Total NOOB to convert Classic Mini

Technical discussion on converting internal combustion to electric
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Bozaicars
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Total NOOB to convert Classic Mini

Post by Bozaicars » Fri, 03 Aug 2018, 11:08

HI People,
I have recently (nearly) completed a restoration of a 1965 Mini. The engine/gearbox needs rebuilding,
I have for a long time been curious about an electric car or conversion.
This now puts me in an excellent position to do something.
I have an issue with the Mini box requiring oil from the engine. I ask if anyone has done one of these before? Would you use a late model FWD box or modify the Mini box or do away with it completely, and run an elec motor with a differential? I see the good people of EV West in California have done this with a Moke.
As the Mini is so old many of the "extras" like heating and brake boosting power steering etc. are not required.

I am looking at this stage for "general info", as to be completely honest I HAVE NO IDEA where to start.

I am a mechanic by trade and have my own well sorted shed full of tools I need to try this myself, but once again where to start?

Batteries?
controllers?
chargers?
Motor size?
Drive system?
How does regen work? Extra equipment or just through reversing the motor?
Budget is also a big discussion point...

Cheers,
Graham.
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Re: Total NOOB to convert Classic Mini

Post by brendon_m » Fri, 03 Aug 2018, 12:14

I'm currently in the works of a moke conversion.

I plan on using the stock gearbox and just putting a plate over where the engine was.
I'll let you know when I'm finished if it was a mistake...
I couldn't find a good ratio diff to fit straight in so you'll need some sort of reduction on the input to a diff.

I'm using a pmac motor and hoping to squeeze it in where the clutch lived but you could put a longer motor where the crank was.

Regeneration is all taken care of by the controller in an ac system.
Last edited by brendon_m on Fri, 03 Aug 2018, 12:20, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Total NOOB to convert Classic Mini

Post by T1 Terry » Fri, 03 Aug 2018, 12:18

Hi Graham and welcome to the forum. Getting enough batteries into a mini to give you a reasonable speed and range would be a challenge. The Moke has room to spare but a mini? The fact they almost sit on the ground as an ICE powered unit I'm not sure how they'd go with the weight of a battery pack either.
As far as '65 mini gearbox, it could be done but would it be a good idea? The mini never had a great record when it came to uni joints because CV joints weren't heard of back then and the gearbox wasn't exactly a silent device, the early ones made a radio useless when driving really. I loved my 850 mini panelvan but it was rather limited as to where it could go even as an ICE powered unit, a battery powered unit?
Maybe a transplant of some sort of modern jap FWD hybrid powerplant might be a possibility, then the battery pack wouldn't be so much of an issue as far as weight and size.

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Re: Total NOOB to convert Classic Mini

Post by Richo » Fri, 03 Aug 2018, 12:31

Bozaicars wrote:
Fri, 03 Aug 2018, 11:08
I have an issue with the Mini box requiring oil from the engine. I ask if anyone has done one of these before?
Hi Graham :D
Sorry out of my scope...
There will be others here that are better at this bit than me. :oops:
Bozaicars wrote:
Fri, 03 Aug 2018, 11:08
...where to start?

Batteries?
controllers?
chargers?
Motor size?
Drive system?
How does regen work? Extra equipment or just through reversing the motor?
Budget is also a big discussion point...
The batteries and motor really need to be decided together.
If you want a DC motor then a series DC motor 6 3/4" would be ok.
If you want an AC motor then a small permanent magnet motor would be ok such as Motenergy brand.

The batteries will depend on how far you want to travel per charge.
For example if you want ~50km range you will need about 10kWh.
But that actual battery voltage depends on the motor you select.
This will then determine the battery capacity of each cell.

Once you have sorted these 2 out the motor controller can be selected.

Regen is only for AC systems.
It's doesn't reverse the motor but the flow of electricity in the system.
The controller will handle this for you.

Cost on something this size is perhaps around $4.5k + $75/km range and lots of your time.
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Re: Total NOOB to convert Classic Mini

Post by Bozaicars » Fri, 03 Aug 2018, 13:21

Pros and cons of AC vs DC motor?
I've seen graphs but can't really make any sense of them with regards to real world application.

