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PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2009 10:04 am 
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Location: santa fe, nm
try it, you'll like it!

If you are contemplating an engine swap, or have a swift with a dead motor... go electric! I finished one in March, and am really having a blast with it. I used a DC motor and 12 x 8v golf cart batteries. range is 40 miles-ish at average in-town speed around 35mph or so... This setup has almost identical peak HP and a little more torque than the original swift 4 cyl. It drives almost identical with regard to acceleration and top speed.

I went with all new DC motor and 'stuff' including lead-acid batteries. Material cost was right at $8k. If you go crazy with AC motor and Lithium batteries you can have a hot autocrosser, but end up spending closer to $20k.

Anyway, if you're curious, I have documented the whole build process at www.envirokarma.org

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'97 Swift, converted to Electric - www.envirokarma.org


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2009 10:14 am 
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Location: Central Indiana
40 MILE range wouldn't get me to work and back for one day. I'll keep my gas burners but thanks for the propoganda. For $8-20k I'd rather have a new Accent that gets 38mpg.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2009 10:27 am 
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Bobzilla wrote:
40 MILE range wouldn't get me to work and back for one day. I'll keep my gas burners but thanks for the propoganda. For $8-20k I'd rather have a new Accent that gets 38mpg.


40 mile range may not work for you, but is enough for LOTS of people... especially multi-car families where one person may have a commute and the other is 'around town'.

This is not propaganda... I'm not selling anything, just excited about getting completely off gasoline. Detroit was building 40mpg cars 20 years ago, and not made much progress since. Their electric cars are going to cost $40k+. I am trying to get the word out to people CAPABLE of doing their own conversions....

besides, its fun.

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'97 Swift, converted to Electric - www.envirokarma.org


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2009 11:46 am 
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I like it.... gasoline engines are more "fun" right now, but a lot of people don't drive a car because it's fun. I bet alot of people that live close to where they work an EV would work great.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2009 11:49 am 
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I think it depends on locale. Here in the Midwest, we drive farther because things are spread out....


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2009 11:50 am 
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airwerks wrote:
I like it.... gasoline engines are more "fun" right now

well, if you blow up your engine with too much boost or nitrous, consider electric rebuild! search youtube.com for what one guy did with a street legal datsun named 'white zombie'!

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2009 11:53 am 
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Bobzilla wrote:
I think it depends on locale. Here in the Midwest, we drive farther because things are spread out....

I am in southwest... LONG commutes between cities! But usually one car sticks in-town. It is possible to get 100-200 mile range with EV, but you have to use Lithium battery packs and the price goes way up.

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'97 Swift, converted to Electric - www.envirokarma.org


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2009 5:11 pm 
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Location: Oshawa, Ontario
Electric is also only practical in warmer climates, as cold Canadian winters are brutal on batteries.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2009 5:15 pm 
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duane1 wrote:
Electric is also only practical in warmer climates, as cold Canadian winters are brutal on batteries.

possible to insulate battery boxes and add heater mats, but yes, severe cold is hard on batteries (as it is on ICE engines that would require block heaters...)

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2009 7:01 am 
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Yet again we are in the dilema that there is no one solution to everyone's "energy crisis". Electric cars work well in large cities where people do not travel far and have a large amount of electrical outlests available. Hybrids work well for people with longer commutes in suburban communities but do not do well on longer interstate commutes as they are then relying ontheir ICE for propulsion and the added weight of th batteries is a detriment. Diesel is the better alrternative for people in mysituation who have 30+ mile commutes each way on mostly clear interstates at a steady speed. They do even better with the veggie oil conversion to cut down on particulates and such.

So, why does everyone have to try electric again?


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2009 8:27 am 
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Bobzilla wrote:
Electric cars work well in large cities where people do not travel far and have a large amount of electrical outlests available. ...
So, why does everyone have to try electric again?


not 'everyone' does ;) But if people can dedicate a vehicle to 'around town' use, then electric makes a lot of sense. If 40 mile range is workable, or work day charging is available, then inexpensive flooded lead-acid technology is fine. Longer commutes are possible with Lithium, but it gets expensive and less practical.

I absolutely agree that bio-diesel, methane/propane, and other forms of efficient renewable combustion will be around for a long time to come.... But also that for the handy DIY person, an all electric conversion is worth considering right now since Detroit is slow-rolling. Especially in combination with self-generated electricity from PV or wind if you live rural.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2009 8:40 am 
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Location: Central Indiana
The part you seem to miss is it's "something to consider" IF:
You live in a city
You live in a warmer climate
you have access to electrical outlets
you drive less than 40miles.
You have room to store an extra car.

If you live in the city, you're likely not going to have room for an extra car. Especially not one dedicated to urban only trips. How many times have you run to a store for a necessity item, only to find out they were out. That the only store to still have it is across town?

