Looking for EV Conversion/Modification Truck/Trailer Info


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Korishan

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With these rising fuel prices, I've been looking at ways to lower my fuel consumption. One of the major recent purchases was replacing my truck. Fuel savings are between 20-30% more efficient, which is amazing for having a larger engine. The 5.7L Hemi is a beast of an engine and the 8 speed trans helps out a lot.

But, I need more efficiency. So I was looking into making modifications to the truck and trailer to add electric assist. The trailer is a tandem axle, so figured to replace one of the axles with an electric version. I doubt hub motors would work in the limited space plus these axles have a center spindle that is welded to the axle. So no replacing the spindle.
For the truck the plan was to make the front wheels be the electric assisting wheels. Essentially turning it into a 4x4. It's a 2018 Ram 1500 Tradesman 2x4. So there is no transfer case, nor is there a front axle. However, they do make these trucks in 4x4 variants. So the option to add a front differential powered by an electric motor is an option. The other option is to install hub motors on the front wheels. But this would mean that the hub would need to be able to mount with the existing rims (i really don't want to replace rims if at all possible)

So I'm asking for recommendations of components here. Possibly other forums that are really good on this particular topic. Videos would be great too. Perhaps even suggestions and/or personal experience doing these mods.

Kori
 

floydR

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https://www.diyelectriccar.com/threads/adding-a-starter-generator.206825/#post-1091349
If you are on facebook check out the DIY Electric Vehicle group https://www.facebook.com/groups/297913303730144
i think having a powered trailer would be even harder than a diy hybrid.

later floyd
 

Korishan

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Thanks floyd. I'll check out those sites. And no, I don't use facebook.

The powered trailer seems to be a pretty common thing over in Germany. They have been manufacturing them with powered axles for awhile now. But I'm thinking getting the throttle/power tuned would be the hardest part overall.
 

ajw22

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It's a topic I often think about... unfortunately with few options that are simple, cheap and effective. I'd firstly look to trade in for a hybrid / PHEV / EV. I've now been happily driving a Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV the last couple of years, perhaps 80% on electric.

Really ZERO experience, but would it not be possible to add a small assist motor on the serpentine belt? I imagine the belt for such a large engine will handle 2~3kW even without reinforcement? The level of assist could be adjusted just by reading the load% on the engine? Re-gen braking would be possible as well?
 

floydR

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One of the links above deals with the mild hybrid starter/generator.
later floyd
 

Korishan

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I'd firstly look to trade in for a hybrid / PHEV / EV.
Yeah, not much available for a full use utility work truck. A lot of the EV Trucks have a smaller bed, <5ft long. This would make doing my job very difficult. Not to mention they usually go for quite a bit cost. It'd be hard to find a good one in good condition for less than $42k, which is about 10k more than what I bought my current truck for.

but would it not be possible to add a small assist motor on the serpentine belt?
No, because this does not turn the engine. The engine turns the belt. Plus the belt would not be able to handle the stresses without replacing all the gears/pulleys & belt with wider tougher components. This would also make it more difficult as the space is limited in the engine compartment.

Really, the ideal place to put a motor would be connecting to the output of the transmission. This would either be a chain/belt drive to the driveshaft, or an inline connection. Which I've recently found is called a 'P4 Hybrid'.
 

floydR

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Might see if the Ram 1500's eTorque mild hybrid 2019-> can be adapted to your 2018. it runs on a belt to crankshaft That produces electricity when in generator mode and adds 150Lbs torque when in Motor mode also works as the starter in no idle mode (city driving)
later floyd

 

Korishan

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Might see if the Ram 1500's eTorque mild hybrid 2019-> can be adapted to your 2018. it runs on a belt to crankshaft That produces electricity when in generator mode and adds 150Lbs torque when in Motor mode also works as the starter in no idle mode (city driving)
later floyd

I don't think it'll work for this application:
When the driver lifts their foot off the brake and on to the accelerator pedal, the system pushes torque to the engine on a pulsating basis that matches the compression cycles to smooth engine start. After a stop, if the driver is very quick off the brake and back on the gas, the eTorque motor/generator provides a significant push during the first half-rotation of the wheels as the engine is restarting. Because the torque curve of the gasoline engine is so steep, it overruns the torque of the motor/generator quickly and the transition from electric power to gas is not noticeable.
It is only designed to start the engine after the brake is released and the accelerator is applied. The tiny motor only delivers about 16HP and 39ft/lbs. No where near what is needed for my needs.
But thanks for bringing that up.

