Electric Conversion Kits
Fifty year electric conversion pictorial time line.
In 2016 we saw the best electric vehicle battery technology in world history.
I have waited over fifty years to see this time.
There are many design options when it comes to a new electric conversion or electric custom build. As technology changes there are new components you may want to use in your new build. In building a gas hot rod or custom you may want to use more modern drive train components from another car in some cases. This is true now in the EV world. As we have better batteries, motors and DC controller (AC, inverters) now. There is a great source of used components from the major manufactures electric vehicles.
We have some great mass produced batteries being used in factory electric vehicles. E-V Concepts buys some low mileage cars from the insurance auctions for use of the batteries and drives. What cost $25,000 for a 20 KW battery pack five years ago cost $5000
today with better range.
Most all conversion kits (motor and controller packages) we saw in the past were under powered to push full sized cars at freeway speeds. From the 1970s to 1990s we had only lead acid batteries to us. Finding space or a vehicle that could carry 1500 more pounds of lead batteries was difficult. High powered DC motors and controllers were designed mostly for high speed starters for Jet engines and the fork lift industry used in grocery warehouses and other nontoxic emissions building conditions.
General Electric was one of the only manufactures of DC motor and speed controllers in the USA in the 60s to 80s. High powered AC motors were and are very common in the manufacturing industry to run assembly lines and other large equipment. AC electricity is common place and the speed controllers were very accurate and expensive.
The 1990's we saw more interest in electric cars and interest from other companies to offer medium voltage (50 to 150 volts) DC motors and controllers. The early 1990s we saw the new Nickel Metal Hydride large format batteries. General Motors and Chevron bought the large format Nickel Metal Hydride patents and sued companies like Toyota and Panasonic for trying to make electric vehicles with them. This went on for more than 10 years.
In 1990 we had companies using the small low amperage spiral NiMH and lithium spiral cells 18650 and 26650 in their battery powered portable tools. These were the only high energy cells available in the USA not to be subjected to the GM, Chevron patents.
In 1990 Electric Vehicle Concepts began using the 26650 A123 spiral cells used in the Dewalt 36 volt power tools. They were nicely packaged with a BMS (battery management system) and a smart charger. At one amp per cell it took over 400 cells to move a car. Packaging and connecting hundreds or thousands of cells (spiral batteries) was a night mare. The low amp cells were over worked and heated up to the point of self destructing. Charging a damaged or shorted spiral cell creates thermal runaway, explosion and fire. Very well documented in the Tesla cars.
Using the 26650 low amp cells in motorcycles and our 800 pound city cars at 72 volts was a nice change by lowering the weight from using lead acid batteries. The smaller 18650 battery cells are widely used in electric bicycles today with voltage less than 72 volts.
The small (AA size) 18650 lithium cells were the cheapest lithium batteries mass produced in the 1990's. The choice of the early Tesla Roadster designed by AC Propulsion Company in California. This is the reason it takes 9000 batteries to power the Tesla car. Ten years later the Tesla cars changed to the larger (D size) 27650 designed 30 years earlier by A123 and used 20 years earlier by Electric Vehicle Concepts.
We began to see large format lithium batteries.
Large format lithium cells did not infringe on the Chevron GM NiMH patents. Some Chinese manufactures like Thundersky (Winston) and CALB were heavily backed by the Chinese government to produce better batteries for the Chinese EV market. The US government put high tariffs and liability bonds on the batteries to keep them out of the USA. Fortunately for us dye hard electric vehicle conversion companies the Chinese bought their way into the USA and set up distribution.
There was new inspiration in the EV world seeing large format lithium Polymer batteries (LiPo4) accessible world wide. We now saw new companies offering EV conversion kits or motor and controller packages.
The Light at the end of the tunnel.
The oil companies and Gas car manufactures could no longer stop electric vehicles in the world market. Electric Vehicle Concepts waited 40 years for this time.
Every manufacture had a hybrid model in their lineup. All using the small spiral NiMH batteries. Not infringing on the Chevron GM patents. Real electric cars were being manufactured and sold around the world except in the USA. The Tesla Company with its $125,000 roadster was not a threat to the US car manufactures. BMW was allowed to lease their electric Mini Cooper in the USA for testing. The US government gave General Motors millions to produce their first electric vehicle (hybrid Volt) for sale in the USA.
After had an American made electric car in the USA market other non USA manufactures were aloud to import their electric vehicles into the USA. That The Nissan Leaf sold well. A full sized car with four doors and 75 mile range. That fit the 30 mile a day average of the American daily travels.
The electric car dam has broken. California returns with the clean air act that the government stopped 15 years earlier. Now every manufacture to sell cars in California had to offer a no emissions vehicle to sell their other gas cars in the state.