My point is there is no one answer to everyone's needs. That blind philosophy is what's currently driving our retarded gov't. They are picking a single solution to fit everything.... and like a one size fits all hat, it doesn't really fit anyone worth a crap.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2009 11:41 am 
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Wow... overreact much Bob?

The OP wasn't trying to make you convert.... he was just posting info... why do you get all butt-hurt because what he posted doesn't necessarily apply to YOU(midwest,long commute)? Doesn't apply at all to me either, but I'm not going to rag on the guy becuase he is talking about something he likes that can apply to other people....

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PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2009 9:38 am 
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Location: Washington, DC
Really professional work on that electric conversion! That's definitely one of the better looking jobs I've seen.

When my 4cyl dies I'm looking to do something like that. (Or a microturbine with the output shaft connected to a generator.) I think in a few years used battery packs and controllers from hybrids will be more widely available to make the conversion cheaper. I wonder how they will compare to your batteries in power/volume ratio. Some Prius NiMH battery packs have reportedly gone 300k miles, so a used NiMH could really improve the range of the car without costing much more. Also, NiCd batteries have been used for years in aviation and could probably be found cheaply if one knew where to look. Although with 50–150 Wh/L, the old ones might not be much better than lead acid.


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PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2009 12:15 pm 
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captainscience wrote:
Really professional work on that electric conversion! That's definitely one of the better looking jobs I've seen.

thanks!
In part I tried to keep the wiring very neat because I am not very comfortable with wiring! I also planning on doing a fair amount of show and tell... and wanted to be proud of it.


...in a few years used battery packs and controllers from hybrids will be more widely available to make the conversion cheaper.
----
probably... the price on LiFePO4 will come way down, and that is the most likely chemistry at this point from a weight and energy density viewpoint. The charging and electronic Battery Management Systems for the high-amp applications are not quite ready for prime time. Nor do we have a good way to capture braking energy; it comes in way faster than batteries can suck it up. Capacitors are too big, too heavy, and too expensive for what you get back...


I wonder how they will compare to your batteries in power/volume ratio.
---
LIFePO4 are almost as big, but WAY lighter, and last longer.


Some Prius NiMH battery packs have reportedly gone 300k miles, so a used NiMH could really improve the range of the car without costing much more.
---
probably not... the NiMH don't do well for extended high-amp electric-only draw, and are almost as heavy as lead for the same energy.

Also, NiCd batteries have been used for years in aviation and could probably be found cheaply if one knew where to look. Although with 50–150 Wh/L, the old ones might not be much better than lead acid.
----
NiCd again are alomst as heavy as lead, VERY expensive, and fairly toxic. They also have a chemistry that pretty much dies after 6-7 years.

d
---
'97 all-electric Swift www.envirokarma.org

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PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2009 1:50 am 
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Location: Washington, DC
I can definitely say your work looks great. A friend of mine uses some software to plan out his wiring, maybe this http://www.controleng.com/article/ca192 ... d=12319261 ... I was looking around at a Bayliner restoration project he did. Sure, the interior was nicely redone and he added plenty of modern navigational gadgets. But the wiring panel was an absolute work of art! But this is a car forum...

Those LiFePO4 batteries are impressive. Going by the average specs on their wikipedia page, switching your car to those batteries, your range should just about triple for the same weight of batteries. I think 120 miles would work well for the majority of commuters. But the part I really like about the LiFePO4s is the long service life. 10 years or more? Much better than the 1-3 year life span of the standard LiCoO2s. I have to keep my one year old laptop plugged in because it dies so quickly! What's the point of having a laptop if I have to keep it plugged in?!

In other news, Daimler AG just bought 10 percent of Tesla Motors. Sounds like we're not the only ones who think electric cars might be a good idea.


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PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2009 12:25 pm 
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captainscience wrote:
Those LiFePO4 batteries are impressive.

they are great, but if you work out the cost per cycle Lead is WAY cheaper still; as long as you can live with 40-50 mile range. The problem is still that the Li batteries require sophisticated monitoring during charge and use, which really is not available 'off the shelf' yet and is really expensive. A conversion total goes from $8k or so with DC and Lead to an extra $7k or more for Lithium.... pretty big investment for unproven life history on the Li.

captainscience wrote:
I think 120 miles would work well for the majority of commuters.

Fed DOT reports that 70% of all households have at least one car that travels less than 40 miles/day. I think most people really don't NEED 120 miles a day, they just want the comfort feeling of not worrying about mileage per day, planning trips, charging while at work, etc.


captainscience wrote:
But the part I really like about the LiFePO4s is the long service life. 10 years or more?

that would be the PROJECTED life... unproven in actual use as the LiFePO4 has not been around that long.


Electric cars won't work in all situations, but sure do a great job for 'around town'.

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'97 Swift, converted to Electric - www.envirokarma.org


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PostPosted: Mon May 25, 2009 3:50 pm 
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Location: Canada
Why would anyone want an electric car? Because it's environmentally friendly to plug your car in? (we burn coal mostly for our energy in canada). Confusing.

