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Electric GT returns with an electric crate motor for EV conversions

Three years ago, an outfit called Electric GT (EGT), led by Eric Hutchison, hit the green tech radar by converting a 1978 Ferrari 308 GTS to an electric car. Out went the mid-mounted 2.9-liter V8 making 280 horsepower and 181 pound-feet of torque, in went 48 lithium-ion batteries powering three AC51 HPEVS electric motors that cumulatively produced 465 hp and 330 lb-ft. The company's relocated from San Diego to Chatsworth, California, and is back on the scopes at Green Car Reports with what it calls an Electric Crate Motor. The innovation repackages the ICE crate motor methodology into a system making EV conversions easier for the weekend enthusiast. EGT promises a plug-and-play system with "high performance and near zero maintenance," having packaged its one- and two-motor systems into a "motor block" and peripherals that look just like an internal combustion engine.

The block includes everything necessary for the swap to electric except the batteries and the mounting bracket, meaning "motor(s), controller(s), charger(s), sensors, relays and computer systems." EGT has already designed a number of mounting brackets, and can design others to custom specs. According to the web site, the package is "pre-engineered, pre-built, and pre-tested," so installation takes five steps: Bolt in the block, install the wiring harness and cooling system, connect the AC and DC power leads with the OEM-level touch-safe connectors, and route the internal cooling pump to a heat exchanger. Voila, silent running. Every e-crate motor comes with an installation manual, EGT provides tech support, and auxiliaries like electric AC compressors and heaters can be optioned.

At 34 inches long, the e-crate motor is self-contained in a tidy package about five inches longer than a small-bloc V8. The standard single-motor EGT system makes 140 hp and 240 lb-ft, the dual-motor system gets 240 hp and 340 lb-ft. An AC50 unit is the default e-motor, AC51 and HyPer9 motors are available. EGT designed its system to bolt onto manual transmissions; as with the mounting brackets, the company already has a number of adapter plates and can design custom units. The only caution is ensuring the transmission and drivetrain can handle the instant torque. "Automatic transmissions are not recommended or used in EGT builds," we're told, "due to need for an extra hydraulic pump and the inefficiency of torque converters."

EGT has also designed a "Tesla Swap" for buyers wanting a juicier experience. The Tesla Drive Unit with anywhere from 300 to 500 horsepower, paired with a single-speed transmission, comes in a subframe assembly ready to be bolted in, but only works with vehicles that have an independent rear suspension.

On top of a number of classic car conversions, the company recently installed the e-crate motor on Volkswagen's Type 20 Microbus tech showcase over the summer. Now it's doing an enthusiast-level conversion on a 1970 Toyota FJ40 Land Cruiser, and apparently has ideas for a classic Ford Bronco package. Pricing info hasn't been sorted yet, but EGT says to expect an announcement by the end of the year.

 

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Nice of them to make it look like V motor! I would absolutely consider converting my Sol if the motor ever crapped out!
 

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Why do people get so excited over electric vehicles? They are more dirty to produce then ICE cars....and they are dirtier to charge then a gas vehicle is to operate....I don't get the addiction. Oh...low prices now to drive them....WAIT. Wait till the power companies "can't supply enough energy" to charge them all and we either have to pay 50x what were paying now for all electricity or we have to have rolling black outs....it's coming boys and girls.... And those that don't think their utility bill will go from others driving these...it will.
 

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The problem is packaging enough battery
Along with packaging, there's weight , center of gravity, balance, suspension set up, steering feel among other things. The good electric cars out there were designed to be electric cars. A converted Solstice would drive like a refrigerator.
 

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Along with packaging, there's weight , center of gravity, balance, suspension set up, steering feel among other things. The good electric cars out there were designed to be electric cars. A converted Solstice would drive like a refrigerator.
I don't know that I would say "would" as much as "could" and it would depend entirely on how well the design was done. Connecting the motor directly to the axle would move a lot of weight to the center of the car, and batteries would replace the engine, fuel tank, muffler, and transmission. This could leave the balance of the car essentially unchanged, and could even reduce the polar moment of inertia since Li-Ion batteries are less dense than aluminum and a lot less dense than steel.

The big problem would be range. The Solstice is heavy, not very aerodynamic, and has overly-wide tires, none of which is good for range. Designing a quick-change battery would be difficult, and it would almost have to be custom-fitted to the car to maximize capacity. Possible? Yes. Practicable? Maybe not.

This was actually done, or at least tried, by a company called AMP in 2007-8. I heard there was a prototype, but never saw one.
 

