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Electric Vehicle Build


SimonRafferty

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I previously built an electric Land Rover Freelander (details here: http://www.4x4offroads.com/electric-land-rover-freelander.html ), but it needs new batteries.  I cannot bring myself to spend 6k on Lithium Ion batteries for what is a fairly horrible car!  I used a Freelander because I know them inside out, it's fairly light and can carry the weight of the batteries easily.

 

So, I decided to base the new one on a vehicle I like!  Thinking about it, the one car I like most outside Land Rovers are Lotus Esprit - but know relatively little about them mechanically.

 

I'm sure some of you will throw your arms up in horror at the thought of destroying a calssic car to build an EV - but I guarantee it will be done sympathetically in such a way as it can be returned to standard if the need arises.

 

I've not secured a donor vehicle yet though have kept an eye on eBay for accident damaged vehicles - but what I'd ideally like is one with bodywork in good condition but without the engine / gearbox.

 

Do any of you have any photographs of the vehicle without the bodywork - of a rolling chassis?

 

The power plant will be the same as the Freelander which is a Siemens AC motor capable of producing the equivalent of 400Bhp and 450Nm of torque - though that would require twice as many batteries as I can afford - but even still 200Bhp and 200Nm should give reasonable performance - particularly as you have a flat power curve with max torque at zero rpm.  The Freelander with a single gear gives a top speed of 93mph and 0-60 in about 7 sec - but weighs double what I think a Lotus could weigh.

 

Do any of you have any leads on such a vehicle or suggest any better places to look than eBay?

 

Si

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Sounds like an interesting project. Those performance figures you quoted are similar to a stock Turbo Esprit. Don't know much about electric vehicles, so how much room do the batteries take up, and what sort of weight are we talking?

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Welcome to TLF Simon. :welcome:

 

If I was you, post up a hello in the Introductions section and then post up an ad in the Wanted section for what you are after.

I have toyed with the same idea myself, but not sure about the life of the Li batteries and the cost of them.

 

Best of luck with it all. :thumbsup:

 

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  • Gold FFM

Welcome Simon!

We've 'met' on the LR4x4 forum, so I know of you electric freebie and have on occasion ordered from X-eng. ;-)

 

There is a topic with several pics of the bare chassis on the Belgian forum: http://lotusforum.be/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=5705

On this site you'll find some cutaway drawings too: http://www.thelotusforums.com/forums/topic/62704-cutaway-esprit/

Should give a starting point.

 

Filip

I have made many mistakes in my life. Buying a multiple Lotus is not one of them.

 

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Good luck with this - wish I had the time to do the same!

 

I read (possibly here) about a college in the US who converted an Esprit to electric power.

 

What sort of kWh pack capacity are you going to fit?  Can you fit less cells to start (200hp) and then upgrade for more power (400hp) and range later?

 

One boring, practical point - depending on which Esprit model you choose the rear tires can be very expensive.  I am on my 8th set of rears on my Tesla.  100% power from 0 RPM and a heavy right foot combine to make them only last about 5000 miles.

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Good luck with this Simon, it would be fascinating to watch you progress! I'd be tempted to do this if I had the money, time and more money.

 

Quick question - what are you going to do about the engine sound? One of the worst things about leccy cars is they sound like a Scaletrix, not very involving or connected. 

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  • 7 years later...

I was interested to see your post even though it is old now on an EV Esprit, I am also considering a similar conversion as my car has no engine and gearbox when I purchased it. I now have a V8 and gearbox but don't think it's the way to go, especially with the fuel problem and electric is the way forward, or alternative power sources.

Did you manage to complete the project or is it still work in progress? 

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Simon's first and only post was over 7 years ago sadly. I would presume he gave up on the project.

Technology has progressed leaps and bounds in those 7 years so I'd say it's even more feasible. Once I've restored my SE I think something like this would be next on my list :).

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I'm still here!

Things have progressed hugely since then - it has become pretty easy to build an EV, as there are so many EV's on the road to rob parts from.

I arranged to buy a Lotus from someone (in 2014), dismantled my Freelander & scrapped the body to clear space to build the lotus.  Unfortunately the seller changed his mind at the last minute - so all I have to this day is a pallet of bits!

Since then, I've been working in Movie SFX - and we've used a variety of EV powertrains in various projects.  I'm just about to start another one, based on Tesla components.

If any of you want help, info or advice - just ask and I'll do my best to help!  James007, I see you're in Crawley.  I live in Horsham - which might be useful.

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All power ( pardon the pun ) to anyone tinkering in this manner, whatever keeps these Lotus on the road is right by me. That said, I just read an article on the FIA Formula 1 website which gives pause to the notion of EV as climate solution. The Institute of Mechanical Engineers reportedly projects lifetime carbon emissions of 58gm/km for EV as opposed to 45 for carbon fueled ICE automobiles once the impact of battery production and disposal are accounted for, this in a scenario where the electricity consumed is renewable.

No arguing from me as to the realities of climate trends, however it's high time to pivot from worrying people sick over the situation and instead start presenting solutions for extracting carbon from the atmosphere. 

