Friday, August 23, 2019

Electric VW finally coming out of "hibernation"
after five years in the barn.

I had been keeping the VW in the barn for over five years, waiting for inexpensive Lithium-Ion (LI) batteries to become available. Never happened. Last fall I bought a complete LI battery pack out of a Nissan Leaf electric vehicle. I had planned on reconfiguring it for the VW. After a lot of research, I realized the cost exceeded the benefit. I sold it on eBay.

The original golf cart battery pack worked well. I drove it for five years and 20,000 miles. The new battery set will have slightly more energy, per battery, plus I have added two more, for a total of 18. This raised the nominal voltage from 97 volt to 108 volts. 

The previous driving range was 45 miles, more or less, with a cruising speed of 55 MPH. Top speed was 75 MPH. With the larger pack, I expect about ten percent more range and speed. (I will report the results, later.)

It has been hard to find the time to work on the VW rehab because of our expanding family business. (  It's been an hour, or two, here and an hour, or two, there. I am hoping to spend most of tomorrow, Saturday (8/24/2019) working on the car … and hoping there are not too many "Honey Do" projects.

If I get a full day tomorrow to work, I will probably be ready to make a first test run. It will take five or six RUN/RECHARGE cycles to get the battery pack conditioned for max output.

For recharging, I have updated my Manzanita Micro PFC25 Charger to the latest configuration. It should be much easier to use and safer for the batteries. I am expecting it will take about one hour of recharging, using a 240 volt supply, for every ten miles of driving. An 18 miles run into and return from town will take about two hours of charging.

Since virtually all the power for charging will come from our 10kW solar system, the cost to drive the car will be minimal.

Stay tuned ... 

Center "Saddleback Battery Holders located under the rear seat. (Two added batteries)
Front Battery Pack Installed
US125 Golf Cart Batteries (Total of 18 in car)
"Blackie" the Tech helper. (Stray cat that adopted us about a year ago.)

Rear Battery Pack Installed

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Ho-Ho-Ho... not so much!


Snowing today.

VW is sitting exactly as it was in the last post. I hope to get back to the lithium installation in January.

Golf cart fixed:

> Bad controller - installed new Alltrax 400 amp controller.

> Left axle broke and the wheel fell off! Replaced the axle. (Bought from Buggies Unlimited - a highly recommended company.)

> Installed two solar panels on the top of the cart, replacing the plastic top. I used a "boost type" charge controller to charge the 48vdc battery pack. I have been using the cart for running around the ranch for several months and have not had to use any aux. charging.

> Added two LED driving lights. Mounted one on the left front edge of the solar module and one on the right front edge. Works GREAT!

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

No progress on VW

Too many "must do" projects, right now.
  • Broken water line to our underground sprinkler system. Lawn looks completely disreputable i.e., looks like hell!
  • Electric golf cart suddenly quit last week. I need to troubleshoot it and fix. Getting tired of long walk to the barn/shop and back several times a day.
  • Weeds growing like there is no tomorrow. I need to start making that happen.
  • Wife and I picked up and hand unloaded 1200 lbs. of chicken feed. 

Friday, July 27, 2018


For the last five years my Electric VW Cabriolet has been "lounging" in my barn. Prior to the "internment" I drove it almost 20,000 miles, until the original set of 16 golf-cart batteries finally pooped out. It was my intent to replace the "flooded lead-acid" batteries with Lithium cells. At that time, Lithium was very expensive. I calculated to obtain the same performance, the Lithium battery pack would cost around $12,000. I decided to wait until the cost declined substantially.
Gradually, the cost for Lithium dropped ... but until last years, it was still over $7,000. With the wide acceptance of comsumer electric vehicles, such as the Toyota Prius, the Chevrolet Volt and the Nissan Leaf, there were a certain number of these vehicles that ended up crashed. One vehicle, in particular, the Nissan Leaf, had a Lithium battery pack that was quite adaptable to custom-made electric vehicles. Many were salvaged.
 This is a battery pack from a Nissan Leaf that I purchased last week. It consistes of 48 lithium modules, each about 8 vdc, for a total of about 385 vdc. Since my VW's controller has a maximum voltage rating of 144 dvc, I will split the battery pack into three parallel strings of 16 modules, each, for an output voltage of 128 vdc. (My original golf cart battery pack was 96vdc.)
With the original battery pack, my maximum range was about 50 miles and a top speed of 65 mph. With this new lithium pack, I am hoping for about 50% great numbers. 
Follow along, from day-to-day, as I upgrade the vehicle.
My hope is to be up and running by mid-August.



Thursday, August 18, 2011

Newest converted electric vehicle

Saturday, March 12, 2011

New Project

I'm starting a new project: Converting my John Deere L111 Riding Lawn Tractor to All-Electric, 100% battery power. Follow at:

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Turning Sunlight into Road Miles

Last Saturday, I taught a class in building a solar array. After the class was over I thought, "Why not put that project to good use." Hence: Here is the 875 watt solar array re-charging the batteries in my electric VW. What more can you ask for ... Sunlight to Road miles!