defrosterlaunch day
OwnerJack McKee
LocationBellingham, Washington United States map
Email email image
Vehicle1980 Volkswagen Pickup
Truck was donated by Mark at Harmony Motors. Thanks,
Mark. Lots of help from Eddie at Mac and Mac. Thanks, Eddie
MotorHi Torque Electric Series Wound DC
Originally a6.7 inch diameter, double shaft, 15 inches long, 95
lbs. It looks a lot like the L-91 double shaft. After 4 years of
driving I picked up a rock and shorted out the motor. I replaced
the 6.7 motor with and 8" ADC motor.
ControllerCurtis 1231 C
Seems to have more power and draw less amps than the Altrax
7245 I originally used.
Batteries13, 6.00 Volt, Nickel-Cadmium, Flooded
13 Saft STM 180"s, 78 volts. Interestingly, when I first looked at the
batteries and saw the 180 amp hours I thought dang, that's not as
mucjuice as my 200 amp hour lead acid. Then I looked more closely
and saw the 180 amps is the one hour rate as opposed to the
200 AH LA being the 20 hour rate. The 200 LA's, according
to the manufactuer, are actually 98 AH for the one hour
System Voltage78 Volts
ChargerRussco 15 amp
I'm not wild about the Russco. The main advantage is it will
charge different voltage packs so you don't have to buy a new
charger if you decide to increase your voltage. I have had to send
it back once already. It still charges but the voltage and
amp settings don't work, so it has to go back again. Also, I live in
the Pacific NW where it rains a lot and everytime it rains the
Ground Fault interrupter trips. I got a big old Lester that will work
on 220 or 110 so I can use the Lester and the
Rusco at the same time.
HeaterI replaced the hair dryer shown in the picture with a 12 volt fan
which works better because it moves more air I think. For heat I
Originally took a small 110 heater and replaced the fan with a 4"
plastic fan which worked fine, until the fan melted. Then I got a
small inverter at Harbor Freight so now I run pack voltage thru the
heating element and run the ac fan off the ac provided by the
DC/DC ConverterKelly
300 watt DC/DC converter. Its a little small when the headlights,
heater, fan, wipers and vacuum pump are all on at the same time.
InstrumentationVoltmeter, ammeter, ammeter for DC/DC. I got a paktrakr for the
nicads so I can keep a more careful eye on the individual
Top Speed60 MPH (96 KPH)
It would do 50 with the 6.7 but I haven't tested the top speed with
the 8" motor yet. 60+ but its sucks the amps.
AccelerationPretty good up to 25 in first gear. Once its in second it will go on
up to 45 pretty quick, or maybe I should say, not to slowly. I drive
mostly in 1st up to 35mph. On the flat it draws 110-120 amps at
35 and won't draw any more. If I want more power I just shift to
2nd and it accelerates but draws more amps of course.

Range20 Miles (32 Kilometers)
Lead acid would do 25 miles in winter and 30 in summer. The
nicads have done 40 miles at 35-40 mph if there aren't many hills.
A little less in the winter.
Watt Hours/MileA guess is about 3 miles per kwh.
EV Miles
Start:80,000 Miles (128,720 Kilometers)
Current:95,000 Miles (152,855 Kilometers)
Total:15,000 Miles (24,135 Kilometers)
Seating Capacity2 adults
Curb Weight2,600 Pounds (1,181 Kilograms)
TiresStandard radial run up to 45 lbs
Conversion Time4 months of half time work, much of it having nothing to do with
the electrics. Still more to do. When I up graded to the 8" motor
and the Curtis controller it took a four months part time with a lot
of waiting for parts.
Conversion Cost$5000
Additional FeaturesNot many. Just trying to have a basic around town vehicle. I originally had Crown Golf cart
batteries. They lasted a year. I don't know exactly why they gave out. Was it because they
couldn't handle the current draw? Should I have gotten Trojan, or Interstates? One battery was
definitly (right after the warranty ran out, naturally) shot but the others had reduced capacity,
too. At the time I was using a Quick Charge charger and I'm not sure it was equalizing them
enough. If I had it to do over I definitely would get a paktrakr or something to monitor
each battery. I would also give them a really good overcharge. The nicads start out at a bit
higher voltage, 88 volts, but then drop down to 74, or so, on acceleration. They pop right
back up though when you take your foot off the accelerator. The used flooded nicads are
better, in my opinion, than new lead acid.
It works well for an around town vehicle. I really like watching the amp meter and
trying to use less amps. And driving past gass stations is fun, too. It was kind or like a low
rider until I put helper springs on. I have heavy duty springs in the front, too. I did a electric
vehicle show and they parked me next to a Tesla which was a study in contrasts.

After 5 years of driving: The nicads seem about the same as when I put them in. Mostly, no
heat is OK but I do preheat with 120 volts if it is especially cold. Then the 110 heater running
on 78 volts DC keeps the chill off. A heated seat would be a good addition.

With the 6.7" motor I built my own adaptor plate and used a lovejoy connector to connect
the motor to the transmission. I think the lovejoy is a bad idea because the half that rides on
the transmission floats and rattles. After 16,000 miles it also wore the splines off the
transmission shaft. For the upgrade I wanted to make it easier (ha) so I order a coupler and an
adaptor plate from the COUPLER CONNECTION. The adaptor plate didn't fit and the coupler
and keyway fit were sloppy. After some back and forth I decided to eat the $700 and ordered
and coupler from a local machinist. It was PERFECT, and cheaper. Live and learn, I guess. I used
my old adaptor plate which was two plates of steel with spacers in between. To align the
motor and trans I set the motor vertical with one plate bolted to it. Then i set the transmission
on top of the motor with the second steel plate attached. I ran the motor on 12 volts. Then
moved the transmission around unti it made the least amount of noise and clamped the two
plates together. Finally I bolted the whole thing together.

code by jerry