|Location||Adelaide, South Australia Australia map|
|Vehicle||1999 Mitsubishi Lancer |
Owned since new and in reasonable condition, but
ICE starting to leak oil and lose power.
The Lancer seems to have plenty of space both
front and rear.
|Motor||HPEVS AC 50-1 3-Phase AC|
Should be able to achieve 60 HP max
|Drivetrain||Manual, front wheel drive|
AC with regen capacity
|Batteries||36 CALB/Skyenergy SE100AHA, 3.20 Volt, Lithium Iron Phosphate|
|System Voltage||120 Volts|
|Charger||Elcon TCCH-36C-12A |
36 cell charger
|Heater||12v water tank and pump|
|DC/DC Converter|| |
Zeva fuel guage driver - returned
Cycle Analyst 225
Temperature monitor of rear battery pack later
|Top Speed||60 MPH (96 KPH)|
60 mph needed but 125 kph achieved!
|Range||40 Miles (64 Kilometers)|
|Seating Capacity||4 adults - reduced from 5 by removing centre |
seat-belt in rear seat, in order to help comply
with local transport department regulations
|Curb Weight||2,227 Pounds (1,012 Kilograms)|
Official weight via licenced weigh bridge prior
to conversion is 0.62tonne front and 0.39t at
|Conversion Time||Completed after 7 months|
|Conversion Cost||About A$22,500|
|Additional Features||Dual front airbags and air conditioning were optional extras in the |
We wanted active Regen capacity - motor (and pedal braking later).
Air conditioning re-added in 2014.
Retained clutch to make gear change easier.
New digital radio.
Remote door locking.
Converter: Nick King, SA Electric Vehicle Conversions.
Adapter plate: Hackham Precision Engineering.
Certifying automotive engineer: Stuart Crosier, Tonkin Engineering
|We want this to be a reasonably powerful conversion that will be |
able to cope with, and make use of the hilly terrain where we live
and yet be easy to drive.
2010: Car weighed (0.62t front and 0.39t rear). Engineer engaged
Dept Transport permission to modify vehicle obtained. Conversion
brief detailed and construction engineer engaged and parts list
modified (several times) and final suppliers sorted.
2011 Feb and March: Parts ordered and start to arrive.
2011 April: Slowly all parts have trickled in including AC motor,
controller kit and Li PO cells, and at end of the month, are
dropped off with the car at conversion workshop.
2011 May 4th: Vehicle dismantled and stripped of all ICE parts.
With the bonnet, under-dash, passenger and rear seat and most
interior panels removed Wiggl-e starts to look quite gutted! But
we have found some extra battery space in front of the spare tyre!
Wiring loom stripped and labelled. 10 pair cable run from front to
rear compartments for battery management system (BMS), 'fuel' cap
Accelerator Pot box attached to fire-wall.
Some bracket fabrication and controller platform construction (in
Battery box planning, in consultion with certifying engineer,
May 9th: New e-motor and old gear box sent for adaptor plate
June 4th; By this date the 'little red button' (low voltage
emergency cut-out)has been installed in centre console, and a
nifty little interlock switch has been inserted under the 'fuel'
filler flap to prevent car movement while charging - old petrol
cap is gone, 240v charging cable with protective conduit has
replaced the filler pipe, (a weather-proof 3 pin socket will be
used for charging).
We weigh all the old ICE parts - which come to just under 140kg.
Because there won't be 45kg of petrol and 1 rear seat passenger we
reckon that we have 265kg to play with.
We fit the charger into the back right side of the boot and
replace the lining panel, with the BMS above it looks very
The new power steering pump is attached by its bracket to the
front of the RH chassis rail to try for size, and seems to fit in
well, confirming my choice of donor vehicle. The inertia cut out
switch is also located here, right at the front. Lastly, I sit in
the driver's seat and after measuring out a few locations for
accessibility, we find a spot for the 'Big Red Button' (the high
voltage emergency cut out) at the rear of the centre console.
June 12th: BMS master control unit has been tidied up internally
and finally attached in its place. Curtis 840 guage has been
fitted into a new instrument cluster with tachometer that the
original lacked, in the place of the now unnecessary fuel guage -
looks very neat. Serendipitously we discover that the tacho is
redlined already at the exact place for the new motor - 6500 rpm.
After admiring the excellent job done on the adapter plate we
lower the motor+gearbox assembly into place. This needed some
jiggling to fit it onto the original 3 gearbox mounts. We have to
loosen the longitudinal cross-member to do this. Bracket
construction commenced for final engine mount.
July 12th: New clutch plate fitted because we are expecting the
clutch to handle quite a lot of torque. A new bracket to connect
the end of the e-motor to the right side engine mount has been
constructed and neatly extended around the front of the motor to
hold the 12V brake vacuum pump. This also holds a bracket to mount
the old aircon compressor which we realise we will have room for.
This looks very neat because it makes use of part of the original
mount from the old engine. Thus it is in almost the same position
as before. As a bonus the new motor has a drive shaft at both ends
of its rotor, allowing a simple belt drive to the original
pulley(see photo). Unfortunately the power steering pump needs to
be repositioned and now sits horizontally, but in the same place.
