Last rideNew motorDC/DC ConverterCommon situationSpagetti factory
OwnerRoger Daisley
LocationPullman, Washington United States map
Web/EmailWebPage email image
Vehicle1986 Volkswagen Cabriolet
Great little car. In the ICE
configuration, the car had been previously
lowered about two inches. After
conversion, I had springs wound that would
maintain that ride height.
MotorWarfield ImPulse 9 Series Wound DC
9.25"; 129 lbs; 60 ft/lbs torque;
DrivetrainStandard VW 5-speed manual transmission.
Synthetic gear oil used.
ControllerCurtis 1231C
Works well in this car. Mounted on 1/4"
aluminum plate supplied by Electro
Automotive. I may later add a 6' DC
fan, that I have on-hand, for cooling,
if it seems needed. Can't have too much
cooling. For now, no problems, even
with a heavy foot and 90+ deg. air
Batteries18 Interstate US125, 6.00 Volt, Lead-Acid, Flooded
Good reliable reasonably priced batteries.
System Voltage108 Volts
ChargerManzanita Micro PFC20
Good piece of equipment by Rich Rudman.
I usually charge from a 120VAC 20-amp
outlet I installed. I find that after a
25-mile run, it recharges the pack in
about five-six hours, including an hour
of low current "balancing" at the end.

UPDATE: July 2011. Using 240 VAC, I
find it takes about one hour to
recharge for every ten miles driven. I
also have a 2.5 kW grid-tie solar
system, which just about offsets the
car charging cost. Did I say "Free
Travel?" Well ... almost!
HeaterNone yet. I removed and saved all the
original VW heater/AC housing and
hardware. This fall I will build a 120V
electric "quartz type" ceramic heater
into the heater box. I will use the
original VW heater fan to circulate the
heated air.

UPDATE: July 2011. Still no heater. I
am going to drop the resistance heater
idea. Instead, I will re install the
hot water heater system hardware, using
a new heater core. I will heat with a
1500 watt, 115v, "winter type" coolant
heater and an El-Sid 12v circulating
pump. I can pre-heat the cabin and
switch over to internal power upon
departure. This seems safer and easier,
to me.
DC/DC ConverterCC Power C400
A little "pricey," but looks nice and
seems to get the job done. What more can
you ask?
InstrumentationState-Of-Charge (SOC); Amps 0-500; Volts:
Top Speed70 MPH (112 KPH)
Maybe higher: Since both the battery
and motor are new, I haven't pushed it
the limit yet. So far, easily cruises
the nearby state highway at 55 MPH ...
even on modest hills.

UPDATE July, 2011: Top speed a solid
70+ mph
AccelerationAcceptable, but no dragster. I can
with traffic just fine. Again, with a
motor and battery pack, max.
is yet to be determined.

UPDATE: July, 2011. Acceleration quite
acceptable. Quite similar to original
car, up to about 30 MPH. Best
acceleration is using 2nd gear. (1st
gear "runs out of breath" too soon.)
Range50 Miles (80 Kilometers)
So far, runs of 25 miles are easily
handled. Upon return, the SOC meter
usually reads 50%+ remaining. (I
haven't determined if that's a "real"
50% or a "mythical 50%" that evaporates
much quicker than the first 50%. Stay
Watt Hours/MileUsing my "Killawatt" and recharging at
the limiting 15-amps, I usually put in
about 5-7 KWH after a 20-25 mile run.
(Our current electric power rate is
$.05/KWH. Pretty cheap driving!) Later
I will experiment with solar charging.

UPDATE: July 2011. Level cruising at
50-55 MPH, I draw about 200 amps.
EV Miles
Start:135,100 Miles (217,375 Kilometers)
Current:135,220 Miles (217,568 Kilometers)
Total:120 Miles (193 Kilometers)
Seating CapacityFour, however because of the increased
weight, I try to limit back seat
passengers ... very hard to do!
Curb Weight2,939 Pounds (1,335 Kilograms)
Left front: 851
Right front: 834
Left rear: 600
Right Rear: 654
(Measured with a Longacre "Accuset"
Computer scales.)
TiresGoodyear Invicta
Conversion TimeI bought the car in 2004 and drove as a
ICE. The conversion started in April
2007 and was substantially completed in
August 2007. The parts were ordered in
January 2007, however they didn't start
arriving until April. VERY frustrating!
Conversion CostTotal cost: About $13,000, including
the $900 I paid for the car. (The paint
is as I bought it. Someone paid a lot
of money for a beautiful deep purple
job.) I put about $1,500 into
suspension and steering repairs,
including custom wound springs.
Additional FeaturesI have installed XM Satellite radio. The car had been
previously lowered about 2" and I maintained that ... looks
very "cool."

2019: Added two more 6v GC batteries under the foot area in the rear seat. (Electro Automotive kit) Noticeable improvement.
I love the car and the way it ended up. The performance
is better than I expected with a 96-volt pack of 6-volt
batteries. I think the larger Curtis controller and the
new ImPulse 9 motor made the difference. Pulling 500 amps
is a piece-of-cake, but I am careful not to exceed the
500 amp/2-min controller limit.

I discovered, after conversion, that the vacuum brake
booster had a leak, causing the vacuum pump to short
cycled ON/OFF. For now, I'm driving with no vacuum boost,
but I have ordered a rebuilt booster, as new one's seem
no longer to be available.

I have put 8500 miles on the car. I drive it pretty
consistently, mainly a 20 mile round-trip to Pullman and
back. From about Nov 15 - March 15, it stays in our
unheated barn. I top the batteries off every few weeks.

Last year, I thought I would need to replace the battery
pack, as it seemed to be getting pretty tired. I am
surprised that this year it is stronger than last year! I
attribute that to two factors: First, I stopped
"equalizing" the pack on every charge. I thought I was
doing the right thing, but I attended a Battery Seminar
(hosted by Electro-Automotive) least year and learned I
was probably killing the batteries. Now, I equalize once
a month. Next, I have switched over to 240vac charging
with my Rudman PFC-20 charger ... which I can charge at
better than 25 amps DC. This added "kick-in-the-pants"
stirs up the batteries and seems to have partially
rejuvenated them from my prior mistreatment.

The car runs beautifully and is a joy to drive. It always
draws favorable comments. There have been no problems or
unexpected maintenance. I did learn a valuable lesson
when tightening battery connects with an uninsulated box
end wrench. It shorted out across half the pack and
created quite a display! Fortunately, no damage done to
either me or the car. The wrench didn't come out as well.

Using the stock VW 5-speed tranny, I have developed
slightly different shift points than I initially used. I
have found that the ImPulse 9 is not a high-speed motor
at 96 volts. I now use 2nd gear from zero to about 25-30
MPH, than shift to 3rd. At around 40-45 MPH, I shift to
4th and cruise at 60-65 MPH, with ease. If I go faster
than these new shift points, the amount of amps I can
pull drops off, with a resultant loss of power.

I changed the leaking vacuum booster, vacuum switch
(better ON/OFF characteristics) and added a "soft-start"
resistor to the circuit. These changes made the vacuum
pump more polite.

Would I do it again? ABSOLUTELY! Right now I'm working on
converting a John Deere L110 riding mower to electric.

7/22/2018: Original flooded Batteries shot!. Just bought a pack of
used LEAF lithium batteries. Don't know much about them, but I
guess I'll find out! I hope to get the pack installed by August
15, 2018. Stay tuned.
2020: Sold the Leaf pack ... never used. Too many issues for me to tackle. Replaced old batteries with new set of 18 Interstate 6v GC batteries. I think best "Bang for the Buck."

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