In a world where everything is going electric, can you guess which car is the best for conversion to EV? There are a couple of criteria that need to be met. Cars need to have an original combustion engine and need to be cool. Cool is maybe subjective, but let’s see a bit later do you agree with me.
Let me tell you something before we start. I think that my love for cars came from old Need For Speed games from the 2000s. So, yeah. In my opinion, the best car for EV Conversion is a bit older car, but still modern. Also, one site said that this car is in the top 20 JDM cars. Can you take a guess?
If you said Mazda RX-7 or Mazda MX-5 Miata you would be wrong. Not that these two cars are the wrong choice, but in my opinion, the one (RX-7) is too expensive and the other (MX-5) is maybe too small for someone that is 2 meters (6.5 feet) tall. So the best car for EV conversion is…
Can be found for cheap
Can be found for cheap where everything is working fine, everything instead of the engine. Mazda RX-8 is famous for its Wankel rotary engine which is very fun to drive and produces excellent sound. I will link some material if you want to know a bit more about rotary motors, but the problem with it is not so long life span. You can find an example that has only 80,000 km on the clock but needs a full motor rebuild. Furthermore, there are a lot fewer mechanics who know how to rebuild these motors, so some people usually do motor swaps. So this is ideal for EV conversion. We can get a JDM sports car for cheap with a bad motor but we are already planning to replace it. Everything else should be fine and there are not many known problems that are not engine-related.
It’s a beautiful sports car
It think this is objective, but if the mission is to make EV conversions fun, we can not do this by converting some cheap boring car, we need some flare.
There is a lot of space under the hood
Because the Mazda RX-8 uses a rotary engine which is extra small for horse power it provides, and a long hood or bonnet, there is a lot of space under the bonnet for EV parts. We can buy a motor, inverter, controller some secondary components, and even some batteries there. This is excellent because we can save some luggage space.
And of course, suicide doors
Yeah, back doors are suicide doors, which means that back doors open in the opposite of direction the car when it is moving and you could imagine what would happen if you open the back doors when doing on some decent speed.
Fun to drive
Apparently, the original Mazda RX-8 is very fun to drive. Power is going to the back wheels and balance is great. If we want to preserve this driving feeling, maybe we can put a smaller battery pack in cars that is even less than 20 Kwh and still have fun electric sports cars. The range would suffer for sure, but if you can live with 50 to 80km of range on the full charge, maybe that would be possible. But the Mazda RX-8 should always be fun to drive.
For the first conversion maybe their great option would be the motor and power-train from Nissan Leaf, even the old model. The motor and inverter originally produced 80 KW but with some mods, it can be safely pushed to around 100 KW. Also, we can reuse the Nissan Leaf battery pack (24KWh) and use that as well. We would need to use an open inverter open source controller board but everything else can come directly from the Nissan Leaf. The other option is the Hyper 9 Motor plus controller which may maybe the best option if you want a new motor and power train that is not taken from some second-hand car.
And that is it. As I already said. Maybe the best car for EV conversion is the Mazda RX-8.
It should be interesting to try this by buying a Mazda RX-8 and extracting the engine and everything combustion related. Then we can try using the Hyper 9 motor or Nissan Leaf motor and power train in order to have, a cheap electric sports car that is much cheaper than anything that you can buy new. That is all for now see you at the next one.