Author Topic: Battery EV conversion  (Read 2231 times)

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Offline djacobow

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Battery EV conversion
« on: January 13, 2019, 09:02:24 pm »
Has anyone here converted an old ICE vehicle to EV? Did you use a kit? How did it go?

I am excited about EVs, but don't want to commit the cash for a new one. Plus, i just like the idea of driving a junky looking car that is actually an EV inside.

I'm comfortable with the EE aspects (though i won't be affecting to design my own power electronics), but have no way to generate metal parts like engine mounts and other brackets, couplers, etc.

Can i even do this; without machine shop and related skills? I don't have a suitable car right now, but in thinking of buying an older Civic or similar for the purpose.
 

Online Brutte

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Re: Battery EV conversion
« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2019, 09:53:14 pm »
To answer your questions: No, no and no.

Considering that you can buy an electric vehicle nowadays, for a decent price - I would think over the purpose of building one yourself. Equally challenging would have been:
Quote
Has anyone here converted an old EV vehicle to IC? Did you use a kit? How did it go?

As for machining disabilities - there are many people that do not have PCB shop but somehow are able to design a perfectly functional electronics.
Get some CAD tool, make a drawing, send that to a shop and they will make that for you.
You do not need to start from drawing helical gears. Start from some simple christmas tree stand.

I think it should be pretty easy to convert IC car to electric, iff the goal of it is to be electric.
Now to make it competing with modern design like Tesla or eGolf  (w.r.t. cost, range, durability) - that is a different story.







 

Online dr.diesel

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Re: Battery EV conversion
« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2019, 10:06:36 pm »
I am currently about 1/2 way through a 1948 Crosley EV conversion.  Different situation for me as I own a full Fab shop, but some kits are available, but hardly a bolt on conversion.  Picking a vehicle like an S10 truck would be one of the easier installs, plenty of room for batteries and you can buy a motor plate to bolt right up to the transmission.  However you'd still be left with the motor mounts, battery brackets etc, motor/controller combos can be bought pre-packaged from several good places online.

A Civic would not be that easy, battery packaging would be a PITA.


Offline Red Squirrel

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Re: Battery EV conversion
« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2019, 10:08:55 pm »
I'd be curious about this myself.   Surprised it's not something that is done more.    If I had a big garage I'd seriously consider getting a beater so I can convert it, would make an interesting project.  I know nothing about car mechanics so would not exactly be an easy project but good opportunity to learn, and an excuse to buy more tools.   The hardest part might be getting the lithium ion batteries though.  There's not really any reliable sources for those.  Amazon/ebay/aliexpress can be kinda sketchy.   Could probably use lead acid for a proof of concept as they are easier to get, but not really viable for any decent distance.

Of course if you can try to find your hands on existing parts like premade battery packs that might make things easier too.
 

Offline Gregg

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Re: Battery EV conversion
« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2019, 10:18:34 pm »
Welding skills will be needed much more than machining skills for the most part.  Certainly basic metal working tools like a drill press, a big honking vise, and metal cutting saws will be needed (but you need those anyway, don’t you?)  Brackets and means of fastening things in proper alignment to the vehicle are going to be paramount to as successful project.  There are machine shops that specialize in things like drive shaft modifications that know how to do things right and worth their money.  Minor things like making power brakes, power steering and heater/defroster functional can be big headaches.
Another possibility is finding an electric vehicle with major body damage and installing the components into your project vehicle.
Good luck and keep us posted.
 

Offline djacobow

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Re: Battery EV conversion
« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2019, 10:48:52 pm »
Well, there are some near bolt-on kits for certain cars. Mostly old VW products and some older sports cars. But I'm really not very interested in any of the ones I've seen. I don't really care or expect to compete with the state of the art.

I dunno. I know little about cars, so it would be a learning experience. Being able to buy an EV for a "reasonable price" is not relevant. This is for the fun and learning, and maybe a little bragging.

Then again, failure would not be fun.
 

