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  1. G. David Felt Staff Writer Alternative Energy - www.CheersandGears.com Tesla has set the auto world on fire with their sedan and now their Tesla X CUV. While most of us cannot afford a $100,000 dollar plus auto, what about our older auto's? Does it make sense to convert a traditional gas powered auto to an EV? Should I wait till a lower priced EV arrives like the Chevy Bolt? Many states have come out strong in their support for CNG home and business fueling equipment such as Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, and Texas. Other states have come out strong pushing to having people go electric and add electric chargers to your home such as Washington and Oregon. One large state pushing CNG, Electric and Hydrogen, is California. The average conversion on a petrol powered auto to CNG tends to run $10K to $15K depending on the size of the CNG tank and then you have fueling equipment if you want to fuel from home that runs from $5K to $10K depending on size. This means an average person converting an auto to CNG is looking at $15K to $25K price and can be even more if you buy a new CNG auto. You have many choices in the EV field such as the Nissan Leaf, Chevy Spark EV, Fiat 500 EV and a few others that all run in the 60 to 80 mile range of electric auto's. The upcoming Chevy Bolt is a 200 mile range EV which many feel will make an impact on autos sales. These are the EV's that are all in the $25K to $35K range depending on federal subsidies. So with thinking about the current EV's on the market and what is coming, does it make sense to convert an existing auto to electric? What is the cost of conversion and what are my options as I hear about AC versus DC driven autos? What should I have at my home to charge the auto? This is what I took as I thought about my own auto's I own and realizing that a big 6'6" 280lb man who drives full size SUV's, GMC Suburban and Escalade, finds it hard to find a greener solution in the full size SUV arena. As such, I choose to research what it would cost to convert my 1994 GMC SLE Suburban which has a modified 402 V8 500HP, 551lbs of Torque engine that requires Premium fuel or CNG to drive. In researching this I found that there are many pros and cons of AC versus DC motors. AC or alternating current electric motors and DC or Direct current electric motors are both able to achieve the job of moving an auto but are engineered a bit differently. DC current will not work with an AC motor nor will a AC current work with a DC motor. AC motors are divided into single phase and three phase motors. Single phase AC is what you typically find in a home, triple phase is commonly found in factory or commercial space, but can also be installed at a home. Today OEM auto makers are mostly using AC motors. DC motors also find themselves split into three types, brush motors, brushless motors and stepper motors. Brushed DC motors as found on Golf carts and many other small electric driven carts are easy to build and cost effective but their large drawback is that the carbon brushes used to transfer electrical current wear over time and eventually end in motor failure. Stepper motors are a brushless DC motor most commonly found in robotics/ automation. Not something you would use in an auto. The DC brushless motor eliminates brushes, is more costly to build and requires a complicated electronics system to operate but has long life and is usually what you find in EV's either converted or OEM built for the auto industry. So now that we know what the difference is between AC and DC motors, what are the advantages and disadvantages of these motors? Advantages of DC (Direct Current) motors are as follows: 1) Provide excellent speed control for acceleration and deceleration. 2) Easy to understand and design. 3) Inexpensive drive design. Disadvantages of DC motors are as follows: 1) High maintenance 2) Vulnerable to dust which decreases performance Advantages of AC (Alternating Current) motors are as follows: 1) Low cost due to simple design of the motor. 2) Generally smaller form factor. 