Altho, not sure where you saw 150ft/lbs 🤔
 

Korishan

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The Hemi eTorque gets 19 mpg combined city and highway driving, a two-mpg increase over V-8s without eTorque
Hahah, this is funny. Because in my 2018 Hemi, it gets close to 23mpg average highway/city. While driving 35-45mph, i get anywhere between 23-34mpg. And at 65mph, I usually see around 21-23mpg.

It used to be the other way around where they spec'd the fuel efficiency higher than what real world driving would give.
 

floydR

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Altho, not sure where you saw 150ft/lbs
"What isn’t mild is the amount of the power eTorque generates. For the V6 engine, the system provides as much as 90 pound-feet of additional torque. For the Hemi, as much as 130 pound-feet of torque is available."
Was going by memory which isn't as good as it used to be.This isn't where I saw it, but can't find it now.
Later floyd
ps seeing that it doesn't get as good of mileage aswith the eTorque as without not so good. :(
 

ajw22

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No, because this does not turn the engine. The engine turns the belt.
Are you sure that it's not possible? The clutch/transmission on the other side of the engine gets driven by the crankshaft most of the time too, but can drive the engine eg when going downhill. Is there anything that prevents the pulley system of providing a limited driving torque on the engine?

Plus the belt would not be able to handle the stresses without replacing all the gears/pulleys & belt with wider tougher components.
Yes, it'd be a super-light hybrid of perhaps 2~3kW. That's my guesstimate number based on the maximum drag by the alternator and A/C compressor.
Certainly not much considering the power needed to move the truck. But on the other hand, it would also assist driving those aux loads even when the car is not moving.
Perhaps it could even be fitted in place of the alternator?
 

Korishan

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seeing that it doesn't get as good of mileage with the eTorque as without not so good. :(
Yeah, you'd think it would get a lot more than that. I saw that it said 50 gallons per year saved ?!?! The cost of fuel would of been far less than the cost of the equipment added to the price tag of the truck

Are you sure that it's not possible? The clutch/transmission on the other side of the engine gets driven by the crankshaft most of the time too, but can drive the engine eg when going downhill. Is there anything that prevents the pulley system of providing a limited driving torque on the engine?


Yes, it'd be a super-light hybrid of perhaps 2~3kW. That's my guesstimate number based on the maximum drag by the alternator and A/C compressor.
Certainly not much considering the power needed to move the truck. But on the other hand, it would also assist driving those aux loads even when the car is not moving.
Perhaps it could even be fitted in place of the alternator?
Yes, it could work to give a little assist. But relying on the set up to generate enough constant assistance to shave off gallons/week is pushing it. I drive 300-400 miles/week, so I fill up each week. If the 130hp 130lbft isn't going to give much more than 50 gallons "per year" bonus, it is not worth it, imho.
I'd rather spend the money/time/energy on something that would be a lot more umph. I need to save gallons/week, not year.

Just to be fair, I'm liking the suggestions and chat about this topic, don't get me wrong. If there is some tech that could be mounted to the belt system and adds the required power w/ the fuel savings, I'm all ears for it. But adapting something like the eTorque just isn't the way to go, imho.
Not to mention space is not exactly freely available under the hood. There's loads of space under the bed of the truck as well as between the frame and outer fenders. I could pop the bed off and do the work, drop the bed back on and be done. Not quite that easy with working under the hood.
 

Oberfail

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Do you really need that truck all the time or cant you just switch to a smaller vehicle?
 

ajw22

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the 130hp 130lbft isn't going to give much more than 50 gallons "per year" bonus
Ah, I just realized that eTorque system is mostly what I was suggesting/dreaming. But that system is poorly equipped to save fuel with its ridiculously puny 0.43kWh 48V battery that can't even be charged at home.
But if you could combine it with say a 20kWh battery, it could probably cut your fuel usage significantly, depending on how often you can charge the battery. Cooling the device will likely be an issue.

HP and lbft is good for top speed and sprint times. For saving gallons, you need as many kWh as you're willing to carry, and just enough HP(kW) to empty that battery on your drive. My back-of-the-envelope calculation suggests that you need in the order of 12kWh to save 1 gal of fuel. How many kWh are you thinking of taking on board?
 

Korishan

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Do you really need that truck all the time or cant you just switch to a smaller vehicle?
It's my work truck. So yeah, I need it all the time. I use the bed of the truck to put my empty supplies as I use them out of the trailer. Otherwise I'd be constantly moving the empty gear out of the way to get to the new stuff. It was bad enough when I went from a "real full sized bed" of 8ft down to a 6.5ft bed. But I've made due with that change. Any less space lost would not be acceptable.

