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Thread: Converting a van to full plug-in electric

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    Certifiable Vanatic Z-Machine (aka VanZack)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by russbinder View Post

    This is where one fills it
    Attachment 26300
    And the charging station
    Attachment 26301

    Hope this is of interest...
    Oh, wow. So, you could just plug into a 30 or 50 amp RV outlet. Rv parks are all over the place.
    1969 G10 108, 307 V8, TH350, 3.08 gears
    1966 G10 Panel, 194 I6, three on the tree (I think it's an old Ma Bell van)

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    Certifiable Vanatic Z-Machine (aka VanZack)'s Avatar
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    I've thought about building/buying an EV. Mostly for economic reasons, and to stop having to pay THE MAN to travel. I have some property with a stream on it that I think would generate substantial electricity. A hydro-generator + an EV = STICKIN IT TO THE MAN!

    Seriously, an electric VCV with a 100 mile range would work quite well for me. But $20,000 buys a lot of gas at $2/gallon.
    Last edited by Z-Machine (aka VanZack); 02-29-2016 at 03:34 AM.
    1969 G10 108, 307 V8, TH350, 3.08 gears
    1966 G10 Panel, 194 I6, three on the tree (I think it's an old Ma Bell van)

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    All Electric Plug-in Van - charging

    Quote Originally Posted by Z-Machine (aka VanZack) View Post
    Oh, wow. So, you could just plug into a 30 or 50 amp RV outlet. Rv parks are all over the place.
    With the right plug adapter, you can plug this into anything from a 120VAC 20 amp wall socket to a 240 VAC 80 amp outlet (18 kW charger, effectively). The difference in charging times is about 10+ hours to about 2 hours max, respectively. Nothing extra to buy, no additional charger. No obscenely overpriced fancy "charging station" - just stuff you can buy from Home Depot and have a qualified electrician install. Doesn't get easier. The PEU has it's own battery management system, guarding the batteries from overheating and more both during charging and driving. The components are directly out of a BMW Electric Mini Cooper. BMW used these in over 600 cars. The battery enclosure is newly fabricated. The batteries inside are used, but have plenty of life left.

    I will have more pictures of the motor/trans and all soon. And, with any luck, I'll get some of the MM in progress and finished.

    Questions welcome.
    Last edited by russbinder; 02-29-2016 at 08:56 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Z-Machine (aka VanZack) View Post
    I've thought about building/buying an EV. Mostly for economic reasons, and to stop having to pay THE MAN to travel. I have some property with a stream on it that I think would generate substantial electricity. A hydro-generator + an EV = STICKIN IT TO THE MAN!

    Seriously, an electric VCV with a 100 mile range would work quite well for me. But $20,000 buys a lot of gas at $2/gallon.
    It buys exactly 10,000 gallons. Assuming 25 mpg, that's 250,000 miles. Plus electricity isn't actually free, just cheap. So, the break even point is even farther out.

    The reason to do an electric Chevy Van, or any conversion, isn't to save money or stick it to the man anymore. The Saudis, big oil and others are sticking it to us daily, now by low, glut-driven prices - cheap gas tends to dissuade people from breaking the addiction. They are betting they can price other solutions out of business. If the US had begun working on EV's and more in the 1970's, when they first decided to squeeze a little, they would likely be much less powerful now.

    The reasons Universal chose to do this were that it is whisper quiet, no exhaust fumes, no drips, regen braking, reduced brake wear (minor benefit, but very real), has a 10 mph governor for in-park use, and more. They are looking to get fossil fuels out of their park vehicles over time, and this was the first step.

    For someone to do this on their own, it just has to be for more reasons than to save money. Agreed. But that doesn't mean it isn't worth doing.

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    VCVC Charter Member Vanner68's Avatar
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    The motivation for buying a NEW electric vehicle can be economy- you have to buy a new car anyway, so the cost of amortization is only the difference between the EV and a similar fossil fuel car.... plus you get a tax credit, etc...

    Rolling your own becomes more of an "I want something REALLY different' proposition, and it is unfair to try and compare the cost of amortization of a one-off custom vehicle to that of a production car.

    If you look at it from the standpoint of starting with a roller- a vehicle with no engine or trans- and then compare costs of building either to road ready, then the cost is closer, although the EV will still be more money in most cases. But if it only costs say, $5000 more to go EV vs gasoline, you really only have to amortize the $5000 difference. The downside is that the EV conversion really can't be done piecemeal like a gasoline engine, so it is tough to do at a rate of '$100 here, $100 there'.
    Gregg Groff


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    Quote Originally Posted by Vanner68 View Post
    The motivation for buying a NEW electric vehicle can be economy- you have to buy a new car anyway, so the cost of amortization is only the difference between the EV and a similar fossil fuel car.... plus you get a tax credit, etc...

