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xpedro01 01-16-2015 03:37 PM

Project: Nissan Leaf drivetrain into '02 Honda Insight
5 Attachment(s)
[ Admin edit: see xpedro01's past project, the AeroSprite -- aero & mechanically modified Austin Healey Sprite ]

My current project is a big one for me. I was the successful bidder on a wrecked 2013 Nissan Leaf and I am working on putting its e-integrated power train and the 400+ pounds of battery into the hull of an insight Honda-2002.

This will be about 1000 pounds lighter than the leaf and with the slightly better CD (.25 vs .29) should give over 125 miles of range. Top speed will be in the low 80's, because of rpm limits on the motor of 10k. On the leaf it is 90+ but this will be slightly smaller tires.

If I am successful, i will do posts on this.

The hull I am getting is in Washington and is now ready for the trip to Kansas. I expect the project to take at least all winter. Here is my plan for the leaf battery mounting:

Here are the batteries:

And here is the engine and front end stuff replacement.

It uses a 108 HP liquid cooled motor. Since there are over 150,000 of them now roving around the world with no big bugs, I feel fairly safe with this layout. It is also much cheaper since I have most problems, like 14 volt charger, 360 volt charger, 108 HP 3phase inverter, 3 phase air conditioner motor with separate inverter and is a heat pump (Hot and Cold), + a gear reduction and differential that can handle the torque of a 100+HP motor x7.8 reduction.

Daox 01-16-2015 03:42 PM

Wow, quite the ambitious project. We'd love to hear updates as you go about the conversion.

redpoint5 01-16-2015 04:33 PM

These are the projects I love to hear about. I can only imagine all the figuring you have been doing in regards to feasibility. Sounds fun!

vskid3 01-16-2015 09:02 PM


Originally Posted by xpedro01 (Post 463999)
This will be about 1000 pounds lighter than the leaf and with the slightly better CD (.25 vs .29) should give over 125 miles of range.

Don't forget that the Insight has less frontal area as well. Can't wait to see what the final range is.

minispeed 01-16-2015 09:33 PM

Wow you stole my idea! As the owner of a 2015 leaf and an old mini cooper s I've already started playing around with maybe gutting the leaf near the end of it's life cycle and putting it in the mini. Of coarse that would not be a big aero benefit if any, think CD around 0.5 but with a tiny frontal area. It would be for low weight and performance, 1400-1600 lbs I'd guess, and I'd also drive the rear wheels!

I was also planning a similar layout to yours for the batteries, glad to see that the big pack is 36 in since the mini is only 48 in wide. I'd probably put the 2 8 module packs in the front and the 2 small packs under the seats.

I've also looked at the iMiev and smart. They have the advantage of already being rwd I may be able to just drop the subframe and weld it in instead of adopting something. There are many rwd conversions for the mini to use.

PS I've gone 143 miles on a single charge, at the end it was all babying it but for the first 90 miles it was just slow careful city driving. I bet you could break 200 if the battery is in ok shape.

California98Civic 01-16-2015 10:06 PM

Cool. Subscribed.

UltArc 01-17-2015 01:49 AM

Subscribed. Like California, posting to show my interest- excited to see the results!

Xist 01-17-2015 06:18 AM


Originally Posted by minispeed (Post 464049)
Of coarse that would not be a big aero benefit if any, think CD around 0.5

You can fix that! :D

xpedro01 01-17-2015 11:20 AM

XIST: According to ECOMODDERS chart, the CDA is 5.00 for the insight and 6.94 for the LEAF. To me, that meant the insight should go 1.38 times as far,since the weight of the leaf is about 1.5 times as heavy.
The hull is finally on its 1440 mile trek. It should be here within a week.

xpedro01 01-17-2015 11:51 AM

MINISPEED; From what I have seen of the insides of the leaf, it should be a long time before it wears out. It is built like a truck. Since they are being sold in 34 countries, to make one size fit all requires that they be very tough. The battery case ( which I will not be using) weighs 200 pounds and is pressurized.
I got my leaf by bidding on "SALVAGE NISSAN LEAF" on the internet. On my 4th attempt, I WON. Now I will just need to spend months playing in the garage. My biggest problem, I think, is the axle shafts, as the LEAF is 4 inches wider than the Honda. You may not have that problem with the Mini. Keep researching.

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