Offline digsys

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Re: Battery EV conversion
« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2019, 11:45:03 pm »
Don't let the naysayers get you down. I've been part of several EV / solar conversion / design groups / forums etc for ~20 yrs, and other members for much
longer than me. There are 100s converted EVs in AUS and 1,000s in USA and Europe. And converting a "favourite car" is still very popular.
In fact, with the advent of readily available high energy density packs, from Tesla owners and the like, conversions have jumped.
There are dozens of sites / forums of like minded people - ie
https://www.diyelectriccar.com   www.ev-america.com   http://www.aeva.asn.au/forums/   etc etc
There is? also a site of 100s posted conversions (can't seem to find it for now) .. Just about EVERY type of vehicle has been converted.
The forums are extremely helpful, and provide a HECK of a lot of information, and will help you avoid mistakes.
Even a simple google images search ie "converted electric cars" will send you to many more helpful sites.
One handy aspect of the forums is that - members often do group buys for items, for very cheap prices. In some cases, a container load.
When I find more helpful links, I'll post them here. GO for it
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Offline jmelson

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Re: Battery EV conversion
« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2019, 04:41:21 am »
Has anyone here converted an old ICE vehicle to EV? Did you use a kit? How did it go?
Well, I did it a LONG time ago, like about 1982, I think?  I got an old VW Beetle from a friend.  His brother in law wanted the engine, anyway.  I got a jet engine starter motor from Surplus Center, and bought a Kaylor adapter that mounts the clutch.  I had to make the "bayonet" fitting that held the motor to the adapter.  I got 4 trolling motor batteries new, I think they were 90 AH, deep cycle.
I built a current regulator for the motor field, and rigged up a "gas pedal" that controlled the field regulator.  The gas pedal could be pressed with the toe to reduce field (increase motor RPM) or increase field (for regenerative braking).

I did run it around town a little bit, and it worked pretty well.  I have no idea how far it would go on a charge.  I had a big spool of #12 wire as a starting resistor, so you turned on the field regulator, then held a momentary switch to spin up the motor, then flipped another switch to power the motor directly.  It idled at about 3000 RPM, and made an ungodly loud whine as the motor had very strong field excitation to allow reasonable RPM at double the rated voltage.  It could cruise around on level roads at 50 A, and climb pretty good hills at just over 100 A.  (So, that's like 30 MPH level at 2.4 KW, and climb at 5 KW.)

I wanted to make a hybrid, and had a Honda 350 motorcycle engine, and a stratofortress 400 A generator.  But, I did a horrible job connecting the generator to the engine.  So, that needed to be done over.  Then, if I tried to get the VW inspected, I think the mechanics would laugh so hard they'd need medical help.  So, the project kind of fizzled.

Jon
 

Online james_s

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Re: Battery EV conversion
« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2019, 06:56:26 am »
I've seen conversions but I don't think they make sense anymore. A friend of mine got pretty excited about building one about 10 years ago but then factory made EVs became mainstream and they are so much more refined than anything you could make yourself without a a massive undertaking and he ended up buying a Kia Soul EV. You are virtually guaranteed to spend more money and end up with an inferior result vs just buying a used EV. My dad got a Leaf that had just come off lease, only 2 or 3 years old and practically like new, I think he paid about $10k for it, and a friend of mine got a Chevy Bolt which was I think in the same price ballpark. I'd be shocked if you could do a decent conversion for less than $10k even if you already had the donor car and it didn't need any mechanical or body work to get it up to snuff.
 

Offline djacobow

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Re: Battery EV conversion
« Reply #9 on: January 14, 2019, 05:14:16 pm »
Yes, yes, they may not make economic sense. But is this the same standard to which you are holding your EE habit?

The economics of EVs, particularly used EVs are very strange right now, I think because people see the technology changing very fast. They certainly depreciate fast, which makes a used EV attractive.

