Prius complete power plant changeout: Going Full Plugin-EV!

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Accessories & Modifications' started by No_Name_Solar_Company, Feb 8, 2018.

  1. No_Name_Solar_Company

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    My Prius was totaled in a front-ender accident on the I210 freeway August last year. After a long useless battle with the insurance company over the value of the car, I have decided I want to keep the car and gut the power plant and make it a full EV. Adapting the existing systems looks to be too complicated and costly or time-wasting, so I've made the decision to rip everything out engine related from the motor to the fuel tank and even the hybrid battery pack which is pretty much useless in its infantile capacity and go with a home brew battery pack of hundreds of 18650 Lithium Ion rechargeables in series/parallel plug-in packs to power the new motor. Nothing else has been decided yet. I may need a lot of technical help interfacing with the non-powerplant systems on the car and trying to fool the car computer that everything is OK with the gas motor so it won't throw up objections on me and will allow me to retain use of the keyless entry/egnition system if that's possible and somehow adapt the adaptive brakes over to work with the new motor.

    Not sure how to do any of this at this point in time. I know its a monumentally difficult project perhaps but it can be done. Anyone with technical ideals about interfacing the brakes, entry/ignition system, or making a device to fool the car computer or its sensors directly into thinking all is well with the engine, and to monitor and charge the new battery pack even if by proxy of another interface in-between to translate voltage levels or simulate signals with simple circuits etc, please let your ideas be known to me, I will have a lot on my hands doing this conversion.

    At this point I'm in the process of removing the Hybrid battery to sell it to gain some funds for converting the car over hopefully enough combined with the insurance payment to at least get the. car rolling with some battery power. My ultimate goal is to have enough power to make the car do at least 45 miles on a charge so its good for local trips. Don't need 100 mile range but it would be nice as an upgrade expansion to the battery array later.. Anyone with experience with Lithium ION battery tech charging systems and how to adapt them for use with a Prius, especially speak up if you can to give me something to go on here.. It is most appreciated... I will be making a video on the conversion and will provide credits for all those who can help make this tough trooper of a car viable to drive again... :)

    Why am I doing this? I just can't give up the car, its' been through thick and thin with me even offroading in bad situations and even once crossed a river with no objections.... a live flowing river which overtook a road. I got that one on video! ;)

    Regards

    Matt
     
  2. TMR-JWAP

    TMR-JWAP Senior Member

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    I wish I had some info to help, but this is way out of my league. I will definitely be on the sidelines watching.

    So, once you remove the entire drivetrain, what motor do you plan to install and how would it connect to drive the wheels? Is there some aftermarket kit available or will this be total custom fabrication?
     
  3. Prodigyplace

    Prodigyplace Senior Member

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    Buy a junked PiP and transfer the drive train? That is only 11 miles EV though. The old PHV conversion kits are long gone.
    I doubt the range you desire is feasible. You need high voltage experience to try any of this safely.
     
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  4. valde3

    valde3 Senior Member

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    I think you have two “easier” choices. Neither one of them is easy.

    Option one just replace the engine with electrical motor. You would need to somehow get the engine control unit to control the new electrical motor controller instead of the engine. You would have the regenerative braking into the original Prius hybrid battery pack. Efficiency would not be as high as other vice because the control unit would still control the electric motor as original engine and also the limits of original hybrid battery pack for regenerative braking.

    Option two would be to replace the transaxle and engine (and inverter) with new transaxle and electric motor. With this approach you would have more work with getting it working with original Prius components. Might actually be easier just to use Prius as a shell only.

    Anyways keep us posted about this project.
     
  5. padroo

    padroo Senior Member

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    How will you make the car legal in California?

    A Leaf modified drivetrain might be a good choice.
     
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  6. SFO

    SFO Senior Member

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    Though things might've changed in 30 yrs, you would take it to one of these locations: Referee Program
     
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  7. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    welcome!
    agree, it's a monumental task, but anything can be done.

    looking forward to watching your progress, but you may want to visit some ev forums. no one here has ever attempted to do what you are about to. all the best!(y)
     
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  8. padroo

    padroo Senior Member

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    I didn't know how liberal California is with home brew cars.
     
  9. 69shovlhed

    69shovlhed Surly tree hugger

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    +1 leaf drivetrain. but your gonna have to know or be a genius to figure out how to extend the range enough to make it worth it. my brother liked his leaf a lot, but he had to ditch it cause he needed more range. replaced it with a volt.
     
