7/14/09 Our newest project is a 1975 Volkswagon Beetle that we are converting to 100% electric. So far we have removed all interior, gas tank and engine. We are now working on replacing the floor pans and ordering everything we will need for the electric conversion. We will be posting photos and updating our progress regularly.
7/21/09 Motor arrived today (6.7" D&D Motor Systems 96V, 160A,14.5HP Series wound). Floor pans are almost done.
7/23/09 The Curtis controller arrived today (Curtis DC motor controller 72-120 V, 400 A).
7/28/09 The floor pans are finished. We are working on getting all original wiring in good working condition.
8/11/09 Pete built the coupler to hook the electric motor to the flywheel. We bench tested it with a jump box and checked out fine. Now he is building boxes for the batteries.
8/18/09 Pete welded the coupler to the flywheel and installed the new clutch, flywheel and motor. We tested the motor and everything works great. Ed and Pete changed the brakes from drum brakes to disk brakes.
8/20/09 The aluminum heat sink board with the curtis 1221C controller and albreight 200 contactor now has a flat copper bus bar with shrink insulation between the high voltage contact and the termial B+ on the controller.
I used the hammer crimper to put a terminal end on the number 2 copper custom green welding wire with The Green Scene EV printed on it..Shrink insulation to finish it off.
I mounted the curtis pb6 pot speed control with pedal up safety micro switch on a piece of brushed aluminum.
8/25/09 The motor, controller and contactor are installed. We mounted the aluminum heat sink boards to the firewall with bolts and nuts used as spacers to allow air flow to cool them. On the throttle plate we mounted a bosch relay to use as a keyswitch for the high voltage signal to the controller. We will use the large red wire that previously went to the alternator for a 12 vdc aux source. It is fused and only hot when the bug key is on. We also mounted an inertia switch that will kill the aux voltage to the contactor if the car is in an accident. The throttle cable to the PB6 pot box needed a bracket, tube extension, and return spring.
8/27/09 We went to the battery warehouse and got 10 fullriver 115-12 batteries. They weigh 72 pounds each are sealed agm cells.Only 5 will fit in the cubbie behind the rear seat. That means 5 will go up front. Now we can make battery boxes and start wiring.The trottle is nearly done. Need a stiff coupling where the bug throttle tube connects to the extension to the PB6
9/1/09 We put five fullriver 115-12 agms behind the rear seat and four under the good. Still need to hide one more. The back seat fits and the rear window shelf totally hides the batteries. The four up front cover the hole left when we removed the gas tank. We installed a plug where the fuel filler tube was.
9/3/09 We made copper bus bars for the battery packs.The bars are half inch pipe hammered flat. The number two welding wire with our shop name printed on it is used for the longer runs and motor wiringThe old heater channels allowed us to run the large wires around the passenger seat,. The curtis wiring diagram made the rear wheels sping backwards, so we used a different variation found it the curtis manual.We put the battery back under the seat to use for the aux battery to run lights, radio,horn, and to activate the keyswitch relay and albreight contactor. The 12 volt circuit runs through the pot micro switch, the inertia switch, then to the bosch keyswitch relay and the contactor. The output of the relay provides 120 vdc signal to the curtis controller. The two variable leads from the pot box also go to the controller. We connected the bug throttle cable and fabricated an extension to the bug tube with a bracket to hold the throttle tube.The battery boxes are welded from angle iron painted flat black. The hold downs are angle iron and threaded rods. We mounted the high voltage cutoff switch in the ashtray location in the middle of the dash. The volt meter and amp guage are mounted under the main cutoff switch under the middle of the dash. Ed test drove the car and everything works great!
9/8/09 We scuffed and painted the centers of the alloy wheels with flat black. The old lug bolts were replaced with longer studs and new chrome lug nuts. To raise the ride height we took out the old bug shock and installed some chrome empi coil over shocks. The amp meter is wired with the optional green illumination bulb. The amp meter requires a shunt which is mounted below the controller. The volt meter is connected to the negative battery terminal on the front pack and the second 120 vdc terminal of the bosch relay above the pot box throttle control.
9/10/09 We took the bug to the oeva monthly meeting in Portland. It was a seven mile trip on a 45 mph expressway called Mcloughlin blvd or hwy 99E. The bug maintained 45mph using about 25 amps after the speed was attained. Under heavy acceleration I saw the meter go as high as 100 amps. I usually accelerated at a granpa rate that took less than 50 amps. We used first, second, and third. Cruising gear was third. Shifting was smooth with the exception of the flywheel allowing the motor to freewheel even though the throttle was off making a jerk when the clutch was released. Practice improves this but does not elimate it. We hit some bumps where the road surface has rough spots and the shocks with the coilovers worked good. Handling was good but the bug does feel heavy. The motor is so quiet you hear mostly the tranny gears making shifting decisions guess work. At the meeting the experts looked it over and gave the bug their seal of approval with some recommendations: plexiglass covers over the batteries to protect spectators and passengers in the event of a battery failure and a battery management system to protect the expensive battery pack from imbalanced charging. We drove back to the shop with good speed and the bug climbed the hill from Milwaukie to Oakgrove with plenty of power but we did need to give it more amps. We left with 129 volt and returned 125.
