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Hi.

As my subject indicates, I'm a newbie.

I would like to convert a vw bug to ev for my kids. I'm very technical in many areas, engineering, electronics, software etc. I have a couple of friends that are talent machinists and fabricators. We should be able to tackle this. I hope.

So for I get the feeling that getting a crashed ev like a leaf is the easiest place to start.

I would like to ramp up asap. Can you point me in the direction of any threads to help.
 

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None in particular, just spend some time browsing all over this forum and YouTube.

The Nissan leaf actually probably wouldn't be the easiest, as much of the Leaf parts can't be easily reused (namely the BMS). The 'easiest' way to convert a car is to buy a kit motor like the hyper 9 and other parts made specifically for the conversion market, although this is a more expensive route generally.
 

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A crashed EV is probably the cheapest way to go, as you can harvest a lot of useable stuff. Leaf motors can be repurposed with relative ease (on the electrical side at any rate) by getting a VCU from thunderstruck. You would have to do some digging about other parts that people have figured out how to use. The big ticket items your car will need are:

Battery
Motor
BMS
Charger

Does the bug have manual steering? If it used to have power steering, you will need to figure out how to handle that, and the brake booster - but enough bugs have been converted that I am sure all of that has been covered pretty well somewhere out there.

I would say that step one on the process is to read as much as you can, and get a handle on the theory. Have an idea of how much power you need to produce to move the car the way you want to (because there is a big difference between a little around-town run-about and a drag racer), and how much battery that will require. Electric cars really are all about the battery.

Once you understand the power requirements, you can start the scavenger hunt phase. A lot of the parts can probably be found locally if you look around, and if you have enough budget to order new stuff, then start shopping around for that online as well. I have nothing but good things to say about Thunderstruck, I have heard Orion also makes good BMSes. I am happy with my Hyper 9 from netgain, but it is an expensive route to go for a motor. I would suggest you steer clear of EV West - they have a nice website, but I was not wild about their service and quality for the few things I bought from them.

Sometimes you can find an EV battery out of a crashed car on craigslist, or call around to wrecking yards and try and track down where electric cars go to die near you. New batteries are expensive, and there is a lot of salvage stuff out there that still has a lot of mileage left in it.

Anyway, I wish you luck - I have written quite a lot of these newbie introductions, and I have yet to see somebody finish a car. Then again, I have only been doing it for a couple of years, and these projects take a LOT of time.
 

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I'm in the same situation. I have several vehicles that are good candidates for conversion to electric: a '91 Geo Metro, a '78 Toyota Pickup, a '69 Nissan Fairlady Roadster, and a '93 Mazda Miata. I think the Geo would be the first one to do.
Is there a resource to find a step-by-step guide, answers to common questions, and good sources for the parts or a complete kit?
What I have found online is outdated, overpriced, incomplete and/or out of business. The how-to books are apparently outdated already.
CanEV quoted me $60,000 to convert the Toyota pickup. Electric GT quoted 23,000-30,000 for a DIY system.
There is a kit on Ebay for $2,999 which is probably better for a golf cart...

There is a business opportunity for anyone who could put together an electric conversion business with a how-to website, and supply the motors, controllers, wiring, batteries, et cetera.
It seems to be very piecemeal right now, and it should have advanced way beyond this by 2022.
Any assistance would be greatly appreciated!
Thanks,
Chris
 

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So the problem with "standardizing" a conversion is many-fold. First off, each conversion has a unique set of requirements, each builder has a different skill set, and the number of possible donor vehicles will be very large.

Also, if a prospective builder does not understand each part that they are going to install, then how can they hope to do it right? There is no way to cut corners; if you are going to do the work yourself, you need to become knowledgeable enough to know which parts you need for your own goals. Most people do not really realize how much work converting is. It is a huge project; and with so many new and used EVs available now, it really only makes sense for someone who wants the challenge, or simply must have a certain car/performance/whatever that can not be had in the ever-expanding marketplace.

As you have found, there is a market for conversions and kits; and it will cost you dearly. There is at present no way that I know of to convert a car that will wind up outperforming a used leaf for the money spent (I will grant there are a few rockstars out there who have probably done it, but 99.999 percent of us are not those people).
 

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Only thing I would add to what OR-Carl says is RESEARCH - RESEARCH - RESEARCH. Even with good research expect to have to re-direct your path many times throughout your build. Be flexible. Be able to evaluate your own skills at the start, and then allow time for learning ($). Taking car to an EV conversion shop = $$$$. Buying a kit = $$$. DIY designed/built from ground up = $$.
Finally, due to the availability of more and more used OEM parts, OR-Carl is right, used Leafs are cheap. Only reason to build then is to far, far, outperform a Leaf. ;)
 

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Only reason to build then is to far, far, outperform a Leaf.
If you want to outperform a Leaf, buy a high end Tesla. The only reason to convert a car to electric is because you think it sounds like a fun project. You can even convert a car to electric without spending hardly anything, although the less money you pour in, the less likely the vehicle is to ever leave the garage under its own power.
 

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Or a used Tesla. Totally right about the fun project part though. You have to like spending a year in your garage with neighbors wondering what the hell you are doing in there. If you set reasonable expectations such as: Cars are devices that get you from A to B and not toys that drive themselves and thus fullfill your life..conversions may be for you. My conversion was about $20k not including the countless small stuff over a 1.5 years. Ended up with a Tesla LDU C5 Corvette commuter car for work with about 100 miles range. Totally worth the experience gained and the daily experience to drive a vehicle that is one of a kind.
 
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