I was thinking of putting some batteries in the front as the motor will be smaller and stacking more in the boot either side where the fuel tank should be. There is still room for a spare tyre.
Assuming there is some way to stack batteries vertically???
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Re: Total NOOB to convert Classic Mini

Post by jonescg » Fri, 03 Aug 2018, 14:03

DC motors are cheaper to buy and power (DC speed controllers are also quite cheap)
DC motors are not waterproof
They are usually air-cooled - the bit that gets hot is the bit that's moving, so they can't be liquid cooled.
DC motors are not very efficient - most are around 80-85%, while AC motors are 90-95%
Series-wound DC motors do not have regen, so expect to burn through brake pads a bit quicker than usual.
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Re: Total NOOB to convert Classic Mini

Post by Bozaicars » Sat, 04 Aug 2018, 07:40

All great info.
Wow, what a steep learning curve I'm on!
Another Option I was thinking about was using parts from a wrecked Prius or Civic.
I have often swapped engines and other parts from wrecks, as I often buy write offs from auctions and meld a few into one.
I feel I can graft almost any mechanical situation, but I'm unsure of the usability of the electrical components.
I see online many parts from these cars are used in various situations.
I don't have any knowledge of how the Hybrid systems work or even if the electric motor can be separated from the ICE???
Old batteries may have issues?

This would make my project quite cheap as the older Prius are super cheap especially if they are "stat write offs"

Cheers,
Graham.
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Re: Total NOOB to convert Classic Mini

Post by antiscab » Sat, 04 Aug 2018, 09:32

The tricky part with using hybrid hardware is getting an inverter to drive the motors. The originals are largely yet to be hacked
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Re: Total NOOB to convert Classic Mini

Post by brendon_m » Sat, 04 Aug 2018, 09:48

Mounting and coupling issues aside, old prius' have quite low power electric motors. They don't really go anywhere (or fast) as electric only, they work more as an electric turbo/supercharger than a replacement for the ice.
And in terms of a whole engine transplant I don't see a whole prius drive train fitting in a mini.
Although I have seen a mini with a V8 LS motor grafted into it, so anything is possible...
Most prius batteries are undersized for a BEV and a difficult chemistry to work with. There's a lot more aftermarket support out there for lithium batts.

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Re: Total NOOB to convert Classic Mini

Post by Bozaicars » Sat, 04 Aug 2018, 11:21

Thanks,
Prius off the list!
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Re: Total NOOB to convert Classic Mini

Post by carnut1100 » Sat, 04 Aug 2018, 11:40

Hacking the Toyota hybrid drive systems has been on a lot of people’s radar but has met with limited success due to their unusual specs.

I have thought about a classic mini myself.
There are some brushless DC motors around now at a not crazy price that are wound for low speed operation, mostly used as hub motors on scooters etc.
one of those on each front wheel with a short driveshaft with moder CVS was my thought.
Leaves a lot of engine bay for batteries and the boot for some more.
Getting enough battery in there is going to be the challenge.
Would be awesome when done though.

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Re: Total NOOB to convert Classic Mini

Post by Adverse Effects » Sat, 04 Aug 2018, 19:02

remake ass end in to independent rear wheel drive with motor mounted in the back (you will lose about 1/2 the boot space) that would make it so you could put about 220Kg in the front instead of the full drive train

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Re: Total NOOB to convert Classic Mini

Post by brendon_m » Sun, 05 Aug 2018, 09:30

The head and block in my moke was 80kg, maybe another 50 - 100kg of other bits and pieces. 220kg is probably on the upper limit of what you could pull out. On the plus side the mini is light so you aren't going to need a 100kg of electric motor to shift it allowing you to devote more weight to batteries.
Did you plan on keeping a rear seat? Because losing it would give you all the room you need and a lower seating capacity means you can push the cars dry weight higher and not go over gvm.

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Re: Total NOOB to convert Classic Mini

Post by Richo » Mon, 06 Aug 2018, 12:33

Bozaicars wrote:
Sat, 04 Aug 2018, 07:40
Another Option I was thinking about was using parts from a wrecked Prius or Civic.
I don't have any knowledge of how the Hybrid systems work or even if the electric motor can be separated from the ICE???
Funny you mention that.
You can buy the electric motors off ebay already separated.
But as others have mentioned "some" of them are a bit on the small side.
And the rest of the dive system matches the small scale hybrid setup - not overly useful for main drive.
antiscab wrote:
Sat, 04 Aug 2018, 09:32
The tricky part with using hybrid hardware is getting an inverter to drive the motors. The originals are largely yet to be hacked
Yeah so I'd ditch the original controller it'd take just as much time reverse engineering it.
On top of that they are designed for hybrid purpose - not for main drive.
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Re: Total NOOB to convert Classic Mini

Post by Richo » Mon, 06 Aug 2018, 12:44

carnut1100 wrote:
Sat, 04 Aug 2018, 11:40
..brushless DC motors around .. mostly used as hub motors on scooters etc.
one of those on each front wheel with a short driveshaft with moder CVS was my thought.
Two controller and two motors sounds a pain in the a$$.
May as well stick something like a BMW diff in there and just have one motor.
Not too sure if either of those options is more work than patch covering the mini gearbox.
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Re: Total NOOB to convert Classic Mini

