Voltvo a 100% electric Volvo Amazon wagon

Building for 6 years

driven 3171 km

GAME OVER ?

Support rebuilding

The story – live your dreams

Back in 2015 my wife and I talked about future dreams and decided ‘later is now’. I always wanted to convert an old Volvo to full electric. She wanted to travel. We went to Iceland with our young kids and I started my project.

It took me six years to restore the car and convert it to full electric with features one also finds in a modern production EV. In June 2021 we travelled again. “EVeryday nature”, with the electric Volvo Amazon wagon to Sweden for two months as a family. Unfortunately on June 30th the dream shattered as the car spontaneously caught fire when parked.

Build specifications and components

Amazon wagon overview
6,6 kW AC charging
CHAdeMO DC fastcharge
Tesla Model S battery modules
Siemens AC motor
Airconditioning for active battery cooling

Motor and controller

100 kW liquid cooled Siemens AC motor with 300 Nm torque coupled with a rebuild M400 gearbox from a Volvo 164 while keeping the long shifter. Using a DMOC 645 liquid cooled inverter.

Siemens torque curve transp
Siemens motor M400

Batteries

The battery from a Tesla Model S are known for their high energy density and due to their liquid cooling have excellent opportunities for long a lifespan.

Tesla module 444 cellen type 18650

Thermal management

Keeping batteries in their ideal temperature range during operation is key in optimizing their lifespan. Lithium batteries neither should be too hot nor too cold. More information in my EVcreate blogpost: Ideal battery temperature?

The motor, inverter and DC/DC converter need liquid cooling. However, they al differ in ideal and more important acceptable temperature. In the end I decided to implement three separate cooling systems.

You do not want to overheat for example batteries or electronics with waste heat of the motor. There was not enough room to implement a 4-way valve to use motor waste heat to warm up the batteries like Tesla does. More details about what Tesla does can be found in the EVcreate blogpost: Using Tesla thermal management system parts. The radiator sizes were designed based on waste heat to be dissipated while balancing and distributing available space.

Charging

AC charging

Two Thunderstruck TSM2500 chargers of 3,3 kW each hidden on the left and right hand side in the trunk.

Onboard charger
AC granny charger Charge Amps

CHAdeMO fastcharge

Using the EVcreate CHAdeMO controller. Up to 100A but I used 80A max. Allowed DC charge current dynamically controlled by the BMS depending on factors such as battery temperature and state of charge.

During the charging process all details are visualized on the screen.

CHadeMO DC fast charging

Displays

The electric Volvo Amazon wagon has two small screens integrated in the speedo and one larger screen embedded in the dashboard.

Small screens in the speedo cluster

Two small screens were integrated in the original speedometer where the tank and temp. meter used to be. Starting procedure remained identical, when you turn the ignition on the warning lights light up and after starting these go off (if there was no warning). Furthermore the iso icon for ‘Ready’ would show up on the screen.

The content of these screens was different for drive and charge mode.

Central display

In the middle of the dash where the heater controls used to be (moved those to the right a bit) a 5-inch screen was integrated. Previous and next page were controlled by an Amazon-style knob. For AC and DC charging two pages showing process specific data were implemented.

EV Peripherals

The custom home build EV-peripherals controller drives all secondary features. From remote control to cooling pumps and fans to the small displays and the interior heating and cooling. It uses heating and cooling requests coming from the BMS as well as various inputs such as buttons, switches, speed and temperatures and parameters from the CAN-BUS.

EV Peripherals PCB

Classic appearance with modern technology

Stainless steel battery
Heavy duty battery boxes

Stainless steel boxes with vent valves.

CHAdeMO fast charge at Fastned
DC fast charge

In house developed CHAdeMO controller.

Displays integrated
Integrated screens

Small screens where the temp. and tank meter were.

Custom bezels
Knobs in Amazon style

Knobs for range mode, display and heated rear window with custom bezel.

Controlling via iPhone 1
Smartphone App

Remote monitoring and enabling the stationary heater.

Electric airconditioning
Airconditioning

For active cooling of interior and batteries.

iBooster installed IMG 5934
Power brakes

Silent electric brake booster from a Tesla.

Electric power steering
Power steering

Speed dependent electric power assisted steering.

Custom heater and aircon
Stationary aircon & heater

Remote controlled stationary heater and airconditioning to pre heat or cool the car.

Central locking and alarm
Central locking & alarm

Alarm and central locking with remote.

Thermal management display
Thermal management

Realtime info showing battery thermal management.

Heated seats
Heated seats

Heated front and rear seats.

AC charging integrated
AC charge port integrated

AC charge port hidden behind original tank cap with store magnet.

EV Peripherals controller
EV peripherals

Custom electronics to control all secondary components.

Custom 222E badge
Custom badges

Amazon wagon sport E-badges.

Custom wiring
New wiring with CAN

Hundreds of new wires and tripple CAN-BUS.

Rear retractable seat belts
Rear seatbelts

Integrated duo-sensitive seat belt with ELR.

Handmate custom swirl pots
Handmade swirl pots

Aluminum swirl pots to get rid of air automatically.

Three custom radiators
Optimized cooling

Three separate systems for motor, batteries and inverter + dc/dc.

Sunroof
Sunroof

Electrical operated steel panel sunroof.

CAD for optimized fit
3D designed

Computer Aided Design (CAD) for perfect fit and weight distribution.

EV Conversion

Before

Only 70 HP, low torque, noisy and gasoline thirsty.

Increasing challenge for availability of fuels.

Not allowed in low emission zones.

enginebay preenginebay post

After

Smooth, silent, clean, 130 HP and 300 Nm of torque from 0 RPM.

Drive on solar energy.

No local emissions.

Ready for another 50 years on the road.

Blogposts using Voltvo

What caused my electric car fire?

The electric car fire triggered a lot of questions. Now it’s time to share my thoughts on what might have caused the Tesla battery fire in our converted 1967 Volvo Amazon wagon.

Testing a new iDrive gear selector

Thanks to Tom from Engovis (also the creator of Simp BMS) for the inspiration, reverse engineering and sharing his work on this gear selector. Now I needed a tester and a selector too. I definitely want this in my Voltvo rebuild.

Using the Shining 3D Einstar scanner

Best way to practice using new EVcreate 3D scanning tools is to use it for my own project. Impressed with the ease of use and scanning result. Next step is to successfully import the scan into Onshape.

Emptied front battery box to recycling

Today I dropped off the old emptied front battery box at the recycling. It did its job very well and to a large extent contained the fire so there now is a car to rebuild. This box will not be part of that nor will Tesla battery modules.

Thanks AREPA and Dolmans

Cleaning fire extinguisher powder is difficult but possible. Thanks to Arepa and Dolmans the leather front seats are cleaned, reconditioned and ready for use again.

What a coincidence, one year later, same charging station

What a coincidence! Last weekend on our way to Legoland with an unplanned stop we charged at the exact same spot as last year on June 7th with the electric Volvo Amazon wagon on our way to Kiel.
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Blogposts using Voltvo

Checkout all blogpost when actually using our electric Volvo Amazon wagon!

So starting after the conversion and before the fire, teardown and rebuild.

OldVolvo

OldVolvo is a classic Volvo hobby blog by Lars Rengersen.

Also electric?

Do you also want to convert your car (Volvo or another brand) to full electric? As a spin-off of my own EV conversion project I started EVcreate for 'enabling EV conversions'

More info www.evcreate.com

EVcreate