thoughts on an electric people mover?

Technical discussion on converting internal combustion to electric
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carnut1100
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thoughts on an electric people mover?

Post by carnut1100 » Mon, 04 Aug 2014, 21:03

Well.....I thought I was sorted for EVs...but I find myself in the position of having a pregnant wife, two stepdaughters living with us, and we both drive four seat i-MiEVs....
Coming soon there will be a need for five seats when we go out as a family, which will mean two cars or taking the Hilux...
There is another stepdaughter who visits occasionally, as well as family visitors sometimes, so more than five seats would come in handy from time to time although not essential.

Our initial plan was to try and trade an i for a Leaf next year, giving us the five seater, but the handiness of a seven or eight seater and the possibility that my wife might start doing family day care means I am looking hard at other options.

We don't want to leave the EV fold!!!

Upgrading to a Leaf would cost around $15k, by selling an i privately and converting something we would be well ahead.

My thoughts keep coming back time and time again to the '90s "egg" Tarago...
It's cheap to buy, really nice ones can be had for under $5k.
It's RWD which makes conversion easier...not to mention in kinda biased in favour of RWD.
It's fairly well specced and practical, not too bad to drive.
The mid mounted motor under the floor means there is loads of room for a direct drive motor, controller, battery boxes.

I believe the original weight is around 1700kg.
If I do this, I will want AC, Tasmanian hills will make it very worthwhile.

I would estimate that 200nm with an 8 to 10 reduction would be a minimum, 250 would be quite adequate.

Range would need to be 120 plus, matching the i MiEV.
I am guessing that will need at least 30kwh of batteries.

To those better versed in the theory of the field, does what I am musing make sense, and are my numbers feasible?

Would an AC-50 be big enough for the job, or is there a better motor?
Going with an AWD version and twin AC-35s is tempting....

Which batteries give the best kWh per dollar these days?
Which ones give the best kWh per litre volume?
Which give the best kWh per kg?

Am I mad for thinking it?
Last edited by carnut1100 on Mon, 04 Aug 2014, 11:08, edited 1 time in total.

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thoughts on an electric people mover?

Post by Adverse Effects » Mon, 04 Aug 2014, 21:23

sounds like you need a stretchla

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thoughts on an electric people mover?

Post by Richo » Mon, 04 Aug 2014, 21:34

carnut1100 wrote:
Which batteries give the best kWh per dollar these days?
Which ones give the best kWh per litre volume?
Which give the best kWh per kg?

Am I mad for thinking it?


LiFePO4 for $/kWh
Lithium manganese blah blah for kWh/L and kWh/kg

Everyone has a little madness inside them Image

The tricky bit will be the reduction drive/high ratio diff.
So the short answer is NO but the long answer is YES.
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thoughts on an electric people mover?

Post by Johny » Mon, 04 Aug 2014, 21:50

Practically, unless you have lots of spare time, I think the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is a good fit for your situation.
If you really do a have the time to do a DIY then your 30kW/h sounds about right.
My rough figures have you getting about 120km at 80km/h from a 30kw/h pack at 80% DOD. With a 15kW 4 pole motor (99NM nominal) and a total transmission ratio that has the motor doing about 7000 RPM at 100km/h it should do 0-100km/h in 16 seconds. Vehicle weight incl. occupants I optimistically had at 2200kg.

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thoughts on an electric people mover?

Post by carnut1100 » Mon, 04 Aug 2014, 23:01

Outlander hybrid would be a $30K jump for us, and has a very limited ev range.
Leaf would be a $15k jump, and a conversion would be similar.
Outlander is not an option at the moment.

Suppose the battery question comes down to available volume.

If I could push it to 40kwh that would be really nice, but space would be quite an issue there.

Reduction drive I would be looking at a planetary gear set, maybe recovered from the auto transmission, in a custom housing.
Then into the stock diff.

Anybody think of another vehicle that would be better to convert?

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Post by antiscab » Mon, 04 Aug 2014, 23:08

if the leaf modules are still available once you are ready to convert, they would probably be a better option

7.6v nominal 60Ah 3.8kg $100 ea (they're internally wired 2S2P, 4 x lithium manganese 30Ah cells)

it's still an enormous amount of work - by the time you are finnished you could probably buy an outlander at the same price second hand (it is a car after all, they depreciate)


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thoughts on an electric people mover?

