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Thread: The TesLorean

  1. #1
    Senior Member DrJeff's Avatar
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    The TesLorean

    TesLorean is the codename for my (now) long-term project to create an Electric Drive DeLorean.

    I bought #6313 in 2012 with the sole intention of converting the car to electric - eventually. In the meantime, I have been fixing, customizing, and upgrading various parts of the car. The overall goal was to have a car that could last another 30 years being actively driven. In 2012-2014 I spent most of my efforts on getting the car running right, fixing small things, and upgrading the interior. It has turned out to be a very good example of a well stored car - with signs of occasional fixes and repairs. Like most owners/tinkerers I can't think of many parts of the car I haven't fixed, rebuilt, or upgraded in some fashion or another. My joy in this comes from the process of learning how to convert a car to electric and all things automotive. I will certainly enjoy driving it when its finished, but I'm getting as much of a kick out of the designing and building process. Even when it is done, I doubt I'll have stopped modifying and customizing it. I don't see the car so much as a collectors item as a creative automotive platform. Having said that, I have not modified the exterior of the car and it will remain stock looking (at least to the casual observer).

    Since I knew the electric conversion was going to take a long time, I planned to convert the car to EFI so that I could enjoy driving it prior to the laydown period. However, the plans got waylaid by moving house in 2014. The house and family (2 grandkids) have taken up a lot of my available time, but it is starting to come back into balance. Now in 2016, the next time #6313 is on the road it will be as an electric drive vehicle.

    I'm going to use this tread to document the conversion process (which I'll largely be doing myself) and all the related work (of which there are many tasks). I'm reluctant to set a deadline for conversion (other than "before the kids take my driving license off me for my own safety"), but I'm hopeful that in the next few years the TesLorean will be driving.

    Oh, and about the codename... TesLorean. When I first started the conversion process (i.e. design) one of the main concerns was not ending up with a glorified golf cart - this car had to be able to honor its design roots and that meant speed, acceleration, and handling. While I haven't finalized how much or which Tesla engineering to incorporate into the car, for me Tesla's electric design and engineering set the standard for future sports car performance.

    It's going to be an interesting ride to get #6313 converted into DMC-EV.
    Jeff
    #6313 (lic: DMC-EV Texas), 25k miles, 100% leather, touchpad, 100% LED, dimmable LED dash, remote door lock & Elvis mod, all A/C vents in kneepads, wedgectomy, escutcheon velcro fix, GM door chimer, custom arm rest/storage/controls...

  2. #2
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    Interested to watch and see how this develops!

  3. #3
    Senior Member Peripatetic's Avatar
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    I've heard a method of electric conversion is to buy a salvage electric car and put the components on the new car. Are you planning the same with the Teslorean? Perhaps a salvaged Roadster or Model S or something. Having never looked at the parts of a Roadster I'm guessing it would be easier to fit.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member DrJeff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peripatetic View Post
    I've heard a method of electric conversion is to buy a salvage electric car and put the components on the new car. Are you planning the same with the Teslorean? Perhaps a salvaged Roadster or Model S or something. Having never looked at the parts of a Roadster I'm guessing it would be easier to fit.
    I've looked at all the options... There are three main components to consider, 1) motor, 2) transmission, 3) battery. Here's a quick round-up of the main options (not in priority order)...

    Motor/Transmission
    1) Tesla Model S Rear motor/inverter/transmission
    - Replace the D's motor and transmission with the Rear drive unit from a Model S
    - Still developing options (multiple) for driving/controlling the Model S motor (best classified as Beta-testing, but promising)
    - Would require significant modifications to the D's rear subframe (significant as in potentially replace)
    - Note: Putting just the Tesla motor into the stock D transmission is a complex high risk engineering challenge

    2) Tesla Model S 'D' Motor/inverter/transmission
    - Use one drive unit from the Tesla dual drive unit configuration (new 70D or 90D models)
    - Fewer modifications to the rear subframe
    - less power (but could it be enough?)

    3) Custom motor/adapter and stock transmission
    - EV-West dual or triple motor design linked to the stock DeLorean transmission
    - Frame mostly unmodified (maybe mounting points for motor and batteries)

    Note: Leaf, Volt, other drive units are configured for FWD and the hacking community has not had a lot of success in controlling or transferring these into other vehicles.

    Batteries
    1) Tesla battery modules from Model S
    - Significant modifications/hacking needed to configure the batteries (fewer batteries, but still near 400v)
    - The hacking community is coming up with solutions, but...