Gearbox and clutch connectors reattached and half shafts replaced.
Electrical connections to the loom are tidied up, bundled and
July 17th: More work on the cabling. Use of spare and redundant
fuses in the fuse box for many of the new fuses keeps the 12V
We finish construction of the electronics bridge across the engine
bay above the motor(see photo). This carries the controller so
must leave plenty of room under the bonnet for heat dissipation.
Fabricated from extruded 50mm aluminium bars it will conduct some
of the heat to the side chassis rails. It also holds the DC to DC
converter, front 96V main contactor with slave relay (driven by
controller - 24V) wired into a high voltage switch box - in
retrospect could have been 30% bigger; and the old 12V battery
which slots back into its original housing.
We also start construction of the brackets to hold the front
battery box onto the same chassis members. Fixing bolts for these
will need anti-compression sleeves and will need to have about 1
tonne shear strength between them (the battery box of 10x 3.1 Kg
cells needs to withstand 20G to comply with regulations). We start
on the lower 40x3mm angle iron framing too - leaving room for 4mm
teflon packers which will allow the cells to be slid easily into
We start work on wiring up some of the thick power cables to the
contactor, the converter and motor. Crimping the big connector
lugs on is very satifying work, and the bright red cables look
good against their black surrounds.
July 24th: Rear battery main contactor wired into boot and tested.
Under dash wiring tidied up and tested and new instrument cluster
connected up with some change to warning lights (eg oil pressure
light now indicates 'power steering enabled" and red engine fault
symbol changed to green "power on-drive system enabled").
August 7th: Front battery box welding finished (see photo). Teflon
strips cut. Chassis brackets and subframe drilled. Battery
Management System (BMS) wiring cut and trimmed.
August 21st: Chassis brackets painted and bolted to front
subframes and front Battery box. Rear battery boxes (2 x 10 cells
each) completed and bolted through boot floor into rear chassis
subframes where possible with wide rounded-edged under-floor
plates to withstand the 20G forces as per regulations. Teflon
strips glued in and Li Phos cells slid into place and locked in
with a holding bracket over the last cell in each row. Rear main
contactor and fuse fixed onto the forward rear box.
Connecting bus bars and BMS voltage modules bolted onto each cell
and connected to BMS master unit in the boot (photos).
Heavy duty cables run through transmission tunnel via protective
conduit connecting rear battery boxes, contactor to controller
(and the Big Red Button). Cables to charger and input socket
Big red 'on', inertia switch 'on', battery voltages checked, BMS
modules glowing green LEDs, key turned fully 'on' and gentle
pressure applied to the accelerator pedal - motor shaft rotates
and wheel hubs turn - We have power!!
August 28th: Unfortunately the power is very limited even after
cells are fully charged, BMS is rechecked, accelerator pot box
recalibrated and controller shows normal status. Downloading
controller manual is of little help, nor are the suppliers! We are
now looking for a hand held programmer or soft ware to interrogate
However rear seat is back in. Centre console is reinstalled with
both the 'Big and little Red Buttons' prominently positioned.
Housing the former is not easy because of the bulk of its
contactor, but it does fit into the rear pocket between the front
seats, by fabricating a suitably insulated protective cover over
its bitey bits.
Power steering pressure hose connectors have arrived and so this
is finished off too.
September 11th: Woo Hoo!!! First test drive and we are blown away
by the performance - much better than we expected; and the critics
predicted! Now we know what that EV grin feels like!! Acceleration
is similar to the old ICE especially mid range, and we get up to
110 kph (at about 2700 RPM in 4th)before we run out of road - and
the front end feels a bit 'floaty' too. Looks a bit low at the
rear also, later found just due to low tyre pressure in the rear
tyres. A casualty of no use for several months, as was the cause
of the low power previously - the 12v battery had died. A new one
2 corflutes bought too a)to deflect any wet road spray that gets
in through the grill down and out away from the electronics, b)to
line the space under the engine bay for the same reason and also
to improve aerodynamics, but allow enough space for adequate motor
and controller cooling. Photos of the underfloor plates taken to
be emailed to the compliance certifying engineer (circuit diagrams
and plans have been sent previously).
Sept 16th: Lancer is driven 72 km into town (Adelaide) for the
enginer's inspection and passes with flying colours and a
compliment on the standard of the conversion! Unfortunately we
will have to wait 2 weeks for his report and then we can get the
final registration inspection done with the local Dept of
Transport, and we will be street legal! After 78 km of peak hour
traffic and highway driving back, the car runs out of juice just
as it's turned into the 'home' road. Now we know the range!
Obviously time to fit the Zeva fuel guage driver to the old
temperature guage for a more accurate reading. The small Curtis
840 guage shows battery capacity by a few LEDs only. But it can
display regen too (-20 amps looks so good).
Also purchased are a 15amp charging cable (the charger is rated at
12 amps) and a reversing warning device. The car sounds so eerily
quiet when backing that we are concerned about the safety of
pedestrians in Carparks. We find a neat unit that plugs straight
into the reversing lamp socket and provides a brighter halogen
Car re-weighed as per regulations at 0.60t front, 0.42t rear. Only
10kg heavier than pre conversion, and well within the guidelines.
