Grungle's Morris Minor Van

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Grungle
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Grungle's Morris Minor Van

Post by Grungle » Tue, 06 Apr 2010, 21:03

So here is our starting point:

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For some time I've been thinking about EVing this 1955 Morris Minor 1000, and after finishing this project recently:

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I think we're ready to start. Between my father and me, we hope to have this thing on the road in the next couple of years...but no doubt we'll need some help.

The morris was originally restored by my Dad in the 80s. It was last driven on the road in 1991, and has sat in his shed for the last 18 years... I tranported it to my place in Adelaide over easter.

Between us we have enough practical experience to get the bodywork sorted. Suspension, brakes and driveline won't be a problem based on what we have done before. I'm happy enough designing and making motor mounts and battery boxes (I'm a mechanical Engineer), but we're both very much in the dark when it comes to the electrical side of things.

Some basic performance goals might put things in perspective (although these may very well change!):
1) 50-80km range initially
2) 110km/hr max
3) 0-100km/hr time quick enough to impress...8-10 seconds would be good

How we go about achieving this is why I have arrived here!
I've got about $15,000-$20,000 for the build, but to be honest I haven't started looking into the details of what is required. We do have all the doors and other panels etc, they're ready for painting so they're not on the car right now. Original mass was around 960kg for the van I believe, but taking out the tiny 1L engine doesn't save us much.

I would love to go for an AC setup with regen etc, but I'm not sure that's possible with my cash (and lack of knowledge on the subject). Whichever path we choose, the batteries will be bought and installed last - they're going to be laid out in the back of the van, and as it's only a 2-seater we've got plenty of flexibility to do this at the end. We would like to ditch the gearbox and go direct drive though.

Our first steps are mainly concerned with upgrading the standard morris drivetrain with something that can handle some more torque and be a little more servicable in the future:

First we're looking at replacing the old leaf-spring rear end with something a little more solid. Possibly springs from a 70s/80s toyota or datsun ute. I'm looking into the use of airbags at the back to help tune the suspension with the extra permanent weight of the batteries.

Front suspension is currently a torsion-bar setup, but it's a relatively simple process to upgrade this to use telescopic shock absorbers. Similarly, brakes can be upgraded from the tiny drums to 2 or 4 wheel disks without too much trouble.

So that's it for now. If anyone has any comments on whether my goals are achievable and what kind of hardware we're looking at I'd appreciate some input. So far in my career I've kept as far away as possible from "all that electrical stuff", but I'm wishing i paid a bit more attention in those classes now...

Once we have the wheels, brakes and drive components sorted out I'm sure I'll be back in here asking the hard questions about motors, controllers, suppliers etc.

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antiscab
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Grungle's Morris Minor Van

Post by antiscab » Wed, 07 Apr 2010, 00:28

gday grungle,

welcome to the forum,

that looks like it should be a straight forward enough conversion.

if it can take the weight, agm would probably be viable.

Matt
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2000 prius - has 200 x headway 38120 cells

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woody
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Post by woody » Wed, 07 Apr 2010, 01:01

Hi grungle & welcome!

Good to see another classic enthusiast!

If you're going direct drive, then the stresses on the tailshaft and diff won't be much different to petrol + gearbox, plus you won't have a flywheel to spin up and a clutch to drop.

Eg 80Nm petrol motor in 1st gear 4:1 = 320Nm at the tailshaft.

Does the panel van weigh that much given that Wikipedia says the sedan is 775kg?

If the motor is OK you may want to get it running and registered in original form so you can find all the bits which have broken in 18 years of storage :-). It also separates the registration hurdle from the conversion hurdle and let's you test drive legally.

For direct drive you have a few options to research:
1. Soliton or Zilla controller with 9+ inch DC motor
2. Azure AC55 + DMOC controller
3. Industrial AC motor + drive

3 would require the help of someone who didn't "shy away from all the electricky things" - depending on your contacts at work or wherever you may know someone who has experience with Variable Frequency Drives and industrial motors.

