1960 corvair ev questions

I have a 1960 corvair with a power-glide 2 speed auto transmission. The car is beautiful and I want keep it forever so I want to convert it to an EV.

I’m in the planing stage and I’m looking for advice.

I know the auto trans is not the best choice but changing it to a manual, although possible, would add time and expense.

Is direct drive a good option?

If I keep the transmission could I disable or lock up the torque converter so its not slipping all the time? It would become just a fly wheel and drive for the oil pump.

I know the fluid pressure in the transmission would drop at a stop. On acceleration is the time needed to build pressure and reengage the transmission a big problem?

I need to get a 30+ mile range and cruise at 45mph. Can I get suggestion on components and voltages to accomplish this?

Thanks for any thoughts and options you can give me.

No idea if this will help or not, but some of the early Powerglides had the transmission pump on the OUTPUT shaft, not the input shaft as with modern autos. This little detail meant that the car could be towed with the driveshaft installed, which will kill an auto with an input pump. It also means that it should work with an electric motor. This is something I was playing with on the design for when I eventually do one of these conversions myself, although my current thinking is a 3 speed auto gearbox with a “3 on the tree” shifter from a 70s model Chevy truck.

If yours has the pump on the output shaft, then all you’d need to do is install a coupler in place of the torque converter, and the trans would operate as it does now. The torque converter is there for the engine, not the transmission, so the transmission should work fine with an electric motor and no torque converter.

As to whether the auto will kill speed or range due to driveline losses, that I can’t help with.

see my post next to yours
I think the Vair trans needs an external pump to work.
Motorhome guys use these for the “towed”.
Edit the Corvair used a rear pump so it may work in your case.
Im looking into making it a manual valve body for the 66 we plan on doing.

Corvairs that had a rear pump also had a front pump.
Without a front pump the car would never move.

After the car got to 25 mph or so, the rear pump took over most of the trans operational pressure.

Most automatics had both pumps until the mid '60s or so when the rear pump was dropped. They designed the front pumps to be bigger and better so the rear pump was dropped to lessen the cost of the trans.

I recently picked up three 63 corvairs, none of which are any too cherry with the idea of making one an electric. I have an automatic in one and nothing in the other two. My thoughts were to use either a rearend axel assembly the correct width or a manual transaxle assembly from a later front wheel drive car. As an example, I measured the wheel track of a 92 hundai wreck a friend of mine picked up and it was only an inch wider in track that the corvair and would easily have operational clearance. Everything is so straight forward and open I figure it to be a pretty easy conversion.


Yep, I have a 65 2 door that I’m thinking about making an EV out of…

Still getting info together…

Any Ideas would be helpful


If your engine is still in good condition (flat 6) then you can offset the cost of your EV conversion by selling it (or its parts) to the KR2 builders http://www.krnet.org/

Its a plans built 2 seat small aircraft some of us are building…

I don’t know how much this will help, but if you want 45 mph to be your top speed. Then I would recomend a 72v system. With a fairly light wheight car you can to 55 mph with a good range (if you use six 12v batteries). But I know a guy that uses a 72v system and he said that his car has trouble with large hills. So if your planing on going up steep hills I might consider going for a higher voltage (96v, 120v, and 144v seams to be populer).

I can help you with any calculations and / or resurch, but I’m going back to school, So in a few days I won’t have as much time. However I can still help (it just might take a while before I can respond).

hope this helps

IIRC, Corvair engines also rotate opposite the SAE standard of CCW viewed from the flywheel. This is important when buying a motor so the brushes are advanced the right direction.
-Stephen Chapman

With the ccw rotation as viewed from the flywheel I would need a motor also set up for ccw rotaion as viewed from the drive shaft end. Is the standard for motors cw rotation? Would ccw be a special request?