I did a lot of study for this project. Looking back I don't know half as much as I should know, but before I started I exhausted myself researching. I bought books, I read a website of another guy who did an electric Mini in Canada - I'd give the link but the website is no longer working.
I looked at YouTubes, browsed EV supplier sites, etc etc.
I've still got this envelope beside my bed. I'm finding it hard to remember what it all means now but I was comparing different batteries out there, based on weight, amp hours, size and price. I wanted the car to drive 100 miles on a single charge. That was the goal. However that's a lot of battery weight for the Mini!
Then of course there are different kinds of batteries. Lead-acid are out of the question. I'd be lucky to get 25 miles out of a Mini full of those. There's a new kind of battery that is just being invented now, it's through the roof expensive and sure, you get what you pay for. Then there is lithium iron phosphate which seems like the best option these days. In ten years when my batteries go bad the technology will be different and I can upgrade the battery pack, but for now the LiFePO4 batteries seemed the way to go.
Study, study and more study and finally I stumbled across EV West in San Diego,
driving distance from LA. Not only did they have a website and store with everything I needed and then some, with competitive prices, but they have a YouTube Channel
and were really awesome when I emailed them, answering all my questions. I was surprised that they were so helpful before I even paid them a penny, they seemed to be really solid guys!
So I went down there! It was amazing! They basically are EV geeks. It blows my mind how you can go to work every day and that's all you do! I can understand doing one car as a hobby, but to know and basically live emanating EVness.. Well that's another level! They had several cool electric cars, including a Ferrari that had an insane electric motor setup and amazing power! Michael also took me for a drive in his VW Bus and I was quite impressed.
Trodgor barely made it down there and barely made it back with the Suzuki engine (and then was back on the lift for a while!) but the guys at EV West got all excited about it. They said that it would be a perfect car for the conversion, and they wanted to do the challenge themselves! While it would have been nice for them to do the work, I kinda wanted to do the work myself, but I left there having learned a lot in the short visit.
I had learned that Trogdor would be a good candidate, they told me about used Tesla batteries that would fit perfectly in the back seat section and were better than any of the other batteries I had looked at, and ten times cheaper. They also said something about "bottom balancing" that got me really scared. Apparently something about once you finish all the work if you don't bottom balance the batteries you ruin everything.
(Don't worry, it turns out it's easy, but at the time it freaked me out!)
Anyway I came back and went back to studying more and doing other little jobs on the car until I was ready to go shopping!
Edited by Anchoright, 28 August 2016 - 11:35 PM.