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Old 09-30-2014, 08:51 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Holden Barina 1994 EV Build thread

So i think i should start a build thread. If only to stop me polluting everyone else's threads with stuff about my build.

The plan.

Take the cheapest car i can find and convert it into a zippy EV.

On eBay and Gumtree the cheapest car is consistently the infamous Holden SB Barina.
A car made in Spain, imported into Australia.

First i went hunting for the reasons this car is so bad.

Practically everything i found that was wrong with this car was related to the engine.
Sweet, didn't want the internal combustion engine (ICE) anyway.

Now most people will think i am crazy but i really like the look of the Barina.
It is an honest car. Not trying to be something it isn't.
It doesn't have Mercedes look-a-like headlights. No BMW inspired styling.
It is a basic hatchback that just tries to be a basic hatchback.

The fact that it's engine woes make it super cheap is just a bonus.

Basically it blows head gaskets like it was an Olympic event.
Replacing the head gasket (a $10 part with a $700 labour charge) makes it non-viable for most people to repair.
Which makes it a prime target for recycling into an EV (well to my wacky perspective it does)

So car chosen, the search begins.
The tricky thing is to get one that has air conditioning (this is Australia after all) but is early enough to not have air-bags. No engineer in my state will touch a car with air-bags unless it is re-crash tested. A fact i only found out after removing all the ICE equipment and repairing all problems with a lovely silver hatchback. But that is a story for another thread, one with many tears.

The non-airbag vehicles were produced in 1994 and early 95. Unfortunately air conditioning wasn't standard until 1996. So i was looking for an early build but one that the original owner had taken the optional dealer fitted air conditioning.
Yes, that did narrow the field a bit. But eventually a donor was found.
Surprise, surprise it had a blown head gasket.
It was only 1000 kilometres away (600+ miles)... whoohoo roadtrip.
Well that was a long couple of days, a non stop 2000 kilometre (1200 miles or so) trip with a tandem trailer.

It was quite an adventure and well worth the effort if only to say we did it.






Once the car was in the garage the first thing i wanted to know was why the head gasket had blown. Not really required but i was curious. I found an intermittent coolant fan relay that only seemed to operate 50% of the time. A radiator full of gunk that totally insulated the temperature sensor from the coolant.
And a radiator fan that had one broken blade that had been wobbling so much it had been eating its way into radiator itself.



This car was never going to run again as an ICE vehicle.

So then the deconstruction began in earnest.

I kept the A/C circuit intact but the rest just had to go.
Shazam!


I will leave this first post there.

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Old 09-30-2014, 09:39 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Interesting. Do you have a motor and battery type in mind? What are you expecting for range? How are you going to power the AC?
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Old 09-30-2014, 09:45 AM   #3 (permalink)
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So what are the plans for the conversion?

Electric motor will be a 3 phase industrial motor, rewound to suit an EV.
Supplied buy Catavolt it is a 132m frame 75kw motor Custom wound to spec.
Partialy motivated by budget but also by wanting to do something a bit different. (yes, that will be a recurring theme in this build ).

Gearbox to remain.
Clutch to remain, may go with a different flywheel just to reduce weight.

Controller will be the most excellent Paul and Sabrina designed AC controller.
This controller is one of those rare devices that no accountants, marketing experts or cost cutting committees have been allowed to touch. It is built how the designer originally intended. If you don't know about this controller then give yourself a slap from me and head on over to Paul's thread.

Batteries will be Winston 40Ah cells, as many as will fit. The small size of the cells allows them to be squeezed into smaller areas of the car at the expense of more cells required and more cell top BMS modules. The plan is to mount them under the rear seat, taking the place of the fuel tank. If more cells are required than will fit in that space then they will go in the engine bay.
The pack under the rear seat will be a self contained and removable unit. It will also house the main contactor and the pre-charge contactor.
That way pack voltage will only leave the pack module when either the pre-charge or main contactor are active.
Monitoring this pack will be the Low Cost BMS. This will provide individual cell monitoring, charge control and top balancing on every charge. The low cost allows me to use smaller capacity cells which should be easier to squeeze in to the available space.

Power steering will have it's pressurised fluid supplied by a second hand electric power steering pump. These are available from most car wreckers for less than $50. Just make sure they are well mounted with their vibration insulators correctly attached. They can generate quite a bit of noise if not mounted properly.

Heater, this will be a cannibalised ceramic heater. It will take the place of the existing heater core. Very cheap, very effective, quick to heat up and very light weight.

Brakes. The vacuum assisted brakes will get their vacuum from a second hand vacuum pump (Hella UP28, 30 or 32) controlled by a Summit racing vacuum switch and relay.

The air conditioning will be via a pulley mounted to the rear shaft of the electric motor. I have read that the pressure generated whilst moving is enough to keep the A/C working whilst stopped at traffic lights. If not then i can always remove the existing compressor and fit an electric one sourced from a hybrid vehicle.

Well that's it for the second post.
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Old 09-30-2014, 10:30 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Woohoo, another EV build. I love these.
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Old 09-30-2014, 10:33 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nemo View Post
Interesting. Do you have a motor and battery type in mind? What are you expecting for range? How are you going to power the AC?
I have added the motor, battery and AC details.

The range is going to be minimal. This vehicles job will be to get me to and from work each day (well each day i bother to go ).
Round trip is a 42klm (26 miles).
I may have the option of topping up the charge whilst at work but i am not counting on it and so the daily distance will be 42klm.
Lots of traffic lights so the ability for the AC motor to do regeneration will help.
The speed will be quite low due to low speed limits. This will help as well as the wind resistance will be very low. Most of the trip will be limited to less than 60kph (37mph).
Also there will be no passengers further reducing weight and energy consumed.
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Old 09-30-2014, 11:15 AM   #6 (permalink)
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This should be a interesting build.


Quote:
Power steering will have it's pressurized fluid supplied by a second hand electric power steering pump.
That car has power steering...???

It is equivalent in size to my Metro and it does not have power steering or needed.

>
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Old 09-30-2014, 04:10 PM   #7 (permalink)
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You can always try something else to improve the efficiency of the air-conditioneer setup, such as adding some gel-filled pads that keep a little colder right after the compressor stops.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Astro View Post
most people will think i am crazy but i really like the look of the Barina
I also like its look.


Quote:
Basically it blows head gaskets like it was an Olympic event.
[/QUOTE]

I have some previous experiences with the Brazilian Chevrolet Corsa, which is basically the same car, and never had any head gasket issue. The only thing that really bothered the hell out of me was once that an ignition coil failed in a '01 Corsa sedan (which I guess was never available in Oz), leaving the engine firing only in 3 cylinders, about one month after getting the engine pressure-washed.
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Old 09-30-2014, 09:42 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cRiPpLe_rOoStEr View Post
You can always try something else to improve the efficiency of the air-conditioneer setup, such as adding some gel-filled pads that keep a little colder right after the compressor stops.
If i find i am stopped long enough for the A/C pressure to drop enough for the cooling effect to reduce then i can always slip the gearbox into neutral and give the motor a little rev to get the pressure back up again.
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Old 09-30-2014, 09:48 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Power steering will have it's pressurised fluid supplied by...
I had the same response as redneck: "this has power steering?"
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Old 10-01-2014, 12:13 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MetroMPG View Post
Subscribed.
I had the same response as redneck: "this has power steering?"
I know, it doesn't really need it. But because it was originally fitted with power steering the regulations say it has to have it after conversion to an EV.

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