Post by carnut1100 » Mon, 04 Aug 2014, 23:51

True....but they haven't even sold one in Hobart yet...and it's rare to find that sort of thing for sale in the first couple of years.
I'm not ruling it out.....but I am hoping to sell my house this summer or shortly afterwards (we don't need two mortgages and a baby.....) and some of that money will be available to do something fairly quickly if all goes to plan.
Then we sell one i MiEV and keep the other.
I wouldn't get $20k for the i, and an Outlander is $50k...suppose I can do a conversion for $30k all in, I only need to find $10-12k over the i.
Secondhand Leaf is still not out of the question, but the 7 or 8 seat option is very appealing.
Actually, scratch Outlander entirely....they are only 5 seats.
If we choose to settle for 5 seats we will get a secondhand Leaf, which are now coming on the market at the $30k mark.

I suppose something like a Hiace would be easier...but a Tarago would be better to live with.
I have lived with a Hiace as the family car before...

Option also to go for a Volvo wagon with the seven seat conversion....smaller and more efficient, but harder to package especially the FWD ones. Also less convenient when using the extra seats.
Plus side is I know Volvos well, what makes them tick, and the safety and build quality are high.

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thoughts on an electric people mover?

Post by Gabz » Tue, 05 Aug 2014, 01:31

outlander is still only 5 seats. so it's not much better there is the Nissan e-NV200 as a van/ people mover but I'm not sure if they confirmed if it will take 7. leaving the Toyota prius V 7 seats and hybrid, and maybe converting it so the battery back is plugin.
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thoughts on an electric people mover?

Post by carnut1100 » Tue, 05 Aug 2014, 01:46

Don't like hybrids.....all that weight and complexity, no servicing savings over EV, limited EV range.....
If I went hybrid I would probably go for the Estima hybrid grey import...basically a Tarago hybrid.

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thoughts on an electric people mover?

Post by Bluefang » Tue, 05 Aug 2014, 03:42

I had a look at doing a people mover at one stage, was going to work on a mercedes Van for resale value once complete.

I was thinking of going 4WD using the hub motors i have been playing with and some machined half shafts to end up with similar drive line to the Eliica prototype. One awesome Electric car. All brushless DC, atm trying to convince my brother to finally finish off a bunch of controllers that are a DIY system that could use IGBTs and can so sensorless power start along with sensorless position finding using tones.

For batteries i would seriously be looking at getting 18650 type battery cells as they are really dropping in price and can be fitted into a battery tray to cover the underside of the car where the exhaust would normally be. 18kwh per m2 of 10cm thick battery tray.
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thoughts on an electric people mover?

Post by carnut1100 » Tue, 05 Aug 2014, 15:35

I have been following the Electric Samba project on YouTube, search for jehugarcia, fascinating project.
He is switching from prismatic LiFePO cells to 18650 cells from recycled laptop batteries...cheap, but an epic task to dismantle all those laptop packs and test around 5,000 cells before even beginning to assemble the pack.....
He is using an AC-50 motor which gives him acceptable performance...is a reasonable price at $5k with controller, but might struggle in a loaded Tarago...
AC-70 might be big enough.

Where does one obtain Leaf cells from?

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thoughts on an electric people mover?

Post by a4x4kiwi » Tue, 05 Aug 2014, 19:51

If you do some research on Toyotas, you will likely find the diffs are interchangeable between petrol / diesel/ vans / utes and will find a nice reduction ratio of more than 5.

I had a direct drive 5.11 in my ute. I cant remember what it was out of. (probably a van)

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thoughts on an electric people mover?

Post by Richo » Wed, 06 Aug 2014, 00:17

carnut1100 wrote:...AC-50 motor ... might struggle in a loaded Tarago...
AC-70 might be big enough.


I agree the AC-50 may be a bit small.
Also $5k may be in USD with no shipping...
I thought the next size up was the AC-75.

I'd still give ev power in WA a ring about AC motors before committing to a motor/controller combo.
So the short answer is NO but the long answer is YES.
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thoughts on an electric people mover?

Post by Adverse Effects » Wed, 06 Aug 2014, 00:34

what about the AC35X2 i think its called
there is a AC70 AC75 and a AC76 i think
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Post by Shirker » Wed, 06 Aug 2014, 04:02

We've enjoyed our Toyota Avensis Verso for similar family circumstances over many years - it's effectively a smaller/lighter Tarago with 7 seats. Can be found on gumtree for $5-$10k.

Nice under-floor spaces for battery. FWD though. Seems an excellent donor car for a Siemens/eGearDrive combo, for example, with the whole drivetrain together under the bonnet.

My wife told me no way I was going to convert one - she's been driving the kids around in it for 10 years, so deserves a convertible now... Apparently.

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Post by carnut1100 » Wed, 06 Aug 2014, 12:44

Will look at that one...
Yes, the twin AC-35 is listed on evworks for a bit under $12k.
$6.5k-ish for the AC-50.

