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Thread: My Beginner Electric Dream Kit is full of contradictions - advice needed!

  1. #1
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    My Beginner Electric Dream Kit is full of contradictions - advice needed!

    Here's the short of it: I would like to build a fully electric vehicle based on a kit for a classic convertible like a Porsche 356 (or others along the same vintage / style lines). I know I'm not the first guy to think of this and in fact there are ready-made EV Speedsters you can buy.

    Here is where the contradictions and compromises start:
    I don't have the budget for a deluxe, ready-to-go solution.
    I'm not a mechanic, but I am mechanically inclined and have some experience tinkering with cars. (I have a '75 FIAT Spider that I work on.)
    I do not need crazy Tesla performance, just something that will keep up with traffic and have enough capacity so I don't have to plug-in every five minutes.
    Do not need deluxe, 100% period-appropriate parts, etc. I just needs to look "good" to me.

    Ideally, I buy a kit which has everything I need except the engine, ignition, fuel, etc. systems. I would "simply" bolt on an electric motor to the transmission sans clutch.

    Honestly, though my Google searches, I thought it would be easier to find kit vendors. It seems like there a few fantastic replica builders out there, but I could not find any kits that fit the bill for my needs.

    All thoughts are welcome. Thank you!

  2. #2
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    Look for any of the older VW based kits. You can probably find one already mounted to a VW pan and all you will have to do is add the electric parts. Check out this site for information about electric drive. https://rqriley.com/diy-projects-plans/
    An electric vehicle is not all that cheap to build. There used to be kits to install an electric motor on to a VW transaxle. They used several deep cycle, marine or golf cart, batteries. I don't think any had a range of more than about 50 miles. A newer solid state speed controller will extend the range over the older type but you can't get much range without going to batteries something like Tesla uses. You might want to look into doing a hybrid design.

  3. #3
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    txbuilder, thanks for the reply. The cars in that like are totally nutso! I love them, but it's not what I'm going for. I really do want a replica Porsche 356 speedster. I want a classic, beautiful car that does not smell like exhaust, oil, leak fluids, etc. So, I guess what I'm asking about would be a kit that would be good starting point to that goal.

    As for starting with a VW frame, it seems like these days non-rust-bucket Beetles are getting hard to come by. I think the good ones have been restored, and what's left is really expensive. When I first started driving, non-running Beetles were a dime a dozen! (In fact, my first car was a barely driving '72 Super Beetle, affectionately known by my friends as the 3-cylinder tomato, and no exhaust problems, because there was no exhaust system. It also had Fred Flintstone brakes!)

  4. #4
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    I wasn't suggesting that you build one of those cars, I just gave that link because it has information about doing an electric drivetrain. There are quite a few 356 replicas out there so shouldn't be too much problem finding something. Check The Samba for VW frames. There are still companies making replacements. I build chassis from scratch if you need to go that way. PM me.

  5. #5
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    txbuilder, thanks for the tip about The Samba. It really took me down a rabbit hole! Lots to explore.

  6. #6
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    I have a 72 volt motor, controller, pot switch etc. for a VW transaxle. I ran it in an old kit car body several years back. Was an original purchase from Wilderness EV if i remember correctly. With newer lithium batterys it could be a real nice set up. I ran trojan 12volts at the time. Only about 40 miles range between charge. Kit is for sale if interested.
    http://www.e-volks.com/about2.html

  7. #7
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    ratrog64, I'm curious about your setup. Are you saying it was a 72V motor controller, but you only used a 12 V battery (i.e. one battery)? I know that's technically fine, just limited power/range. And the 40 miles was on a single 12 V battery? Was it a normal car battery, marine "deep cell", or something else?
    I followed the link you sent. It looks like that site has either been abandoned, not maintained, or hacked. The link itself is OK, but if you follow any of its links, you get into some real nastiness.
    How much for your kit?
    Thanks

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by rubinstu View Post
    ratrog64, I'm curious about your setup. Are you saying it was a 72V motor controller, but you only used a 12 V battery (i.e. one battery)? I know that's technically fine, just limited power/range. And the 40 miles was on a single 12 V battery? Was it a normal car battery, marine "deep cell", or something else?
    I followed the link you sent. It looks like that site has either been abandoned, not maintained, or hacked. The link itself is OK, but if you follow any of its links, you get into some real nastiness.
    How much for your kit?
    Thanks
    I had 6 12v Trojan Batteries (1275) Golf Cart Batteries = 72 volts
    1 regular 12v battery for lights etc.

    The kit was originally 3k + some additional stuff total of about $3,500 was spent.
    Batteries were about $250 each

    Was really cool while it lasted. I got about 3 years out of the batteries. Didn't want to spend $ on lithium at the time and didn't want to spend $1500 again on lead acid either. Today the lithium are much cheaper and more readily available. I'd sell what I have for $1,200 just to see it used again. If not, it will end up in another VW kit somewhere down the road when I find a great deal on some used leaf or Tesla batteries.

  9. #9
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    ratrog64, thanks for this info. It's really helpful for a beginner like me! I'm still putting the pieces together in my head. Your kit is probably about what I'm looking for, but I want to find the right chassis / body kit first.

  10. #10
    You have brought up a very superb points , regards for the post.

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