Considering a Chevy Malibu / Impala Conversion

New to the board and I am looking for some opinions on this…

I am seriously wanting to do a EV conversion, but am wanting the vehicle to be as practicle as possible, and as recent as possible.

The two vehicles I am considering are late model Chevy Malibus or Chevy Impala’s. The Malibus weigh in at 3100 pounds, the Impala 3550. I prefer the Impala, but realize it may be undoable due to weight.

My priorities for the conversion are as follows.

  1. Car must be practicle and must not be ‘a frankenstien’. I want to do a clean conversion, no bailing wire or duct tape.
  2. Car must be a late model that I would want to drive as a ICE (mid size car)
  3. Car must have a reasonable range to perform daily commuting (50 to 70 miles)
  4. Car must retain enough storage space to allow reasonable storage for daily use.
  5. Car must be drivable by my wife and teen daughter.
  6. Car must be capable of attaining at least highway speed (65mph), however most travel will be at 45mph or lower.
  7. Completion cost of around $12,000

Here is my concept:
Chevy Malibu or Impala (I like the Impala, but am afraid that 3500 lbs is too much)

  1. Late Model Salvage vehicle, with front end damage. (Easy to repair, sell of the drive train)
  2. AC motor for efficiency and regenerative breaking.
  3. Direct drive ‘transmission’, these cars tend to have automatics, and my wife can’t/won’t drive a standard. Any experience here? How well will it work out?
  4. Around 17 to 20 12v batteries. 6 in a carved out spare tire area, 6 to 8 in the trunk, 4 under rear seats?, and 4 or 5 in engine compartment. Yeah the numbers don’t add up, but there are still alot of questions.
  5. I am looking at around 95aH batteries

Please let me know you thoughts, critisims, or laughter… :slight_smile:

Also if someone could point me to some of the better suppliers.


ok, your off to a good start. BUT i think that your 50-70 miles is a bit of a over shot for now seeing as thats about the limits of the batteries for the time being.

check out NewDawn’s build on this website and you can see how much he is going through with his setup (finished just tweaking the battery setup)

If you can go with standard i suggest doing it, it isn’t like driving a normal “standard” because you dont need to ride the clutch to get the car to move. put the clutch in, put the car in gear, then take the clutch out… you wont stall or anything. once you want the car to move just give it some power, and there you have it. very simple. (not to mention you only need 2-3 gears out of the setup)

otherwise like i said… sounds like your off to a good start.

Thanks Feus,

I realize the ‘desired’ range is quite hopefull. If I can get at least 40 to 50 I will consider it worthwhile.

However my proposal has a couple differences from NewDawn, the AC motor which supposedly should be twice as efficient as a DC motor. I also would use regenerative braking which should help me reclaim some power.

My target speed is 45mph, city driving.

My concern is also about the size of the auto. The Malibu is close to the same size as NewDawn’s Saturn. The preferred automobile however is the Impala which weighs in almost 500lbs more, with a curb weight of 3550. How bad is that do you think?

I hear what you are saying for the standard transmission, but neither of these cars is offered with a standard tranny. Any ideas on this one? Should I try a transmission from another car? Recommendations?

Is the benefit of the standard tranny have to do with it allowing me a different gear ratio for higher speed driving? I know the AC motor is strong enough to operate with out the gearing.

I appreciate any thoughts you have.


[QUOTE=pbowen;2199]…the AC motor which supposedly should be twice as efficient as a DC motor.[/QUOTE]

DC motors produced by NetGain Technologies LLC are 78% - 91% efficient. How do you double that? :confused::wink:

That being said, even the 5% - 10% gain in efficiency you get with an AC motor is substantial.

I’d say the Impala sounds like a good choice. 500 lbs extra is a lot, but the Impala’s suspension is more capable of handling the weight of the batteries. With the extra weight it would probably handle better than the Malibu too. Of course, this is all speculation…:slight_smile:

Is the Impala front of rear wheel drive? Rear wheel drive might make it easier to put a different transmission in.