Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Chapter ,2 ½ rust rust rust!!!

When I bought my Trabant I thought I was verry careful at checking the car for rust. apperently i overlooked two fist zized spots partly hidden by non corosive dünoplast parts where corotion had and was still having a party and turning my chassis into redbrown chunks of cornflakes.

Apparentley one of the cars former owners had tried to stop this by stufing old newspapers in the hole. Err... and when the car gets wet the papers soak and stays wet for more rust to come. "GOSH that was smart, that has to be dumbest way of dealing with rust, unless you are actually trying to get it to spread!"

It is a god thing that I know a nice workshop that deals with such things.

So of to the workshop it went.

Through fixing rust costs money I still got the trabant and rustwork at a price were it is still compensating for buying one in better condition.

But genneraly to all you out there. Try to get a fresh corps for your frankenstein!
-Yes master!

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Chapter 4, Potbox

The Potbox:

Okay this is the box in which you keep your stash... Cause there is nothing like a fresh rolled joint when you ride around in your electric car Hippie!

Just joking.
Infact the pot-box is the speed regulator of an electric car. It is named this way because it is a box in which there is a potentiometer otherwise known as a pot-meter.
And what is that, you might ask. A potentiometer is a resistor which can be regulated. like when you turn a turn key on an amplifier or radio.

But it is of cause not directly adjusting the high voltage from the battery pack since potentiometers are small sensible precision things. So here is the way it functions:

The controller is the thing which regulates the high voltage from the battery-pack to the motor. The way the controller knows how much power to send out to the motor is by sending a low voltage signal to the Potbox. the potbox is conected to the speeder cable. depending on the pressure on the gas pedal the postbox is going to alter the amount of this signal curent going back to the controller which will make the controller turn the amount of power going to the motor, and thereby the speed of the car, up or down.

You can see the little holes for connecting the speeder cable on the little arm sticking up from the box.

Normally the price of a potbox is around USD 150.- or DKR 800.- + shipping and handling fee.
If you are going to buy a well-known brand like Curtis of a web page which specializes in electric car.

But you can also search a little around for the specifications of the potbox you need. Like I knew that I wanted one that was regulating 0-5 Kilo Ohms. So I came across this nice little thing you can see on the picture above for USD 65.- that is DKR 350.- including shipment. I ended up buying that and a couple of weeks ago I received it.

Here is the link for the place I found it.

There is probably some other electric vehicle interested people out there who is thinking, why does he buy the Pot-box before the controller? Since the Potbox must fit the controller, rather than the other way around as the controller is a big expensive thing, and the pot-box is not.

I can tell you why. It is because I have already settled on a controller. it is going to be the home made open source controller, ether made from the kit you can buy, or from parts located around in shops here in Denmark, the last is if I can get one of my friends relatives to help me find the right parts.

Chapter 3, Measuring for the New Engine


With the old engine out it is time to measure and find out exatcly what can fit in the space between the gearbox and the wheelcover. You can gain a little extra space by trimming the wheel cover. But be aware you don’t want to interfere with the wheels and if a part of your motor is sticking in there you got to develop some way to protect it against grime thrown from the wheels.

I figured that there was about 40 cm from the edge of my gearbox to the wall of the wheel cover. That is not much but I still got fair amounts of motors to choose from. I picked a 9" Kostov motor: The motor is 24 Kw and got switching stator field; meaning that I can change its configurations: See the diagram on the drawing above. so I can choose between high torque and high Rpm. which can help me economize my battery power during different driving condition.

In comparison the original two stroke petrol engine is 19.1 Kw so I definitely expect the new engine to improve its overall specifications.

Generally electric cars got better acceleration than fuel cars of same motor size, because they have a high peak output. eg mine has a peak of 100 Hp meaning that it can give an output of 100 Hp for a shorter time on the maximal rated power. However after a short time the power output drops to its continuous 31.7 Hp. A peak output in some form can be reached from all currents given to the motor.

Try squeezing 100 Hp out of a 31 Hp gasoline car :-)

Of cause you cant squease all that power out of the car if you don’t have batteries which can take the Amps the motor is sending back but that is a concern I will deal with later on when I write about the battery pack.

Adaptor :
Okay you cant just replace a cars engine with another like if they were Lego bricks, Because the gearbox is made to exactly fit one or a few types of motors.
To make it fit you have to make an adaptor plate fitting the motor to the gearbox. You will also need to have a torque adaptor connecting the power shaft of the motor to the shaft of the gearbox.
The nice people from Kostov Motors are making a custom adaptor plate for the motor :-) so I dont have to machine one or find a workshop to do it.
I just needed to do the drafting explaining how I wanted the thing to look. Then they send me a cad drawing for me to check if the measures are right: I have completed the order and I am now only waiting for the reply from Kostov Motors explaining that my motor is done and ready to be shipped.
Untill then take a look at this electric car utilizing its peak preformance to beat mucelcars on the drag race strip:

Friday, 15 October 2010

Chapter 2, Removing the engine.

The conversion starts.

This is a last look at the original two stroke 23 Hp engine.

The cold winter was finally over. Time to get out in the warm sun and work on the electric car. The motor, gas tank, exhaust system and everything else concerning internal combustion will need to be removed.

