Sunday, October 19, 2014

Project Next Introduction

I've been accumulating parts for the last year or so and calling it "Project Next" for want of something more descriptive. In my garage is a Siemens AC motor with the DMOC inverter and GEVCU controller, a Better Place (Nissan Leaf) battery pack, a TC Charger, Chennic DC/DC converter, Derale dual cooling system, maintenance switch, emergency slap switch, and miscellaneous odds and ends all piled up in a corner waiting for a suitable donor car. Jack Rickard of EVTV Motor Werks just keeps making offers I can't refuse.

DMOC645 inverter sitting on Siemens
1PV5135-4WS14 AC motor
Better Place (Nissan Leaf) battery pack

My thinking has evolved on the choice of platform for this next conversion. My Nissan Leaf has been a terrific car, comfortable and trouble free. I took it on a four year lease in the hopes that by the end of the lease term there would be significantly better battery technology. That doesn't appear to be in the works near term, so I decided to build a daily driver replacement for the Leaf when I turn it in late June 2015.

Requirements were:
  • Closed car with year-round weather protection
  • Air Conditioning for Texas summers
  • Sufficient room for motor, battery pack, and accessories
  • Comfortable seating with power windows, mirrors, etc.
  • Sporty and unique, fun to drive
  • Total conversion cost under Leaf end of lease buy-out
I considered a progression of Audi TT's, Karmann Ghias, Corvairs, Honda Insights, Nash Ramblers and Metropolitans, Morris Minors, classic Mustangs, and just about anything else that caught my eye on Craigslist or eBay. They were all either too costly, missing a key requirement (air-conditioning, usually), too small, or in need of too much restoration.

Last week I settled on a 1988 Porsche 924 S. The 924 S was a two year only production run of 944 engine and running gear slightly detuned and mounted in a 924 body shell. Although the interior dimensions are the same, it lacks the wide fenders and tires of the 944, so weighs in a bit lighter with better aerodynamics.

This car has a really rough engine that gets worse the longer you drive it until it feels like you're missing a cylinder or two, so no hard feelings about replacing it with electric power. It does drive enough that I could check the brakes, suspension, tires, steering, clutch and shifter, transaxle, power accessories, and air conditioning. All check good. In fact I really like driving this car despite the nasty engine. It rides and handles great. And the price was right!

Hiding behind that bra is some front end bodywork damage that my body man extraordinaire, Robert Juarez says he can take care of and keep me within my budget. He'll buff out the rest of the paint and we'll have a good ten foot car.

So it's off to Pro Automotive on Monday to have Bob and Keith remove the gas engine, exhaust, and fuel system, then allow Robert time to work his magic.