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Electric conversion of VW-based kit

Home Forums MGTD Kit Cars VW Based Kits Electric conversion of VW-based kit

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  • #232786
    edward ericson
    Participant

    @edsnova

    Hello all. I just picked up a BCW-52 yesterday, pretty nice condition. I’m thinking of turning it into an electric car to commute to work. VW bug electric kits are easy to come by, and I think the MG-EV would be better than a typical “voltswagon” bug for several reasons, beginning with these:

    1. it’s 400lbs lighter than a bug

    2. it’s 400 times cooler looking than the bug

    Anyway, I’ve not seen a kit done like this, so I wonder if I’m missing something important. Anyone have any opinions and/or wisdom to impart?

    #239966
    Tom Albright
    Participant

    @toma

    I thought of doing the same thing.  Once I started looking at the available room for batteries and the lack of sufficient structure to support them, I decided to stick to gasoline. 

    If I were to do it, I would consider building a structural tube space frame to replace the VW pan.  This would be a bigger project than I am ready for.

    Tom A from Reading, PA

    #239967
    Richard Wobby
    Participant

    @richard-wobby

    Ed sounds in theory like a great idea, the motors for electric cars weigh in at about 150lbs you should be looking at something in the 20,000 watt area, I think the biggest problen is the batteries for an extended run will need about 16 square feet and weigh about 1000lbs. there are some new Ion or lithium cells on the market but your still looking at 500lbs  and 9 or 10 square feet. I had a GEM for a while, I’ve done some research. be willing to talk. I’ve wondered about a hybrid Prius, is it about 6 inches longer and 5 inches wider. the civic is about the same. the Hybride engine ia about 8 inches wider than the chevette. Just a few thoughts

     

     

    #239968
    edward ericson
    Participant

    @edsnova

    Thanks, Toma. That’s probably another reason to reconsider–though I was thining the Bug could take 800 pounds of batteries and 200 pounds of electric motor & stuff after removing 300+ pounds of flat 4 power.

    My very simplified way of looking at it was, 2000-lb VW bug becomes 1600-lb MG, minus 300 lbs of motor = 1300 lbs. Add 800 lbs of batteries and some WARP9 goodness and you’re back p to 2300 lbs. Still basically within Bug spec.

    That and the fact that dozens of Type 1 Beetles are scooting around on hippie-engineered battery power. . . .

    What’s holding me back is the $8,000 price tag, and the realization that commuting in this vehicle might be problematic in and around Baltimore. And the fact that I wouldn’t have enough range to drive her to Carlisle.

    #239969
    edward ericson
    Participant

    @edsnova

    Ahh, Richard. Yes, let’s talk. The LiFePO batteries would pobably be the way. But I don’t even want to think about how much those would cost. Doing an A/C Prius mix would be way beyond my abilities. I think I could probably adapt a DC kit to any car, but I’m very new to electric tinkering.

    Planning this spring to make a potter’s wheel for the missus. That’ll get my feet wet,in terms of making-electrc-powered-things. Bridget will be staying ICE-powered for the next season or two, at the very least.

    #239970
    Richard Wobby
    Participant

    @richard-wobby

    I was it KU doing some work with thier ag team this spring and actually saw this car. I think I still have a contact or two there I’ll inquire. 

    http://green.autoblog.com/2009/10/08/ku-ecohawks-turn-1974-v olkswagen-beetle-into-a-biodiesel-electri/

    At the University of Kansas, a group of students is working small and thinking big. The EcoHawk students are part of a mechanical engineering senior project that is building small, 1/8th scale ecocars and has also turned a beat-up 1974 Volkswagen Beetle into a biodiesel-electric hybrid with “the long term goal of achieving 500 mpg.” Nothing like a little ambition in the classroom, right?

    The students have given their subgoups nifty names like Team Amp, Team Cell Mates and Team Redline. The different teams are making model cars that use fuel cells, hybrid of all-electric powertrains to get around. EcoHawk Jessica L. wrote to say that the 1/8th scale models are allow the students to “diversify our research in an economical way,” which makes sense to us, even if it doesn’t exactly follow that you can build a full-size SUV after making a little fuel cell or EV model. It’s the lessons learned that are important here. Watch a video of the full-size Beetle in action after the jump.

    #239971
    edward ericson
    Participant

    @edsnova

    Richard, that’s way cool. College shop class is totally the best. So my question: right around 18 seconds into the video there are about 10 frames of what looks like a disassembled jet plane in the background. Any idea what that’s all about?