    Rolling your own becomes more of an "I want something REALLY different' proposition, and it is unfair to try and compare the cost of amortization of a one-off custom vehicle to that of a production car.

    If you look at it from the standpoint of starting with a roller- a vehicle with no engine or trans- and then compare costs of building either to road ready, then the cost is closer, although the EV will still be more money in most cases. But if it only costs say, $5000 more to go EV vs gasoline, you really only have to amortize the $5000 difference. The downside is that the EV conversion really can't be done piecemeal like a gasoline engine, so it is tough to do at a rate of '$100 here, $100 there'.
    Well said. The Volt, the Leaf, and some of the others have just about killed the market for EV conversions for economic or other practical reasons. And yes, converting to electric is binary, in this case. And it's hard to really justify throwing the cost of a Volt at a 50-60 year old van that is the absolute lowest tech vehicle I think Chevy could make.

    So, again, you'd need to do it for other reasons. Even the "REALLY different" idea is good, but only to a point. How many van shows can you go to and have everyone go "Oh, neat!" and then walk on. If you wanted to restore the van anyway, and do a really nice job of it, making it electric isn't that much more as a percentage, but it isn't like dropping in another straight 6 and getting on with it.

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    VCVC Member m1dadio's Avatar
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    Hello russbinder

    are you still out there?

    M1D
    Don't ask me!! I'm still stuck on "who am I?" and "What do I want?"

    1965 G10 all window "ChevyVan" with 1988 305 Tuned port injection V8, 700R4, 1980 10 bolt posi.
    1968 G10 "sportVan Custom" under construction.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kookykrispy View Post
    With fuel below $2 a gal now, I'm quite happy with my gasoline powered engine....
    Welcome to California!!!

    My buddy in Tennessee told me he filled up the other day for $2.00 a gallon. It's running $4.39 to $4.79 around me.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails gas prices.jpg  

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    VCVC Member m1dadio's Avatar
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    thats about equal to what I pay up here. At that price it will take alot less miles driving to pay for an electric conversion.

    Im trying to get a hold of Russ binder if anybody has any contact information. I dont think he even mentioned his company name on this thread?

    M1D
    Don't ask me!! I'm still stuck on "who am I?" and "What do I want?"

    1965 G10 all window "ChevyVan" with 1988 305 Tuned port injection V8, 700R4, 1980 10 bolt posi.
    1968 G10 "sportVan Custom" under construction.

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    VCVC Member m1dadio's Avatar
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    Well I have been deep into designing an all electric drive system for my 68 off and on for ten years. The problem has been the technology just keeps changing so rapidly as soon as I am about to pull the trigger something better comes along and my whole plan is suddenly outdated.

    Im glad I didn't get into that E-mini set up that was available on this string 3 or 4 years ago. Seems the seller tried to sell them off to the electric vehicle blog but the comments there were less than positive. Seems the technology was already 10 years old and not such a great idea as there was something about the unit that it had to be electrically isolated from the transmission it was connected to and a few other weird electrical things. His price was cheaper for what it was but it was not a great deal. All that E-mini stuff is for sale at some EV used parts warehouse now.

    Anyway
    My 26 year old son is on board with this project and he is sharp with computer hardware and software development.

    We are just learning about the 40 or so different motors available and the 7 or so different battery types available. there is a hell of alot of technical information to go through. then there is the motor controller, the type of re-charger , battery and controller cooling system, and so on. We are thinking a large AC motor and an electronic/hydromatic auto trans heavily modified to work with the torque and RPM curves of the motor or similar combination of some sort.

    One thing is for sure; anybody who thinks converting to electric will save money has it all wrong! No matter how you adjust your glasses; to make a van drive decently all electric your talking easily 18 to 22 Grand or more just for the parts and equipment. most of that is the batteries coming in at 9 to 14 grand. that dose not include labor done yourself and there will be some fabrication that will have to be contracted out for sure. If you want to save money on driving you have to by a used Nissan leaf

    Big project, has been in the planning about 10 years, but now we are getting serious, approaching the money spending part.

    pretty exiting

    M1D
    Last edited by m1dadio; 11-13-2019 at 11:17 PM.
    Don't ask me!! I'm still stuck on "who am I?" and "What do I want?"

    1965 G10 all window "ChevyVan" with 1988 305 Tuned port injection V8, 700R4, 1980 10 bolt posi.
    1968 G10 "sportVan Custom" under construction.

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