9/12/09 We wired the dc-dc converter with 120 volts in and 12.9 volts out. The input comes from the extra output tab on the keyswitch relay and the negative lead on the battery side of the shunt. It is still isolated from the body of the bug. The output is wired directly to the terminals of the aux battery. The maker says no fuses are necessary because the converter has overcurrent protection in both input an output circuits, We hooked it up and got a nice spark. We discussed it with the maker and they recommend a diode to prevent backfeed current from the battery, At the meeting my favorite expert said a spark was normal because capacitors in the converter charge causing an inrush of current then drop off to zero. He told us to hook a test light in the circuit then touch the wire on ground causing the spark, then watch the bulb glow brightly then dim out when the capacitors reach full charge.We did and he was right. We will probably put a switch and diode in anyway. The converter is now attached to the car under the driver side rear seat with sticky back velcro. We put the trunk lid on covering the motor leaving the fuel injection emblem on for now. We still have a lot to do but the big stuff is done and the bug drives like a real car.
9/17/09 We put lexan over the front pack to prevent accidental shocks. Lexan is cut with a scoring tool and a saber saw blade with fine teeth. Inside corners are drilled to prevent cracks. We mounted the clear barrier on the battery hold down rods with threaded couplers and pan head bolts.
A 25 amp toggle switch is now in the positive lead of the output of the dc-dc controller. The purpose is to prevent back feed current during down time. The only drain would be caused by an led that remains lit and leakage through output capacitors and diodes.
The elcon 2000 watt charger arrived so we wired the Anderson connector with 12 guage wire and connected it to 120 vac. The batteries were at 124 vdc so they were only about 5% depleted. We monitored the charger voltage with a volt meter. In a short time the voltage climbed over 130 volts. We were concerned and emailed Greg at Elcon. He told us not to worry, the curve uses high voltage pulses and the program was reviewed and approved by Full River. We disconnected the charger hours later and went home with the meter showing 145 volts. The cord was cool so the amps were reduced to a finishing charge. The next day we checked the voltage of the pack and it had leveled out at 130 volts. This is the level we measured when the batteries were new from the factory. We will measure the voltage of each cell and start a log. The charger has a temperature probe to shut down the charger if batteries get too hot.
Expenses so far including shipping are: D&D es67a motor 1200, Curtis 1221C controller 1100, Full River 115-12 batteries 2000, adapter with new clutch and coupling 1000, albreight sw200 contactor with pb6 pot box 250, wire switches fuses gauges conduit bus bars 500, elcon 2000 charger 700, aluminum plate hardware bolts washers shrink wrap zip ties brackets clamps tubing angle iron lexan threaded rod etc 200. Approximate total so far of conversion related parts costs $7000
9/19/09 Drove the bug to Lloyd Center from Milwaukie for a Green gathering in Holladay Park. I pushed the bug to get a feel how higher amps would affect the integrity of our battery, controller and motor configuration. Pedal to the floor draws 100 amps. Acceleration is good and a cruising speed of 55 was easily attainable on flat ground and moderate hills. We didn’t charge for the return trip and returned with 110 volts. We plugged in the charger and left it on overnight for the first time. Batteries need to be cycled a few times to perform at their best. The charger temp sensor is wedged between two batteries in the front pack. Lots of people looked at the bug and had conversion questions. The most popular questions are: How fast will it go? How far will it go? And How much did it cost? The round trip was 16 miles. The pack was not topped off before we left because we were still having discussions with the experts about charging voltages and charger behavior in general. It charges with a program that varies the pulsing charging voltage level and current. The cord is warm in the beginning and cool near the end. The voltage climbs slowly to about 145 volts. Still no breakdowns, burnt wires, or sparks. If you let the clutch out slowly when shifting to 3rd you don’t get the freewheeling flywheel jerk. In town the car stays in second and drives like an automatic. We remembered the new switch on the dc-dc converter and turned it on during the trip. We will check the voltage of the aux battery to see if it maintained or lost. The converter has an adjustment switch and we can turn it up if necessary.
10/6/09 We recovered the seats and replaced the carpets. The original radio is repaired and back in the dash. Moved the high voltage guage wire to the other post on the contactor so you can check the voltage without engaging the mircroswitch on the pot box. Put a 750 ohm precharge resister on the contactor to protect the contacts and the controller from damage caused by current surges when starting off.Got the new horn working. Had to remove the steering wheel and clean the ring contact. Replaced the driver window crank assembly.Put on new door panels. The elcon 2000 charger is in place.
7/10/10 We took the bug to the 2010 EV Awareness event at Pioneer Square in Portland. We drove north on 99E at highway speed and were detoured over the Sellwood bridge due to a water main break north of Milwaukie. We proceeded to Portland on highway 43 at speeds between 35 and 50 mph. We used fourth gear a few times and used lots of throttle to accelerate and match traffic speeds. We drove about ten miles to get there and total pack voltage had dropped to 127 volts. We didn't charge at the event because we had plenty of reserve to make it back to the shop. The bug was a crowd favorite and we talked to a lot of people about evs. It was hot. Luckily the bug was loaded with cold drinks and snacks. There were all kinds of evs at the event.
We added a tachometer to the bug so we can make better shifting decisions. We used hose clamps with shrink wrap to hold it to the steering column. We made the sending unit using a magnetic sensor from a late model subaru (cam position sensor). The disc is a 1 1/2 inch abs plumbing plug. We drilled it in four places and used pan headed screws for the targets for the sensor to count. We had to run yet another light guage wire all the way to the front of the car. The tach has three cylinder setting and several led dial color choices.
We carpeted the front compartment to hide the maze of wires behing the dash. It looks considerably better. We mounted the semi rigid panel to the brackets behind the dash with velcro so we can remove it easily.The spare tire bucket has holes in the bottom in case the cooler leaks.