However, I originally stated, I would want to do it in part for the fun, learning, and satisfaction. I actually find the idea of an unsophisticated electric "hoopty" rather charming. I know not everyone does.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2019, 05:55:09 pm by djacobow »
 

Online james_s

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Re: Battery EV conversion
« Reply #10 on: January 14, 2019, 06:21:05 pm »
Well if you want to do it for fun or to have something unique then go for it. I was operating under the assumption that the goal was to save money in which case I wouldn't recommend it. You should certainly have an easier time than people did back before about 10 years ago when brushed motors and lead acid batteries were about the only game in town.
 
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Offline gildasd

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Re: Battery EV conversion
« Reply #11 on: January 16, 2019, 05:00:11 am »
To do brackets and such items, you need at least;

- Measuring stuff.
- Cardboard, scissors, box knife and a pen (for CAD, cardboard assisted design - did a stiffener for a 6MW motor with this today).
- Painters tape, a pen, a carbide tip, and a centre punch.
- 2kg hammer for the punch.
- A good 150mm grinder with cutting, grinding and flappy disk (if you have little experience, don't get a cheapy, it might have dangerous issues out of the box and you would be none the wiser - don´t F around with 6000Rpms).
- Glasses, gloves, shoes and other safety bits for the above.
- A simple stick welder and a box of E7028 electrodes (not sure that is standard in your area).
- Automatic welding mask, welding gloves, a slagging hammer and a steel brush.
- Steel (when you go to the steel yard to order lengths, bring a bucket, after ordering, ask if they have small cut-offs to practice) .
- An electrical outlet.
- Watch chuckey2009's 3 part series on the basics of stick welding.
- A project.

Seems like a lot, be if you are careful, you can get all the above for in-between 500 and 1000€.

You will be amazed what can be made/done with so little, including fixing gates and so forth in the neighbourhood to offset initial purchase costs.


(forgot files in my list, with a bit of practice you can square stuff down to a 1/5th of a mm with them)
« Last Edit: January 16, 2019, 05:06:25 am by gildasd »
I'm electronically illiterate
 
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Online james_s

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Re: Battery EV conversion
« Reply #12 on: January 17, 2019, 05:12:17 pm »
Having learned stick welding in highschool and done a bit of it here and there I don't recommend it unless you have a specific need. It's a lot harder than it looks and these days you can get small MIG welders fairly cheaply. On the other hand, if you do spend some time learning to stick weld then MIG will feel like an absolute breeze.
 
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Offline gildasd

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Re: Battery EV conversion
« Reply #13 on: January 17, 2019, 06:01:36 pm »
Having learned stick welding in highschool and done a bit of it here and there I don't recommend it unless you have a specific need. It's a lot harder than it looks and these days you can get small MIG welders fairly cheaply. On the other hand, if you do spend some time learning to stick weld then MIG will feel like an absolute breeze.
Yes and no.
Mig is easier, but you can do a good looking seam with little penetration.
Stick on the other hand does not lie, if it looks good, then it is good!
Électrodes have also moved on a bit, especially in spatter amount.
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Offline soldar

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Re: Battery EV conversion
« Reply #14 on: January 18, 2019, 08:56:54 pm »
Would you be able to register and drive on public roads a home-made car? Because manufacturers have to spend a lot testing and certifying their models and even have to test crash a few units.
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Offline Red Squirrel

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Re: Battery EV conversion
« Reply #15 on: January 18, 2019, 08:58:48 pm »
Would you be able to register and drive on public roads a home-made car? Because manufacturers have to spend a lot testing and certifying their models and even have to test crash a few units.

Doubt it.  Probably easier to just overhaul an existing car even if the guts are totally different at least make it have some semblance of it being that particular make/model. 
 

