Electric Conversions: It's Time
Some interesting news out of the UK
So, blah blah blah it wont work blah. Ok. This is not a "The end is near" post. This is more of a "hedging our bets and futureproofing" post.
I don't have anything against electric cars per se. I have issues with the electric cars that are out now, and to a larger extent battery tech, the thoughtlessness of popular media dialogue in terms of infastructure, materials, and the relatively small effect this will have on carbon emissions compared to say, regulating ship emissions. Politics, no big surprise. I'm sick of those teens revving their engines down on 5th street damnnit! Somebody having fun? Can't have that...
But this wouldn't be all bad. Take a look at the morgan electric three wheeler concept . which got cancelled, due to LACK OF DRIVETRAIN PARTS BECAUSE WE ARENT READY FOR THIS YOU GREEN BASTARDS
Morgan electric three wheeler
Still a rad concept. Plus, the morgan is an A->A car anyways. Range isn't that important. We could get some really wild stuff as a result of this tech.
So it has me thinking, the future is in electric conversions, right? I mean if gas goes kaput, at some point the difficulty in ownership is going to be pretty large. Parts/fuel availability comes into question. I (and by extension the cars) could become so old by then that it doesn't matter anyways...
Regardless, it could make great sense at some point to convert gas vehicles to electric. I can even see it becoming a cheap solution, especially for notoriously unreliable cars. The components themselves seem much simpler than gas and much easier to convert , especially once the parts availability and industry are there. So lets take a look, and keep in mind I am unfamiliar with the process and technical considerations. This will lead in to some of my thoughts on the idea, as well as some technical concerns for which I am certain some already have solutions. So this is coming from someone who has done minimal research.
-Electric motor(s). Good for being small, compact, and capable of great performance with relative ease. High torque which doesn't even require a transmission, greatly simplifying things. Looks like they are already working on "crate motors" that bolt directly to a driveshaft:Electric crate motor
-Computer to run the engine, and inputs from the stock pedals. Nuthin that fancy really
-Batteries. The tricky one, depending on how good the tech becomes, and how much space and weight are a premium. Could seriously disrupt the weight distribution of a car, and if capacity is an issue that is never resolved it might be the Achilles heel. Also, I am not sure how critical placement is... Could get pinto levels of sketchy.
-Some sort of power management so you don't electrocute yourself, to power the stock wiring.
-Differential gearing, if we are fantasizing about drop in conversions at this point.
-Electric heater. Guess you would just replace the heater core? Gonna need a defroster at least.
-Electric brake booster. I guess you could always make a vacuum, but that doesn't sound super efficient.
-Electric powersteering. Guessing thats going to be some sort of pump for most old cars.
-Electric A/C. Just need the compressor really. And a switch.
-Springs, possibly shocks. Gonna fuck up the weight, distribution and the ride height
It sounds like work, but if the parts are there, and cheap, elecrical stuff can be way, way more tidy then mechanical in my experience. The universality of parts seems much more acievable than in traditional cars, which just leaves the need for custom mounting solutions once the suppliers are there. And that is not much at all.
I am not sure if putting batteries in the front would be a good idea, but if so (and they become much more efficient) you could use them as ballast to solve weight problems, thanks to the electrical components being so compact. I can see batteries being run in the negative space under the car too, now vacated from exhaust and possibly even driveshafts.
Point is, this could be fun, and relatively simple compared to what we are used to oppo. Way of the future?
The logical choices in batteries (Tesla or LEAF, here in the USA) both are huge. And ridiculously heavy.
I keep seeing "the EV equivalent to an LSx crate motor" teasers everywhere I turn-- but the "motor" is the easy part. The hard part is shoe-horning in a battery and wiring the systems to actually work.
for the moment, this seems more like a curiosity-- like the guy putting a .660" lift LS1 into a 49 Chevy truck with a tiny bed and no heater plumbed. Maybe an interesting project exercise, but not likely to be a D/D nor a weekend fun-toy-thats-no-fun-to-drive.
CobraJoe last edited by
If there was an affordable, understandable EV conversion kit available, I'd consider it for my Mustang.
Anything more than a Leaf's motor would be an upgrade over the 175hp stock 5.0, and a quiet drivetrain is a plus in a soft top.
But I'm not comfortable with high voltages and scrounging electrical parts. An engineered kit with appropriately selected parts and reasonable safety measures included would make it far more possible.
Side note: I'm wondering if transmissions will eventually be brought back for EVs. A smaller motor, paired with some changable gear multiplication might be more efficient than a direct drive. Maybe not, but right now it seems like Tesla is bolting on the EV equivalent of a big block chevy V8 to the driveshaft.
The World: "Electric cars are good, electric cars are the future, electric cars are inevitable."
