EV conversions

LPG is not the only environmentally friendly fuel. This area is for discussing the alternatives.
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classicswede
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EV conversions

#1 Post by classicswede » Sun Sep 30, 2018 8:08 pm

For the past ten years or so I have been thinking about doing a electric conversion but the cost is very high still. There is a market for EV conversions and as the LPG conversion trade is slowing down is EV conversions teh way forward for some of use LPG installers?

Thoughts?
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Re: EV conversions

#2 Post by LPGC » Sun Sep 30, 2018 9:22 pm

I'm finding I'm busier than ever converting to LPG... Maybe because people now want to move away from diesels but aren't yet going to buy an EV with range, charge time and expense implications. These should be fantastic times for LPG converters and I'm finding that they are.
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redvanman
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Re: EV conversions

#3 Post by redvanman » Mon Oct 01, 2018 12:27 am

Talk about throwing the cat into the pigeons.
I can see a logical split in the argument, Simon is converting newer [10 years or less] and Classicswede converting older cars.
From a personal view im a petrolhead [both 2 and 4 wheels] but also a classic fan.
I can also see that Dai and Simon are both level headed professionals.
This should make one great debate.

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Re: EV conversions

#4 Post by LPGC » Mon Oct 01, 2018 11:16 am

Think I know where Dai's coming from with this and don't think there'll be much of an argument / debate here... "been thinking about doing a electric conversion but the cost is very high still"... Agreed.

I convert older vehicles too.

Plenty argument / heated debate on EVs versus ice and LPG converted ice vehicles on Pistonheads forum though! There's also the pure EV versus hybrid (EV with ice or ice with EV choose which way you want to look at it... but usually the latter would be more correct) side of debate, hybrids don't impose the limited range of a pure EV and the ice's in them can be converted to LPG.

Did anyone else see the episode of Wheeler Dealers where they bought an old Maserati that had had it's engine removed and replaced with lead/acid batteries and an electric motor well before they bought it (in the 80's)? Ed China then removed the lead acid batteries and fitted lithium-ion batteries, upgraded the motor and motor control electronics. The work cost around £20k in parts, the new setup gave the car similar acceleration to the original 80's model Maserati but with only around 70 miles range, they then sold it without a profit. They couldn't realistically instead have made it into a hybrid but they could have realistically instead fitted an engine and converted it to LPG for far less than the £20k, which would (for sure) have given it far more range than 70 miles and could easily have outperformed the original 80s Maserati... and then perhaps more likely have sold it for a profit.
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Re: EV conversions

#5 Post by redvanman » Mon Oct 01, 2018 7:09 pm

The Wheeler Dealer episode in question is now about 5 years old, if not older.
Just a thought but technology has progressed and price has surely reduced, what would be the price today.
In todays Mail was an article on living in the real world with EVs, its worth a read .

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Re: EV conversions

#6 Post by LPGC » Mon Oct 01, 2018 7:27 pm

On the flip side of 'What would the price be (of EV bits) today', what will the price be in 5 years time? And therefore how much of (say) £20k someone might spend today lose in devaluation over the period of rhe next 5 years...
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rich r
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Re: EV conversions

#7 Post by rich r » Mon Oct 01, 2018 7:32 pm

Personally a hybrid would suit my daily commute and allow for the occasional longer journey. But they're out of my price range for anything with a big estate boot (and ideally 4WD). Best candidate for me is the Volvo V60 diesel hybrid, but the boot's not that big. What I'd like to see one day is a pure electric drive car with a facility to take standard camping gas type canisters- maybe even the little screw on ones to run a small efficient LPG generator that's built in. That way you could just rock up at a supermarket, buy a canister that'll run the generator and recharge the battery with minimal emissions until you can get a proper electric hookup to charge it with grid electricity. It's probably not that practical, but one of those ideas you have when you're bored!

I think EV conversions could well be a viable option at some point - though I guess it's down to the safety factor of how you mount the battery pack (and cooling system) and wiring and any legislation that covers that. Bolting a motor onto the existing gearbox is probably the easier part of the job. It's converting the rest of the car's instrumentation to understand it that could be messy.

I have converted my old mountain bike to an e-bike - does that count? £200 kit for a controller, display unit, brake levers with cutout switches and a wheel with a hub motor, etc, and another £150 for a 10Ah lithium battery pack that fits where the bottle used to go. Ideal for popping into town to get shopping with little effort when the traffic's too bad to take the car.
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Re: EV conversions

#8 Post by LPGC » Tue Oct 02, 2018 10:34 pm

May have mentioned this on forum before (at least on some forum).. Laughing is allowed! My dad's mate, who'd had a stroke, used to go miles on his mobility scooter, always pushing it's range limits and had suffered flat batteries and been stranded on many occasions. He used to visit me on it, the first thing we always did was plug his scooter in to charge. Before he had another more devastating stroke my plan was to fit something almost exactly along the lines of your idea onto his scooter for him, it'd have to be an electric start genny and something that wasn't too obvious so he'd still be able to go into shops with it. It'd probably involve the smallest electric start lawnmower engine I could find coupled with a very small alternator.

