They said it couldn’t be done. They said it’ll never work. So, I’m working to prove them wrong, and so far so good…
The goal of this project is to build my own all-electric Cadillac with 125+ mile range and performance similar to or better than the original gas-powered version, using a bolt-on set of parts (instead of drilling and welding onto the chassis etc), and with a cost-per-mile that can compete with an average gas-powered car.
I know that this car is not your typical EV candidate. All of the reasons why it’s considered impossible are true: it is big, it’s heavy, and it’s as aerodynamic as a brick. Then again, somehow this car checks all of the technical boxes for a good car to EV-convert:
- Rear-wheel drive
- A full & independent frame
- Space to house batteries etc
- Weight before vs weight after
- Full-size brakes
- Simple technology
and for me:
- Factory power everything
- Factory air conditioning
- Factory cruise control
When I was trying to decide on a donor-car, the range of 125-150 miles proved to be a huge hurdle. The batteries get huge, and really heavy (600+ lbs). Add a couple of motors, controllers, gears etc, and the drive-train package weighs in at just over 1,000 lbs. On an average donor car, the gas-power parts that come out add up to 300-400 lbs, so I’d end up “over-loading” the car by 500-600 lbs. That additional weight means beefier frame, beefier brakes, beefier suspension etc. You have to redesign the entire car to make the new weight work.
On the Caddy, with its steel engine, steel transmission, dual steel exhausts etc, I can remove ~700 lbs in gas-power parts, so the difference is only 350 lbs. The original car already comes in at 5,000 lbs, so the frame & suspension will never notice the difference (and I still end up less than a chevy suburban :-). This way the project becomes a bolt-on conversion, not a redo-the-whole-car conversion, and I can make sure the original car maintains its value.
I wasn’t shocked when the roll-up of the numbers showed that this is not a cheap project. I commute 250 miles a day (125 miles each way), and that’s not cheap either. When looking at this as my daily commute-car for say 5 years, the cost per mile should really work out better than the alternatives (more about that on the financials page), it’s just a big project with big numbers so it needs some additional engineering before starting to bolt things together. Now all I need to do is make it work….