viewtopic.php?title=woo-hoo-first-ev-ri ... 281#p39613
The question was brought up whether FWD was "recommended" for EV conversions. My reply is below:
BigMouse wrote: I'm doing a RWD conversion for simplicity, and because I wanted the option to do direct drive (though I've since decided to retain the gearbox). The major problem with FWD (in my opinion) is the question of clearance between the motor and the "long" driveshaft. You're limited on the diameter motor you can use, and often limited on the length as well due to the position of the frame rails. This makes it very difficult to choose a donor/motor combination since it's often hard to know whether there will be clearance without taking measurements on the car itself from underneath. Even then, these measurements (centre of crankshaft to axle) are hard to take as there is an oil-pan in the way and the axle is usually at an angle. RWD cars don't have many, if any, obstructions in the engine bay, and they are usually long enough to fit any standard length motor. So if you can find a RWD candidate, chances are you won't have trouble getting whatever motor you end up choosing to fit. It's also simpler to support the motor from the original engine mount points in a RWD.
I am biased towards RWD for those reasons, but I've been tempted by a few FWD cars recently.
FWD is a bit more efficient due to having parallel shafts (RWD has to convert the motion through 90 degrees in the rear diff). As coulomb said, FWD cars are more plentiful as well, and it's easier to find a light-weight one.
Some FWD cars have longitudinally mounted engines, which have all the ease of motor mounting of a RWD car, but without the efficiency benefit of a transverse FWD.
Rear engine, RWD can have either longitudinal (Porsche, supercars) or transverse (MR2) engine mounting.
A quick (probably incomplete) list of common RWD (or FWD with longitudinal engine) cars:
Any BMW (3 series are lightest of course. I'm looking for an e36 3 series Compact at the moment)
Mazda MX-5, RX-7
Nissan 300zx, 280sx, Skyline, Silvia, etc
Toyota Supra, old Celicas and Corollas. MR2 would be treated as a FWD due to the transverse engine layout.
Mercedes Benz (Most except the compact ones. 190's are surprisingly light and RWD)
Porsche (these are interesting. The front engine ones usually have a rear-mounted transaxle, which means you just couple the motor to the torque tube and retain the existing clutch/flywheel. Rear engine ones are longitudinal, which is also easy)
Audi 80, 90, A4, some VW Passat (these are either FWD or AWD, but have longitudinally mounted engines)
Subarus can be converted to RWD, but the ability to get it engineered and registered is a question. From my reading, it seems like it would have to be engineered as an ICV (individually constructed vehicle), which has cost and insurance implications.
Falcons and Commodores
I won't list FWD cars, there's not enough room on this thread