3) Reliable operation, due to low maintenance, very rugged. Disadvantages of AC motors are as follows: 1) Low speed challenges 2) Back EMF (electromotive force) issues. This is where current in the loop of the motor that slows down the motor and has to be overcome. With all the advantages and disadvantages there are some situations that still demand a DC motor or a high performance AC motor. For long life and performance cooling is a requirement. This requires a premium efficient or energy efficient motor with proper air or liquid cooling. So knowing what I have in my suburban and wanting to keep it as true as possible as an auto that has its heaters, AC and the rest of the electronics ended up leaving me with the following parts list. EV Conversion Part List and Cost as supplied by www.electriccarpartscompany.com. This is a parts list with cost not including shipping or installation. 2 - Warp11 72-156v 453amp DC Motors will cost $5810.00 1 - Dual Motor Siamese adapter for Warp11 motors will cost $599.00 1-Air Conditioner Compressor will cost $864.00 1-Electric Power Steering Pump kit will cost $985.00 2-1000amp Zilla Motor controller will cost $3717.00 1-PB2 Pot Box Throttle will cost $99.00 1-Motor Adapter Plate and Spacer Ring will cost $450.00 1-Interconnecting Hub will cost $365.00 1-55amp DC-DC converter will cost $124.00 1-500A Fuse will cost $65.00 1-Fuse Holder will cost $65.00 1-12v 500amp contactor will cost $72.00 1-Inertia Switch will cost $57.00 1-Amp/Voltage meter with 500amp shunt will cost $108.00 1-QET 2000 watt 144v model P charger will cost $603.00 1 - 250V, 10-30A Locking Plugs, sockets, inlets & Bezel - $105.00 1-Orion BMS configured for 48 cells will cost $1131.00 Part Cost $15,219 which gives me an EV motor solution of 1000lbs of torque with near identical HP. 90 mile battery pack 48 -180Ah Calb CA180FI cells with bus bars, bolts and washers will cost $11,448.00 200 mile battery pack 48 - 400Ah LiFePo4 Lithium Prismatic cells with bus bars, bolts and washers will cost $28,032.00 90 Mile Solution Installation cost approximately $20,000.00 Part Cost approximately $15,219.00 90 mile battery pack $11,448.00 Total Cost $46,667.00 200 Mile Solution Installation cost approximately $20,000.00 Part Cost approximately $15,219.00 200 mile battery pack $28,032.00 Total Cost $63,032.00 With an overview of AC versus DC motors and having researched the installation, parts and battery pack, I have two options, a $47K 90 mile option or a $63K 200 mile option. Knowing that a new Suburban can run from $40K to $75K dollars, which makes sense? Buy a new petrol suburban or rebuild my existing Suburban to be EV? I think this really comes down to a personal choice as you have to decide if your old auto is worth more to refit as an EV or stay with petrol and drive a new one. Personally, I am leaning towards the EV conversion as my 94 GMC SLE Suburban is in mint condition, paid for and the cost of conversion would give me a 30Amp quick charging solution that long term would end up paying for itself I believe. In the end if you are interested in converting your auto to electric, you have a number of choices. The following web sites offer a complete catalog of parts for those that want to engineer the complete solution. They also offer Conversion kits that cover many popular cars and trucks. Which is right for you, can only be decided by your own choice of what you want to accomplish. http://www.electric-cars-are-for-girls.com/electric-car-conversion-kit.html http://www.evwest.com/catalog/index.php?cPath=40&osCsid=ve0hk6f1hpvnt5mk78pvuqosk2 http://www.electriccarpartscompany.com/ The final alternative is a new Hybrid Suburban offered by VIA Motors. Pure electric for 40 miles, then gas kicks in to balance and you end up with a 24mpg suburban but at a starting price of $79,000. Via motors web site is here: http://www.viamotors.com/ TopSpeed review is here: http://www.topspeed.com/cars/others/2013-via-vtrux-suburban-ar133014.html View full article
  2. On January 29th, 2024, South Korea reported on the EV4 from Kia Vice President Woo-Jeong Woo during a conference call. Kia plans on launching their EV3 in the first half of 2024 while the EV4 will now launch in early 2025. During the 2023 Kia EV Day in October 2023, Kia announced the launch schedules of these two. EV4 was planned to be released before the end of 2024 In the conference call, Vice President Joo stated “Electric vehicles are the biggest influence on Kia’s sales and profits. We plan to flexibly respond to market changes in the medium to long term. The EV3, EV4, and EV5 will be launched sequentially, and we are determined to make these three models successful.” Although Kia has not stated about the delay, they may be waiting to enhance EV4 quality. From the EV3 to EV5, they will use Kia's E-GMP electrical vehicle platform. EV3 is positioned as a small SUV, the EV4 as a compact sedan, and the EV5 as a compact SUV. Kia has announced that the EV3 to EV5 will cost from around $35,000 to $50,000, respectively. An update to the Gwangmyeong Plant 2 for electric cars has been completed after eight months of work. For now, there are no details about EV4's specifications, but it is likely to be front-wheel-drive. These inexpensive vehicles may use a lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery and a 400V system. View full article
