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post #1 of 112 (permalink) Old 10-12-2018, 02:53 PM Thread Starter
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Electric Spider

After much pondering, I have decided to embark on a unique project: to build an electric Spider.

Why the Spider?
The Spider is fairly lightweight, fun to drive, and readily available. Also, I have a thing for Alfas… Here in California, post smog (1976 - newer) Spiders are easily found for reasonable money.

Project Goal
To build a show-quality electric-powered “greatest hits” series 2 Spider.

Powertrain
Increased performance compared to stock.
Netgain Hyper9 A/C motor/controller. Output: 120hp-162 lb/ft torque.
Retain stock transmission, driveline, diff.
Motor weight: 120lbs.
Max RPM: 8000

Power
Batteries: 38 Nissan Leaf modules. (18.4 [email protected] volts)
Battery weight: 320lbs.
Range 50-70 miles

The goal is to make this car fun to drive. The horsepower and torque numbers are better than stock, but because of the motor's torque curve (160 ft/lb) available at 0 rpm, it should be really quick off the line.

The donor car is a 1978. It was complete and not rusty (other than the spare tire well). It ran and drove well and I was able to sell the engine and exhaust system. The car was fairly well maintained, but it had a cheap respray and the interior had been fried by the sun. It has a relatively nice top. Because of the shotty paint, this car is going to need to be stripped down to metal.

The interior is going to need to be completely refurbished including carpet, seats recovered, door panels etc.

Luckily, I was able to test drive this car and the transmission shifts nicely, rear axle is quiet, brakes and steers straight.


Step 1: dismantling

I was able to sell the engine easily because I could verify that it ran. It is amazing how much of the car can be removed when you don’t have a gas engine. All of these removed parts will help the car maintain its stock weight.

Cooling system - 25lbs without water
Exhaust system - 40lbs
Engine with accessories - 320lbs estimated
Fuel Tank (weight calculated when full) 85lbs
Fuel pumps and lines - 20lbs
Emissions equipment and plumbing - 20lbs
Tugboat style rubber bumpers - 100lbs!
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post #2 of 112 (permalink) Old 10-12-2018, 03:02 PM
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Cool project! I helped a colleague build an electric Civic. He found that with the electric motor he didn't need first gear or it would light up the tires. Back then about 10 years ago he just used lead acid batteries.

Looking forward to seeing your progress!

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Ian Lomax - Current: 1973 Berlina, 1987 Milano Platinum "racecar"
Past: 71, 74 Spiders, 2x 74 Berlina, 74 GTV, 76 Alfetta GT, 88 Milano 3.0, 164LS
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post #3 of 112 (permalink) Old 10-12-2018, 05:46 PM
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COOL!

Red 1974 Spider (Restoring!)
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post #4 of 112 (permalink) Old 10-12-2018, 06:27 PM
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This is awesome. I can’t wait to see the result. Could save a lot of spiders in CA (and others) that can’t pass smog. There are still a lot of cars out there but given their low value and high costs of (shop) repair not to mention fewer people doing their own work, I feel that is going to change pretty soon starting with 2a’s. Spica can be fussy and Wes’s website says he has a 6 month backlog and cost of rebuild can be 1/3-1/5 the value of the car on the open market.
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post #5 of 112 (permalink) Old 10-12-2018, 06:33 PM
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Not sure about the transmission. There is guy who built an electric Ferrari 308 (it was a fire damaged basket case) and he put in a 2 Speed gearbox but ended up never really needing second gear (or was it first gear?) Anyway, where is the battery pack going and what kind of range are you expecting?

Paul - 1972 Spider - (2)1991 164S's - 1983 308 - 2001 Discovery - 1997 F350
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post #6 of 112 (permalink) Old 10-14-2018, 08:30 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kcabpilot View Post
Not sure about the transmission. There is guy who built an electric Ferrari 308 (it was a fire damaged basket case) and he put in a 2 Speed gearbox but ended up never really needing second gear (or was it first gear?) Anyway, where is the battery pack going and what kind of range are you expecting?
Electric conversions commonly retain manual transmissions for a couple of reasons. Even though the motor has enough torque to be "direct drive", the gear ratio of the stock differential is not low enough to be efficient for the motor. You could theoretically leave the car in 3rd gear and be fine in most conditions of driving. Just like with gas engines, there is an rpm zone that is most efficient. For the Hyper9 motor, it is around 3000 rpm. So cruising at that speed would result in the best range.

Using the transmission simplifies the conversion. I plan to use the stock clutch and flywheel in my car. This will require two components to be fabricated to adapt the motor to the bell housing; a plate that covers the front of the bell housing with the appropriate bolt pattern drilled and tapped, and a coupling hub that connects the motor's output shaft to the Alfa flywheel.