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Why do people get so excited over electric vehicles? They are more dirty to produce then ICE cars....and they are dirtier to charge then a gas vehicle is to operate....I don't get the addiction. Oh...low prices now to drive them....WAIT. Wait till the power companies "can't supply enough energy" to charge them all and we either have to pay 50x what were paying now for all electricity or we have to have rolling black outs....it's coming boys and girls.... And those that don't think their utility bill will go from others driving these...it will.
I won't argue that production - and disposal - of battery-eledtric vehicles could be dirtier than for ICE vehicles, but that is an unknown and will depend on how well the processes are managed, but I think that the rest of your concerns are not really valid.

There have been a number of studies that show a reduced carbon footprint from electrification with the reduction ranging upwards of 50% with some models.

Northwestern University did a pretty extensive study on the air quality effects of vehicle electrification and found that overall it reduces ozone and particulate pollution even if no carbon reduction is factored in. Areas with high dependence on coal may see a slight increase in particulate during some parts of the year, but that will go away as the generation plants are modernized to use natural gas. Even Kentucky is shifting away from coal and is now about 30% natural gas, and of course pollution is eliminated entirely where wind and hydro power are available.

As far as grid capacity is concerned, the existing grid can handle approximately 25% of the US fleet being electrified, assuming that demand is scheduled properly. In most areas the peak demand is during the day and charging would mostly be done at night, so the effect would actually be to make the grid more efficient by smoothing out the demand peaks. There are some concerns about increasing the peak demand in some cases and in some areas, but those are relatively few until the 25% threshhold is exceeded.

I don't understand the concern about your utility bill going up because others are charging electric cars, since power is paid for by the user. Even when the capital cost of grid improvements (which need to be done anyway) is factored in there is no justification in thinking that costs would go up by a factor of 50, or even 5.

An unmentioned benefit of electrification of part of the fleet is the reduction in demand for gasoline which should result in less volatility in pricing and generally lower cost.
 

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Why do people get so excited over electric vehicles? They are more dirty to produce then ICE cars....and they are dirtier to charge then a gas vehicle is to operate....I don't get the addiction. Oh...low prices now to drive them....WAIT. Wait till the power companies "can't supply enough energy" to charge them all and we either have to pay 50x what were paying now for all electricity or we have to have rolling black outs....it's coming boys and girls.... And those that don't think their utility bill will go from others driving these...it will.
The appeal is in the acceleration provided by a high torque electric motor. I've ridden in Teslas and home built electric conversions and the pull from a standing start is awesome.
 

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The appeal is in the acceleration provided by a high torque electric motor...
And the CG is lower.
And the front suspension isn't compromised by a transverse engine/trans
And they're quieter.
And they're smoother.
And you don't have to add time to your commute to fill 'er up.
And they have electric heaters, so no waiting for warm air on cold days.
And you can usually program them to warm-up/cool off and defrost before you even get in, while they're still plugged in.
And there's a lot fewer fluids and filters to change/leak.
And probably some other things I'm not thinking of or have yet to experience.

But I guess the utility companies that typically already have a localized monopoly over an area are suddenly going to realize that they have said monopoly and regardless of whether the electricity is being used to charge a car or run a hair dryer they'll jack rates by 5,000% despite there being extensive regulation specifically intended to prevent such happenings?
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Why do people get so excited over electric vehicles? They are more dirty to produce then ICE cars....and they are dirtier to charge then a gas vehicle is to operate....I don't get the addiction. Oh...low prices now to drive them....WAIT. Wait till the power companies "can't supply enough energy" to charge them all and we either have to pay 50x what were paying now for all electricity or we have to have rolling black outs....it's coming boys and girls.... And those that don't think their utility bill will go from others driving these...it will.
[/Q]

Ghost, I don't think it's people per se, as much as I think that almost all major auto manufacturers are now building electric vehicles or will be bringing them to market very soon. Then once people can't blame the cars themselves for causing pollution they'll turn their attention to the fossil fuels that are still used in the process of building electric cars, along with the damage done by mining the earth to obtain the metals that are used to build batteries. Regardless, the automotive future is clearly electric and people won't have much choice other than to buy an electric car.
Why do people get so excited over electric vehicles? They are more dirty to produce then ICE cars....and they are dirtier to charge then a gas vehicle is to operate....I don't get the addiction. Oh...low prices now to drive them....WAIT. Wait till the power companies "can't supply enough energy" to charge them all and we either have to pay 50x what were paying now for all electricity or we have to have rolling black outs....it's coming boys and girls.... And those that don't think their utility bill will go from others driving these...it will.
Ghost I don't think it's about people getting excited as much as it's about the reality that we are going to have to accept that electric vehicles are here, and more are going to be introduced by every major automotive company in the future. For awhile I thought that hydrogen powered cars had a chance of supplanting the ICE, but again it looks like the the automotive world is currently embracing (and pushing) the electric car as its replacement.