So, expensive, not fun, and bad for the environment. But, maybe fun to make.

I could see myself in an electric motorcycle or something, I don't know.

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PostPosted: Mon May 25, 2009 6:26 pm 
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kaboler wrote:
Why would anyone want an electric car? Because it's environmentally friendly to plug your car in? (we burn coal mostly for our energy in canada). Confusing.

even if your electricity is coal-fired, it is 10x cleaner than gasoline engines in terms of emissions, and generally the emissions are far from population centers; so you have less pollutio of all kinds where you LIVE. Better of course if you can swing photovoltaics, wind, geothermal, or eventually tidal turbines....


kaboler wrote:
So, expensive, not fun, and bad for the environment. But, maybe fun to make.

$8k for a total motor rebuild isn't THAT wild compared to other mods people do ; ) Done correctly, an electric car can have same or better performance.... just limited range. My very conservative build with a 96volt system performs almost exactly like the ICE motor. If I had sacrificed the rear seat for a 120v or 144v system the result would be auto-xable!

kaboler wrote:
I could see myself in an electric motorcycle or something, I don't know.

if the weather is good enough for two wheels, I prefer a regular bike.....

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PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2009 7:53 pm 
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dtbaker61 wrote:
Anyway, if you're curious, I have documented the whole build process at http://www.envirokarma.org

"Bandwidth Exceeded".


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PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2009 8:43 pm 
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Greg Amy wrote:
dtbaker61 wrote:
Anyway, if you're curious, I have documented the whole build process at http://www.envirokarma.org

"Bandwidth Exceeded".


wow, never had that happen before! must have had a lot of visitors?! anyway, should be ok now if you want to try again.

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'97 Swift, converted to Electric - www.envirokarma.org


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 2009 1:32 pm 
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kaboler wrote:
I could see myself in an electric motorcycle or something, I don't know.


http://www.wired.com/autopia/2009/02/mission-motors/
150mph and probably doesn't make a sound - people would think a UFO had passed them on the highway!


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 17, 2009 12:34 am 
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Let me know what it's like when 18 lead acid batteries spray all over when you get rear-ended. Also, electric isn't clean. It takes coal or nuclear energy to make that power. When you add millions of people using electric cars, you'll over-stress the grid. Especially in a major city. Then, they'll add more coal plants. Electricity diverts emissions, it doesn't eliminate them. And for $8k, I can buy a mint Geo Metro convertible, and feed it with gas for 5 years. And then I won't be replacing a $4k battery pack every 2-3 years. Full electric will never be mainstream. GM's Volt is a far more practical car. For 40k, it's expensive, but it works in Michigan, where the winters are below 0f, and the 8 hours of daylight we have in the winter, it's overcast(no solar).

Don't get me wrong, electric is cool, but, is the milk worth buying the whole cow? :lol:

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 17, 2009 8:00 am 
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GeoZukiGTi wrote:
Let me know what it's like when 18 lead acid batteries spray all over when you get rear-ended.

better than gas! battery acid is really 'not that bad' and if washed off you would likely not be injured. The batteries in the back (under rear seat) are enclosed in a steel rack, which is lined with polypro plastic.... and the ones in the front are isolated from cabin by normal firewall. In either case the injury from impact wold be far more intense than battery acid, and far safer than gasoline.

GeoZukiGTi wrote:
Also, electric isn't clean. It takes coal or nuclear energy to make that power.

or solar.... even if it is 'dirty coal', the emissions are less than individual cars. BUT I absolutely agree that more power plants are not what we want, which is why I also installed enough PV to produce my own power for my house AND the car.

GeoZukiGTi wrote:
And for $8k, I can buy a mint Geo Metro convertible, and feed it with gas for 5 years.

and my electric car will run another 10 or 15 years with NO maint. costs except brake pads, NO fuel cost (since I produce my own), and NO greenhouse emissions. I'll have to put in another set of batteries for about $1500 (not $4000).

GeoZukiGTi wrote:
GM's Volt is a far more practical car. For 40k, it's expensive, but it works in Michigan, where the winters are below 0f, and the 8 hours of daylight we have in the winter, it's overcast(no solar).

The volt is expensive because they chose to go with AC motor and Li batteries... My point is that we COULD have electric cars that are as practical retailing for $15K if they went DC and Lead batteries for the 'entry level' cars. Cold winters are still fine for electric cars, you just divert a little of the juice to battery warmers and insulate the battery boxes. Solar production in MI may not make sense, but what about wind, biomass, algea-oil, etc.....

My main point in doing this is simply to prove that an inexpensive electric car with 40-50 mile range IS practical for MANY homes, not all....

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2009 1:52 am 
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Good post. I can't wait to read your write up. Lets be optimistic :)

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