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
Horsepower is how hard you hit the wall, torque is how much of the wall you take with you.
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 :
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.
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.