Although 20kg lighter at the front and 30 heavier at the rear it
should not be noticeable in every-day driving.
Sept 18th: Official shake down runs after bonnet replaced, prove
that range under heavy driving is only 58 km before controller
shuts down (not much warning either). But official top speed is
125kph on the flat - most impressive.
Oct 5th: First attempt at passing local Dept Transport (DTEI)
Registration inspection fails because engineer has not sent
report, and we are informed that the dash mounted fan heated is no
longer allowed (nothing that might dent heads) necessitating much
rapid research - first into possibility of adding a newly found
recycling valve into the air con system which seems too difficult
at this stage, secondly a quicker option of a small water heater
tank and 12v pump is shipped over express and fitted along with
the old radiator fan for the air con anyway, with special slot
created in front corflute to allow some airflow to the controller
Nov 3rd: We pass the DTEI rego inspection with flying colours and
commendation on the quality of work on the conversion! Well done
I proudly drive Wiggl-e home, managing the 110kph expressway dips
and rises and the climb into the Adelaide Hills with ease.
Unfortunately the solenoid switch for the brake vaccuum pump burns
out, rather disconcerting (and hard on the Rt foot)coming downhill
to the intersection at the end of our street - the distributor now
recommends using a relay, and he is happy to supply a new switch
by express mail.
Nov 16th and 19th: Driving down to the local AEVA meeting and
picnic produces massive regen down the freeway but unfortunately
the controller heats up to its safety point (85 deg C) and slows
the car drastically on the way back uphill - longer than 2 minutes
unfortunately. I will have to rethink this route. All part of the
EV driving experience really. One learns to adapt eg to different
gear changes (much less than with the old engine), but all the
while revelling in the FREE power (we have solar PV), and
demonstrating (showing off!) the conversion to its many admirers,
and hopefully future electric transport converts. An ongoing and
entirely enjoyable experience!!
2012: Controller overheating solved by gluing an appropriate sized
heat sink onto the back, and replacing in the same spot at front
of engine bay. Cut a hole in the corflute splash guard to guide
cool air in-flow onto it. Worked brilliantly. Temp never over 60
deg C even on the hottest day, and turning on the air conditioning
'radiator' fan drops it even further. No problems with it since.
Rear fuse blows after one of the power leads on the controller
loosens. Interesting experience with the RAA (local auto club)
repair guy "What is it? I can't touch that!" even though I had
warned the call centre that it was an EV. But they did pay for the
tow home. I replace the fuse attached to the rear contactor for
convenience, but this also works loose and starts to melt the
contactor and fuse. "I recognise that smell". Another tow home,
reconnect new fuse and do without that contactor as we still have
the front one.
Get sick of the sound of the electric power steering pump which is
worse inside the car than out, due to vibrations transmitted along
the chassis member. Local auto electricians engaged to fit rubber
bush mounts and it sounds much better. Though I probably would
choose a different brand next time.
After experimenting for several months trying different resistance
levels finally gave up on the Zeva and its Hall effect sensor.
Purchased a Cycle Analyst monitor from Canada and fitted easily
into the place where ashtray was (non smoker now). Large shunt
fits well over rear battery pack
2013: Tacho driver fitted, via photo electric reflecting off shiny
patches glued to the face of the air con compressor pulley from
original ICE, 2 pulses per rev. However while on demonstration at
a sustainability expo a small child reaches around the clear
acrylic sheet that I had placed to keep prying fingers out and
pulls on the lead - zero revs! Eventually replaced and working
well so far.
2014: As the Curtis controller is able to handle up to 120V I
decide to purchase 6 more cells and have these fitted abutting the
other 10 in the front (engine bay). This evens up the weight
distribution and the car handles more like it used to. Power
increase seems massive and I have to be careful accelerating in
the lower gears to avoid too much wheel spin!
We finally fit a new air conditioner pulley as the original
developed a 'wobble' under strain due to not quite a tight fit.
Unfortunately a/c compressor needs re-positioning necessitating
the fabrication of a new mount in front of the motor. About this
time the brake vacuum pump packs up. Interesting coming down hill
to the corner onto our main street. New and better quality pump
bought and fitted to the same mount.
I can now fit another piece of corflute (old election posters) as
a splash guard beneath the engine bay (not quite all - to allow
sufficient airflow for cooling) as recommended to reduce drag and
increase confidence during Winter driving.
The old Water temperature gauge may still be able to be used - it
was going to be the fuel gauge. I need to source a suitable air
temp driver to fit over one of the battery packs. Probably the
rear one as that is where the cables currently end, it's bigger
and less accessible than the front.
Also the cabin heater/demister has proven to be pretty hopeless
and I would like to replace this eventually. Fortunately now the
air con is working demisting is safe, but running it increases the
cold! In the meantime I have an old fan heater which plugs into
the cigarette lighter socket to keep the chill off.
The Cycle Analyst is picking up a tiny discharge over time so I am
concerned that there may be small short somewhere. This will need
hunting down in the near future.