    #239972
    Doug
    Participant

    @rcsign

      I converted a Classic Coach over to electric last year It’s running a 72 volt drive system with a 40 hp D&D EV motor and a Alltrax controller It has 12 6volt EV batteries and one lighting system 12volt. We did a complete frame off and added battery boxes to the area below on each side of the motor and seven batteries in the front. The performance is comparable to a 36hp Volkswagon. I’ve had it up to 55 on a level road. We drove it about a thousand miles last summer in fair weather back and forth to work and ironed out a few bugs. It will get about 15 to 20 miles to a charge. I have to hit the freeway when I exit my home and need to cruise at 45 for about two miles and that is a real drain on the battery pack. I think if I could keep it at about 35 it would increase the mileage up to about 25 to 30 The MG repicar was the ideal chassis for this conversion not only does it look good, it dead quiet when its running. Here’s the link to photos: http://www.diyelectriccar.com/garage/cars/142
    One thing I will do this spring is move the four low riding batteries in the back up behind the rear seat, this just sits to low and does bottom out on my driveway curb. The LifePo batteries would have added $8000.00 at the time we built this. I was told the replicar weighs about 1400 lbs subtract 200 for the motor, add 12 batteries 62 lbs ea  744 lbs, motor and additional metal approx 110 lbs Total 2054 lbs. If you need any other info let me know.
    Doug

    #239973
    Will Burge
    Participant

    @washington-will

    Wow that is alot of nice work the pictures look really good. How long are the batteries good for? I mean total life expectancy. How much would you say you have wrapped up in the conversion. I think I would miss the purr and rev of the gas engine. 

    #239974
    Paul Mossberg
    Keymaster

    @pmossberg

    That is pretty cool Doug.

    How do you charge it up? And how long must it be on the charger to go from dead to full charge?

    PMOSSBERG40185.0115393519

    Paul Mossberg
    Former Owner of a 1981 Classic Roadsters Ltd. Duchess (VW)
    2005 Intermeccanica Roadster

    If you own a TDr and are not in the Registry, please go to https://tdreplica.com/forums/topic/mg-td-replica-registry/ and register (you need to copy and paste the link)

    #239975
    Doug
    Participant

    @rcsign

    The life expectancy of the batteries are about four to five years same as a golf cart. I’ve got $13,800 in it, with the cost of the car.  I paid $1800.00 with the engine leaking a small amount of oil. It needed restoration we took it down to the chassis, rebuilt the transaxle, new brakes, wheel cylinders, master cylinder,lines, removed clutch, and repainted the body. It has a on board charger. just plug it in to 110 volt. It takes about 6 1/2 hours to charge from totally dead. I’ve done that once, it’s not fun pushing it home, it has a computer that needs to be reprogramed after letting it drain completely. I usually plug it in every two days after driving back and forth to work(four miles one way).  It does have leather seats and burled wood dash that added to the overall cost. We did everything including upholstery. The dash was the only item we farmed out, most of the chrome pcs. except for bumpers, grille, headlight buckets was replaced. One thing I had to do was replace the dropped axle with a stock VW because the added weight up front lowered the front end to much.

     Yes you do miss the purr of the engine, but you should see the look on peoples faces when you go by and there is no engine noise. right now it’s been sitting in the garage since the first week of December. I charge the battery pack up last night it had dropped down to 65% in a month in a none heated garage. but the weather in northern Illinois has been in the teens.

    #239976
    Larry Murphy
    Participant

    @larry-murphy

     Doug, That’s a real neat car you have, looks to be very well done. I checked out your link and pictures along with the cost breakdown but I could not figure out how much went toward restoration and how much it actually cost to do the electric conversion. I don’t mean to be nosey but I guess I am after all.You really do have a one of a kind MG.Were you thinking of the environment,putting the oil barons out of business or just doing something that you really wanted to do?Whichever it was it looks like you did a good job.Keep us up to date on how it does.

    #239977
    edward ericson
    Participant

    @edsnova

    Doug, you da man! That’s a sweet job, beautiful car, and very much in line with what I was thinking–right down to the batteries in the back, either side of the motor.

    Alas, your range and speed are both less than I would need. Looks like you’ve got all the batteries that would fit, too. I was thinking I could get at least 8 or 9 up front and 4 in the back for 96 volts. Now I’m thinking not.

    The costs are a little more than I can manage just now too.

    So, looks like you’ve got a one-off there for the foreseeable future. You should enter it in the NY Times’ “collectible car” contest. Win $5k and make us replicats proud.

    Thanks very much for posting. If or when I mod Bridget I’ll call to pick your brain.

