[Oeva-list] Conversion hopes realistic

Chris Brune csbrune_ev at comcast.net
Mon Jul 11 20:46:15 PDT 2005

Where to start....  You ask a lot of questions that I have heard many people ask.  And like most people you start with expectations that seem reasonable, but are probably not realistic for a first time conversion.  Unless you have a tremendous amount of money to spend you are not going to find a set of batteries that is going to get you 70 mile useable range.

I would recommend you look at www.evalbum.com and see what similar cars are using for batteries and getting for range.

For sealed lead acid systems (like Optimas) one might expect max range to be about 20-25 miles.  A double string of Optimas (2 times the # of batteries) can increase your range, but you have to find room for all those batteries.
For flooded batteries (golf cart batteries) I would expect the max range to be about 40-50 miles.  But this means you have to water the batteries.  And performance in my opinion isn't that great.  I did flooded batteries once, I won't do it again.
And when I say max range, I mean max.  Useable range is about half these numbers.  If you want the batteries to last.
There are more exotic batteries out there if you are willing to spend the money.  But I wouldn't recommend any of these to a newcomer.

Most people use DC motors.  These are the cheaper solution, but they also lack some features (no regenerative braking for example).
AC motor systems are real nice, but cost a bit more... See our local source www.metricmind.com.  Also the AC systems tend towards higher voltage systems which makes battery selection a bit more complicated.

Air conditioning if fairly rare in EV conversions.  It would suck to much of an already precious resource (battery power).  Electric heat is fairly common though.

A well done conversion can be driven by anyone.  A poorly done one can be a rolling science experiment.  I suppose the same could hold true for an ICE based vehicle as well.

I would highly recommend the purchase of a vehicle that has already been converted.  Get your feet wet and get an understanding of what to expect.  Check out the trading post which can be found using the EV album link above.  My experience has been that conversions tend to hold their value fairly well.  So can always resell the vehicle when you are ready to do your own conversion.

Hope this helps.
Chris Brune

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Jason Gingerich 
  To: oeva-list at oeva.org 
  Sent: Monday, July 11, 2005 4:03 PM
  Subject: [Oeva-list] Conversion hopes realistic

  I'm interested in doing an EV passenger car conversion. I've done quite a bit of research online and have read "Convert it", but am having a little trouble putting the answers together. I live near Canby. Here is a description of the car and what I'd like to be able to do. Is this realistic with current technology? What kind of money would I expect to need to invest out for this? What battery technology would be best. If if my target vehicle is not realistic (or affordable), which factors would need to change to make it realistic and by how much?
    a.. Compact sedan, seats 4 (Metro, Mazda 323/Protoge,  or something similar)
    b.. Sealed batteries (I'm worried about gassing during charging and that I'll forget to top them off) 
    c.. Safe and simple enough to operate that my non-technical wife can drive it without extensive training about pulling circuit breakers, using fire extinguishers and monitoring several gauges, and that if she drives within range, she doesn't have to worry about being stranded. She'd be willing to learn about being light on the gas or pulse/coast driving, that sort of thing, but I don't want her to be scared of the car. 
    d.. Regenerative braking (OK, this isn't absolutely necesssary but would be nice) 
    e.. Heater that will keep my windows from fogging/icing 
    f.. Air conditioning would be nice, but not a necessity
  Performance characteristics: (These would be a "minimum," so imagine driving at night when the temperature is a (rare) 20 degrees day in January here in the valley, and not just when the batteries are brand new. But the batteries are fully-charged on a home 240V circuit.)
    a.. Can reliably do a 70 mile round-trip from here (outside of Canby) to most of Portland and back without recharging. There are some mild hills on the route, but I don't have to climb over the West Hills. 
    b.. Can accelerate and brake fast enough to be safe on the I-5 portion of the trip (about 18 miles each way)
  Once I'd select batteries, I'd want to estimate charging costs and battery cost/life, but I don't think I'm ready for that yet. Finally, I'm technically-minded, and once changed a clutch in a Maxima, but not extremely mechanical, so I'll probably need a kit, and possibly some advice/consulting. I do have some more mechanically inclined friends who are likely to help with things. Are there commercially available kits group members are familiar with that I should consider? Local businesses that I should visit?

  Thanks in advance,


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