We've been following a very special project which includes a power unit conversion. The second phase is now complete, and we aren’t far off from witnessing the first wheel turn.
We visited this special Range Rover project car a couple of months back and while its body still looks fairly familiar, it now has an entirely new soul.
To jog your memory, this project isn't one of ours at CarAdvice, but rather the journey of a car lover who is currently battling a terminal illness. His build was shared with us by the team at Electric Car Café at EVolution, the Melbourne-based company specialising in turning your old classic car into a fully electric vehicle.
The second stage of this electric vehicle conversion has taken two months and with stock shortages and lockdowns impeding Melbourne, it's been quite a complex journey for the team at EVolution. But, they succeeded.
The Project – Phase Two
While the first part of this Range Rover conversion build revolved around planning, design & procurement, phase two has included various imperative tasks, namely the switch in power unit with the car stripped of all ICE components.
But, before these elements could be completed, the team installed sound deadening – an important task that makes the car more drivable and liveable. Without the Range Rover V8 engine drowning out the rattles and squeaks that a vehicle of this age creates, sound deadening is essential to provide a smoother, silent driving experience for the owner.
A specialist drivetrain, custom designed and fabricated in-house by the ECC team, has been fitted, along with a Netgain Hyper9 motor that’ll provide that fast instant torque so familiar to any EV driver. The team has also designed, developed, and installed a battery box, which has been mounted in the front motor bay, in the space left by the old combustion engine.
What's more, the battery management system is a vital addition – a tool that acts as the traffic cop, if you will, of battery performance. The system manages the health of the battery from a temperature and charge state, primarily assisting with the charging and discharging. A Thunderstruck DC:DC converter has also been installed to help maintain the 12V battery so it can run accessories such as the radio, interior lights, headlights and wipers.
The e-Range Rover now packs a 44kWh battery which can be charged to full in seven hours using a 7kW wall charger (all converted vehicles that leave the Electric Car Cafe go home with a zappi wall charger). The owner will be using this as his main runaround car and with 220km of range available, this should be more than enough for his everyday needs.
Open the fuel filler cap and you'll be greeted by the new world, and a reminder of the old. Under the fuel filler cap lives the charging port needed to replenish the battery array. But, look closely and you'll notice the 'Unleaded Fuel Only' sticker on the flap. Cute.
The seats, which were stripped during the first phase, have now been repaired, reupholstered and fitted with heating – both front and back. Other components such as air conditioning and braking systems are also being installed. To make the e-Range Rover look even cooler, it's been finished with LED headlights and colour coded wheels.
Final steps include completion of the remaining wiring, dialling in of controls and fitting all of the settings. For modernised daily driving there'll also be a great stereo and to top it all off Apple CarPlay and Android Auto will be fitted too.
We can't wait to witness the first wheel turn which is only a month or so away.
Stay tuned for the third and final instalment.