Regen may not be a huge boost with an empty RWD panel van - but wouldn't be available with option 1.
Option 1 is the simplest and offers the highest performance and follows the most common recipe - up to 156V of Batteries through a buck converting controller into a series DC motor.

Not many go direct drive DC - nevilleh on this forum is a recent example who has.

Ask away if you have any other questions..

Cheers,
Woody

Planned EV: '63 Cortina using AC and LiFePO4 Battery Pack

Grungle
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Grungle's Morris Minor Van

Post by Grungle » Thu, 08 Apr 2010, 15:03

Thanks for your replys guys.

Woody - If I'm honest, this project only came about becuase my wife wanted something "cool" to drive, and I didn't want the hassle associated with a 55 year-old internal combustion engine! It was always going to be a classic though...something a little different.

I'm not positive, but I think the van version of the morris minor is significantly more "robust" than the sedan versions, hence the added weight. It certainly doesn't weigh much at the moment - my wife and I pushed it up our steep driveway easily last weekend.

The more I read, the more I think it may be wiser for me to follow the well-beaten path of DC. You're right - for my planned use regen probably won't achieve much (apart from a big increase in complexity), and at least for this first iteration I'm probably going to have enough headaches getting it moving and registered without worrying about tuning an AC setup. If I get excited down the track I can always give AC a go once everything else is working.

Unfortunately the original engine was abandoned long ago, so registering it now is probably more hassle than it's worth. When the original restoration was done it was converted to run a 1200cc corolla engine, but that was removed in the early 90s.

I'm still not sure about running direct drive. I like the idea of using 3rd around the city where a bit more torque may be desirable, and I think we have a couple of corolla gearboxes around that would be suitable. We're upgrading the rear end for greater serviceability, braking and suspension options, so sending more torque through it shouldn't be too much of a problem. Using toyota or datsun parts should also mean we have a few more diff ratio options, if we need them.

Are there any aspects of the electrical installation that need to be condidered at this early stage? I guess I need to decide on direct drive or gearbox fairly early on, but are there any other items that need to be locked in at this stage?

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woody
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Grungle's Morris Minor Van

Post by woody » Thu, 08 Apr 2010, 15:35

Haha - the Cortina is my wife's car - we found it when she'd just left school and was mostly looking around at Morris Minors...
Grungle wrote:Are there any aspects of the electrical installation that need to be condidered at this early stage? I guess I need to decide on direct drive or gearbox fairly early on, but are there any other items that need to be locked in at this stage?
I think the biggest is lead-acid or lithium - the extra weight and space of lead will need to go somewhere.

After you work out how many batteries you'll have/need - see where they'll fit.

Doc Symons Mazda 1000 Ute has a pack of 45 160Ah ThunderSky lithiums and this is how big it is (910 x 639 x 285mm). He has huge range (150km+?) with this. This pack should be able to deliver 144kW (1600Amps @ 90V).

Peter S's Combo has 120V of lead acid and it's in that white box in the back - I think he gets about 45km range - he's done about 25,000km in it.

For 50-80km range with the performance you are after, a pack made from Cylindrical Cells e.g. Headway 38120S or 38120P might be the best way to go - light weight and good power.

cheers,
Woody
Planned EV: '63 Cortina using AC and LiFePO4 Battery Pack

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Post by carnut1100 » Thu, 15 Apr 2010, 03:56

Minor vans are built on a seperate chassis, the sedans are a unitary construction...and the vans are a lot more heavy duty.
I have one that is waiting for its restoration. It's going to be ICE though.

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Post by Grungle » Thu, 15 Apr 2010, 15:05

Here's a (hopefully) basic question:
In an effort to reduce up-front battery costs, is it possible to fit the vehicle out with motor, wiring, controller etc capable of 100km/h, but initially only install batteries capable of 60km/h? Could more batteries then be added down the track to bring the range and max speed up?

