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Discussion Starter #1
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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1984 GTV6, 1973 Berlina, 1987 Milano
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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!

Sent from my ONEPLUS A3000 using Tapatalk
 
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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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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?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
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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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.
 

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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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Will follow your progress!
 

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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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Discussion Starter #12
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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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?
 

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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...?
 

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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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Very cool!

I wanted to the same with my Giulia eventually also with the Hyper9 Engine as it is the most affordable currently.

Only that, I wanted to get rid of the tranny as it brings in a lot of losses and because the stock diff ratio should be good enough especially the earlier ones.

Have you actually calculated whether these batteries will give you enough kW, well actually amps to get the best of the engine? To obtain max the demand like 600a which is a hella lot!

All the best to your project!
 

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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?
A significant amount which is why heated seats is a must have in modern EV's. But he wont need it too much in CA most likely :).
 

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Interesting!!

I've been one of the designers for several electric motor controllers of various sizes as part of my job - and one of the key advantages of electric motors is the zero-thru-low RPM torque capabilities which allow for no clutch operation (why bother? Just make the old clutch pedal signal a cutout of the motor fields!).

Can't wait to hear the details!
 

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Discussion Starter #19
In my design, I am attaching the motor, motor mounts, front battery box, and transmission adaptor plate to one structure. The idea is to attach all of the components to this structure.

I have been contemplating other old car electric conversions; so I am trying to make universal parts. The structure pictured below will be made of waterjet cut 1/2" aluminum. I am attempting to design parts that require little to no additional machining once the are cut. I am not an engineer by trade, I am learning as I go!

The first picture shows the frame structure, with motor mounts attaching to the four holes on the side. The second picture shows the battery boxes attached to the top.
 

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Will you have batteries in the back also? From your numbers you look to be shedding a fair amount of weight from stock. Could you increase the number of batteries to increase the range? Can you maintain a similar weight distribution as stock in order to retain the handling characteristics? In round numbers, what do you think you'll have into the conversion dollar wise?
 
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