Every manufacture had a compliance electric vehicle for sale in California. Some EVs were only for sale in California. Worldwide all major car manufactures produced a lithium battery powered electric vehicle. South Korea was the big winner of the change. Near 70 percent of all batteries, motors, controllers and electric vehicles were produced in South Korea for the worlds car manufactures.
New technology comes to the lithium Ion battery vehicles. Energy density is higher and cost is lower. The electric transportation age has come for Electric Vehicle Concepts and all other EV enthusiast world wide.
2020 - Electric Conversion Kits
Motors are just limited by the total watts they have to use. Higher voltage creates higher RPMs. It has been rare that the motor and controller designers are from the same company. It was only until the 1990's that we saw DC motor controllers that could handle over 150 volts. Finding enough space for 150 volts of lead acid batteries was your limiting factor with any electric conversion build.
Modern EVs are designed to use the complete floor. This is not the standard for gas converted cars. The front and rear are more common areas in gas conversions. One motor controller conversion kit does not fit all design considerations.
1st choice is what battery you will use. Not the motor and controller.
Basically you want as much battery and as high a voltage as possible for the space you have found. This can change from 100 volts to 400 volts. 150 volts barely gets freeway speed in a 3000 pound car.
Lead Acid, to heavy, low energy per weight, Dangerous with liquid acid and creates hydrogen gas. Lead and acid are bad for the environment.
Nickel Metal Hydride, Lighter, safer, good in cold weather, good energy density, last for many cycles. Can buy new out of China. Most hybrid cars use NiMH batteries. Some used modules are available in wreaked cars.
LiPo4 lithium cells. Most all made in China. Very safe. Good for low volt conversions as the 3.3 Volt cells can come as high as 200 amps per cell. Big difference from the one amp spiral cell.
Lithium ion spiral cells or flat prismatic Lion cells.
Safety should be the most important consideration in your battery choice for your electric conversion project.
Every electric conversion build or donor car choice will create different challenges for battery location and space. I have done more than two electric vehicle projects a year in my past fifty years. Very few were the same donor vehicle. Battery choices have changed over the years. New model cars have come into play. Lighter and more aerodynamic.
You may not know what space you have until you have the donor car. If you are going to spend this much money and time on an electric conversion. You should get something you would like to keep.
Battery cell choice.
All lithium ion cells are 3.7 volts. Ranging from 1 amp Tesla cells to 65 amp Bosch Samsung cells. You need 300 to 600 amps to cruise the freeway depending on your car choice. Tesla uses 8000 1 amp cells. I prefer 100 X 65 amp cells. Safety is my concern. The less connections and better packaging is key. Tesla has the worst fire record of any electric vehicle. Low amp cells get very hot. High amp cells do not. I like buying the Fiat 500E cars for the Samsung Bosch batteries. Same used in BMW, Mercedes, VW and some others.
Electric Conversion Kits
When you know your total volts then you can buy a charger and controller or inverter.
Must shut off when your Ion cells are below 4.2 volts. The Manzanita charger is the most adjustable. The Elcon charger has limited adjustment but the company will get the cutoff close to your needs.
Motor and speed controller packages.
DC motors have good torque but lower RPMs than the AC motors. Electric motors make maximum torque from 300 rpm to 3000 rpm. Using a transmission will always give better performance and keep you in the highest torque range. Direct drive reduction gear boxes give you a happy medium of acceleration and top speed efficiency. Locked single direct drive gear boxes keeps people from over reving the motor and blowing it apart.
Transmissions are more efficient. All gas cars have transmissions. All hybrid electric cars have transmissions. I have been making motor to transmission adapter kits for cars there are no adapter kits for and back before there were adapter kits.
2020 DC motor controller or AC motor inverter choices.
This again goes to how many volts you have.
Curtis controls have been around for 30 years. AC and DC drives. 30 volts to 150 volts.
You are limited on space. You will use lithium ion batteries from a new EV. The higher the volts the less amps you use making the batteries run cool. Modern EVs run near 400 volts.
All the motors available the torque falls off at 3000 RPM. We have used automatics in the past. Manuals are good with a working clutch.
The smaller 9" motors rev higher and can run to 300 plus volts. $2500
The Solitron DC controller will adjust to any voltage under 340
Volts.$3000 The Manzanita Charger will adjust up to 340 volts.$3000
Need an trans adapter. $1000 Need a proper fuel gauge Link Pro. $300
The Fiat Samsung Bosch batteries come in factory package of 5 and 6
cell modules. The modules are the size of a group 23 lead battery. ten
pounds each. 20 volts each. Cost is $300 each. Ten would get you 200
volts. Higher is better. Return with any questions. I can send
pictures. Have more than fifty conversions.
Spherical Designs .org Electric Vehicle Concepts .com