  10. vvillovv

    vvillovv Active Member

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    There are a few conversion shops out on the coast and one I know of in TX. search criteria zombie222
    for a bit of excitement I recommend plasma boy specially if you're into sleepers. It was current a few years ago
    but looks like sharing interesting stuff on the interwebs these days is few and far between.
    as always YMMV - mileage variables
     
  11. Elektroingenieur

    Elektroingenieur Senior Member

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    I commend your ambition, but designing and building a practical battery-electric vehicle for highway use would be a major project, even for a team of experienced engineers and skilled technicians with the resources of a university or corporate laboratory.

    I think the approach of trying to reuse the car’s ECUs and their software is unlikely to be successful. The Prius software is fundamentally intended for hybrid operation: the HV ECU, for example, is programmed to use the engine, when necessary, to meet demands for motive force, and it continually exchanges information with the engine control module. (See the “MPX Communication” table on page EG-16 of the New Car Features book for 2004, NCF255U.) No amount of sensor trickery would make that software work properly without an engine.

    There is also the serious problem of interfaces: Toyota’s multiplex bus message formats and other essential details simply aren’t disclosed in the service manuals or other open literature. In many cases, without access to proprietary source code and internal engineering documentation from Toyota and its suppliers, I’m afraid it would be easier to design replacements than to attempt to communicate with the existing ECUs.

    If you want a safe, reliable vehicle, I’d suggest repairing your present car, without changing its architecture, or selling it, with the hybrid battery still installed, and buying another car that fits your budget.

    That said, here are a few books that might give you an appreciation for the engineering task, and if you insist, some ideas on how to go about it:
    • Hideshi Itazaki (trans. Yamada & Ishikawa), The Prius That Shook the World: How Toyota Developed the World’s First Mass-Production Hybrid Vehicle. Tokyo: Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, 1999. (Not much technical detail, but useful to understand just how big an undertaking it is to design a modern car.)
    • Bosch Automotive Electrics and Automotive Electronics: Systems and Components, Networking and Hybrid Drive, 5th ed., Springer, 2007. (An accessible overview. See also the Bosch Automotive Handbook, 9th ed., 2014.)
    • John G. Hayes and G. Abas Goodarzi, Electric Powertrain: Energy Systems, Power Electronics and Drives for Hybrid, Electric, and Fuel Cell Vehicles, Wiley, 2018. (More rigorous. Both authors worked on GM’s EV1 program.)
     
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  12. Rmay635703

    Rmay635703 Senior Member

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    First off18650 lithium’s suck, even Tesla’s are terrible to work with
    If you go 18650 expect it to not work long, get imbalanced or light on fire.

    An infinitely cheaper option are $700 Chevy volt batteries
    They don’t degrade and stay in perfect balance, two things you need as a hobbiest

    Next check out
    Diyelectriccar

    State your intents and you will get very frank feedback.

    My guess is you need
    1. A toyo compatible manual transaxle
    2. A Nissan Leaf Motor with inverter
    A) a can device to control the leaf inverter
    3. Some form of charger
    4. A volt battery or two or a bolt battery
    5. Ability to fabricate a custom lovejoy and flex plate adapter motor to transaxle
    6. Fabrication of custom mounts and boxes

    You will not be able To have a working ECU


    Otherwise the easiest path would be to buy a junked PIP and do a swap of everything.


    You have a good year ahead of you
    Good Luck
     
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  13. Prodigyplace

    Prodigyplace Senior Member

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  14. valde3

    valde3 Senior Member

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    Probably a bit easier if just swapping drivetrain, wheel speed sensors, wiring, drive controls, control units, batteries, etc. That is if you still want to keep it as front wheel drive and choose a suitable donor.
     
    #14 valde3, Feb 9, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2018
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  15. 69shovlhed

    69shovlhed Surly tree hugger

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    it can be done. several years back there were 3 registered EV's in Loudoun county. 2 teslas and a homemade EV.
     
  16. Prodigyplace

    Prodigyplace Senior Member

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    The last I checked, Loudoun county was not in California nor in another CARB state. California is known for strict vehicle laws.
     
  17. Rmay635703

    Rmay635703 Senior Member

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    My guess is the op never posts again and never returns
     
  18. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    is it done yet? pics, or it didn't happen.:cool:
     
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  19. SFO

    SFO Senior Member

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  20. Elektroingenieur

    Elektroingenieur Senior Member

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    The plan described by the original poster has many problems, but the California Air Resources Board’s regulations aren’t among them. As @SFO kindly mentions, a vehicle converted to battery-electric operation just has to be inspected by a Smog Check Referee, who confirms that the engine, fuel system, and related parts have been removed. See the ARB’s page, “Facts about electric vehicle conversions by individuals,” and 16 CCR § 3340.5(a)(2).
     
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