Post by T1 Terry » Mon, 06 Aug 2018, 15:01

Bozaicars wrote:
Sat, 04 Aug 2018, 11:21
Thanks,
Prius off the list!
Because of the lack of room or the poor EV only range? There are a lot of lithium add-on packs and DIY upgrades around and being so cheap to buy the whole thing you could just transplant all the gear into the mini ..... then you could post photos so I can look at doing similar in another vehicle :lol: They get along quite well as a full bodied Pruis so in a light weight mini body I reckon it would fly .... if it fitted in the hole of course :?

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Re: Total NOOB to convert Classic Mini

Post by Richo » Mon, 06 Aug 2018, 18:04

I think it was because he wanted a BEV not a hybrid. The prius electric motor is too integrated to use.
On the other hand a minicab / miev would be good.
Possibly on the too much power side.
But it has a usable transmission that could replace all the mini stuff.
Goggle ZAB-U67V
Not easy to come by at this stage tho...
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Re: Total NOOB to convert Classic Mini

Post by mikedufty » Mon, 06 Aug 2018, 23:26

Someone just posted on the i-miev facebook group that they are about to wreck one in Australia.

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Re: Total NOOB to convert Classic Mini

Post by Richo » Tue, 07 Aug 2018, 13:05

I'd guess the miev motor+cvt would be about $3.5k.
Probably too much to pay for something over powered.

There is a PMS150 in Spain on fleabay 263856087480 for $1,500.
I'm skeptical about the free delivery tho.
It claims 13/35kW and 20/80Nm. Not too sure on the peak accuracy tho.

How much peak power/torque were you hoping for?
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Re: Total NOOB to convert Classic Mini

Post by Bozaicars » Tue, 07 Aug 2018, 17:58

Yes no hybrid for me! No point in all that mod work if i still have an ICE!

Both of those mievs sound worth investigating.
I couldn't find FB link to wrecking imeiv.

I also have in the shed another Mini that is 1300 and supercharged giving me almost 100hp at the wheels. (race but road registered,)
Too much power does not enter my thoughts!
Weight of lots of batteries is a limiting factor tho, so I need to be realistic about what to use.

I also don't quite understand the comparison of ICE power/torque and electric power/torque. Other than it is developed at different RPMs.

Does anyone know what the respective weights, power figures and probably more important SIZE of the motor/cvt used in these cars compared to a Mini power unit? I will do some research if I can find one anywhere near Toowoomba!
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Re: Total NOOB to convert Classic Mini

Post by Richo » Wed, 08 Aug 2018, 12:34

Power is power.
Torque is Torque.
The electric advantage is that there is more area under the graph...
So normally a graph of torque on an ICE is a short curve around a specific RPM.
Electric will typically be flat until equivalent RPM then drop off.

The only confusion really is most electric motors are sold as continuous rating whereas petrol cars are Peak rating.
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Re: Total NOOB to convert Classic Mini

Post by Richo » Wed, 08 Aug 2018, 12:40

Bozaicars wrote:
Tue, 07 Aug 2018, 17:58
Too much power does not enter my thoughts!
:lol: I hear ya

Well there are motors that would double that.
I think it was Yasa that has a 200kW 790Nm motor.
One per wheel... 400kW mini
But now that is blood money.
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Re: Total NOOB to convert Classic Mini

Post by Richo » Wed, 08 Aug 2018, 12:53

Read this thread on the miev motor.
viewtopic.php?title=the-worlds-first-ma ... 586#p43403
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Re: Total NOOB to convert Classic Mini

Post by Bozaicars » Thu, 09 Aug 2018, 16:06

Thanks @Richo

Just when I was loosing hope,$$$$
Someone comes up with another option.

I MIEV sounds interesting, definitely worth some research.
Even if I use just the transmission. A much better ratio (7:1) than the Graziano $$$ (10:1)
Parts from a wreck?
Japanese import?
Parts import?
The FLAT 'curve' means lots of usable power. My 94hp (peak) race Mini only gets above 70hp at higher revs and is pretty weak below 3000RPM.


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Re: Total NOOB to convert Classic Mini

Post by Damon500 » Thu, 09 Aug 2018, 17:15

You could also look at using a Fiat 500e drivetrain if you want a compact FWD setup geared for torque with good acceleration off the line. They are only sold in California but usually plenty of written off examples available on Copart or IAAI online auction sites. I started off with the idea of converting my 1969 Fiat 500 to electric and ended up buying a 500e instead.

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