Offline digsys

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Re: Battery EV conversion
« Reply #16 on: January 18, 2019, 10:23:01 pm »
Quote from: soldar
Would you be able to register and drive on public roads a home-made car? Because manufacturers have to spend a lot testing and certifying their models and even have to test crash a few units.
We do it all the time, and so do many teams / independents I've worked with. In OZ it's called ICV (Independently constructed vehicles). There are also other
categories. BUT .. you do need to pass a large? subset of your ADRs (in OZ) .. vehicle design rules. Not all, by any means, but very doable.
IF you go down this path, best bet is to join a car club, or University where they do this sort of thing.
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Online wraper

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Re: Battery EV conversion
« Reply #17 on: January 18, 2019, 10:40:00 pm »
Yes, yes, they may not make economic sense. But is this the same standard to which you are holding your EE habit?
It also won't be safe. Structure and weight distribution will be screwed up. Even Elon Musk admitted them trying to build EV on chassis of ICE car (Lotus Elise) in early days of Tesla was stupidity squared. ICE chassis is simply not suitable for EV.
 

Offline NiHaoMike

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Re: Battery EV conversion
« Reply #18 on: January 19, 2019, 05:00:40 am »
There's a whole site just about DIYers converting cars into EVs.
https://www.diyelectriccar.com/forums/
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Offline IanMacdonald

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Re: Battery EV conversion
« Reply #19 on: January 21, 2019, 05:59:58 pm »
It also won't be safe. Structure and weight distribution will be screwed up. Even Elon Musk admitted them trying to build EV on chassis of ICE car (Lotus Elise) in early days of Tesla was stupidity squared. ICE chassis is simply not suitable for EV.

I think that depends what type of vehicle you are aiming for. The Elise and Roadster are both extreme performance vehicles aimed at racetrack use as well as road driving. Most people don't need the ability to go round corners figuratively on two wheels without killing yourself. :phew:
 

Online james_s

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Re: Battery EV conversion
« Reply #20 on: January 21, 2019, 06:11:03 pm »
Would you be able to register and drive on public roads a home-made car? Because manufacturers have to spend a lot testing and certifying their models and even have to test crash a few units.

Doubt it.  Probably easier to just overhaul an existing car even if the guts are totally different at least make it have some semblance of it being that particular make/model.

That's typically the approach of the kit cars that used to be somewhat popular. They would use the chassis of some readily available inexpensive car and strip it down then install the kit body on it. I'm not an expert on the matter but there is some portion of the vehicle that is legally associated with the vin number, you don't really need a whole lot of the original car to remain in order for it to still legally be considered that model car.
 

Offline djacobow

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Re: Battery EV conversion
« Reply #21 on: January 22, 2019, 11:02:18 pm »
In California, the process to convert a car legally to electric is pretty straightforward. You do the conversion, you go to a smog check station, they inspect to make sure the car has not been structurally compromised and that the engine and fuel system really are gone, and then they type something into their computer and voila, print out a statement of fact that there's no engine. You take that to the DMV and they type something else into their computer, and you have a legal EV.

https://www.arb.ca.gov/html/master_faqs/vehicle_faqs/ev_conversions.htm


 

Online sokoloff

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Re: Battery EV conversion
« Reply #22 on: January 22, 2019, 11:16:08 pm »
There's a whole site just about DIYers converting cars into EVs.
https://www.diyelectriccar.com/forums/
In the small world department, that site is how I found out about Dave and EEVBlog.
 

Offline DougSpindler

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Re: Battery EV conversion
« Reply #23 on: January 27, 2019, 04:49:23 pm »
There are several companies selling conversion kits or will do ITER you.  One company sells an EV motor which just attaches to your cars wheels.  If you look on YouTube you can find all kinds of cars which have been converted to BEV or PHEV.  There are cars from the 1930s all the way through modern cars.

Look. On YouTube for EV West, they are located in Southern California. And I know there are some other companies located in Southern California doing the same.  Someone has kits for Ford F=150 tracks as well.

https://youtu.be/q4CPBHj0UQk

https://youtu.be/iQ4lTPVR3qc
 

Offline digsys

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Re: Battery EV conversion
« Reply #24 on: May 01, 2019, 06:05:50 am »
You'd need to check your relevant state / country safety / design rules. They differ a little between countries. AND it's NOT something to guess at !!
If you read through this thread, there is info on best practice. GL
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