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Old 12-27-2006, 05:49 AM   #1
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Saturn electric car

I found this article at cleanmpg.com. Very interesting since I have a dead Saturn that would make an almost ideal donor car.
http://www.statesmanjournal.com/apps...612230319/1001
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Old 12-27-2006, 06:12 AM   #2
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The article doesn't say what type of batteries they use. Did they just go to AutoZone and buy a few dozen batteries?

Also, the article alludes to a "kit" - any info on this?

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Old 12-27-2006, 06:21 AM   #3
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I sent an email to the author of the article asking for details on the plans the guy used. I also found a site that does conversions. Until I hear from the author of the article, I can't say for sure if it is where the guy got his plans. Here is a link to the site.
http://www.electroauto.com/index.html
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Old 12-27-2006, 06:32 AM   #4
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Yeah, I saw that article too. Neat.

The only thing that bugs me about stories like that is how batteries are not factored into the operating cost calculations.

Batteries are consumables - they wear out, so should be factored in as part of the operating costs. The article doesn't even mention this.

Of course it wouldn't be nearly as exciting if they reported the car wasn't saving the owner any money, unless gasoline was more than $2.50/gal or something (just guessing - I didn't do the math).

Anyhoo.

Here's a bunch more Saturn EV's. Some have the specs laid out in detail: http://www.austinev.org/evalbum/type/SATU
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Old 12-27-2006, 06:40 AM   #5
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Thanks for the link Metro, I'll check that out. Here is an article on what appears to a VW rabbit that was shown on the electroauto.com page.
http://www.mrsharkey.com/rabbit.htm
More pictures:
http://www.mrsharkey.com/mods.htm
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Old 12-27-2006, 07:22 AM   #6
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After watching "Who Killed the Electric Car" this week I am also more motivated to take the plunge and start an EV conversion...

after I finish with the Honda n600, of course
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Old 12-27-2006, 09:49 AM   #7
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Hello -

Correct me if I am wrong, but didn't someone who converted 1st gen Saturns to electric join this site in the last year? I know I read about a guy who said he used to have a business doing this, but gave up and is just doing traditional gas saving now.

I can't find his thread. Can you?

In the meantime, here is something from the saturn fans website :

Electric Conversion
http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/showthread.php?t=7204

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Old 12-30-2006, 11:22 AM   #8
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Quote:
Batteries are consumables - they wear out, so should be factored in as part of the operating costs. The article doesn't even mention this.

Of course it wouldn't be nearly as exciting if they reported the car wasn't saving the owner any money, unless gasoline was more than $2.50/gal or something (just guessing - I didn't do the math).
Battery costs will generally be between $.04-.08/mile if you are using flooded lead acid batteries. It is well within the realm of possibility for cost parity between a flooded lead acid conversion and its gasoline counterpart to be at under $1.50/gallon gas. In fact, many such conversions exist.

If you don't care properly for the batteries, ovbiously cost per mile shoots up very high. If your pack is so small that you are deep discharging it regularly for your commute, cost per mile will be high as well.


With AGMs, price generaly shoots way up, mostly because those who use AGMs aren't using regs or a proper charging algorithm. Properly cared for, AGMs will actually last longer than floodies. John Wayland's set in "Blue Meanie" has lasted nearly a decade, albeit they are delivering about half the range they did originally.
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Old 12-30-2006, 11:51 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Toecutter
Battery costs will generally be between $.04-.08/mile if you are using flooded lead acid batteries.
Thanks for that.

38 mpg (SL1 manual, the car they converted) @ $2.50/gal for gasoline = $.066 / mile fuel cost.

So they took a car rated at 38 mpg (combined) spent over $10,000 to convert it to electric, and tout the negligible "savings" as their motivation & reward? I think they're being silly.
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Old 12-30-2006, 12:07 PM   #10
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To be fair, the gasoline version is about $.05/mile in maintenance. An electric car has about $.005-.01/mile in maintenance for brakes and tires and stuff.

Lets say the electric Saturn's battery costs $.06/mile, and needs $.01/mile maintenance. At $.10/kWh for electricity, 75% charging efficiency, and .25 kWh/mile from the battery pack, that's $.033/mile for 'fuel'.

So the electric will cost $.103/mile to run, while the gas Saturn will cost $.116/mile to run at $2.50/gallon gas and 38 mpg.

Cost parity between the two would be at $2.01/gallon gas.

If the Saturn would have been available as an EV in the first place, it would have made perfect economic sense. The article also doesn't tell us if the builder sold the engine and other related components to recoup some of the costs.

Kits are also a ripoff. Judging by the components used, if this guy would have made his own battery boxes and motor mounts and adaptor, it probably could have been done for around $5,000-7,000.

If a larger battery pack would be used to keep percentage discharge down for the commute, battery costs would drop. If they drop to say, $.04/mile, cost parity between the gasoline and electric version would be $1.25/gallon.

EVs are economical, but only if you do them right. But due to the fact that you're already buying a car with gasoline components installed and having to pay for them, the payback period gets very long. For your most economically minded conversions(in terms of operating cost), the payback period will be about 3 years, depending on how much you drive each year! For this Saturn, much, much longer.



My hunch is that your forkenswift, due to its small pack and inefficient type of motor, probably won't save you much(if any) money, even if the conversion was done for very cheap. I'd be very impressed if your battery pack lasted more than 10,000 miles. A typical flooded pack in a conversion will last around 20,000 miles.
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