Wednesday, June 27, 2012

First Paint

At the same time as he's fabricating battery supports, Robert Juarez has been painting some of the body parts that are not involved with the battery fitting. Here are views of several parts:

Cowl in gel coat
Cowl in primer
Surface prep is the key to a great finish, and from the results I'd say this is a first rate job. 

Cowl in color!

Motor Cover before
Motor Cover after
I love the color and can't wait to see the reassembled body. The dark red upholstery and grill slats should make a nice accent. I also found some matching vinyl to cover the dashboard.

In other news, I heard from Rebirth Auto that they have recieved all the parts to build up the Impulse9 motor with the adapter plate and clutch pack. It should be out for balancing today so I suspect it will be shipped later this week. After Robert finishes the battery and controller mounts, the chassis will go to Bob Sommerfeld at Pro Automotive for the disk brake conversion and front shocks. Bob will also have the transaxle checked out and install the motor before returning it to Robert Jaurez for body assembly. Things are coming together nicely!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Battery Racks

All of the batteries have now been removed from the eBugeye and are being fitted to the new evTD. The space available for the batteries is a luxury compared to the tight confines of the Sprite. Robert Juarez is welding up the base trays from angle steel. The battery top frames will be anchored to the base trays with threaded rod. The eighteen battery packs will be split into three sections with the packs in each section strapped together into a rigid unit.

 Three packs will be positioned in the nose of the car behind the faux radiator grill. The mount platform previously held the ballast box with 100 pounds of sand. Now it supports approximately 85 pounds of batteries.

In the rear of the car, seven packs will occupy the parcel shelf behind the seat back.

Robert has fabricated a framework under the fiberglass that ties the battery support to the rear shock mounts with square section tube. This tray weighs approximately 200 pounds, so a solid structure is needed. Adding a sheet of plywood over the batteries will provide a package shelf approximately six inches deep - enough to store the side curtains when they're not in use.

The remaining eight battery packs (seen here on the cart in the background) will be mounted behind the front pack in the area where the gas motor would have been on an original MG. The frame will be anchored to the backbone with outrigger supports tied in to the floor pan to lend additional chassis stiffness.

Placing another plywood sheet over the center pack, we will have a very spacious trunk area about a foot deep. The center pack will weigh in at approximately 225 pounds, so we are looking at around 310 pounds of battery weight on the front end and roughly 380 in the rear including the motor and controller. The resulting 45/55 weight distribution is the same as a classic Beetle's so we should have a well balanced vehicle without resorting to added ballast.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

New Floor Pans

Things are starting to come together. I decided to switch from the Kostov motor that I had on order to a Netgain Impulse9. They are within fractions of an inch in length so either should fit the space available. The Impulse9 is a bit more expensive, but the more I thought about it, I really wanted to buy the US made product. I'm sure the Kostov would have been just fine, but I want to support American vendors like Netgain and Rebirth Auto/Evnetics who are making it possible for folks like me to build EV conversions.

Robert Juarez has been very busy and sent some photos of the chassis restoration. I'm very excited to see the transformation in the rusty old VW Beetle chassis from this:

Old floors removed:

Shiny new floors welded in place:

Beautiful finished chassis:

Too bad no one will ever see this after the body is reinstalled, but the foundation is now laid for a solid build. Many thanks to Robert for his expert craftsmanship!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

More activity in the Body Shop

Robert Juarez at Jaurez Bros. Classics is making great strides with the body restoration. He's sanded all the fiberglass and begun spraying on the primer. It's looking very smooth.

The old VW engine has been removed and the new floor pans were delivered. I also picked up all the painting supplies. We settled on a Chrysler color, Cool Vanilla paint code WPG, that is close to the now-unavailable Old English Ivory but should be easy to match in the instance of a repair or touch-up later. Robert says it's a great color and very forgiving, whatever that means.

We're beginning to plan for battery placement, and Robert will fabricate the battery supports and is already thinking about weight and the car's overall balance. We'll locate and install the batteries before we reassemble the body to minimize lift-over and potential damage to the fresh paint job.

Also on order is spray-on pickup bed liner, very tough stuff that will coat the chassis and protect under the fenders. We'll also coat the interior with the bed liner to provide sound deadening and a scuff-free base for the upholstery and interior panels.

Robert gave me a large and very heavy bag containing all the nuts, bolts, and washers he removed when he disassembled the body. My next job is to sort all of that out by size and get stainless steel replacement hardware so we can put it all back together again. I have a feeling it's all going to happen pretty quickly now that the floor pans and paint are in the shop.

The eBugeye has been advertised on the EV Trading Post and local Austin Healey Club newsletter. At Rich Rodriguez' suggestion I'll be adding it to the EV Classifieds and EV Finder next week. Much as I'd love to keep all my builds, space and finances just don't allow, so let your friends know that there's a great little project waiting for them to take home.