  3. On January 29th, 2024, South Korea reported on the EV4 from Kia Vice President Woo-Jeong Woo during a conference call. Kia plans on launching their EV3 in the first half of 2024 while the EV4 will now launch in early 2025. During the 2023 Kia EV Day in October 2023, Kia announced the launch schedules of these two. EV4 was planned to be released before the end of 2024 In the conference call, Vice President Joo stated “Electric vehicles are the biggest influence on Kia’s sales and profits. We plan to flexibly respond to market changes in the medium to long term. The EV3, EV4, and EV5 will be launched sequentially, and we are determined to make these three models successful.” Although Kia has not stated about the delay, they may be waiting to enhance EV4 quality. From the EV3 to EV5, they will use Kia's E-GMP electrical vehicle platform. EV3 is positioned as a small SUV, the EV4 as a compact sedan, and the EV5 as a compact SUV. Kia has announced that the EV3 to EV5 will cost from around $35,000 to $50,000, respectively. An update to the Gwangmyeong Plant 2 for electric cars has been completed after eight months of work. For now, there are no details about EV4's specifications, but it is likely to be front-wheel-drive. These inexpensive vehicles may use a lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery and a 400V system.
  4. Recently, there has been a shift in BMW's sales plans. Walter Mertl, BMW's Chief Financial Officer, said they have hit the tipping point for internal combustion engines (ICE) and will focus more on electric cars. Mertl also says that ICE vehicle sales have plateaued and will start to decrease. This is due to changes in environmental regulations with stricter or zero emissions. Regulations from China, the European Union, and the United States are causing automakers to expedite creating and producing electric vehicles (EVs). In 2023, 15% of BMWs sold globally were EVs. Their most popular model was the i4 M50 for the second year in a row. BMW is targeting a 33% share by 2025 and will unveil six vehicles under the Neue Klasse EV lineup. The first vehicle, an X3-sized EV SUV, is expected to arrive in 2025. Mertl did acknowledge that BMW's profit margins for EVs and ICE vehicles won't align until at least 2026. One of the factors Mertl pointed out included the higher costs associated with new battery technology. Although BMW is shifting towards an all-electric brand, they still want owners to have fun driving a manual. BMW confirmed that the M2, M3, and M4 will keep their manual gearboxes for the current generation. In 2023, 15-20% of M3 and M4s had a manual gearbox, while the M2 was closer to 50%. View full article
  5. Recently, there has been a shift in BMW's sales plans. Walter Mertl, BMW's Chief Financial Officer, said they have hit the tipping point for internal combustion engines (ICE) and will focus more on electric cars. Mertl also says that ICE vehicle sales have plateaued and will start to decrease. This is due to changes in environmental regulations with stricter or zero emissions. Regulations from China, the European Union, and the United States are causing automakers to expedite creating and producing electric vehicles (EVs). In 2023, 15% of BMWs sold globally were EVs. Their most popular model was the i4 M50 for the second year in a row. BMW is targeting a 33% share by 2025 and will unveil six vehicles under the Neue Klasse EV lineup. The first vehicle, an X3-sized EV SUV, is expected to arrive in 2025. Mertl did acknowledge that BMW's profit margins for EVs and ICE vehicles won't align until at least 2026. One of the factors Mertl pointed out included the higher costs associated with new battery technology. Although BMW is shifting towards an all-electric brand, they still want owners to have fun driving a manual. BMW confirmed that the M2, M3, and M4 will keep their manual gearboxes for the current generation. In 2023, 15-20% of M3 and M4s had a manual gearbox, while the M2 was closer to 50%.
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