Taurus electric car conversion?

Discussion in 'Alternative Energy' started by ozarkcat, Apr 27, 2006.

  1. ozarkcat

    ozarkcat Well-Known Member

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    I posted a similar question to this in Shop Talk & thought I'd try here, too.

    I'm working on putting together a gas-to-electric car conversion, and had been looking for a lighter (@2000#) sedan, about the size of a Focus or Cavalier, for the conversion. I've had a nice lady offer me an older Ford Taurus she has, and this is where I start wondering . . .

    Has anyone seen a Taurus used for a straight-electric conversion? I suspect a hybrid would be _just_ a touch too complex a process for me ;) I know I've heard of folks using a small truck, which would be similar to the Taurus' 3000# weight, but don't know how well it would work. We need to have a sedan as it is going to be a family commuter car for the couple times a week we make the 50-mile round trip into town for school, Dr's appointments, church, etc.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. JAK

    JAK Well-Known Member

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    Neat. If you can keep the speed and accelleration down you might get by with 20hp and get more effeciency out of fewer batteries. You might also be able to lighten the car some, but I'm not really sure how. Of course you get rid of the engine and transmission and stuff. It might not be practical to mess with the drivetrain. It would be nice if they ever came out with inexpensive wheel motors that you could buy and then you could really gut the thing, especially if you only wanted to drive around town.

    http://www.tm4.com/eng/tm4transport/moto_wheelmotor/
     

  3. JAK

    JAK Well-Known Member

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    I suppose if you were up for it you could design and build your own wheel motors. It gets complicated if you include reduction gears, and perhaps even more complicated if you don't. Not sure. Here is a link:
    http://www.tip.csiro.au/Machines/papers/iwscem/index.html

    I would motorize all four wheels so that each motor could be simpler. At 50mph/80kph, a 20"/500mm tire has a speed of only 850rpm. So you can go to some sort of gear reduction, or really high torque, or perhaps 4 x 25hp motors and just use them at low speed. The motor shown in the link above weighs 6kg at generates 1800 W at 1060 rpm. Four of these would generate 7.2 Kw which is about 10 HP. So perhaps 4 12kg motors would do the job. That is about 25 pounds per wheel, not including the wheel and tire.

    Maybe you could slap together a few bicycle wheel motors side by side.
    Hey, here are some wheel motors that might work:
    http://www.pmlflightlink.com/motors/EW30_30.html
    http://www.pmlflightlink.com/motors/EW_details.html

    The EW30/30 is 7.2 Kw at 900rpm at is 12kg and 316mm in diameter.
    So four of those would be 40HP, which is overkill but that's a good thing.
     
  4. JAK

    JAK Well-Known Member

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    Here is another possibility:
    http://www.bellona.no/en/energy/hydrogen/report_6-2002/22900.html

    I understand if you convert a gasoline engine to hydrogen it will increase efficiency but reduce horsepower, which is perfect for around town because all cars are overpowered anyway. If you make your own hydrogen at home from electricity at say 8 cents/kw, that works out to the equivalent of $3.00/gallon, which is no bargain. But if you got twice the fuel economy by sacrificing range and horsepower it might be worth it. The other option would be to just replace you existing engine with a 20hp gasoline or diesel. Not very peppy, but you might get 120mpg at 60kph.
     
  5. WanderingOak

    WanderingOak Well-Known Member

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    The problem with converting a FWD car is that the transmission is also the front axle. It has to stay in place, unless you do a complete redesign. I don't think Ford ever put a stick shift in the Taurus, so odds are it is an automatic. In order for a newer automatic transmission to function properly, you need the computer, called a TCM. I believe the TCM takes input from the Engine Computer Module (ECM) to determine shift points, etc. I am not sure if it will even work without the engine. You might be stuck with second gear and no reverse, or even no gears at all. An older automatic could be 100% hardware, but I think they need vacuum from the engine to shift. You could get that from an electric pump, or just gut the tranny of everything but the top gear and let the electric motor handle reverse, but it still sounds like a kludge. I think you would be better off with either a RWD car or a stick shift.
     
  6. Janon

    Janon 993cc Geo Metro

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    50 miles range in an all electric Taurus is asking alot, especially filled with people, groceries, whatever.

    To convert a Geo Metro, a stock 1600 pound car, to electric will cost about $10k if you did it yourself, and that would probably get a 65 or so mile range. $10k would also buy enough fuel to power a stock Geo Metro for 80,000+ miles even if gas was $5 per gallon.

    My opinion : if your goal is to save money, an all-electric vehicle is not the answer. If your goal is to make some "environmental statement", then maybe an all-electric vehicle.

    cheers,
     
  7. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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    Now this makes a statement: http://utterpower.com/10hp_chevy.htm 100mpg from what I saw on another website but not capable of going over 50mph. Alas the Changfa engine has been banned by EPA and dont think they sold enough of them to make it worth a redesign.
     
  8. Janon

    Janon 993cc Geo Metro

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    There is also a page somewhere on the net about a Kubota 3 cyl diesel powered Chevy Metro at 99 mpg. Somewhat of an ideal car to experiment with, since its extremely light, comparitively simple to work on and repair, parts are available everywhere, most are manual tranmissions and they're already geared for tiny low power engines.

    BTW: Chevy Metro = Geo Metro = Suzuki Swift = Pontiac Firefly = Suburu Justy (or some Suburu) = Chevy Sprint.

    cheers,

     
  9. JAK

    JAK Well-Known Member

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    What is the price of a good desiel engine under 20hp or perhaps 40hp?

    Assuming a commuter doing just 12,000 mi/year averaging 30mph around town that works out to 400 hours/year which isn't a lot. I don't think it would need to be top of the line, though it might be easier to use something that is water cooled. Maybe if the engine is small enough air cooled would be OK. Anyhow, say 2000 hours over 5 years and 60,000 miles and you want to take a minivan from 30mpg to 60mpg with a 40hp engine. You would save 2000-1000 = 1000 gallons of gas, perhaps $3000 or so. If you could get around on a 20hp engine you might get 100mpg and save $3750 or so.

    Seems to me it might be worthwhile switching an old minivan to a small desiel as long as you could get a big enough engine cheap enough. Here are some 10-20 HP Briggs and Strattons. Kind of pricey at about $4000 for 20hp so to make it pay I think you would have to do it with a second hand engine, unless you can get around on 10hp for $2000. Those Smartcar diesels are 60hp. I think they would be pretty sweet in an old dodge caravan. Someone really should make a minivan with a smaller engine.
    http://www2.northerntool.com/cat-1/76+85.htm
     
  10. Janon

    Janon 993cc Geo Metro

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    Suzuki has been making the "carry" series of vehicles for some time. The "Carry Van" and the "Carry All" (a pickup). Newer versions come with a 1300cc engine, but some of the older ones had much smaller engines - 650cc.

    Lots of neat vehicles in Japan, Europe, Australia, etc. Not much to chose from here in North America when it comes to small fuel efficient vehicles - scooter maybe.

    cheers,
     
  11. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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    I think one of those VW turbo diesels could handle a small pickup or van. Otherwise have to go for tractor/industrial diesel. The EPA just doesnt like diesels for some reason.
     
  12. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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    http://www.lander.edu/muttley/SingleTopics/supercar.htm