I have driven vans most of my life - very versatile vehicle for fishing, camping, traveling. home projects, etc. I would love to convert a Ford E350 cargo van into an electric van (curve weight, 5,300 pounds, without the gasoline motor, transmission and drive train about 4,300 pounds. Yes, I know $$$ I was thinking two motors like this: Curtis 1238-7601 HPEVS AC-20 Brushless AC Motor Kit - 96 Volt, EV West - Electric Vehicle Parts, Components, EVSE Charging Stations, Electric Car Conversion Kits up front and 2 in the back. If the gasoline engine is not under the hood, it is RELATIVELY inexpensive to add a differential to the front wheels, giving me an electric 4x4. I originally was looking at diesel equipped vans, but diesel is not likely to be very available in the not so distant future. 4 motors would likely be 1/3 of the cost of the total conversion, but would yield about the same hp and torque as the original V8 - maybe I could get by with 4 smaller motors?. My expectations: 70 mph cruising speed; tow a 1 ton low profile (not more wind drag) trailer; be able to manage fire service roads, dirt roads (not 4 wheeling) I would only expect it to go 50 miles on batteries at 40 mph. I will use a generator when I go on long trips. 50 miles would take me on 2 days of regular traveling.
Question 1: The motors up front will have to be turning in a different direction than the motors in the back (unless I mount the rear motor behind the diff (which I prefer not to do)). Will this be a problem?
Question 2: If 2 motors are mounted together but only one is used at times, will the second motor create drag?
Question 3: How difficult would it be to create 4 buttons that would engage the motors? button 1- all 4 motors being used; button 2, one front and rear being used; button 3 only 1 in the front being used button 4, only one in the back being used?..and…maybe button 5 is reverse. I am not sure if I would ever be able to use only one motor on a vehicle this size…
Question 4: Many motors like this come with an “appropriate” controller. If I use them in tandem, can I still use the controllers that come with them?
If this kind of motor is durable enough for this application, I think the entire drive train would end up weighing 400 pounds, including mounts, about 600 pounds less than the original setup. the weight of the batteries for 50 miles would probably be a trade off with a tank of gas. I have seen Nissan Leaf motors for sale for $1K…another option. It would take 2 of them to equal the specs of the original V8