It is fun to notice how simple and easy a Trabant is constructed. I could remove everything with only a few essential tools. This is a car meant for people to be able to fix themselves I wish they would construct new cars with the same thing in mind

First thing to come out is the gas tank and parts of the exhaust system...

...And then the motor. which was so easy that it could be pooled out by hand.

Remember to mark the wires and cables going to and from the engine so you know which one to use and connect to the new electric components.

Wow it only took a day and now the engine compartment is totally empty and almost ready for the arrival of the electric motor. It was a fun and interesting experience to pool that motor out.

Then the grubby scullery maid task of cleaning the engine compartment, and believe me it was dirty...

...afterwards it is time to remove some rust. I chose to paint the gearbox so it would look nice next to my new motor.

The next day I could start taking measures for the new motor and the adaptor plate.

Chapter 1, The Trabant

Getting Started

The first thing you need before starting such a project is the basic car. This is the foundation of your project as this car is going to end up as your future electric car.
Some people, who work with electric cars, like to call this the "donor car”,
(I have never understood this phrase because the car would be receiving the "transplant" in the shape of new components, rather than providing any "Organs" except for its main body and majority... But never mind that I am not a doctor :-D)

There are not many limitations when picking the car for your conversion, but there are some golden rules you can follow to get the best possible result.

1) Get a small and light car!
A light car demands less energy to move. Meaning you can get longer for a smaller amount of electricity. Again meaning you don't have to buy a large expensive battery-pack to power your vehicle.

2) Preferably a simple car!
The power steering and air-condition of many modern cars are powered by the engine. This means that you have to buy electric pumps and special motors to power them. Further they drain your battery-pack meaning you get less reach or would have to buy more batteries. So once again -$!!!

3) Battery-space!
Because the batteries will need some space.

I chose a Trabant because:
*I like Trabants :-) they are fun to drive and work with!
*They are simple (no air-condition, no power steering, no vacuum brake pump)
*They have a god amount of battery space.
*They only weigh 615 kg.


(If you don’t want to read about nonrelated chaos, then skip to the moral)

I found mine in Køge Denmark and drew it home to Odense, on its own power. Or rather I drew it half of the way on its own power and then it broke down a and got poled for some time.

This is before it broke down. It was actually driving quit good, at a time I was driving and singing behind the wheel having a jolly time. Right until, I got to the Storebelt's brige, where it ran short on gas. Yes this was my fault I thought I had checked it before going on the highway but apparently I underestimated its fuel consumption, and I wasn't used to driving a car without a fuel-gauge. So I had to stand for an hour in the middle of the iciest winter in a decade on the middle of the bridge waiting for my mother to arrive with a gas cane.

After my little mistake the car gave totally up on trying to be perfect! In Nyborg (the town right after the bridge) it broke down twice because the generator wasn't charging and the battery had gone flat from waiting with the warning lights on at the bridge.

Then it only broke down twice in Langeskov and Twice in Odense before getting pushed by my mother’s car for the last 200 meters to our house.

I don't remember all the chaos and exactly how I got from one brake down to the other. My mothers car and jumper cables was a big help but for some time I bet that the Trabant and I got taken on board a UFO and carried for several Kilometers cause some parts of that journey has been supersede from my memory!

For all the Trabant fans out there:
I am not saying that Trabant is an unreliable car. Just don't expect anything from a 2000.-DKR car which has been sitting in a yard for several years!

But SCREW that because that stinking engine is being pulled out anyway.


You haven’t picked the car for its engine so perhaps you shouldn’t trust it for its last gas engine trip

Transport the car on a trailer if you are in doubt it can make it to the garage.

Monday, 11 October 2010


This blog is dedicated to the electric Trabant I am making in my spare time. Due to the fact that things are actually starting to happen around my project I now feel it is time to write a blog about it. And what better time to get my blog started than now as I wait for the 24 KW DC motor I have ordered.

Introduction to my project:

Around four years ago it came to my attention that a lot of armatures were driving around in electric cars they had build themselves from old conventional fueled cars. I was astonished back then to learn that you didn’t have to be an electric engineer in order to make such a thing function right and i was further surprised to learn that many of the cars they were building were both cheaper and better than many of the factory made electric cars. Full of eager I started to gather as much information on the subject as I could to prepare my self for the day where i would start such a project. And that day has come. in fact. it did so over half a year ago in February 2010

Something important?

This is taking place in Denmark, and as fare as I know this is the first time this type of armature electric car is being build in Denmark.
The Danish politicians and media is always talking on about the environment and saving co2. but most of their solution to the pollution and dependency of foreign oil created by our cars is to buy new and more fuel efficient cars... LAME!!! because:
1) New cars still pollutes!
2) Production of the new car and disposal of the old one creates a huge amount of pollution and uses a lot of energy.
3) Car efficiency toped in the late 80'ies there are not many changes left to do in order to make the internal combustion engine more efficient. plus a heavier shell and consuming air-condition means that you have to pick a smaller car in order to get a lower consumption and pollution.

But if I should somehow inspire some people out there to get hold of an old car, that perhaps otherwise would be sent to the scrapping yard, and refit it with an electric motor and a battery pack you would not only avoid the 3 issues mentioned, but if you did it in Denmark and charged the car at night, you would get pure renewable energy as the windmills (taking up 20% of our daily electricity production) produces all our energy at night when we are sleeping.

Until I get more time to write more, further information about my project can be obtained here: