Our electric Bugeye is well on its way to its first drive. Here you can see Russ organizing the electric motor controller wiring. Next week, it will all be connected and the front batteries will go in.
Below you can see the rear battery packs installed. The total rear battery load will be 85 pounds. A full fuel tank is about 42 pounds, and the weight of the tank and hardware plus muffler and pipe adds perhaps another 15.
Thus we are adding about 30 pounds to the boot over the gas powered version. We have configured everything so that 80% of the trunk is as available as it is for the stock gas Bugeye. The remaining 20% is occupied by two battery packs and a charger. Eight of the packs hang below the boot floor as shown below, in the space formerly occupied by the fuel tank. We have hung as many batteries as we can under the car to preserve trunk space and to keep the weight low. Just two packs will need to be housed in the trunk. Not to worry about protection… there will be a cover (later) for the batteries under the trunk floor.
I continue to be amazed by how simple this is, in spite of the complicated fabrication, wiring and weight placement. There is something every elegant about removing completely low-tech antiquated engineering and replacing it with a simple electric motor that won’t leak and that needs almost no maintenance. After our usual week of repairing and preparing the gas powered stuff, this electric project is quite a joy. We still need to prove it works (minor detail), but so far, we are on track to complete a very exciting project. We hope the exhaust note is the only casualty of this change over, and we now have a way to address that too (more on this later).
Another important hurtle is the drive shaft, because we have to of course connect the electric motor output shaft to the differential. Here is our custom fabricated drive shaft that will do the job, one more important link in the chain.
Is this an exciting innovation that improves the reach and longevity of our favorite classic car… or a bad idea that robs its soul? We’ll be back soon with another update as this exciting project comes together.