The Front Suspension

I just got the front bearings and struts back from the shop.

front in progress
Front Suspension In Progress

Once I’ve got the front put back together it I’ll drive it to work for a week to make sure the gas tank is as empty as possible before I need to drain it.

The Battery Pack

I’ve been brooding over the design of the battery pack. From the beginning I’ve been planning to sacrifice the seldom needed back seat. But recently one of the guys at the club got his batteries. Wow. Three crates. They sure look like they’re going to take a lot of space.

It’s high time I stripped the rear interior and started plotting where the batteries are going to go.

back seat
The Back Seat

Before

back seat stripped
Stripped Back Seat

The fuel tank is directly under the back seat. I’m planning to cut through this floor and utilize the fuel tank as a battery box. This will serve the cause of keeping the center of gravity as low as possible.

battery pack 15+30
Battery Pack 15 & 30

Having cleared out the back seat and the rear cargo area I took some measurements and plotted out a few rough battery pack designs. (For these images I’m assuming that I’ll be using the Voltronix 160ah Li batteries which are 18.2cm x 7.1cm x 29.7cm. The width of the exposed metal where the rear seat was is 92cm.) To my delight it looks like these batteries are going to fit in here without much trouble.

For the cause of weight distribution I will likely put four to six batteries in the engine compartment. In addition to carving through the floor into gas tank, I will also carve out the cargo area floor to built an inset battery box.

The Rear Suspension

I’m starting this project by refurbishing the suspension. The after removing around 500 lbs of ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) equipment this car will be hauling around 700 lbs in batteries in the mid to rear. I want the 23 year old suspension to be as good as or better than new.

Rear Suspsension
Rear Suspension Disassembly

I am installing new struts, sway bar, brakes, and polyurethane bushings.

front suspension
Front Suspension Reassembly

 

The Last Smog Check

California law requires a smog check for every change of ownership. I tried reasoning with the DMV service rep. I didn’t bother telling her I was about to convert it to an EV. But I did try to convince her that the car was not in running condition and we should therefore register it in non-operational status.

She wouldn’t have it.

smock check
The Last Smog Check

Don’t try to reason or argue with a minor bureaucrat. It makes them feel important and it is bad for your health. Just pay the price and move on.

The Mission

I want to build an EV with satisfying seat-of-the pants performance and range sufficient for anxiety free use as a daily driver. I spent hours and hours browsing used cars on craigslist.org and cross referencing with cars on evalbum.com.

For various reasons, I have chosen a 1991 Acura Integra.

  • Body: 2 door hatch-back
  • Starting curb weight: 2,560 lbs
  • Drive train: 5 speed manual (front wheel drive)
  • Brakes: 4 wheel disk (208mm rear, 214mm front)
  • Drag coefficient: 0.32
  • Low purchase price
  • I just like these cars.

1991 Acura Integra
1991 Acura Integra Purchased for $1,000

What it needs: suspension bushings, brakes, struts & springs, CV joins, paint, interior refurb.

The mission milestones, in rough order of priority:

  • refurbish suspension & brakes
  • remove obsolete ICE related equipment
  • install AC75 conversion kit
  • install 144v Lithium Ion battery pack
  • refurbish the interor
  • get a good paint job.

Fortress of Solitude