Electric conversion project

spike

Member
Watched the recent EV car program and was surprised to hear that a converted vehicle does not gain EV status as the certified emissions levels cannot be changed. The rules may however be different on pre 2001 cars where the VED is based on engine size.
Presumably ULEZ compliance would not change either

Cheers Spike
 

Fife_Driver

New Member
Thought I should chip in here. We bought our first A2 (75 bhp petrol) in 2004 and then a 75 bhp TDI with sky roof in ~2011 (as advertised here), and have happily used both as everyday run-arounds since. Petrol now at 175 k miles, diesel at 215 k. We keep on thinking about whether to replace one or the other of these cars, e.g. to help reduce emissions (we are conscious of sustainability issues, though we know that there is no silver bullet) and/or to have a ULEV vehicle - neither A2 will quality in our local city. But actually, we are rather attached to these cars. We have followed this 'conversion' thread with great interest, and were coming to the view we'd much rather convert probably our petrol A2 to electric than to buy any other car .... but to see that ULEZ compliance would not be achieved - surely this is madness! I watched the Transition One video with great interest - they have the right idea. So the aluminium body & frame of an A2 combined with no tailpipe emissions sounds like a dream ticket and worth paying for. I wonder if Scottish government would be able to have their own rules about recognising electric conversions in urban centres?

Thanks to everyone for their posts on this topic. Cheers, Andrew
 

Jongriff

Member
It would be very possible to convert an a2 to electric, and it doesn't need to be expensive either if you can find good used parts.

I have a fiat 126 that I am converting to electric, granted this is much simpler than the a2 as there are hardly any electrics on it so no CAN-BUS to worry about. The aim with the fiat is to do it cheap, so I found a second hand Citreon C1 evie as a donor for all the parts. You have to be realistic with what to expect, I am hoping for 40ish HP and about 60 miles range. The conversion should come in less than 3k i hope. If you are wanting tesla range and performance then that would cost lots and be a lot more complex, but it can be done on a budget and kept fairly simple.
 

DJ 190

Member
In the late 60's/70's there used to be a magazine called "Custom Car". (I think that I purchased the first issue!) Anyway, it was all about doing just about anything to run-of-the-mill cars. Favourite topics were fitting larger engines and lowering the ride height. Even lowering the ROOF, I seem to recall! It's a pity that there isn't a similar magazine for electric conversions. Maybe "Custom electric car"? Maybe there will be, in the near future? Anyway, I'd be all for converting my laid-up A2 to electric. It's a bit sad that such a shining star of a car isn't out there being enjoyed and used! I do like challenges and I've got the time and funds to do this ..... I just need to find another member(s) to share in the experience and (hopefully) the rewards!

David
 

Jongriff

Member
In the late 60's/70's there used to be a magazine called "Custom Car". (I think that I purchased the first issue!) Anyway, it was all about doing just about anything to run-of-the-mill cars. Favourite topics were fitting larger engines and lowering the ride height. Even lowering the ROOF, I seem to recall! It's a pity that there isn't a similar magazine for electric conversions. Maybe "Custom electric car"? Maybe there will be, in the near future? Anyway, I'd be all for converting my laid-up A2 to electric. It's a bit sad that such a shining star of a car isn't out there being enjoyed and used! I do like challenges and I've got the time and funds to do this ..... I just need to find another member(s) to share in the experience and (hopefully) the rewards!

David
What are your goals regarding an electric conversion? Range, speed, still looking OEM?

It could be done, the problem with any ev conversion is where to fit the batteries, in my 126 it is rear engine and already has a "frunk" so some batteries can go in the back where there is space next to the motor, and some can go in the front, this still leaves the boot space free. In the A2 its a bit trickier, there would be some space in the front after removing the engine, but probably not enough, that leaves putting some batteries in the boot and using valuable space. Fitting less batteries would an option, but that reduces range, current etc... it all depends what you want from the converted car?
 

