Yesterday we started a “1 week” EV conversion. Most EV conversion projects are part time projects that can take 6-12 months. I would really like to see more EVs on the road, so wanted to experiment with ways to reduce the conversion time. Long term, I would like to see local EV conversion businesses that use small scale mass production techniques to convert petrol cars to electric.
I have been working on the project with Michael, a friend from Geelong, Victoria. We are converting his Charade (same model as my EV) using a low cost Chinese kit of EV parts.
Over the past few months we have been preparing, for example buying parts and fabricating some components (like the adaptor plate and coupler) that can’t reasonably be done in the 1 week time frame. Most of these steps could be automated in a real conversion enterprise, e.g. the adaptor plate is now in CAD format so it’s easy to make more using laser cutting, and ordering of the various parts could be performed electronically. We also developed a detailed plan and costing spreadsheet. We will publish all of these files shortly – making this an “open source” EV project to help others.
I also invited many people who are interested in EVs to come and help Michael and I do the conversion work. The response was overwhelming! Yesterday we had about 10 people, and we made far more progress than I had expected. Everyone seemed to self organise and find a job to do, and some of the skills we saw were amazing. We had mechanics, mechanical engineers, machinists, spray painters, several people taking video and stills, people handling wiring, a poor welder (me!), and my wife Rosemary catering for us all!
On day one we removed the ICE and all of the ICE components (like exhaust and fuel systems). We also installed the electric motor & gearbox assembly, including fabricating the driver side engine mount and starting construction on the front and rear battery racks. I figure we did three days work in one with the incredible team we had.
The community aspect was amazing. Many of these people gladly took a day off work and were having a great time. Building an electric car as a community project, how cool is that?
We have some YouTube video of the EV conversion taken by an OLPC rigged up by Joel above the car.
Lots more to come. I wonder how far we will get today. Anyway, off to the airport now to pick up another team member who has flown in for the event!