03-18-2014 Battery failureCurrent Pack01-02-2014
Owner's Other EVs2010 Electra Cruiser
Torker T510 Hybrid
1992 Nissan D21 Pickup
2002 Sol Gato II
Husky Trike
LocationBaton Rouge, Louisiana United States map
Email email image
Vehicle1992 Ford Escort Wagon LX
Originally donated to UCI in Irvine California, and
converted to a hybrid as an engineering project. See
MotorAdvanced DC FB 4001 Series Wound DC
ADC 9" motor with the shaft on both ends. I have my
speed sensor mounted on the back shaft to drive the
DrivetrainOriginal 5 speed manual with a ceramic
ControllerCafe Electric Z1K-LV
1000 Amp Zilla Controller. Hairball interface has
trouble codes and 2nd "Valet mode" settings for Amps,
Volts etc. I am using the "Valet mode" as a second
set of parameters to get better range when needed.
Batteries48 LFP-G60, 3.20 Volt, Lithium Iron Phosphate
Originally had flooded lead-acid, but was upgraded to
LiFePO4 in March 2014. Branded as AA Portable Power
Corp (batteryspace.com). They're rebranding cells
from China, but I don't know whose.
System Voltage154 Volts
ChargerElcon 1500
HeaterNo longer needed. Had a ceramic core, but presumed
to have been kept by original owner in AZ.
DC/DC ConverterZivan NG1
120VDC to 12VDC
InstrumentationVoltmeter, Ammeter, Speedometer, Tachometer, Curtis
State of Charge Meter, Battery charger indicator
light for onboard charger. SoC and voltmeter no
longer work because of the jump from 120 V to 153.6 -
I should fix that soon.
Top Speed70 MPH (112 KPH)
Lost a little speed switching from huge lead pack to
tiny LFP, but the increase in acceleration is WELL
worth it. Motor and controller should be capable of
90 MPH.
Acceleration0-30 in 6s; 0-35 in 8s. Fully testing 0-60 could
damage my batteries. Might post 0-40 time soon.
Range30 Miles (48 Kilometers)
Original lead batteries had up to 50 mi with "tame"
driving. New pack gets 30 mi with mixed highway and
neighborhood. Average speed is around 35 with short
periods of 50+ on my daily commute -all in second
gear :)
Watt Hours/Mile307 Wh/Mile
Despite differences in aerodynamics and weight, this
car gets the same range as my '92 Nissan pickup.
EV Miles
Start:662 Miles (1,065 Kilometers)
Current:25,806 Miles (41,521 Kilometers)
Total:25,144 Miles (40,456 Kilometers)
Seating Capacity5 adults. Actually had this many plus lots of
baggage for Madi Gras this year (2014) and the car
ran OK.
Curb Weight2,700 Pounds (1,227 Kilograms)
With lead batts, it was stated to be 3460 lbs.
Haven't re-weighed it but removed about 750 lbs of
battery weight with LFP upgrade.
TiresP185 60/R14 Riken Raptor- Kept at about 42 PSI
Conversion TimeOriginal:

Elapsed time was about 1.5 years. I worked on it
some days after work for a few hrs and on most
weekends. About 4 months with no progress either
waiting for parts or just me being lazy. I also
to replace some of the interior, and most of
the wiring harness in the engine compartment
to be replaced or repaired.


I've only spend about 2 weekends of time on this
car to do replacements and upgrades.
Conversion CostOriginal est between $12-15K. I have put about $6k
worth of upgrades after paying about $6k for the car.
Additional FeaturesOriginal owner:

"It has a full front to back "belly pan". Originally I did this to improve
aerodynamics, but it also keeps the engine compartment clean, and protects
the battery charger that is mounted below the rear seat. The radio antenna
and roof rack were removed and the roof smoothed for aerodynamics. The
radio antenna was left inside the front pillar near the windshield - it
works good."

Current owner:

Added a roof rack back.
Original owner:

"I did drive to and from work daily starting 6-24-08, 5 days per week.
It is 48 miles round trip. this lasted for about 6 weeks when the
batteries failed due to using the onboard charger that was not quite
fully charging the batteries. I found that you do need a good strong
charger, (220 V high AMP), to keep your batteries happy if you discharge
them to 80% often. My wife now uses the car daily to go to work and drop
off the kids etc. It generally sees 16 to 30 miles a day, usually not
more than 50% discharge. The 220 Volt Lester charger can fully charge
the batteries from a 20 mile trip in about 3 hours. Fully balancing
takes longer at very low amps."

Current owner:

I use this car daily to commute to work and run errands. Round trip
commute is exactly 16.6 mi. So, adding in errands, I drive about 100 mi
per week.

I really miss air conditioning, so I sit on a phase-change cooling vest
to take the edge off the heat. This works pretty well for the short
trips this car makes.

I bought this car after totaling my electric truck in Dec 2013. At the
time, it was owned by a friend who I recently helped to install brand new
lead-acid batteries. However, these batteries lasted less than 500 mi
before one of the 15 exploded. Rather than replace the damaged lead-acid
battery, I removed the whole pack and put in the LFPs from my truck. I
lost overall horsepower and a little range, but acceleration still
improved greatly because of the weight reduction. The remaining good
lead batteries are now being used in a friend's solar powered house.

2015-01-16, 19149 mi: Contactor would not close, no error code on Hair
Ball (Zilla controller), stranded me at work. Turns out that one of the
fuses that feeds 12 V power to the Hair Ball had a bad terminal. The
terminal itself backed away from the fuse. Some pliers and a bit of
elbow grease got it back in place. This is why I keep AAA membership.

2015-04-16, 20200 mi: No more problems since January except slow leak in
one tire -plugged a hole but continues to seep 3 psi/wk around plug.
Still have upgrades waiting to be installed: 144 VDC to 120 VAC @ 2 kW
inverter and a 2 kW gas generator to be installed under the hood (for
emergency recharging). With those upgrades in place, this car would make
a great UPS when hurricanes take out the power grid. Just enough for the
fridge, freezer, and some small appliances.

2015-10-22, 22204 mi: Installed the 144 VDC to 120 VAC, 2 kW inverter a
few months ago and have used it for some light duty appliances. On
10/20, two of my 48 LFP cells failed. One swelled a lot and both dropped
below 3 V at rest. It took all night but I swapped out the cells for two
spares I had and balanced the pack again. The car is back on the road,
but I am out of spare cells now. I hope no more cells fail before my
plans to sell off the car in about 2 years from now. I am moving away
from the city, so the car won't be useful to me at that point. If the
buyer doesn't want to buy the used LFP cells with the car, then I will
keep them and put them to work in some off-road vehicles. I also
canceled my plans to upgrade the car with an on-board generator since I
don't plan to keep it.

2015-11-13: MPJA.com started selling tiny 12 V digital thermostats for $6
including the probe. With one of these, I will try to upgrade the
battery cooling fans soon and have them controlled by the thermostat -
allowing me to put in much stronger fans since they will only run when

2016-04-06, 24180 mi: Still working on the new cooling fan with
thermostat mentioned above, but the bigger problem now is the decaying
battery pack. I have needed to replace several cells in the past 6
months and it seems the rest of the original cells will fail soon. I
hope they hold out for a few thousand more miles and then I will scrap
the vehicle to support other projects.

2016-10-11, 25806 mi: The car still runs and I use it a few times a week,
but the battery pack is less than half its original capacity. The
cooling system is finished, but not helping much. Working on donating
the car to a local school. If that falls through then I will scrap the
car and sell the parts that I can.

code by jerry