OwnerTodd Dore
LocationNorth Riverside, Illinois United States map
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Vehicle2001 Volkswagen New Beetle
This is a conversion of a 2001 VW New Beetle.
MotorWarfield WarP! 9 Series Wound DC
Due to much highway driving with the Lithium batteries, I have a squirrel-cage 10amp 12-V blower which directs a high-powered stream of cooling air into the intake of the motor. Keeps the temp. down to reasonable levels in the summer time.
DrivetrainManual Transmission - the original vehicle was an automatic. We swapped it out for a 5-speed manual.
ControllerCafe Electric 1k
This controller really kicks a**! I had persistent problems with it dying on me in the middle of the road or not starting at all. Relocated the Hairball in the cabin - away from all HV cables. That did the trick! Also, the cooling system comes with plastic hose barbs and a plastic storage tank, with a cheap radiator. Bad move - all of this wears out and leaks over time. All hose barbs (including the Ts) should be brass. The storage tank needs to be replaced with a welded aluminum one (many after-market racing products available). Finally, either strengthen or replace the radiator via copper welding.
Batteries48 Thunder Sky 160Ah, 3.20 Volt, Lithium Iron Phosphate
PbA 8-V Trojan T-875 flooded batteries started to seriously die after about 7,500 miles, and I had already replaced 1/3 of them. They were ultimately very dissappointing and a waste of lots of $$. LiFePo4 batteries now have about 9,000 miles on them. Going pretty strong! I switched to the Orion BMS system - from Ewert Energy, LLC. This is a very powerful BMS that limits over-charge, over-discharge, monitors temp, measures each cell's voltage, resistance, pack voltage, current, etc. You name it, the BMS measures and monitors it. I now have a true SOC meter and the over-discharge alarm is still active. Can hook up to a PC to graph all sorts of neat stuff. Looking for a good Windows tablet to mount in the car so I don't have to lug a laptop around! They have a hookup via the 'CANDaptor'. Very good BMS! Works with the Rudman charger.
System Voltage156 Volts
ChargerManzanita Micro PFC-20
I keep my Zivan NG3 as a back-up, but don't really need it. I now use a Rudman PFC-20. Works great!
HeaterEV America 4kW system (with water tank). Everything is installed and it works very well in the winter. The only problem is all of the original plastic components wear out and leak (hose barbs, etc.). Everything needs to be replaced with brass parts.
DC/DC ConverterIota DC 55
The original Iota died on me after about 6,000 miles. The 12V power steering pump overloads it too much. I replaced it with another unit, and now use the power steering much more sparingly.
InstrumentationAnalog volt and ampmeter. I have a nice tach as well, all mounted in a New Beetle Gauge Pod. Looks sharp! I ditched the PakTrackr - this instrument was awful and a complete waste of $$. I would not advise buying one. The Orion BMS has internal systems which counter all of the HV magnetic interference - all readings are very accurate.
Top Speed80 MPH (128 KPH)
Jesse V and I had this car up to 80 on the highway last summer with the new Lithium batts.
AccelerationActually a bit slower with Lithium. They will go forever, but don't like you pulling more than about 1.5 C (240 amps) out of them, even for a second. So acceleration is a bit slower but still good enough.
Range80 Miles (128 Kilometers)
Lithium range is updated. I put 82 miles on a charge once. With the new BMS, to protect the batteries, the SOC is practically limited to 10%-90%, which means range is more limited. But, for a good cause - to protect the overall health of the pack.
Watt Hours/Mile363 Wh/Mile
Final PbA efficiency was awful - over 400 Whr/mile. Now I'm down to about 360 but that's counting energy losses from the grid, running the heater in the winter, etc. Most driving is now at highway speeds (55+ mph), since the range is very good now.
EV Miles
Start:80,100 Miles (128,880 Kilometers)
Current:96,650 Miles (155,509 Kilometers)
Total:16,550 Miles (26,628 Kilometers)
    As of 6/11/2011
Seating Capacity4 - I kept the back seat (there are 2 modules of 4 batteries each underneath the back seat)
Curb Weight3,200 Pounds (1,454 Kilograms)
This is also an approximation - I haven't weighed the car yet.
TiresOriginal stock tires, which are about 220mm wide. Fat suckers! Not good for energy efficiency!
Conversion Time1 year. It took about 4-5 months just for the transmission - I wouldn't recommend starting with an automatic!
Conversion CostGosh - all in cost? I hate to say it. All electrical problems are fixed by myself. All mechanical ones are fixed by my auto mechanic - I need his brain, tools, and car lift. He charges standard auto shop rates so it gets expensive. $38,750 all-in, with some government rebate money to help out.
Additional FeaturesThe battery boxes are sealed and heated for the winter. The car has a sunroof which keeps it cool in the summer (I ditched the A/C due to space issues). Battery configuration is 36 in the back box, 8 cells in the middle box, and 4 cells in the front box. I am also using an electric power steering pump from a 1992 Toyota MR2 (this was expensive as you can only seem to get these from the dealers). A new stereo with XM radio is installed. We use an IPass for highway (tollway) driving.
The car is a pleasure to drive and it was both fun and frustrating to convert it! After the LiFePo4 conversion I finally can take this the distance I need to, and range anxiety has all-but dissappeared. It is my standard daily car and I put 800-1,000 miles per month on it. Cost for energy: $30/month, of which I only pay about $10 (the rest is picked up by the parking garage downtown which gives me electricity for free). Value of driving by the gas stations and seeing $4.50/gallon and passing it by: Priceless!!!!

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