They said it couldn’t be done. They said it’ll never work. So, I’m working to prove them wrong, and while it has taken a (very) long time already, so far so good…
The goal of this project is to build my own all-electric Cadillac with 100+ 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 total 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 100-125 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 get removed add up to 300-400 lbs, so the new drive-train would end up “over-loading” the car by ~650 lbs. Accommodating that additional weight means it needs a beefier frame, beefier brakes, beefier suspension etc. You have to redesign the entire car just to make the new weight work.
On the Caddy, with its steel engine, steel transmission, dual steel exhausts etc, removing the gas-power parts means losing ~700 lbs in gas-power parts, so the difference is only 300 lbs. The original car already comes in at 5,100 lbs so the frame & suspension etc will never even notice the difference, and the overall weight still ends up less than a chevy suburban :-). By going with this car, the project becomes a bolt-on conversion, not a let’s-redo-the-whole-entire-car conversion. By making it bolt-on, I even 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 225 miles a day (110 miles each way), and that ain’t 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, it comes with big numbers, so it needs some serious design & engineering before starting to bolt things together.
Now all I need to do is make it work….