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randen 08-10-16 04:25 PM

Chevy Volt battery upgrade for S-10 EV
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I realize an automobile is not anything related to home energy conservation but an electric vehicle can certainly help the bottom line when it comes to expenses. It can be looked at as low hanging fruit as the cost of energy to power an electric vehicle is a lot less than to power the fossil fuel machine to operate. For us the cost of gasoline per year is the next largest cost. We wrestled the monster down regarding home heating and lighting with Solar Hot-water space heating with Geo-thermal back-up, LED lighting and with more efficient appliances.

With my shop the same has held true Geo-thermal and more efficient lighting. A little more insulation and the later model CNC machines are extremely efficient.

If any have been following my adventures with the Chevy S-10 EV it is now operational with 16 yr old Nimh battery tech. The older pack proved our new custom AC inverter drive system however battery voltage sag under load is a detractor from the capabilities.

I had mention on the electric vehicle post that I was quite surprised after a charge that the truck actually spun tires on dry pavement from which the batteries voltage lowered (voltage sag) quickly.

The now hot rod S-10 needs some good batteries.

1st thought: Tesla batteries, but they seem to be almost un-obtainium

More readily available Chevy volt pack.

I found 2 so about 34 Kwh together. Removed the old Nimh and have repurposed these for the house. This will be another chapter to be caught up with later.

The 2 chevy volt Lithium packs are now reconfigured to be placed in the OEM battery box that is positioned between the frame rails of the truck. However about 4 kwhs remaining are left to be placed in another box behind the rear axle.

Things are going to be exciting with some batteries that will have very little voltage sag and possibly enough range for 120 miles.


DEnd 08-10-16 06:20 PM

Are you going to do any thermal management with the batteries?

randen 08-10-16 09:00 PM


Thermal management, you bet. The information I have is, heat during discharge may not be an issue and the same for charging at the nominal rate. However charging with a battery temp. of 0 Deg. C. or less can cause damage so a little warm coolant circulated though the batteries will be welcomed in my Canadian climate.


creeky 08-29-16 09:33 AM

I've seen cooling/heating lifespan charts on these LG batteries. Looks like 5C to 35C is the window. So heating in our climate is very much required.

pinballlooking 08-29-16 10:06 AM

Very cool project.
Have you got to test how many miles you can get so far?

randen 08-29-16 02:09 PM


Well I easily was traveling 10-15Km. I wasn't fully charging the pack as I was still setting the parameters for the motor. The total range would only be a guess. As I was setting the parameters under full load the pack voltage was sagging with a current draw of about 400A.

The original pack of Nimh still has some life and it is now residing at my home to be coupled to a solar panel array. It may be just fine there as I doubt I'll ever see that kind of current draw.

For the truck I didn't want to waste any time on older tech. The voltage sag could be as simple as corroded battery straps but the other side is the Nimh is only about 66 % efficient so for every 1 kwh I put in I would only get 660 wh out. I can't remember exactly but the lithium in the Chev Volt is in the 90% range. The performance far exceeds the Nimh as far as the discharge curve.

The little S-10 may not be a Tesla but I'm impressed with the acceleration with poor batteries. What will it be like with higher current on tap----we'll know soon.


WyrTwister 09-14-16 12:27 PM

Just guessing , but I figure internal resistance limits discharge current , to some degree ?

As a side note , I am again guessing that the more efficent the battery , the less heat , potentially ?

God bless

randen 05-12-17 11:01 PM

I thought I would give a follow-up.

The S-10EV is on the road and is driving wonderfully. The Chevy Volt battery packs are providing great performance for this little truck. I still have some tuning for the motor inverter adjusting waveforms.

Top speed is 135 kmh, and range is around 160 kms both which could improve.

The project was a lot of work but the ends justified the means.

Yet to do is some instrumentation and getting the air-conditioning functioning.


creeky 05-13-17 07:25 AM

Huzzah! Huzzah! Huzzah!

Congratulations Randen.

WyrTwister 05-13-17 08:54 AM


About how much $$$ do you have in the conversion ?

If I am not mistaken , the GM battery is liquid cooles / heated . Have you maintained that feature .

The Leaf battery is air cooled / electric heated ( apparently not as well ) and suffers faster battery degrading than the GM battery .

God bless

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