Steve Gates' Nissan Silvia

Vehicle Specs:

Vehicle: 1990 Nissan Silvia S13
Owner: Steve Gates
Built: Steve Gates (with Ian Hooper), 2008-09
Battery: 23kWh, 150V, Thundersky 160Ah LiFePO4 cells
Motor: Netgain 9” DC, Series-wound, brushed, air cooled
Controller: Evnetics Soliton 1, air cooled, no regeneration
Charging: Zivan 2.8kW, air cooled
Kerb weight: 1260kg (same as original with full fuel)
Driving range: 115km city and highway same (200Wh/km)
Total cost: Total spend in 2008: $22,000

I gradually became interested in electric vehicles after seeing “Who Killed the Electric Car”, seeing displays by the Electric Vehicle Association and YouTube EV videos, plus having a serious concern about peak oil, rising fuel prices and greenhouse gas emissions. The other strong appeal of it was the dramatically lower maintenance required – no plugs, filters, belts, oil changes, etc. I had been using my electric bike and radio-controlled aircraft for years and was very impressed with them.

My move to an electric vehicle began by looking for a donor car, but shortly after, my 1990 Nissan Silvia blew a head gasket, and it seemed logical to consider diverting money from repairing it (about $3,000), to converting it to electric. It was in good condition, has generous boot & engine bay space and I enjoy driving it. The catalyst to convince me to convert the Silvia in 2008 was an offer to help by a friend and very capable Mechatronic Engineer, Ian Hooper of EV Works, Perth. I also had some welcome and helpful advice from Dan Booth of EV Shop, also in Perth.

A detailed presentation on the conversion can be found here, and a full spec sheet and design report can be found here.


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