    #239978
    Doug
    Participant

    @rcsign

     I actually never broke it down,but all of the fabrication for the electrical  we did ourselves. including CNC machined battery boxes. I would guess about $6500.00 for the conversion we bought batteries at wholesale from a friend.

    Actually EV,s technology isn’t rocket science. It’s  golf cart technology with a few more volts. It’s easier to understand than the combustion engine with fewer things to go wrong with it. Placing the batteries was the hardest part of the conversion. All battery boxes are “bolt in” so they can be removed.

    I was looking at the enviromental aspect, a little bit of guilt, for running two premium vehicles and a diesel, the satisfaction of building something different, and of course cruising by the gas pump. One thing I did notice about the basic car after owning two 60 vintage Volkswagons I would have thought there would be more road noise with the vehicle that you could hear but it’s actually quiet.

       

    #239979
    Will Burge
    Participant

    @washington-will

    Doug, that is alot of good info and you really did a nice job. My hats off to you and your creativity. Talk about a sleeper, they’ll never hear you comin’. Thanks for sharing,
    Will

    #239980
    Richard Wobby
    Participant

    @richard-wobby

    Just crusing around the internet and found this site might help with an electric build.

    http://hackaday.com/2007/10/08/build-your-own-car-from-scrat ch/

    #239981
    Richard Wobby
    Participant

    @richard-wobby

    Talking about Electric cars with friends at KU they said check out rebirthauto.com reasonably priced 96 volt set ups. Also found this website a few minutes ago.

    http://www.clickmart.biz/ev/first_shipment.html 

    Richard Wobby40187.8314699074

    #239982
    Richard Wobby
    Participant

    @richard-wobby

    I just won’t let this die found this out there in the Black Hole.

    http://www.evalbum.com/2119

    Go to the search section and look up models.

    Richard Wobby40210.595625

    #239983
    edward ericson
    Participant

    @edsnova

    That’s a nice one. I’m skeptical of his 50 mile range claim; it’s out of line with other rigs of that voltage, particularly with 12-volt batteries.

    #239984
    Doug
    Participant

    @rcsign

     I thought I would give everybody a update on the electric conversion. Last spring I moved the four lower batteries along side the electric motor. I installed them in the rear luggage compartment. The transfer of weight off the back of the car towards the front improved the handling considerably, the front end lowered slightly and the rear end came up. Before the front end seemed to be a little squirrelly  I drove it about 750 miles last summer with no problems. my mileage may have increased slightly, I don’t know if it is because of the battery packs breaking in or the way I drive it. The cost to drive it is dirt cheap. I don’t even notice it on the utility bill. Also it won 1st place last year at the QCBA British Auto fest Special Interest Class. http://qcbac.home.mchsi.com/autofest2010.htm
    It was also featured on wired and a few other web sites.
    http://www.wired.com/autopia/2010/08/electric-mg-td-replica/
    It makes a great puddle jumper and with the price of fuel rising it will help slightly on the pocketbook.
    When these batteries need to be replaced I plan on going with the LIPO’s which should decrease the weight and increase the distances between charges.
    Doug

    #239985
    edward ericson
    Participant

    @edsnova

    Nice one, Doug. Like I said before, your car is totally cool. Would love to see it at Carlisle though I’d understand if towing the thing clear from Illinois seems to you counter-productive of the car’s purpose.

    Still, would love to cruise with ya, and would very much like to see that beast up close.

    Carry on. Stay in contact.

    #239986
    Larry Murphy
    Participant

    @larry-murphy

     Doug, Good to hear of your successful conversion and that it’s performing well. I read the link and noticed you are using a clutchless 4 speed transaxle. Is it necessary to shift 1-2-3-4 when starting from a complete stop? Is it necessary to shift to a lower gear when climbing steep hills? Is it more efficient to use lower gears for slower speeds? I guess you can tell that I have very little EV knowledge.I do realize that the trans would be needed for reverse and also that would be the simplest way to connect the motor to the wheels. Just curious how these things work.

    #239987
    Doug
    Participant

    @rcsign

    Sorry I haven’t had much time to reply been finishing up a large job at work.

    Larry It’s not necessary to shift through every gear actually the electric motor has so much more torque that you can start in fourth gear, it’s slow. I drive mainly starting in third then shifting to fourth, but once in a while I just want to shift through the gears. Since it doesn’t have a clutch, so you have to just let off the accelerator and shift. I have a couple of steep hills on the way to work,and third is the best gear for climbing them. first and second probably could be eliminated. Sorry about replying late.
    Ed I would love to take it to Carlisle It’s just to far. When I get a chance this summer I’ll get some detailed photos and post them.
    Keep having fun driving the TD’s
    Doug

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