DJ 190

Member
it all depends what you want from the converted car?
Well, that's a two-way thing. Most of the time I just do short local trips of a few miles. I have alternative vehicles for other longer trips which are both very economical. So if the A2 was converted to electric but with only a nominal range (even as low as 50 miles), then that would be fit for purpose. The benefit to me would be no gear-changes, silent running, ease of re-charging and novelty. ( I'm not sure about road-fund and insurance cost, though). The other alternative is a more ambitious conversion that resulted in a much increased range. Here I'm talking about well in excess of 200 miles. Possible even as much as 250 miles. I would hope that the end result would then be something very special and obviously it would need a hefty level of financial investment. I can handle that and would think that £20, 000 might be realistic. (most new electric vehicles are well in excess of that amount) I'd probably then be thinking of the disposal of my every-day car, the Dacia Sandero Bi-fuel. I's noteworthy for its astonishing fuel economy and its ability to travel over 800 miles on its combined fuel tanks. I am delighted with it and it's hard to fault it.
The very best outcome of a project of this nature would be if it provided a reliable blueprint for the conversion of A2's to electric with the best components and pitfalls to be avoided. 👍

David
 

Alan_uk

Member
Members of the German A2 Forum have been doing EV conversions since 2014 and some are even into providing CANBUS interface electronics.

Unfortunately some very promising projects (e.g. using Tesla batteries with long range) have stalled for some years when they seemed almost finished. There has also been issues with getting regulatory approval. I recall reading the DVLA want lots of documentation and photos of the complete conversion process. Being trained in HV work is highly recommended.

The German A2 forum EV section is here via Google Translate You will have to use Chrome and I find the next page links only work by right clicking on Continue and then selecting Open link in new tab

Perhaps the best recorded conversion I saw was an English guy in Italy who made 12 YouTube episodes 12 years ago. Must be easier today (but not easy!) with many EVs getting written-off.
 

Jongriff

Member
Well, that's a two-way thing. Most of the time I just do short local trips of a few miles. I have alternative vehicles for other longer trips which are both very economical. So if the A2 was converted to electric but with only a nominal range (even as low as 50 miles), then that would be fit for purpose. The benefit to me would be no gear-changes, silent running, ease of re-charging and novelty. ( I'm not sure about road-fund and insurance cost, though). The other alternative is a more ambitious conversion that resulted in a much increased range. Here I'm talking about well in excess of 200 miles. Possible even as much as 250 miles. I would hope that the end result would then be something very special and obviously it would need a hefty level of financial investment. I can handle that and would think that £20, 000 might be realistic. (most new electric vehicles are well in excess of that amount) I'd probably then be thinking of the disposal of my every-day car, the Dacia Sandero Bi-fuel. I's noteworthy for its astonishing fuel economy and its ability to travel over 800 miles on its combined fuel tanks. I am delighted with it and it's hard to fault it.
The very best outcome of a project of this nature would be if it provided a reliable blueprint for the conversion of A2's to electric with the best components and pitfalls to be avoided. 👍

David
Well I think a simple conversion with a realistic range of up to 100 miles should be possible. The way I would go about it would be to use an off the shelf AC induction motor rather than something from an existing EV. I would use the existing gearbox and mate a motor to it with an adaptor plate, something like the HPEVS AC-50. You wouldn't need the clutch, it could be coupled directly to the gearbox either with a solid or semi rigid coupling. This would allow you to either still use the gearbox as a manual, or work out what would be the best gear for your driving aim and lock the gearbox in that gear, reverse would be handled by running the motor backwards.

You could use a permanent magnet DC motor, simpler but you loose regen braking. If you wanted to keep it as a manual and shift gears, you might need to find a way to disable regeneration during the shift.

Check out this link for example prices for motors and controllers, curtis controllers seem to be the norm with the HPEV motors:
The AC50 could give upto 90-odd horsepower with enough batteries (144v pack)

For batteries, there are many options, I had a poke about my A2 earlier and it looks like there could be a decent amount of space in the boot under the false floor if everything else is removed, so a split pack with some in the boot and some under the bonnet might work OK.

There are loads of different battery packs from various EVs that could be used, just depends on what you can find in budget. I would be tempted to use LiFePo4 packs or cells however, they are not as... explodey as Li-ion! Slightly less energy dense but safer for a DIY EV. Battery management system is pretty much mandatory, Orion BMS is the one that has been catching my eye for my conversion but they can be pricey, but they can also talk CAN to chargers and motor controller etc. There are many different options.

Again, you could find a drive from another ev, tesla perhaps, but by far the easiest would be to keep as much of the A2 as standard as you can, so coupling a motor to the existing gearbox would be the way to go I think. Avoids having to mess about with mountings, suspension, driveshafts etc

I am happy to help as much as I can via the Internet but I am a bit too far away and busy with work to help in person!
 

DJ 190

Member
It's going to bit a bit of a struggle to raise that amount, but it shouldn't be forgotten that it would be an asset and not a total loss of capital. It might take a few years to pay for itself, based on fuel savings alone, though ..... :D

David
 
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