Greg & Wayne's 1993 240 Electric - the eVolvo

carnut222Greg S @carnut222 Daylesford VIC
OK, folks in the Volvo Club of Vic know about it already (mostly) but I guess I should do a build thread since a few people are interested. The short story...with more pics and details to follow when I have time:
Car: 1993 240GLE wagon converted to full electric in 2010/11
Motor: WarP 9 9-inch DC electric motor purpose-built for electric cars
Batteries: Sky Energy LiFePO (Lithium Iron Phosphate) prismatic cells - 45 in total for a nominal voltage of 144 volts
Transmission: Volvo M45 (4-speed manual) - clutchless
Range: 70 km max, with 30% reserve to protect batteries from excessive discharge
Conversion took about 6 months once we had all the bits - started in mid-2010 and on the road and engineered/registered as an EV in Feb 2011.

Vee_QuenickmAshDVSjamesincbgpzfm142Rick122SsucksqueezebangblowTassie6erljk346GezaKissand 3 others.


  • carnut222Greg S @carnut222 Daylesford VIC
    Most people who do EV conversions choose some tiny sh*t-box like a Daihatsu Charade or Mitsubishi Mirage (both appropriately-named LOL!) but we wanted it to be a Volvo. Other than doing something like a 122, the 240 was the logical choice because the donor cars are relatively cheap, they're lightweight (for a Volvo), and the wagon in particular had plenty of space for batteries and hauling stuff. Also being old, there were no funky electronic stability control systems or airbags to deal with, which made getting it engineered a lot easier. So we settled on the last of the 240 wagons...the donor car being an automatic, but with decent paint and interior and a good starting point for the conversion. It had a B230FX that I removed and sold, recouping half the donor car purchase price.
    Donor car purchased for $1200 back in 2008
    Engine bay cleaned up and ready for the electric motor
    I made a light-weight mock-up of the electric motor for test fitting and working out the mountings
  • carnut222Greg S @carnut222 Daylesford VIC
    Electric motor is a 9-inch DC motor made in USA for EVs. Here's a pic of the motor and trans with mock-up of the mounting adaptor plate which was then machined from aluminium.
    And here's the first test fit of the motor
  • Very awesome! It needs a flux capacitor! Haha :)
  • carnut222Greg S @carnut222 Daylesford VIC
    We decided to rip out the rear seats as we only wanted the car as a commuter...had plenty of other cars with passenger carrying capability...and putting the batteries where the rear seats are made sense from a weight distribution standpoint and the fact that having them all together meant for fewer issues with cabling and boxing them up safely. Ditching the rear seat also saved 33 kg. The next series of pics shows the mounting frame and how the batteries are slotted into the thick aluminium box.
  • carnut222Greg S @carnut222 Daylesford VIC
    Completing the battery box with a perspex safety cover and carpeted hinged plywood load cover tidied it all up. On the rear of the battery box is the charger and battery management system interface, and on the side is the box with the main contactor, fuses, current measuring shunt, etc.
  • How many kwh is the pack?

    12v batt for accessories?
  • SpacSpac @Spac Canberra-ish.
    I have so many questions... Three easy ones to start with:
    What is the performance like?
    Coolant reservoir?
  • Vee_QueVee_Que @Vee_Que South Eastern suburbs Melbourne.
    Iirc heater as well as cooling of some minor sort.
  • Ex850RSnoopy @Ex850R Somewhere Over the Rainbow. Melbourne.
    Cigar lighter?
  • carnut222Greg S @carnut222 Daylesford VIC
    edited July 2017
    OK answering a few questions...will continue the build thread as I have time!
    Pack size: 17.4 kWh
    12 v battery is for the usual car stuff, but there is also a DC to DC converter that steps down the 144 v pack to 13.6 v to keep the 12 v battery charged and power things while the car is "running"
    Coolant reservoir is for the controller cooling, using a small oil cooler under the front bumper behind the 3 air dam holes. A small 12 v gaming computer pump circulates the coolant.
    The heater core was replaced by 2 ceramic element heaters that run off the pack voltage. They're adequate for windscreen demisting in cold weather but not too effective for cabin heating compared to the original heater!
    Performance is about the same overall as the original car. Quicker off the line but degrades as the motor RPM increases. Redline on the motor is about 6000 RPM but we never go above about 5000 as there is no point.
    Weight before the conversion was about 1370 kg and now 1420 kg. Weight distribution went from about 53f/47r to 49f/51r. Handles well as I have ipd sway bars and Bilstein B6. Front is extra low using some donated springs from a fellow club member...probably a bit too low but looks good! Keep the questions coming!
  • Cost of motor and battery pack?
  • carnut222Greg S @carnut222 Daylesford VIC
    Here's some more precise info on the mass and weight distribution - I was going by memory before:
    Pre-conversion (weighed): 1387 kg, 50.4% F/ 49.6% R (empty, incl ~40L petrol)
    Post-conversion (weighed): 1460 kg, 46.6% F/ 53.4% R (empty)

