Electric conversions

Discussion in 'Other EVs' started by Domenick, Feb 13, 2018.

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  1. I love the idea of classic cars running electric drivetrains. This '49 Mercury Coupe being built by Icon, with help from Stealth EV, as part of its Derelict program is an outstanding of what can be done.

    It's not even finished yet, but this post on InsideEVs has a video and photos of some the the underlying components that will be hidden from sight when the bodywork is mated to the new chassis.

    Icon 49 Mercury Coupe Derelict.jpg
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  3. Apexerman

    Apexerman Member

    Instant torque will move that heavy metal quite nicely.
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  4. This curiosity showed up on the interwebs recently, and I wrote it up for InsideEVs today.

    Basically, Tesla Model S drive assembly under a 1981 Honda Accord, using a Chevy Volt pack for power. There are a few more pics over on the post, but I'll post the main video below. There should be a better video about this coming out some time soon.

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  5. This conversion was done by New Zealand utility Mercury. Sweet 1957 Ford Fairlane. More details on the InsideEVs post.
    Here are two videos. One is a fun watch, created to make the point that being efficient can be fun, while the other is a bit on the making of the actual conversion.

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  6. Apexerman

    Apexerman Member

    Haha! Great videos! I think we'll see more of these electric conversions in the future. I've been a vintage car fan for as long as I can remember and I've often wondered how old cars would fare with new power plants. Obviously pretty well. One of the first I remember was Neil Young's '59 Lincoln Continental. Jay Leno has featured a few electrics on his show, including two-wheeled versions, so the concept definitely works. I just read about this company below that restores and converts vintage Porsche 911's. They ain't cheap at though... $370K. Ouch.


    However, I'm gonna preserve a special place for internal combustion with regard to old sports cars. The sight, sound, smell and feel of old machines evokes a "mechanicalness" that gives the car character. I imagine this sentiment mirrors the appeal of vintage motorcycles as well. But that's fine... vehicular enjoyment doesn't have to be a zero-sum game. As long as we see a steady conversion away from fossil fuels, we can preserve a few old birds as a reminder of the past. And if we can keep more of them on the road going electric, even better.
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  8. I agree, ai wouldn't want all the old classics to be converted to electricity, but I love seeing some done. Especially if it leads to more road time.

    Looking forward to when batteries packs are a little more commoditized. The ones in Evie above, for instance, aren't especially energy dense, so they create a lot of extra weight and take up extra space. It would be nice to have a 100 kWh pack under the rear seat or something, but it'll probably be awhile before we get to that level of energy storage available for the aftermarket.
  9. Cypress

    Cypress Active Member

    My coworker and her husband converted a 1971 VW.

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  10. The trick is picking the right car to start with. That 49 Mercury wouldn't be my choice, at least with today's tech, as it would take soooooo much battery to give it any sort of decent range.

    I would be looking for the smallest, lightest, most aerodynamic car possible and preferably rear wheel drive. I have had enough experience with converting front wheel drive to realise the limitations. It is dificult to fit a decent size motor sideways in a front wheel drive car. Rear wheel drive allows you to mount a bigger motor North/South without the same space restrictions. Rear wheel drive also gives you the option of running the driveline direct to the existing diff.

    I have a Datsun 240z but if I converted that I think Z lovers would string me up. I also have a 280zx which I think would make an excellent conversion. They are 1200KG but that is including the big hunks of metal in the form of the motor and gearbox. Taking those out and replacing them with a decent motor (maybe even 2) and a heap of batteries would result in a great car.
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  11. I wonder if a 300ZX chassis wouldn't be even lighter. It's also wider, at about 71 inches, so might even accommodate a Tesla rear sub-assembly.

    I wonder if salvaged Teslas are affordable down under? Or maybe Aussies are better drivers and don't crash them as much as they do here in the US. :)
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  13. Unfortunately not. The 300ZX are about 200KG heavier at about 1450KG. The 240z at 1000kg or even a Datsun Sports/Fairlady would be the ideal way to go but a lot of people would consider converting one sacrilege.

    I do know a guy that says he can get the Telsa running gear here but I think he is talking about imports.

    Realistically I would be looking at a Mazda MX5/Miata as they are light, affordable, north/south motored, read wheel drive, parts are readily available and they can be tuned to handle and brake extremely well.

    I did have a brief think about a Jensen Healy too. But they too are a bit rare but replacing the motor, the weakest part of a Jensen, with an electric drive train would transform the car. My brother had one for many years and even with the oil leaks etc it was an awesome car to drive.

    The take up on electric cars here is quite low which means there are less to crash. I struggle to even find Nissan Leaf batteries. The main difficulty is the distances many Aussies travel where there is little to no infrastructure. But it is slowly changing. Better batteries, better infrastructure etc etc. Tesla has been the best thing ever for changing perceptions of electric vehicles. People are now understanding that electric cars are not boring.
  14. I like that Jensen idea. I don't know how many are left out there in the wild, but I imagine there must be a few.

    Considering Jaguar converted this car, I feel like just about anything is basically fair game.
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  15. You don't see many conversions of this size and shape, but with energy-dense Tesla batteries available to more converters, it's likely something we'll see more of.
    Fully Charged has put together a pretty sweet video of this resuscitated Range Rover. Not too heavy on technical details -- I'm left wondering what kind of motor they used, for instance --but there's lots of great footage of it being driven about off-highway.

    The actual work was done by Electric Classic Cars in Wales and it appears they've used this air-cooled dual motor/dual controller setup from HPEVS.

  16. Apexerman

    Apexerman Member

    I like that Range Rover conversion. In fact, I like the old two-door Range Rovers with all that glass.... panoramic view. Going electric is a great way to keep them on the road.

    And yes, Miatas should serve as a great platform for conversion. Mazda made over a million of these machines, so finding an affordable car won't be hard. Years ago, one could purchase a kit to convert the earlier cars, but I imagine the technology has evolved enough to supersede what was originally developed. The old four-banger was a workhorse engine, but not terribly refined. Electric power would work nicely. I suspect we'll see all manner of conversions as the parts availability become more affordable and available.

    Heck, I might be tempted to convert my Spitfire one day. ;) IMG_9160.JPG
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