Cheers

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  • 2 months later...
On 07/10/2021 at 18:50, drdoom said:

All power ( pardon the pun ) to anyone tinkering in this manner, whatever keeps these Lotus on the road is right by me. That said, I just read an article on the FIA Formula 1 website which gives pause to the notion of EV as climate solution. The Institute of Mechanical Engineers reportedly projects lifetime carbon emissions of 58gm/km for EV as opposed to 45 for carbon fueled ICE automobiles once the impact of battery production and disposal are accounted for, this in a scenario where the electricity consumed is renewable.

No arguing from me as to the realities of climate trends, however it's high time to pivot from worrying people sick over the situation and instead start presenting solutions for extracting carbon from the atmosphere. 

Cheers

yes.... EV are not yet the "ecological marvel" that someone say... but they are at the beginning of their evolution.
batteries has to become at least twice energy dense and charging time must dwarf... and energy sources must be clean, abundant or renewable.
it will take a while.

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Production of electric vehicles will add to the atmosphere's carbon load and thereby exacerbate both climate change and acidifying of the oceans. Near term outlook for generating the world's electricity needs without widespread use of fossil fuels is dubious. High time to focus on atmospheric CO2 extraction and capture.   

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A very valid point @drdoom. I think the issue with atmospheric extraction, capture and storage is who pays?  I can't see many Governments looking to fund the investments required for this as that would divert national income from too many other areas such as health, defence, education, etc etc.

With EV's, ultimately it is the consumer who pays in the long term which is why you see car manufacturers acceptance and promotion of EV's - they still get to sell cars profitably and why you see private capital/VC's and other conglomerates piling into battery manufacturing R&D and production capacity - as they know there is a demand there for the product. So the costs of reducing CO2 produced going forwards through things like EVs is a much cheaper route for Governments than doing the more logical and immediate thing of CO2 extraction and storage.

Hope that makes sense, but in a nutshell, my argument is that yet again it comes down to "who pays"!  :)

 

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Which leads to the larger question of how "value" is defined. It's quite apparent that our economic orthodoxy has become farcical, probably en route for the past 50 years since departure from the gold standard freed government from fiscal responsibility. To me it comes down to which crisis point is arrived at first - economic collapse or ecological disaster. Regarding our economic system what's been shown so far is that the band can continue playing well beyond the point where the Titanic's deck is awash in North Atlantic seawater. Once climate change has progressed to where it's projected to go the carnage will be far beyond theoretical. How then will things be valued?  

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Good post and some good questions. If you have Netflix, go watch "Don't look up!". In a satirical way it sums up how we have got the "value" all wrong. I agree fully with your sentiments in that post.

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Alcohol. Sex. Tobacco. Drugs. Chocolate.  Meh! NOTHING in this world is as addictive as an Evora +0. It's not for babies!    

The first guy to ride a bull for fun, was a true hero. The second man to follow him was truly nuts!   

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12 minutes ago, C8RKH said:

Good post and some good questions. If you have Netflix, go watch "Don't look up!". In a satirical way it sums up how we have got the "value" all wrong. I agree fully with your sentiments in that post.

Watched that the other night and could not agree more! Also have begun reading economist Mariana Mazzucato's " Mission Economy ", which well describes what had become apparent to me for some time.

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  • 2 months later...

I've actually been playing with this idea myself for quite some time and actually did do some preliminary design analysis around using a Tesla Small Drive Unit. You can rather easily get 35-55 KWH of batteries installed, but obviously the car will get quite a bit heavier (estimate 350+ KG for the battery pack).

But, actually the biggest issue I keep stumbling against is the maximum range of about 200-250Km that you will achieve in the end. What is the fun of having an eSprit if you spend all your time at a charging station?

 

 

Bild1.jpg

esprit v6.png

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6 hours ago, TBD said:

I've actually been playing with this idea myself for quite some time and actually did do some preliminary design analysis around using a Tesla Small Drive Unit. You can rather easily get 35-55 KWH of batteries installed, but obviously the car will get quite a bit heavier (estimate 350+ KG for the battery pack).

But, actually the biggest issue I keep stumbling against is the maximum range of about 200-250Km that you will achieve in the end. What is the fun of having an eSprit if you spend all your time at a charging station?

 

 

Bild1.jpg

esprit v6.png

You must be able to get some batteries in the frunk? Obviously removing the toolkit and .. oh yes the spare wheel😂

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As much as it's an interesting exercise, I don't really see the point in fitting electrickery to a classic car. Especially not one for the drivers. Little of the character of the original car will remain and by (re)using components from other EVs you''re likely to add up the compromises. So all that's left is the outside look, inside you'll need new controls and the old gauges will be useless. Might as well stick a bodyshell on a Leave skate or something, probably less work and better performance...

I have made many mistakes in my life. Buying a multiple Lotus is not one of them.

 

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On 02/04/2022 at 10:33, semi42 said:

Makes you wonder what Chapman would have done if he was still around.

probably build a chassis from batteries

Actually he surely would have. In fact the idea would equally work with the Esprit. You could probably fit 20-25kwh in the central chassis tunnel.

If you have the choice between a Stairway to Heaven and a Highway to Hell don't forget the Nomex®!

Captain,  Lotus Airways. We fly lower! 

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