ToniCipriani last edited by
Considering how easy it is to fit an LS into a Solstice... I think my options are available already:
Smallbear last edited by
@tripper Electric is inevitable. I have a hard time believing batteries are.
nermal last edited by
@mybirdistheword EV conversions will become mainstream when and for the same reasons that new EVs do: They are better than gas counterparts, with no blaring downsides.
Once you can do everything in an EV the same or better than a gas car, for the same or less price, people will buy them. Until then, they will be a growing niche.
That said, gas / diesel vehicles will go the way of the horse in the next 50 years. We're at the front end of a transition period currently.
@cressida-s_kanji_4_diamante yeah still waiting on the batteries. Its going to have to be something besides lithium.
@cobrajoe i feel like once the proffessionaly engineered conversion kits come to market, it should be relatively simple.
@tripper i mean its really a question of money. How difficult are gas cars going to be going forward? I have zero idea.
Bandit last edited by
GM is going to be launching an EV crate motor/battery combo in 2021. I imagine they'll launch with a much better battery packaging solution than a straight up Bolt EV pack. https://www.thedrive.com/news/37354/the-chevrolet-performance-ecrate-is-here-to-make-electric-drivetrain-swaps-easier-than-ever
CobraJoe last edited by
I think there's something missing to make EVs hit the mainstream, something that makes them more useful to the average person and less of a niche product.
I don't know if it will be a technology advancement like a better battery, or a cultural shift to less road trips, or a nation wide rail system, or a wide spread charger installation, or .... idk
Maybe it would just be some new "people's car" like a Mini or Beetle after a difficult period in history...
Qaaaaa last edited by
The Nissan Leaf is a Ford Model T. The Tesla Model S is a Duesenberg.
We'll be fine.
@smallbear You know I'm with you!
@mybirdistheword No idea, I don't like new cars either haha.
AkioOhtori last edited by
I don't like engine swaps of (almost) any kind, so EV conversions certainly fall under that umbrella. That said I will never not click on something with the Morgan EV. So pretty....
BaconSandwich last edited by
A few random thoughts:
- As others have pointed out, it's not the motor, it's the battery size that's the issue. We'll eventually get there. If battery energy densities continue to get better at the rate they have been, it might be 20 years before we have battery packs that offer the same size (and range) as an existing gas tank. That's okay. It doesn't mean we have to wait 20 years to start doing conversions. It just means that if we do conversions now, we either have to compromise space, weight balance, or range. Those aren't necessarily bad things for a car that's a hobby/weekend toy.
- I'd love to learn more about EV conversions, and am slowly doing so. There's a lot to it, but there's also a lot of learning that has to happen if you try to rebuild an existing gas/diesel car. The way I like to think of it is that it's different - not necessarily more or less difficult, just different.
- As with the average consumer, I think we won't see a ton more EV conversions that we currently have automotive enthusiasts keeping older cars alive. I don't think anyone is going to bother doing an EV conversion on a 20 year old RAV4 or CR-V (20 years from now). Some vehicles are worth keeping running, others not so much.
Notably lacking? Any serious pricing info.
it just seems like a lot of companies (phones, laptops, industrial devices, military applications) want better-lighter-smaller-cheaper batteries.
I don't see what Tesla or GM really bring to the party here. The party's been rocking for 30 years now. Lithium-ion is only so good. The question is whether it's good enough for right now.
The weight, cost and charge times all say "Eh, not really".
A bunch of stuff needs to get a lot better.
Even if you had 50 pounds of batteries that could hold 600 miles of charge and that could safely charge in 7 seconds?
you would absolutely crush the grid with inrush currents.
Bandit last edited by
BaconSandwich last edited by
@cressida-s_kanji_4_diamante The solution around that is "more batteries". Have a bank of batteries at the charging station that act as a buffer to the grid.
Well, yeah, but Tesla should be doing that already. Especially as they claim to be "green and solar" in their supplies-- which is a little hard to believe at midnight at the Supercharger.
The math's a tough one here. Even Musk admitted that the supply chain to obtain the cobalt, nickel and lithium doesn't even exist even to scale to 5 million cars a year, much less 50 million. And, yet, these guys all think we're also going to stabilize/store the world's grid needs in this same battery tech? I'm not buying. If storage is the answer, it''ll be pumped hydro and flow batteries. Musk is full of shit. Rich. But full of shit.
@baconsandwich I guess I should say "its almost time" by which I mean waiting on halfway decent, cheap batteries. The tech seems almost there, 20 years seems like a decent timeframe. Gotta get studying electonics!
@cressida-s_kanji_4_diamante kinda makes you hope for some good batteries. The idea seems pretty promising.