Additionally, using the transmission simplifies reverse. This particular motor can be reversed, but it would involve additional switches, wiring, and a safety lock-out. And speaking of safety, the clutch provides a safety disconnect in case the motor decides to stop listening to the throttle pedal. The biggest reason for me to use the clutch and transmission is the fun factor! Nothing beats rowing through gears!

I had started to entertain the idea of a two-speed transmission using a Laycock overdrive unit from a Volvo 240. These are hydraulically controlled and when working properly, shift very quickly with no interruption of power. Unfortunately, they only go from 1:1 to .79, which was not enough spread for this application.

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post #7 of 112 (permalink) Old 10-14-2018, 09:04 AM
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Excellent idea! I've thought of doing this to one of my bugs in the future...when IC engines are illegal in a couple of decades.

Have you given thought to retaining a heating/AC capability?

I'll also be very interested in your parts list and costs at the conclusion of the project. It sounds like you have some past experience in this area.

-Kevin
1988 Spider Veloce (with lots of 3D printed parts)
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post #8 of 112 (permalink) Old 10-14-2018, 10:20 AM
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I agree with shakey, Please provide a parts breakdown list and cost. I think there is a company in California already doing these conversions, EVwest?
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post #9 of 112 (permalink) Old 10-14-2018, 04:48 PM
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Will follow your progress!

Steve Waclo Carson City, NV; '87 Spider QV, ES Champion, 2018 Reno SCCA (125k);'93 Honda Nighthawk 750 (105k);'03 GMC Sierra SLE 2500HD Turbo Diesel (155k);'08 Altima Coupe 3.5SE, 6sp (125k)
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post #10 of 112 (permalink) Old 10-14-2018, 05:46 PM
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Very cool project !
Thanks for sharing

Dominic
Quebec, Canada
86 Black Spider (Fully restored)
87 Silver Spider (Fun drive)
88 Red Spider (Part bin)
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post #11 of 112 (permalink) Old 10-14-2018, 08:49 PM
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Your rear "tugboat" bumper looks half decent, is it rusting on the inside?

Do you plan to install the euro version stainless steel bumpers?
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post #12 of 112 (permalink) Old 10-15-2018, 09:07 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shakey View Post
Excellent idea! I've thought of doing this to one of my bugs in the future...when IC engines are illegal in a couple of decades.

Have you given thought to retaining a heating/AC capability?

I'll also be very interested in your parts list and costs at the conclusion of the project. It sounds like you have some past experience in this area.
Canadian Electric Vehicles produces a 1500 watt heating element that can be retrofitted to the heater box.

Canadian Electric Vehicles Ltd. - Heaters

As far as AC, not planning to install. It is possible, people use electric AC compressors from Nissan leafs.
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post #13 of 112 (permalink) Old 10-15-2018, 11:22 AM
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[QUOTE=Elmolino;8326834]Canadian Electric Vehicles produces a 1500 watt heating element that can be retrofitted to the heater box.

Canadian Electric Vehicles Ltd. - Heaters

As far as AC, not planning to install. It is possible, people use electric AC compressors from Nissan leafs.[/QUOTE

How much of the battery charge does the electric heater use up?

1969 1750 Spider Veloce w/dual webers, 1969 1750 Berlina, 1971 1750 Spider Veloce w/ dual webers, 1985 Spider Veloce 23,000 orig. miles, {Two} 1986 Spider Veloces, 1987 Spider Veloce bought new, 1988 Quadrifoglio, 1991 164S, Plus several more. I think they are breeding.
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I just got 2 more. Now I have a Matta. I must be crazy.
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post #14 of 112 (permalink) Old 10-15-2018, 12:35 PM
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Interesting project....for sure , keep up with info how it goes and results, and "I shouldnt have done this." type things....
electric is not for me...I like a car that goes "vroom, vroom"....and Im curious if you would add a 'noise maker' to the car...as they seem dangerous to pedestrians and bicyclists...?

1974 Spider (Dellorto carburated)
recent previously: 58 Giulietta, 69 Firebird 400 convertible, 71 TR6, 68 GT6
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post #15 of 112 (permalink) Old 10-15-2018, 01:16 PM
Subscribed!! I recall a crude electric spider on eBay (?) a number of years ago.

I wouldn't bother with either heat it AC. I had a Volt - great car but the HVAC was at best adequate. Why complicate things...

Beyond the adapter to the Alfa drive train, what other major work needs to be done?

I too would love to see a parts list...

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