My 1986 300ZX BEV

My BEV is a converted 1986 Nissan 300ZX.  I purchased it with a blown internal combustion engine (ICE) and converted it in my barn in almost exactly 1 year.  I could have done it quicker but had to wait about 6 months for the batteries to get here from China.  You can now get the cells in about a week.  When I ordered the cells for my plug in hybrid (PHEV) conversion I ordered them on a Thursday and received them the following Tuesday. Here are some pictures and statistics for the vehicle:

  • Completed February 2011
  • Over 22,000 Electric miles reducing my carbon emissions by over 22,000 lbs.
  • Electricity costs $0.03 per mile
  • Original EPA Fuel Economy Ratings 16 City 23 Highway
  • Equivalent Gas Cost $0.48- $0.69 per gallon
  • Max speed greater than 80MPH.  I have had it to about 80-=85 and it still could go faster.
  • Range approximately 80 miles
  • Batteries are manufactured by the China Aviation Lithium Battery Company (CALB)
  • Life expectancy of batteries if discharge to less than 70% of capacity is 3000 cycles or 2000 cycles at 80% discharge.
  • Expected battery life > 8 years
  • Car has 47 batteries for 153VDC total pack voltage

Here are some exterior pictures of the car


I built the battery boxes out of fiber glass.  To make the boxes I made molds out of particle board, cut them about 9 pieces to make sure I could remove them from the fiberglass box after it was formed up, and then wrapped it in cardboard and packing tape.  The final step was to wax the entire package in a release was that the fiberglass would not stick too.  It worked real well and I had no problem getting the mold out.  Basically, what I did was build the box, screw in some boards into the inside of the box and then cut it on a table saw.  The internal boards kept the pieces aligned after I cut them an allowed them to be removed easily after the fiberglass cured.  I have had not problems with the boxes, they have worked really well.  In the future it would be nice to vacuum bag the boxes as it would make it lighter and stronger.


I built the heater out of some pipe and a home hot water heater element.  Most home electric hot water heater elements are 1 1/4 pipe fittings so an elbow, tee, piece of pipe, contactor and some wire and you have a heater.  There are also some commercially available heaters available if you would rather purchase a completely assembly heater.  The other item you need is a normally closed heat activated switch.  The switch will stay closed until your heater gets above a set temperature.  In my car my heater and the cooling for the Soliton 1 controller are all the same circuit.  The fluid goes from the heater, through the heater, then the air conditioning coil and then to the Soliton 1.  So far it has worked very well and I only have one pump and no separate heat exchanger for the controller but I use the output of the Soliton 1 designed to turn on the liquid cooling when the controller gets hot to turn off the heater.  I also insulated the entire heater and tubing to keep heat in the system using home pipe insulation and duck tape.


I am more that a little unconventional when it came to my motor mount.  Most people either buy an engineered motor mount, or use a plate of aluminum and design it to fit the motor and the transmission bell housing.  I decided to make mine out of steel and weld it up, partially because I have the equipment and can weld steel.  The other reason is because I wanted to do it my self and didn’t feel I had the skill to get it exactly centered if I used a plate of aluminum.  I have since learned that is not that difficult but in designing and welding my own I was able to integrate a mount for the power steering pump and support for a plate to mount the controller, DC to DC converter, charger… into the motor mount.  The motor mount has worked great so I am happy with the end product.



I will keep developing this page and posting pictures, more to come.

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