I would head over to https://www.diyelectriccar.com/ and ask there.
Thanks for the reference. But apparently they are stuck in the butt over there. I posted two threads about what I was looking for and basically got told it was a waste of money/time and should better look for a full on EV. That is currently out of the question. They appear to be no where near as helpful to new comers as here. :rolleyes:

So I'll need to look elsewhere.
I did some calculations about fuel economy. While I'm pulling the trailer, I get around 12.5mpg. I have a 23gallon tank. This gives me approximately 288 mile range.
When I am not using the trailer, I average about 24mpg. This would be about 550 mile range.

If the electric assist (regardless if it is on the trailer or somewhere on the truck) were to give me a hauling average mileage of 17mpg, then I would get about 390 miles. This is about 27% increase in fuel economy. Fuel prices right now have risen to $4.55/gallon. With the extra 100 miles I could gain, at 17mpg, that would be a consumption of 5.8 gallons, or $26. Multiply that for the year and that's a savings of $1376.

If the non-hauling average went from 24 to 32mpg, this would be an increase 25%. I think this is pretty conservative, tbh. When driving at 55mph the instant fuel usage meter often goes above the 30mpg mark, which is beyond the gauge. So the average could easily be closer to 35mpg or higher. At 35mpg that's an increase of 32%. So figuring with a 28% (average between the two figures) I would go from 552 miles to 715 miles. This is an increase in 163 miles. At 32mpg this would equate to 5 gallons.

So with these maths calculated, I would estimate a yearly savings of over $1500. And that's if the efficiency is increased by the little amount I was guessing. So if the hybrid system install costs $4k, then roi is just over 2 years. I plan on keeping the truck for quite some time. Plus, this is calculating the costs at $4.50/gallon. If fuel continues to rise and reaches $5/g, or $5.5/g, then my savings goes up even faster!

The above math and fuel usage, and fuel gain, is very much guess work. But I am pretty confident that those values would be achievable. If my math is wrong, I am definitely open to correction.
 

Korishan

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Still looking for information on this project. A few ideas have been adjusted, tho. For one, definitely won't be going hub motors. They'll cause too many issues by adding weight in the wrong location. Not to mention I'd need to do quit a bit of modifications to the truck/trailer for them to be mounted properly.

So now looking for any ideas, suggestions, posts, etc for
- inline motors, these would actually connect to the back of the transmission and replace part of the drive shaft
- ev conversion differential. this would mount an electric motor to a rear differential axle. This option would actually replace one of the axles on the trailer
- or some other option that might be worth looking into

The price of regular gas in my area is expected to reach $5/gal by the end of next week. It's getting to the point where it's going to be extremely difficult to keep making a living with my current job. Needing to spend close to $150/week in fuel is insane, imho.

If there are other suggestions for helping with fuel economy, that would be helpful too. I have been doing research into HHO. Not entirely sure how well this one will pan out. But even if it yields 5% boost, I'd be willing to add the gear.
 

Redpacket

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For one, definitely won't be going hub motors. They'll cause too many issues by adding weight in the wrong location. Not to mention I'd need to do quit a bit of modifications to the truck/trailer for them to be mounted properly.
Thing with hub motors is the best efficiency because you loose all the friction in the drive train.
Pretty sure all the EVs & hybrids use them for this reason.
 

Korishan

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Thing with hub motors is the best efficiency because you loose all the friction in the drive train.
Pretty sure all the EVs & hybrids use them for this reason.
Nah, most EVs are moving to CV shaft driven because of what is called "Unsprung Weight". Basically there is little control over the momentum.

"Unsprung mass is where things change. Anything that’s not leaning on your suspension system is considered unsprung weight. Your wheels, tires, wheel hubs, and everything else that’s not on top of the suspension are considered unsprung.

The issue with unsprung weight is simple — it offers no performance improvement whatsoever. On the contrary, it reduces performance. More unsprung mass means that your suspension components have to work harder to keep the wheel on the ground"
So you want as little bit of mass below the suspension as possible to increase efficiency and handling. Plus the other problem with Hub Motors is that they lose a lot of torque as they speed increases. There is no gear reduction, which would improve a motors torque throughput.

Now, if the hub motor is really light (basically not adding much weight over what a brake caliper/parts would be), then there'd not be a whole lot of difference.
 

Redpacket

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Good points.
Sounds like the best place for motors is at the end of the CV shaft.....
 
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