    We removed about 350 kg of stuff including engine, trans, fuel system, A/C, power steering, exhaust, rear seat, wiring, etc.

    The main added weight includes:
    Electric motor, mounting brackets, coupling and adaptor plates 90 kg
    Manual trans 30 kg
    Batteries 198 kg
    Battery box & supporting frame 55 kg
    HV cabling 12 kg
    Charger, fuses, battery management system, controller etc. 40 kg
  • carnut222Greg S @carnut222 Daylesford VIC
    Cost of motor and battery pack?

    Approx costs of big-ticket items:
    Motor $3000
    Controller $3000
    Contactors, fuses $500
    Motor mounting plates, adaptor $300
    Motor to trans coupling $950
    Battery management system, wiring, connectors $4200
    Batteries $10600
    Battery box steel/aluminium $500
    Misc wire/sheath/connectors etc. $500
    DC/DC converter $300
    Instrumentation $300
    VASS engineer sign-off $1100

    Plus a lot of misc items, plus refurbishing the car (shocks, brake lines, wheels, tyres, bushes, etc) You couldn't do this conversion for less than $25k, and we did all the work ourselves except the machining of the motor coupling. Note we used top-of-the-line components everywhere. You could probably do a "lead sled" for $15k, but it would weigh about 2000 kg and have a range of about 40 km, and very slow acceleration!
  • carnut222Greg S @carnut222 Daylesford VIC
    This is a full-size cardboard mock-up of the batteries...I like to do mock-ups as it's a lot easier than lifting "real" components and shifting them around to find the right place for them.
  • carnut222Greg S @carnut222 Daylesford VIC
    This is the Cafe Electric Zilla 1K HV controller set (large box does the HV switching, and small box is the brains of the system that they call the "Hairball" interfaces to a hall-effect pedal assembly and various sensors including current, voltage, motor speed, charge port door open/closed, etc.
  • carnut222Greg S @carnut222 Daylesford VIC
    Here's a pic with the main engine (motor!) bay components identified
  • carnut222Greg S @carnut222 Daylesford VIC
    Here's a pic of the components mounted on the rear side of the battery box. The battery management system ("BMS") monitors battery voltage during charging and can bypass current to individual batteries as they approach a full charge. The charger is a 3000 watt unit, and draws about 12 amps, so has to be plugged into a 15 amp power point (ideally). Charging is not "fast". It takes up to 10 hours to completely re-charge after driving the full 60-70 km range.
  • carnut222Greg S @carnut222 Daylesford VIC
    Here's a pic of the components in the enclosure mounted on the left end of the battery box.
  • carnut222Greg S @carnut222 Daylesford VIC
    Here's a pic of the charging port
  • carnut222Greg S @carnut222 Daylesford VIC
    The HV cables from the battery to the motor controller/motor run out through grommets in the floor under the battery box, and along the chassis rail where the original fuel lines ran. The cables are double-insulated, then run inside plastic sheath for extra protection. I used the original fuel pump bracket as a protective plate where the cables exit the body.
    Vee_QueAshDVSsucksqueezebangblow[Deleted User]morch_66479
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