battery boxcircuit breakermotor taken outdashboarddc/dc converter and convoluted wiringflexible solar panels on rooftesla charge port30,000km
Owner's Other EVs1982 Volkswagen Rabbit
1980 Jet Electravan
LocationNew Orleans, Louisiana US map
Web/EmailWebPage email image
Vehicle1980 Subaru 600 Electra Van
this is a nice low-mileage electravan that
was stored inside...mostly in good shape.
MotorGeneral Electric 5BT1346B38 Series Wound DC
It says:
HP 20.9 WDG SERIES V 90 A 84
NO.LR8-1102LR RPM 4707 ENCL BV
CL H DUTY-1 HR 140 C
DrivetrainG.E. motor, original clutch and 4 speed
ControllerCurtis 1231c
replaced the original GE ev1 controller with the
curtis....working great so far. Much better
control at very low speeds and much higher top
Batteries36 Thunder Sky 260 ah, 3.30 Volt, Lithium Iron Phosphate
This pack was used to test a prototype Wheego
Life. I got it third-hand. It likes to hang
right around 118v.
System Voltage120 Volts
ChargerDelta-Q Technologies quiq
I have 2 delta-qs @ 1kw each. They need
cooling fans so I rigged up some of those, and
I replaced the tiny output pins with 10 gauge

I have added 4 elcon chargers, so now charging
at 11kw.. yay!
HeaterI removed the original gas heater and tank.
Need to rig up an electric defroster at least...
DC/DC ConverterMeanwell SD-500-12
Was using an aux deep cycle marine battery. I
tried the dc/dc converter built into the quiq-
dci charger but it failed after a half mile or
so. I'm guessing the antique controller's
backflush currents fried it. The meanwell is
new since the curtis 1231 install, we'll see
if it does better.
InstrumentationHave a JLD404 in, seems great except one decimal
point burned out and now some of the parts of
the numbers are sometimes not lit up. Also have
digital voltmeter for the 12v system.
Top Speed65 MPH (104 KPH)
With the curtis controller, I went past the end
of the speedometer. The car can go faster than
any reasonable driver would want to go while
inside of it.
Range80 Miles (128 Kilometers)
80 is a ballpark figure. I drove 70 miles, very
carefully, and used 20kwh... the batteries are
getting old and have lost some capacity I'm
sure. Could go farther if I balanced the cells.
Watt Hours/Mile300 Wh/Mile
300 is a rough estimate, not including charger
EV Miles
Start:2,790 Miles (4,489 Kilometers)
Current:16,500 Miles (26,548 Kilometers)
Total:13,710 Miles (22,059 Kilometers)
    As of 12/13/2016
Seating Capacity5 people or 15 clowns. I just built a
seatback to make the battery box into a back
seat. Apparently this was a factory option.
Had 3 skinny people back there yesterday and
they said it was fine. 3 skinnies can squeeze
across the front too, but it is trouble for
shifting/emergency brake. With a smaller
battery box it could be configured for 3 rows
of seats for small people. Which would be
Curb Weight2,352 Pounds (1,069 Kilograms)
Jet listed the weight with FLA batteries at
2790, subtract 1122 lbs FLA and add 684 lbs
LiFePO4 for 2352. Haven't weighed it on a scale
Tiresvee rubber citystar v2 145/80R10 74N yeah, ten
inches...with tubes inside. The alignment is so
off that they only last about 8,000 miles.
Conversion TimePretty easy mods on battery box for lithium
cells, had to drop motor out for rebuild,
rebuild brake, still lots of projects.....
Conversion CostProbably about 9k so far, half on the used
Additional FeaturesEverybody loves the van. You get smiles, waves, thumbs up,
questions, compliments, children pointing and yelling.

Also, it can carry lots of stuff. You could even set it up to sleep
in the back.

A problem is driving the little 10" wheels over New Orleans' bumpy
streets. That limits performance more than the electric drive

Added a J1772 inlet and a 50 amp RV/marine style twist lock inlet to
use at RV parks. Would also like to add a chademo inlet once a kit
becomes available.
The first day I drove this van something in the brush end of the
motor started to make a grinding sound. I took the motor out and
to a motor place and they said it had developed a short inside,
they fixed that and now it is running again. I think the Jet
Industries motor cooling fan is inadequate.

Odometer readings are actually kilometers, and are about 10%
overstated because the outside diameter of the tires is smaller
than stock.

Jan 2013 update: Killed two cells, over discharged them. I have
a refurbished curtis 1231 installed with a reversing contactor....
contactor is 24v so I have a voltage device to run that... one of
the delta-q chargers seems to have died, just flashes an error
light. Does somebody fix those?
Not quite back to driving yet, reversing contactor is blowing

Feb 2013 update...went back to mechanical reverse, will wire up
reversing contactor later when dc/dc is installed. The curtis
controller makes a huge difference in acceleration and feel...
still driving around with two dead cells in series in the pack.

Yay! Just turned 5000km. The next benchmark will be if I can make
it to 5580km, putting as many kilometers on it as all previous
eight owners combined.

Put in two replacement cells from Balqon....need to balance them.

August 2013 update: Turned 7000km, went on longest trip ever of
about 50 miles

Dec 2013 update: Added a radio... it is great. Added a marine
inlet where the gas filler used to be.. nice.And I think I have
realized that an AH on the JLD404 is smaller than a real AH....
since charging reads 22 amps at 120 volts, that equals 2640 watts,
2 quiq chargers at 945w each should be 1890w... which would make
it about 30% off..

Still haven't balanced the cells or figured out range.

Feb 2015 update: van is still doing well.. needs some alignment
and a few things of course.

May 2015 update: Just went on a road trip to Florida panhandle,
300 miles each way.. Lots of fun to have an out of state license
plate on such a silly old car. The van had zero problems, which
is good since I realized I left my voltmeter at home. Managed 300
miles in 24 hours on the way back. There's an article about it at

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