As far as the amount of fossil fuels and the mining of minerals that it currently takes to produce and sustain electricity I'm thinking that as the popularity of electric cars rises so will the voices of environmentalist educating the public about the true cost of electric cars to the planet. Or we could help save the planet by going back to the horse and buggy times, though can you imagine how much horsesheet would result with our current population. ;)
 

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range still sux, and until I am able, for example, to drive to visit kinfolk in NC (665 miles) without charging I will not be purchasing a pure electric vehicle; a hybrid will be as close as I get.
Bill
 

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I wonder in how many areas of the world this would make the car illegal.
Does my safety system, esp, seat belt tensioner, theft system, ac etcetera still work when implementing this on a modern car
 

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range still sux, and until I am able, for example, to drive to visit kinfolk in NC (665 miles) without charging I will not be purchasing a pure electric vehicle; a hybrid will be as close as I get.
Bill
A good point that is going to require further advance in technology, a change in the transportation infrastructure, a realignment of peoples' thinking, or some of all three, to resolve.

Something to think about though is that something like 98% of cars in the US drive less than 100 miles per day, and the average is somewhere around 30. One option will be to do what many city-dwellers do and rent a car for trips out of town. My sister did that for several years when they lived in Chicago and a parking space for their car cost as much as their apartment! Even where I live, many people rent cars for trips so that they don't add miles to their car, or to get a newer, or more efficient, or bigger car for the trip.

I wonder in how many areas of the world this would make the car illegal.
Does my safety system, esp, seat belt tensioner, theft system, ac etcetera still work when implementing this on a modern car
There is no reason to think that any of the safety security or convenience equipment would not work as originally installed since only the vehicles motive power source is being changed. The biggest problem could be the beurocracy having to work out how to document the change in emissions status.
 

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Thanks John, read the article twice and still do not understand how for instance an ESP system could work when doing this. But hey, todays people also take their loved one for a ride in a 60s Mustang, so who cares about safety :)
 

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Thanks John, read the article twice and still do not understand how for instance an ESP system could work when doing this. But hey, todays people also take their loved one for a ride in a 60s Mustang, so who cares about safety :)
What do you think the problem would be? It seems to me that everything would be the same except for the electric motor replacing the internal combustion engine.
 

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There is no reason to think that any of the safety security or convenience equipment would not work as originally installed since only the vehicles motive power source is being changed. The biggest problem could be the beurocracy having to work out how to document the change in emissions status.
Except that the safety controls (ABS/Airbags, etc) reside within the ECM and/or BCM and replacing the engine means that the interfaces to those systems all have to be implemented correctly. I'm thinking of all the issues that folks have had with putting V8's in their cars.

Obviously not impossible, just the that ol' Devil is in those ol' Details :)
 

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Except that the safety controls (ABS/Airbags, etc) reside within the ECM and/or BCM and replacing the engine means that the interfaces to those systems all have to be implemented correctly. I'm thinking of all the issues that folks have had with putting V8's in their cars.

Obviously not impossible, just the that ol' Devil is in those ol' Details :)
For a vehicle that was set up with the ECM controlling those systems it would get complicated, but i wonder how many, if any, actually are. The Kappas aren't, and I don't think that my '13 Equinox is, but I'll have to check.

It does look like they are mainly looking at "classic car conversions" so it is possible that they haven't worked out any of the computer interfaces needed for modern vehicles.
 

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[QUOTE="JohnWR, post: 2199428, member: 6892]

Something to think about though is that something like 98% of cars in the US drive less than 100 miles per day, and the average is somewhere around 30. One option will be to do what many city-dwellers do and rent a car for trips out of town. My sister did that for several years when they lived in Chicago and a parking space for their car cost as much as their apartment! Even where I live, many people rent cars for trips so that they don't add miles to their car, or to get a newer, or more efficient, or bigger car.
[/QUOTE]

FWIW, just checked Enterprise online for my theoretical trip to NC. 10 days, full size car, unlimited miles: $1000+; my Buick Enclave, <$600/yr car insurance (no other costs).

in my case it doesn't make sense to rent... ever

Bill
 

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FWIW, just checked Enterprise online for my theoretical trip to NC. 10 days, full size car, unlimited miles: $1000+; my Buick Enclave, <$600/yr car insurance (no other costs).

in my case it doesn't make sense to rent... ever

Bill
As long as you have your Enclave and it is reliable transportation that is absolutely true, but what happens when it is no longer capable of making the trip? Or when it has to be replaced?
 
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