The twin 35 setup used two controllers...makes me think again about the AWD Tarago with a 35 at each end.... I live on a gravel road, in an area that experiences frost, snow and black ice every winter so AWD appeals..... In my road which is a kilometre long there is a forester, X trail, landcruiser, hilux 4x4, triton...and about five assorted two wheel drives.

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Post by Bluefang » Wed, 06 Aug 2014, 16:12

How much power are you expecting out of the motors? You could easily go brushless dc, even using available motor controllers your could do 30kw per corner 94% efficient sine wave control with built in bms and display screen for $2.5k per corner. Each motor and controller system would be <20kg
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Post by carnut1100 » Wed, 06 Aug 2014, 18:08

Regeneration is not negotiable.
That's the downside of dc from what I understand.

Would be nice to match the performance of the petrol model.
Ideally matching or exceeding the imiev would be nice.
It does 0-100 in 12 seconds, quarter mile in 18 and tops out at 130.
If I can match that up be satisfied.
If I can better it i will be very happy.
I know it will kill range, but I want to be able to tow a box trailer with it too.


There is another option.....Land Rover Discovery.
Fitted with a glacial diesel or a horrifically thirsty V8...both of which overheat frequently and require a full engine rebuild afterwards (warped and softened head on the diesel and slipped liners on the petrol usually...) and a really nice one is worth peanuts.
Pick up a really tidy one with a dodgy engine for cheap, run a single large motor like a twin 35 into the transfer case which would be locked in low range and the lever removed...run diesel diff centres and there's the reduction ratio sorted.
Alternatively two separate motors with small reduction boxes into each diff.
Or the ultimate being too fabricate new axles without differentials and run a motor at each corner....20k per corner in a lighter fabricated axle would barely be any heavier than the original diff in its cast housing........
That would remove the dodgy land rover differentials as well...

What motors would give 30kw for $2.5k?
120kw geared for a maximum speed of 120 should at least match a diesel Disco.....
With all their faults, I have always liked them. They are a capable off roader while being comfortable and good looking.
They were just terminally let down by the mechanics...
Acres of under bonnet space, if the transmission and transfer box are gone there is a huge hole underneath to fill, the fuel tank is oblong and about 80 litres and there is a large oblong space between the chassis rails and sills where people fit another hundred litres or so of auxiliary fuel tanks.....
I nearly bought a diesel manual before I got the imiev...was just hard finding one that had a good body as well as a proper service history so it didn't explode expensively on me....
Seven seats with the folders in the back too...

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Post by Johny » Wed, 06 Aug 2014, 18:13

carnut1100 wrote:There is another option.....Land Rover Discovery.
When I last looked the Disco 3 weighed 2700kg.
Not a good contender for an EV. I wonder how much of that is drivetrain?

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Post by Adverse Effects » Wed, 06 Aug 2014, 18:58

all AWD / 4WD and 6+ seats

Nissan Elgrand <seems there are a lot of these around
Mitsubishi Delica Spacegear Royal Exceed
SsangYong Stavic A100 Limited Sports
Volkswagen Multivan T5 Comfortline 4-Motion
Toyota Alphard

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Post by a4x4kiwi » Wed, 06 Aug 2014, 19:56

Hi. Would you be interested in my azure dynamic kit? It would be ideal for a direct drive van. See link for details.

viewtopic.php?title=set-of-azure-dynami ... ale&t=3834
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Post by Richo » Wed, 06 Aug 2014, 20:31

carnut1100 wrote:What motors would give 30kw for $2.5k?

Motors are cheap.
Even my little AC motor has more power than that and would be less than $1k.
It is the complete motor+controller package that costs.
So the short answer is NO but the long answer is YES.
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Post by Richo » Wed, 06 Aug 2014, 20:32

a4x4kiwi wrote: my azure dynamic kit.. would be ideal for a direct drive van.


Yeah that would be the go Image
So the short answer is NO but the long answer is YES.
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Post by Richo » Wed, 06 Aug 2014, 20:40

carnut1100 wrote:Am I mad for thinking it?

Richo wrote:Everyone has a little madness inside them


Interestingly they treat madness with lithium Image Image
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lithium_(medication)
So the short answer is NO but the long answer is YES.
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Post by Bluefang » Wed, 06 Aug 2014, 23:34

That is a complete motor and controller setup, its Brushless DC so it will have regen. The controllers are ~1800 for the pair to run one motor.

It will require some basic machining as i would not recommend direct drive but something like a 2-1 ratio. The motor is the compact hub motors i am using on my current motor bike. Building up a half shaft carrier and using a belt drive to attach the motor should not be too hard.

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