MTC 4001Rear BatsPrestoliteCharge PortSystems CheckWiring diagram
OwnerJames Wolfe
Owner's Other EVs1982 Pontiac J2000
1993 Dodge TEVan
1995 Solectria E-10
1999 Dodge EPIC
1993 Dodge TEVan
Junior Dragster
LocationGlendale, Arizona United States map
Web/EmailWebPage email image
Vehicle1988 Pontiac Fiero
A mid-engined commuter car originaly equipped with a 2.5L, 98 Hp 4-cylinder engine that could no longer pass emissions.
MotorPrestolite MTC 4001 Series Wound DC
7.125" Diameter. Forced air cooling is supplied by an OEM V6 Fiero coil/alternator cooling fan.
DrivetrainStock 5-speed (Isuzu) with the Heavy Duty clutch from the J2000.
ControllerAuburn Scientific Kodiak PWC600-144
96-144V, 680A Water cooled 15KHz MOSFET. (Coolant is supplied by the Windshield washer fluid.)
Batteries20 Saft STM5-180, 6.00 Volt, Nickel-Cadmium, Flooded
Date stamped 11-95 to 2-96. These were salvaged from a San Diego Transit Systems city bus.
System Voltage120 Volts
ChargerRussco SC 120-18 SO
Off board chargers are a 25A Bycan that is isolated along with a "Fronkensteen" 12A, 0-144V unit built from 2 - 36V golf cart chargers, bridge rectifier, fans, relay, meters, timer and a 30A Variac. (Yes, it is isolated and also has wheels.)
HeaterI have a ceramic element that is not installed. Heat is NOT high on the priority list in Phoenix.
DC/DC ConverterIota DLS-30
My first DC-dc was a Todd PC-30b that failed while doing an equalization charge when the voltage went above 160V. After redoing my relays, the Iota is not connected during charging.
InstrumentationStock Tachometer and Speedometer, with the instrument panel warning lights rewired for "Precharge" and "Run". The rally guages are modified for pack Volts/Battery Amps to provide immediate feedback and I have a Link-10 E-Meter mounted on the center console.
Top Speed70 MPH (112 KPH)
It will go faster but I have no need to drive above the speed limits. I am not childish or paranoid enough to believe I will get 'run over'.
AccelerationQuick enough to not hold up traffic and slow enough to not draw attention. Quicker off the line than stock. I am limited by the 250A circuit breaker in the middle of the pack.
Range60 Miles (96 Kilometers)
The first range test with the NiCd pack yielded 29 miles and ended when I blew the negative pack fuse which 'smoked' the E-meter. The second test went 60.4 miles to about 80%-85% DOD. (no E-Meter to accurately determine SOC) It does 50 miles easily.
Watt Hours/Mile240 Wh/Mile
Worst was 384 for a 20 mile trip that got 178 on the return leg. Best case was 164 for a 31 mile trip while trying for lowest draw, (EV mode). Normal, (Commuting in traffic type driving), yields about 240 on flat streets with 40-45 Mph speed limits and using routes with 1/4 to max - 1/2 mile between stop lights. Expressway driving, (in the diamond lane), at 65+ Mph and no real hills is about 300. Note that these measurments are with the E-Meter before charging.
EV Miles
Start:125,127 Miles (201,329 Kilometers)
Current:130,254 Miles (209,578 Kilometers)
Total:5,127 Miles (8,249 Kilometers)
Seating CapacityLimited to 2, (It only has two seats with seatbelts).
Curb Weight3,390 Pounds (1,540 Kilograms)
Up from ICE curb weight of 2490 lbs.
The Tech-4 engine was formerly called the "Iron Duke" and weighed 302 lbs without the flywheel, pressure plate and clutch disc.
Tires205-70R14 Signet inflated to rated pressure +10%.
Conversion TimeThis one was in the planning stages in '99 and I pulled the ICE in October of 2002 and powered it up in the Summer of 2003. I installed the NiCd's in September of 2007 after it had been de-insured for a year. I would estimate 200, +/- 40, manhours at that point, but it's never done.
Conversion CostSlightly less than $6500, which includes purchasing the J2000 for $1800. After driving the J2000 for 2+ years it provided the majority of parts for the Fiero. I also used its lead acid batteries for the next 2-1/2 years.
The doner vehicle was $500, upgraded Controller was $900, and the 10 year old NiCd batteries were $3000.
Additional FeaturesDelco Vacuum pump for power brakes, (Original equipment on the J2000), Manual steering, Tilt, AM/FM, Sunroof and A/C as soon as I get the compressor drive sorted out and built. The remainder of the A/C components are still in the vehicle.

The Rear Deck Extension, (Spoiler), Power windows, Door-locks and Electric Deck release were added in December of '09.

I also have HF, VHF & UHF amateur radio using a Yeasu FT857d with an ATAS-100 antenna. This required adding an overide switch to the DC-dc circuitry in order to maintain the SLI battery when not in the run mode and operating the radio.

A switch in the controller enables the low side of the main contactor when the controller is pre-charged. This takes the guesswork out of managing the pre-charge circuit.

The controller circuitry also allows the driver to toggle between Normal, Economy or Low-Speed settings.
The Fiero doner chassis was selected and purchased expressly to build an Electric Fiero. It had to be a an '88, (for the better suspension and brakes), had to be white, (this is Phoenix), and equipped with A/C, have a manual transmission, cost $500 or less and come from the Southwestern part of the US. "Chris" of North Las Vegas sold me her baby in August of 2001.

The motor/adapter/coupler, Curtis controller, vacuum pump, potbox, relays, cables, batteries and guages came from the Pontiac J2000. Both the Russco and the Bycan charger were also part of the J2000 package. I purchased the J2000 knowing the adapter and motor would bolt into a Fiero. (The Fiero rear wheel drive train is a Celebrity/J2000 front drive train down to and including the tie rods). This was the least expensive and quickest way to gather needed parts.

Most of the battery weight is between the centerline of the axles which makes for the same nimble handling that the Fiero is known for. No batteries where the radiator used to be on this one. This eliminates the "Pendulum" feeling when cornering that the J2000 suffered from.

I added coilovers to the rear struts to handle the additional weight and the front springs are made from '84-'89 Nissan 300ZX Turbo rears. Ride height is now 1/2" lower than stock in the front and 3/4" lower in the rear.

My Watthours per mile dropped considerably after I had a friend put it on the alignment rack for a four wheel alignment. The springs and additional weight had changed the geometry quite a bit. Only the Right Rear wheel was even close to being aligned.

A Mercedes Benz auxilliary water pump, (12V Bosch), circulates the windshield washer fluid to cool the controller. Because it is a large quantity of liquid it doesn't get much above ambient temperature even in Phoenix summers.

Charging is accomplished by using both the Bycan and the Russco. (The Russco is not isolated but the Bycan is). This delivers 32A CC to about 152V where the Bycan shuts off. The Russco continues at about 7A CV down to 2-3A and then times out. Not exactly the CCcc that Saft calls for but it works well because the NiCd's don't mind the low level overcharge.. they just use more water. Equalization is accomplished by using the Russco and the "Fronkensteen" charger.

In Arizona, EV's are exempt from the Emission fees and all but $5 of the Vehicle Licensing Tax. It costs $18 to register the Fiero for 2 years.

In order to change the fuel type to electric requires taking the vehicle to the Department of Environmental Quality for an inspection and a sign-off. (Where you take your ICE to get a waiver when it won't pass emissions). It was a painless 5 minute process with the inspector very interested in the conversion. He stated: "We don't see too many of these."

code by jerry