I did some calcs a long time ago on a rather heated PH thread - seemed to me that an EV charged using electricity from a gas fired power station uses about the same amount of fuel (gas) as an ice powered car that does around 70mpg but the pure EV costs more in environmental terms to produce than the ice.

The problem with the little genny running from threaded portable gas tank idea for pure EVs, though, is that the small physical size gennies run up to to around 3kw capability, which is about the same as 4bhp which won't push a car at much speed and with such genny working at full capacity a little screw on gas tank will be empty in minutes rather than hours. If we're talking about a pure EV (which without our genny wouldn't have an engine) it'll need a decent size battery pack to give it fair (still small) range in the first place, some of the little EVs with 90 mile range have battery packs that are around 30kwh... which such 3kw genny working flat out would take 10 hours to charge... But, yes, if you were stuck 20 miles from home in a small pure EV and had the 3kw genny you might be able to run the genny for just an hour and then limp 20 miles home while keeping the genny running. If we scaled the genny and it's fuel tank up a bit (bigger kw genny - which is now semi industrial size and would usually be one of those 'frame' types, it could make a great bolt-on addition to an otherwise range restricted pure EV by bringing the benefits you said? But, then, why did it need the genny in the first place (range), and if we're using the genny often enough to justify it's presence and it's own expense at what point do the heavy battery and motor become the unnecessary dead weight and unnecessary best part of (say) £10k worth of expense... when the little car could maybe have achieved 70mpg on LPG without that dead weight anyway in a car that doesn't have anything like the same range restriction or refuelling/charging time issues.
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redvanman
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Re: EV conversions

#9 Post by redvanman » Wed Oct 03, 2018 12:40 am

Simon your logic and thinking is is spot on in all aspects except that the powers that be are slowly pulling the rug from under our feet and if there rules are not introduced by the front door, they will use the back door.
EV or trust the Germans with hydrogen again or hows your long term thoughts on fossil fuels

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Re: EV conversions

#10 Post by rich r » Wed Oct 03, 2018 8:02 pm

Well, it was worth a thought :)
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Re: EV conversions

#11 Post by N_Willmott » Wed Dec 05, 2018 10:10 pm

How long can LPG conversions last though?

With many cars from 2006 being DI and Ultra Low Emission Zones coming to a city near you (affecting quite a few petrol cars pre-2006), it seems LPG conversion will be becoming even more niche?!

Cheers.

Nige

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Re: EV conversions

#12 Post by LPGC » Thu Dec 06, 2018 11:07 am

N_Willmott wrote:
Wed Dec 05, 2018 10:10 pm
How long can LPG conversions last though?

With many cars from 2006 being DI and Ultra Low Emission Zones coming to a city near you (affecting quite a few petrol cars pre-2006), it seems LPG conversion will be becoming even more niche?!

Cheers.

Nige
I intend on sticking with LPG to find out how long! And in the meantime will enjoy not spending silly money on the type of car I don't want with poor range I don't want and long recharge times I don't want.

Some of the low emission zones may help LPG anyway, may depend how it goes, @Gilbertd has posted on this forum about the French emissions zones vignette system and how LPG converted vehicles are classed as low emissions. In Paris his LPG converted P38 Rangerover which would usually be classed as in band 4 (quite dirty emissions considering the bands only go up to 5) becomes band 2 because it's converted, band 2 the same as most petrol electric hybrids. Good! Bring more of this on! ;-)
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Brian_H
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Re: EV conversions

#13 Post by Brian_H » Thu Dec 06, 2018 9:02 pm

There are kits for DI engines, There is also engine conversions for the TX4 taxi and similar where they swap out the diesel one for one designed for mainly lpg use (think its a petrol/lpg setup, but designed for taxi work so intended to go all day every day etc and clock up lots of city miles). Biggest problem is finding filling stations in some places, but most of those that aren't silly about their prices seem to carry on providing it, which suggests they are making money from it.

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Re: EV conversions

#14 Post by N_Willmott » Wed Dec 12, 2018 12:01 pm

I've still got my 2002 reg old German because I want to stay on LPG as long as possible but the ULEZ coming to London and Birmingham (Leeds and Manc to follow suit) from the start of 2020 means that cars like mine will no longer be allowed in the zone unless you pay circa £10.00 per day.

I posted on here a couple of years back asking about DI conversions but nothing much of substance was posted back. I still haven't ever seen a DI conversion in the flesh and don't know of many DI conversions in the UK - installers websites would be plastered with them if they were happening. Also, whilst specific DI vehicles can be converted, you'd really have want to have that particular vehicle to go through the expense - e.g. you can't just choose any V8 Merc as a specific kit for it hasn't been developed so whats the point in a 1.8 VAG DI conversion!?

