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Old 12-29-2006, 11:42 AM   #1
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brainstorming an electric vehicle

I know, I just bought a new car...

but I want to build an electric car. if anything as a commuter for my wife or for running to the grocery store.

requirements:

cheap conversion (maybe $2000-ish?)
easy conversion (duh!)
at least 60 mile range on a charge

the first thing I think of us a small pickup truck. The bed can hold the batteries and I won't need to do much fab work to get them to fit. If it's mainly a commuter, aerodynamic issues won't come into play (neither wife or I get on the freeway to go to work). There is also the possibility of adding a small solar array to the bed to help charging in the future.

But I think it would also be fun to convert something like an older honda, or maybe an older VW Bug.

Anyway... would love to hear any suggestions.
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Old 12-29-2006, 11:45 AM   #2
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How about a n600 or mybe a VW rabbit circa 1980's
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Old 12-29-2006, 12:27 PM   #3
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Please don't cut up any of your 600's...
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Old 12-29-2006, 01:22 PM   #4
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I hate to be a downer, but 60 miles is going to be a serious challenge in a budget conversion. You'll need a lot of batteries. I know Toecutter's got the weight/range/cost formulas at his fingertips. He may chime in.

Don't forget to factor in a 25-50% range reduction in winter temperatures. Is there no way of charging half way, at work?
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Old 12-29-2006, 02:54 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MetroMPG
I hate to be a downer, but 60 miles is going to be a serious challenge in a budget conversion. You'll need a lot of batteries. I know Toecutter's got the weight/range/cost formulas at his fingertips. He may chime in.

Don't forget to factor in a 25-50% range reduction in winter temperatures. Is there no way of charging half way, at work?
If my wife drives it, it can easily be recharged at work. If I go for the truck conversion, I can do the solar panels eventually.

In all reality, my wife works 3 miles away. I'd like to overshoot actual numbers though, because a vehicle with a 10 mile range isn't too impressive.

I DID see a guy on that austinev site that converted an old late-70s honda civic with a 60 mile range.
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Old 12-29-2006, 03:38 PM   #6
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But adding range that you don't really "need" just sets up a vicious circle of decreasing efficiency (from added weight, assuming lead acid) and escalating costs to manage that decreased efficiency: more range = more battery weight --> more cabling --> bigger host vehicle --> larger motor --> more powerful controller --> stronger charger --> more batt maintenance (assuming floodies) ...

Since an EV will only ever be a second car for most people with current battery tech, just aim for what you need.
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Old 12-29-2006, 03:40 PM   #7
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What are your top speed requirements, how many stops on the route, are there large hills, what's the weather like? Given your budget, I'm going to suggest going with a smaller pack with a custom genset... That way you can make sure the pack is always between 30-80% charge in order to extend it's life, get a significant amount of power from the grid, while not having to worry about running out of charge.
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Old 12-29-2006, 03:50 PM   #8
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Buy a small diesel generator, and use that to power your electric motor, or charging system etc. Then you can have a 10 mile range on batteries, and have a backup plan if you run out of power

Edit : seeing the post above, looks like I took to long to post
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Old 12-29-2006, 06:53 PM   #9
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Can I have the old first gen rex?
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Old 12-29-2006, 10:17 PM   #10
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Quote:
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Can I have the old first gen rex?
That's the wife's car... not mine... besides, I'm going to be painting it soon
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