! Where can more details be found when you launch?
Curious to know if this is similar to Paul's board or a whole new external controller.
 

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Mike,


This is very exciting! Where can more details be found when you launch?
Curious to know if this is similar to Paul's board or a whole new external controller.
external controller. so leaf motor/inverter stack. simply feed it 12v and can. our controller then takes theottle, gear selector etc and simply works

Sent from my SM-N950F using Tapatalk
 

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Here's a thread on using Leafs as donors:

https://www.diyelectriccar.com/forums/showthread.php?t=199847

It seems like I'll be heading down this road, and I'm more interested in buying kits than reverse engineering an OEM system. It's not yet clear to me what's out there, and what the features and limitations of each setup are.

Worst case scenario is transplanting everything needed from the Leaf, and that seems annoying, but not crazy...Of course, never having done any of it myself, my thoughts on the matter are of low value...
 

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Having built an EV already and seen what's involved using separate components, I'd expect transferring the entirety of the minimum component set required to work, from a donor such as a Leaf or other production EV, to possibly be easier than building from separate components. :)
 

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Do you have a build thread? I thought assembling standard components was pretty straightforward now (match specs; install wiring).
 

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This is my build, it's old hat now (but works well :) ) and evolved over several years starting with lead acid and upgrading to lithium.

https://www.diyelectriccar.com/forums/showthread.php?t=58958

Off the shelf EV components to build a successful EV will cost much more than a complete system from a salvage production EV and seldom match the level of engineering sophistication.

There are no "bolt in kits" as such, you're still looking at significant one off engineering for your choice of car whichever way you go ;)
 
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