For example - While we're putting this thing together we're probably only going to be driving around on suburban roads, travelling short distances until we get the whole thing worked out. Is it possible (and worthwhile) to put in a smaller battery pack (lower voltage) during this initial phase, and throw some more in once we have it running and require more speed and range in the following year or so?

Or do the laws of electricity (and economics) not work like that?




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Post by Johny » Thu, 15 Apr 2010, 16:25

Grungle wrote:In an effort to reduce up-front battery costs, is it possible to fit the vehicle out with motor, wiring, controller etc capable of 100km/h, but initially only install batteries capable of 60km/h?
The short answer is yes. A typical DC motor (I'm assuming your going DC) will give you pretty much the same performance at lower speeds when the controller is fed with less voltage. The motor torque will drop off more quickly (with lower voltage) at higher speeds limiting your maximum speed.

The "gotcha" here is that many controllers will automatically cut out when the pack voltage is too low so you have to make sure that the controller is happy with the lower voltage.

As you said, your range will be reduced as well.

Eg. Assuming 100AH batteries
6 x 12V 100AH = 7200KW pack at 72V
then later add another 6.
12 x 12V 100AH = 14400KW pack at 144V.

If using Lithium then multiply battery count by 4 (and call it cell count) and of course I haven't considered Peukert effect for lead-acid here.

Once other thing to consider is that half your pack will be older...



Grungle
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Grungle's Morris Minor Van

Post by Grungle » Tue, 27 Apr 2010, 04:04

Ok, despite not having planned much on the EV side of things, there is still lots of mechanical work to do.

I had a few spare hours today and stripped most of it:

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From this...

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Preparing to see what's under the carpet...

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Plywood? This might be easier than I thought!

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Tow bar and fuel tank gone - Time to design some battery boxes. Nice solid chassis rails in there.

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Apologies for the blur, the camera has some problems focusing with the fish-eye. Looking promising though, shouldn't be too hard to slot something in there!

In the coming weeks we'll hopefully have a look at the front brakes, a brake booster, and decide whether a new rear diff and suspension is needed. I jumped up and down on it this afternoon and it was really very good - it didn't bind and didn't bottom out. With some airbags helping out the standard springs we might be alright... working out some torque figures at the moment.

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Post by Grungle » Mon, 18 Oct 2010, 17:39

A lot of time has passed...not much has happened...

But this weekend I got into it:
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Removed the rear
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Underside of the front cabin section - some repairs required.
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The rolling chassis
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Each piece can be moved by hand now, so once the chassis is cleaned up there's some rust to be taken out of various places (fairly minor), and the assembly begins!

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Post by Johny » Mon, 18 Oct 2010, 17:52

Fantastic! You really don't stop at removing the ICE do you?
Sure makes it easy to spot the problems and fix them before the electric stuff starts going in.

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Post by EV2Go » Mon, 18 Oct 2010, 20:40

Been there done that respect the level of dedication. A word of warning if the urge strikes you to hand sand the whole vehicle DONT! Image

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Post by Tom » Sun, 16 Jan 2011, 21:41

Hi Grungle,

I was amazed to see your project and surprised that I hadn't heard of you, 'cos I, too, am an Adelaide member of AEVA and am in the early stages of a Morris Minor project (very early). Well, basically still planning but I have the car, the motor - 9" DC ex forklift - and my orange HT cable so far.
The car's a 1954 2 door ex-saloon with roof removed and the original strengthening kit installed to brace to body and the top of the windscreen moulded to accept the soft top. I'll also be converting it to low-light, so to the uninitiated it should look like an authentic 1948-50 soft top.
The next step is to finish stripping it completely, send the shell off for sandblasting and then painting, fit a Morris Marina disk brake kit, reset rear leaf springs, probably power brakes with electric boost and create a rolling body ready for the motor, battery pack in the rear seat area - by removing rear seating you lower the gross vehicle mass by the weight of 2 adult passengers, so don't need an engineering report - so finally get it on the road. Won't be a quick project by any means!

Cheers,

Tom

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