I don't think my next car is going to LPG unless I stick to something relatively old (non-DI) which is allowed in to the ULEZ (not much chance) or I find a convertor who does large engined DI V8s.

I often take taxis to the station and certainly most private hire drivers I talk to are either going for Euro VI diesels which will be allowed into the ULEZ or hybrid with one eye on electric.

Cheers.

Nige.

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Re: EV conversions

#15 Post by Brian_H » Wed Dec 12, 2018 4:26 pm

The ULEZ for petrol engines only requires euro III compliance - in London at least, not seen details of the rest. My 2001 registered vehicle does meet that according to the checker found online here > https://tfl.gov.uk/modes/driving/ultra- ... ecker-ulez

If you haven't already checked, its worth checking using the reg as you might be surprised, I was given the road tax on that is in the highest bracket for that year.

On the DI front best bet is look at it from what kits are available https://tinleytech.co.uk/shop/lpg-kits/ ... n-engines/ lists a few options currently available.

Looks like Birmingham is aiming for Euro IV though doesn't appear final plans are in place yet on that, so that may change.

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Re: EV conversions

#16 Post by N_Willmott » Wed Dec 12, 2018 5:47 pm

My V8 isn't allowed (already checked on that website).

Looking at the lists of DI vehicles that have been converted on the TT website, max displacement is circa 2.8L. No V8s or high power motors that I can see.

So has any installer on here converted any DI cars?

Cheers.

Nige.

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Re: EV conversions

#17 Post by Brian_H » Wed Dec 12, 2018 6:30 pm

Theres a 4.2l Audi Q7 on there. Thats the only one i can pick out as being 8 cylinder there might be others, though nowhere near to that size engine at least.

That list doesn't cover the SGIS kits (as noted on the page), you might be better off dropping Tinley an email or give them a call to see if they have a list of other possibities?

There is only 2 active installers on here - one is Simon (LPGC) and the other is Dai (Classicsweede) - Both have posted higher up in the thread, so you might get a response from them with any luck.

Trouble is once you go past 2006 the road tax based on Co2 goes through the roof, and the discount being only a tenner makes no odds when your looking at £540/555 for a year.

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Re: EV conversions

#18 Post by LPGC » Wed Dec 12, 2018 10:15 pm

Each supplier only stocks and sells stuff from a limited range of manufacturers.

It is possible to convert a direct injection petrol engine using either 1 an LPG port injection system (similar in most respects to the systems we fit on most vehicles where most vehicles are port injection) or by 2 using a fuel shunting system which uses the same (petrol DI) injectors to inject LPG instead of petrol. 2 Is possible because petrol DI systems run high fuel pressures at which LPG will also remain a liquid. In my view 1 will always make for compromises because a port injection LPG system working as a slave system to a direct injection petrol system can never completely follow the petrol system's fuelling strategy. But 2 can follow the petrol system's fuelling strategy perfectly well, because (as most on this forum know) the relevant properties of LPG are very similar to those of petrol. 1 Will always have to involve an electronic fix/ECU and some proportion of fuelling will always have to be petrol because the flow of fuel through petrol direct injectors keeps them cool and prevents them from damage, 2 Keeps those injectors even cooler than they would be running on petrol. 1 Will always require a vehicle specific ECU (or at least vehicle specific LPG ECU firmware), 2 Doesn't even necessarily need an LPG ECU at all. 1 Seems a bit of a fudge, 2 Is not a fudge at all. Summing up, I think 1 is a fudge that can never equal the results of running on petrol, it requires a special ECU and even then some petrol has to be used at the same time as LPG, but I think 2 is fairly simple and may even just boil down to a plumbing solution. Most currently available DI LPG systems fit in category 1 but category 2 is being developed and there are already plenty e.g. 5.0 supercharged DI RangeRover /Jag / Ford engines using cat2 type solutions... but where available type 2 is currently far more expensive than cat 1.
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Re: EV conversions

#19 Post by N_Willmott » Thu Dec 13, 2018 5:57 pm

How many type 1 or type 2 DI conversions have you done?

Cheers.

Nige.

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Re: EV conversions

#20 Post by LPGC » Thu Dec 13, 2018 7:05 pm

Hi Nige,
Only a handful of type 1, none of type 2. At the moment there are only maybe half a dozen companies making type 1 systems and just a couple making type 2 and type 2 is expensive.
But remember type 2 is in many ways theoretically simper than type 1, type 2 pretty much just involves plumbing. The type 2 plumbing solution though is in some ways more difficult than might seem.. Say the petrol system has a fuel return then it has to involve switching the fuel return as well as the fuel feed - a bit of petrol getting into the gas tank during switching from petrol to gas wouldn't be a problem but a bit of gas getting into the petrol tank would be a problem. Also, the plumbing solution means that the engine has to start on the last fuel it ran on, if the last fuel it ran on was gas some vehicles have cold start problems.
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