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Thread: Ex-7 - Electric RX-7 conversion

  1. #1
    Low Bitrate no_hazmats's Avatar
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    Ex-7 - Electric RX-7 conversion

    Hi,

    This is a continuation of what started as the "ElectraVan" project. The van lost it's suitability for a conversion and carputer platform, so I'm taking the components: Batteries, Motor, Controller, Charger, etc., and installing them in this cool 1988 Mazda RX-7 that I found with a bad engine. The project is moving quickly now, so I hope to be posting updates regularly until it's done.

    Here's the car in my buddy's workshop - he's doing all the mechanical updates for the conversion from stinky to clean electric drive:


    We wanted to get rid of the transmission completely, but we still need some kind of gear reducer and were unable to find anything suitable. So we kept the tranny for the time being, but got rid of the clutch & flywheel and direct-connected the motor to the input shaft of the transmission. Here's the motor installed and racks for 4 batteries above the motor and 2 more in front with the rack for the controller next to them:



    The car will have 20 lead-acid batteries: 10 in the trunk, 4 behind the seats in the area below where the top folds down (in former spare tire space. The Spare will be replaced with a can of fix-a-flat and a AAA card), and 6 in front. If we could get rid of the transmission and move the motor further back into the hump, we could have fit 2-4 more batteries in the front for better weight distribution. Hopefully that's a future mod. Here is a view looking behind the seats into the trunk area. The rack in the foreground is for 4 batteries behind the seats, and further back you can see the trunk, where we cut out the floor to lower the batteries as much as was could. There is a space just in front the the rack (see 4 studs?) Those studs will hold the battery charger, and the area to the left will hold the carputer and audio amplifier:



    Finally a view of the gutted interior. Series II RX-7's had a huge Pioneer radio in the center console. The lilliput will mount there along with a few other controls for the hybrid drive. I will also have a Labjack Data Aquisition Device (Similar to a Fusion Brain) that will manage and monitor all the EV Systems and provide status and control:



    That's it for now. I'm happy to answer any questions and I'll be posting a lot more as we finish the wiring and begin driving it.

    Shep
    Shep

  2. #2
    Mod - all of it.
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    Would love to see the pics. They are not showing.
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  3. #3
    FLAC
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    whats the motivation for this? the added weight of the battery would take a lot from the car's efficiency.

  4. #4
    Low Bitrate no_hazmats's Avatar
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    drewbp - Um, not sure why the pics aren't showing up - I can see them. I'll check on it.

    Punky - we removed over 500 lbs from the car - engine exhaust, fuel tank, etc. and are adding about 1200 lbs of batteries and another 200lbs of motor, controller, etc.

    Here's the deal. I buy wind electricity at home. Electric rates are such that the energy required to drive a mile in an EV cost less than 1/4 the cost of an equivalent amount of gasoline. Since I'm using wind to charge the batteries, I will literally be driving on wind power at 1/4 the cost of gas. Does the extra weight make the car heavier and use more energy - yes. But it's way more than offset by the cost and environmental benefits.

    Details are on the ElectraVan thread, but this car will also have a part-time hybrid option. I'm hopeful that as an all-electric car, the EX-7 will get better than 100 miles on a charge. That will let me commute to/from work on a single charge with plenty of reserve. For longer trips, A very small trailer will carry a 30HP gas powered generator. It's not tested yet, but the generator will at least extend the range to 200-300 miles (Depending on speed, terrain, etc.), and hopefully will be sufficient to keep the batteries up for extended trips. If I don't need the generator, I can leave it at home.
    Shep

  5. #5
    is back. FKA Robert Wray
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    From our programmer: sorry rob those attachments don't exist on the server. Whoever posted that will need to re upload them. Not sure why they never got uploaded but those attachments aren't there. Weird. I would love to see pics too.

  6. #6
    Low Bitrate no_hazmats's Avatar
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    The Pictures

    Here they are:

    Name:  RX-7 in Mod.jpg
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    Shep

  7. #7
    Low Bitrate no_hazmats's Avatar
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    Hybrid Drive COntroller Screens

    If I have the pics thing working now, here are some screen shots from the controller program I've been developing. Data will come from onboard sensors and from a serial link out of the controller. It will be integrated and stored on the carputer, and real-time displays on the touch screen. The program I'm using will let me create a button to minimize it, allowing me to jump back to the front end if I want. I still haven't quite figured out about embedded aps in RR and I'm not up to speed on centrafuse. Any thoughts on using either of those with custom aps - seamlessly?

    Here's the splash page (I need to get a better pic of the actual car for this one):

    Name:  Splash.JPG
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    This page has gauges for battery status. Top row is for the 240V main propulsion pack and the bottom row is for the 12V aux. battery:

    Name:  gauges.JPG
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    This page is is an early stage of what I hope will be a useful performance / economy monitor. Each quadrant of the big bar graph in the middle represents energy flow to & from the battery pack and hybrid generator as well as regenerative energy during braking. Bottom graph will be a cumulative economy monitor:

    Name:  Prototype Performance Display.JPG
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    This screen will be a status for the generator, battery and controller/motor. Icons will be dynamic - will flash, change colors, or have a symbol overlay to add information. Pressing on any icon will go to a details page. I hope to have this pop up if there is an alert:

    Name:  Hybrid.JPG
Views: 5650
Size:  51.9 KB

    I'd love any comments on RR vs. Centrafuse as a front end to integrate with this....
    Shep

  8. #8
    Constant Bitrate Mage's Avatar
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    Love this idea, but why lead acid vs the less waight/more power lithium ion?

    good luck.

    Mage
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  9. #9
    MySQL Error soundman98's Avatar
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    very cool-- keep us posted!

  10. #10
    FLAC
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    Wow, awesome project. With your batteries, how many Ahr in total reserve will you have? Also, what is the HP (or kW) rating of the motor that you plan on installing? I've seen some electric car projects, but they were mostly done on small pickup trucks due to the ability to carry more batteries in the back and get better range (despite the extra weight). Either that, or done on a super light car like a Geo Metro. An rx-7 will be interesting.

    Your estimate of 100 miles per charge...that seems a bit low isnt it (for a typical electric car project)? After 100 miles, do you know approximately what depth of discharge your batteries will be at?

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