Sunday, April 2, 2017

FORK IN THE ROAD

The Fiero EV project has been a great experience filled with ups and downs over the last 5 years. My dream was always to take a build to EVCCON and that dream came true in 2015, although the event was actually canceled and only a scaled down version was held. 

My original thoughts were to purchase a lead acid conversion and just add the lithium batteries but that path went to the wayside when the original Curtis controller blew up, just as I was ready to start working on the Fiero.

Now I am faced with a fork in the road as after the Synkromotive controller caught on fire, I am really back to square 1! One lesson learned was that you do not want to do a build with old technology. When the Fiero was purchased, most conversions used DC motors and the HPEVS three phase motors were just being introduced. Prior that the introduction of this motor, AC motors and controllers were a very costly proposition. Now with the HPEVS motors and re-purposing of OEM motors, companies like EVNETICS and Synkromotive have ceased producing DC controllers for EVs.  


FORK IN THE ROAD

EVTV is offering a Siemens motor and air cooled DEMOC controller for around $1500, but just as the original purchase of the Fiero, this is old technology and is quickly being replaced by much lighter and more efficient motors and controllers. The Siemens motor is 190 lbs and the DEMOC controller is 60 lbs. That would be an increase of almost 120 lbs over the DC set up currently in the car using basically obsolete components.


AIR COOLED DEMOC




SIEMENS MOTOR

Couple this with the fact that used OEM EVs depreciate rapidly and are being resold at a fraction of their original price leaves one with the decision of whether to convert or pick up used OEM EV that still has a battery and drivetrain warranty. Currently a Fiat 500 E can be purchased on ebay for between $5000 and $6000. Decisions.....decisions!


FIAT 500 E

Between better motor/controller efficiency and lighter, more powerful, and safer battery technologies, does it really make sense to put the Fiero back on the road with the currently available components. Also, I am more of a mechanic and do not do well with the programming portion of the currently available OEM component technology, so struggle even pulling up a terminal session to set the parameters.  

With all of that said, the Fiero EV was still a fun and functional car to drive and with the 2 Better Place modules that were installed, had a good 50 mile range when driven moderately. So the question becomes, do I sell the car with the battery module for a little over the cost of the battery modules or dive back in and get it back on the road?


THE FIERO EV

If any of you have any input, I would be glad to hear from you.

Until next time,

Randy
Post a Comment