    2) Chevy Volt battery (probably 2+ units)
    - Probably the least expensive batteries available, but they do have an awkward size

    3) Nissan Leaf batteries
    - Unique chemistry, don't have active cooling, but are very reconfigurable to fit into the D's nooks and crannies
    - Lots of community solutions coming up

    4) Off the Shelf Batteries (e.g. CALB)
    - Expensive, but a well known product within the EV car building world

    5) Mr. Fusion
    - Units are available, but don't appear to be functional, some development required
    Jeff
    #6313 (lic: DMC-EV Texas), 25k miles, 100% leather, touchpad, 100% LED, dimmable LED dash, remote door lock & Elvis mod, all A/C vents in kneepads, wedgectomy, escutcheon velcro fix, GM door chimer, custom arm rest/storage/controls...

  5. #5
    Senior Member DrJeff's Avatar
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    Options for wheel speed sensing

    One of the challenges/benefits of electric drive is instant max torque. The challenge component of this means that there is a greater risk of loss of traction. A Tesla Model S solution is to monitor the speed of each rear wheel (in the rear drive models) and to apply a combination of reduced power and instantaneous braking to individual wheels.

    So the question becomes, how best to measure the speed of the individual rear wheels? Is the only option... having magnets & sensor mounted at the wheel / transmission side (on each side)?

    Thanks
    Jeff
    Jeff
    #6313 (lic: DMC-EV Texas), 25k miles, 100% leather, touchpad, 100% LED, dimmable LED dash, remote door lock & Elvis mod, all A/C vents in kneepads, wedgectomy, escutcheon velcro fix, GM door chimer, custom arm rest/storage/controls...

  6. #6
    Formally hmm252000
    Join Date:  May 2011

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    I would expect a true traction control system to actually requires sensors at all 4 wheels. Similar to ABS. I think a better solution would be to limit the power output at certain RPMs. Wait until you know the car would be moving and then have the controller ramp up power. This is also assuming you go with a fixed gear setup and the motor reports RPMs. It wouldn't be optimized for all conditions, but could at least keep you from breaking the wheels loose all the time and damaging the motor mounts.

    Even with the reduced power at lower RPMs, you should still have a nice instant torque feel. Even though I've had an EV for nearly 3 years now, it still amazes me that when on the freeway I can floor it and the car starts accelerating even before I can get the "gas" pedal all the way to the floor.

  7. #7
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    This is all the purely theoretical, and I've done only basic research to date:

    One thing I'd like to do (maybe in 10 years or so) is two electric motors, one for each of the rear wheels. I'd independently control the power of each motor. I'd also have to simulate a differential by taking into account the steering angle and changing the speed of each motor appropriately. If the motor didn't report its own speed directly, I was expecting to use a magnetic or optical sensor to get the true motor speed as closely as I could. The hardest part seemed to be mounting two motors and setting up the gearing to the transaxles. Some watchdogs on the motor speeds would cut power entirely if they detected that one motor was turning far faster than the other (most likely due to a bug in my code that's trying to kill me).

    For slipping, you could possibly test for the amount of power used by the motor. If it suddenly spikes, you could consider a wheel to be slipping and reduce power. Tracking wheel rotation directly seems better, though.

    This wouldn't be a proper traction control, or whatever the one is where it looks at the steering wheel angle and the actual direction of the car (via accelerometers/gyros) that individually applies each brakes to point you in the right direction. Also, I'm not willing to try to write my own braking system. I mean, I though it would be cool to add ABS, and in principle it seems straight forward and I'm a pretty decent programmer, but I don't have a test track, and I just know that my custom brake system would probably lead to my death.

    -- Joe

  8. #8
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    Catchy name! Hopefully Elon won't mind.
    Rob

  9. #9
    DeLorean Historian / Administrator Tamir A.'s Avatar
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    Appears someone already purchased the domain name. Funny stuff.

    T.

    Quote Originally Posted by PJ Grady Inc. View Post
    Catchy name! Hopefully Elon won't mind.
    Rob
    Fan of all things DeLorean!

  10. #10
    Senior Member DrJeff's Avatar
    Join Date:  Feb 2012

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    That was me
    Jeff
    #6313 (lic: DMC-EV Texas), 25k miles, 100% leather, touchpad, 100% LED, dimmable LED dash, remote door lock & Elvis mod, all A/C vents in kneepads, wedgectomy, escutcheon velcro fix, GM door chimer, custom arm rest/storage/controls...

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