Subaru under-represented in EV conversion? Why?

Technical discussion on converting internal combustion to electric
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BigMouse
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Subaru under-represented in EV conversion? Why?

Post by BigMouse » Wed, 15 Aug 2012, 03:08

I often browse eBay, Gumtree, tradingpost, etc for cheap cars which might make good EV conversion candidates. My search criteria usually involves a $1000 maximum price and sometimes the word "blown" to narrow down the results.

Often showing up in the results are older Subaru models with blown or leaky engines. A search of EV album lists only 27 Subaru conversions. I'm surprised to see such a small number considering their availability, cost, and in my eyes, suitability for conversion.

They're relatively light, compared to other cars of the same size.
Most of them are AWD. The longitudinally mounted engine layout is easier to adapt an electric motor to than transverse layouts. The transmission can be modified to be RWD (or even FWD) to improve range. Also, it's possible to do direct drive to the rear diff if desired.
There is tons of aftermarket support in the form of body kits, suspension, interior, etc.
There is a huge range of trim levels out there, from bare bones basic, to full leather and Hi-fi audio.

Is there a particular reason that we don't see more of these cars converted? Am I missing something?

Edit: perfect example: http://www.gumtree.com.au/s-ad/plumpton ... 1005624707 Late model Subaru impreza with a bad engine, $900.
Last edited by BigMouse on Tue, 14 Aug 2012, 17:29, edited 1 time in total.

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woody
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Subaru under-represented in EV conversion? Why?

Post by woody » Wed, 15 Aug 2012, 06:50

My Guesses:
1. Only became popular mid-nineties
2. 4WD adds complexity
3. 4WD adds weight / drag
4. Reliable and held their value - you don't see many toyota conversions either :-)

Also in NSW changing from AWD to FWD or RWD I think is a no-no. (maybe just between RWD and FWD?)
Planned EV: '63 Cortina using AC and LiFePO4 Battery Pack

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Subaru under-represented in EV conversion? Why?

Post by Simon » Wed, 15 Aug 2012, 07:25

Yes I think it's mainly the added complexity of 4wd and the reduced efficiency. Noticed there are very few Nissan's either, would really like to convert an R32 Skyline myself but to do it right would cost a fair bit. Still it would be cheaper than buying a Leaf!!    Image

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Subaru under-represented in EV conversion? Why?

Post by BigMouse » Wed, 15 Aug 2012, 23:39

woody wrote:Also in NSW changing from AWD to FWD or RWD I think is a no-no.
Hmm. if that's the case, then yeah, I can see how that would make it tough. Seems like it should be possible to have it engineered with the rest of the conversion though. Especially if it was a car that was offered as FWD with AWD as an option (like some of the older Subarus).

Some further searching brings up that Subarus have a flywheel that's recessed in to the engine block, meaning deep adapter plates are required. Seems like a minor reason to me, and a moot point if direct drive to the rear is used.

Very curious.

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Subaru under-represented in EV conversion? Why?

Post by Vortex » Thu, 04 Oct 2012, 07:12

I'm converting a 1988 Subaru Vortex and are about a month away from road testing. It is a 2 door coupe with pop top and was the FWD model so I've retained the gearbox/diff but dispensed with the clutch. The body and interior is in very good condition and its been easy to work on. The conversion is a Solitron jnr, Kosvo 9" 220v, Emus BMS, 78 x 90AH Winstons, NG3 charger and Iota DC/DC.

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Subaru under-represented in EV conversion? Why?

Post by Electrocycle » Fri, 05 Oct 2012, 03:21

woooO! looking forward to seeing an electric Vortex :)
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Subaru under-represented in EV conversion? Why?

Post by woody » Fri, 05 Oct 2012, 03:47

Welcome Vortex!

(I played soccer with a "Vortex" (Mark, ~36 now), who got his nickname at high school because he sucked the life out of everything)

Where are you based?

Cheers,
Woody
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Subaru under-represented in EV conversion? Why?

Post by Vortex » Fri, 05 Oct 2012, 05:49

Perth, WA.

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Subaru under-represented in EV conversion? Why?

Post by wedge » Sat, 06 Oct 2012, 02:09

The Subaru Vortex is a nice looking car, in a Buck Rogers kind of way :)
Good aero too, when it was released I believe it was the lowest aero drag passenger car in the world.

There are a couple of reasons why there aren't many converted Subarus around:
- The aren't many lightweight Subaru models, an early Impreza weighs about 1200kg for example.
- Most Subarus are AWD, only a few older ones were FWD.
- Subarus have a longitudinal engine, this means the drive has to be turned through 90 degrees by a bevel gear arrangement. This has slightly more losses than a typical transverse FWD layout. And makes the car nose heavy which hurts handling.

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