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Electric Fiero. David Malloy. Fiero Project Goals. Battery Electric Car for commuting and in-town errands Range: Daily commute is 12 miles (round trip) and flat Speed: Need to keep up with traffic; top speed of 65 mph Payload: 2 passengers with need for minimal trunk and storage space

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electric fiero

Electric Fiero

David Malloy

fiero project goals
Fiero Project Goals
  • Battery Electric Car for commuting and in-town errands
    • Range: Daily commute is 12 miles (round trip) and flat
    • Speed: Need to keep up with traffic; top speed of 65 mph
    • Payload: 2 passengers with need for minimal trunk and storage space
  • Safety, Construction Quality, and Appearance Important
    • Designed and constructed with reliability and safety in mind
    • Should not require maintenance but should be easy to maintain
  • Did not want to push the technology envelope. Wanted:
    • a high probability of success
    • to copy examples of successful conversions
    • a ready source of parts and support
  • Willing to build a prototype and to compromise (on certain things) if necessary
  • Wanted to have fun, not to achieve perfection
fiero decisions
Fiero Decisions
  • Donor: 1988 Fiero
    • Many successful conversions (e.g., evalbum.com)
    • Readily available and cheap parts
    • “Back to the future” styling
  • 144V Kit and Design from EV America (www.ev-america.com)
    • Excellent email support, DVD, Reference schematic
    • One stop shopping for: motor, controller, controller radiator plate, adapter plate, charger, DC/DC converter, fuse, vacuum pump, contactors, Anderson connectors, Inertia Switch, welding cable,etc.
    • Machine shop service for adapter plate (Clutchless design)
  • Major Features
    • Advanced DC 9” motor / Curtis Controller
    • 12 * 30XHS Trojan Lead Acid Batteries (with “UT” terminals)
    • Zivan NG3 220V charger; Zivan NG1 DC/DC Convertor
    • Suspension upgrades would be required for added weight
fiero battery boxes
Fiero Battery Boxes
  • “Erector Set” construction: cheap; easy to build and change. Not optimized for space or weight
motor adapter
Motor Adapter
  • Direct Drive
    • Single gear (e.g., Tesla)
  • Clutched
    • When starting, put into gear and release clutch FIRST, then accelerate
    • When moving, shifts like a normal manual transmission
    • Provides additional failsafe under controller “stuck on” failure
  • Clutchless
    • When starting, put into gear, then accelerate (like an automatic)
    • When moving, requires finesse to change gears without a clutch
    • Removes flywheel and pressure plate
    • Fiero uses the clutchless design
  • See Pictures below
    • from SveinMedhus’ Ford Express conversion.


fiero layout notes
Fiero Layout Notes
  • High Voltage / High Current
    • 2/0 Welding cable, crimped lugs, Noalox, Anderson connectors
    • Layout designed to keep “+” and “-” physically separate
    • Conduit and “boxes” in tunnel (fuse, contactor, KSI, shunt)
  • High Voltage / Low Current
    • Conduit in tunnel
  • Contactor Control
    • in cabin against rear firewall
  • Instrumentation
    • Jacketed cable used in cabin to bring high voltage to dash
  • Weight Distribution
    • Most batteries are on the “outside” of the axles – not ideal
alternate layouts
Alternate Layouts
  • from evalbum.com
  • “The good, the bad, and the ugly”
  • Concerns
    • battery hold-down construction
    • maintainability and access for battery watering
    • exposed high voltage
    • physical proximity of pack “-” and pack “+”
    • distance of controller to motor
    • wiring neatness
fiero wiring notes
Fiero Wiring Notes
  • Traction Pack Wiring (High Voltage / High Current)
    • Dual contactor design, Fuse, SB350 Anderson connectors
  • High Voltage / Low Current
    • Zivan NG3 – 220V/20A Onboard Charger
    • DC/DC convertor, KSI Relay, electric heater
  • Contactor Control
    • Simple relay logic
    • Primary: ignition key in “run”, charger lockout, inertia switch
    • Secondary: adds high pedal lockout, potboxmicroswitch
  • Instrumentation
    • Curtis “state of charge”
    • (relative) Ammeter
    • Charger and DC/DC converter status brought to in-dash LEDs
    • Motor overtemp
    • PakTrakr (monitors pack voltage and individual batteries)
fiero instrumentation
Fiero Instrumentation

State of Charge

DC/DC Converter Status

Pack Charge Status




other notes
Other Notes
  • Charging
    • Charges in ~4 hours (2 to 90%, 2 hours float)
    • 12V Supply to drive Status LEDs and Exhaust fans
    • Charging is done outside to vent hydrogen
  • Vacuum Pump
    • Enabled when key is in “run”
    • Conventional installation with Vacuum reservior
    • Noisy (needs muffler)
    • Could use more reserve
  • Electric Heater
    • Ceramic heater in place of original heater core
    • Wiring in conduit to relay on real firewall
    • Operated by original controls and fan
    • Only wired up ½ of the element: doesn’t work well
  • Extras
    • “Reddy Kilowatt” badging
    • Beep on Backup
    • LED lighting
    • IPOD mini sound system
  • Success !
    • Daily driver; almost 2000 miles logged since January
    • 0-30mph; performance just fine; keeps up with traffic.
    • Reliable; only maintenance is once a month watering
    • Quiet and no hydrocarbon smells
    • Cool Looking
    • Project cost ~12K
  • Areas for Improvement
    • Range only about 18-20 miles
    • Handling is “heavy”
    • 30-60mph performance not so great
    • Want a lighter donor, lithium batteries, more attention to weight and weight distribution
    • “Funny noises”: contactor and vacuum pump
wish list for next time
Wish List for Next Time
  • Want
    • More Range
    • Better Performance and Handling
    • Better aesthetics (silent operation, nicer donor car)
    • Opportunity charging
    • Better instrumentation (data logging, CAN bus, better BMS)
    • Working heater
  • More attention to Weight and Weight Distribution
    • Lighter Donor
    • Aluminum Battery Boxes
    • Lithium Pack
  • AC motor and regeneration
  • More attention to durability and maintainability
    • Sealed components