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Volvo 142 Electric Conversion

Photo: Kjell Ekelund with his grandson

In Växjö, Sweden, many heads turn when the red Volvo 142 quietly glides past. The vehicle is converted to electrical operation by the pensioner Kjell Ekelund. The battery-powered Volvo 142 only costs a few dollars to "fill up".

His Volvo has a top speed of 80 kilometers an hour. The batteries are fine for an hour of city driving. The low cost of driving is an advantage - a single charge costing around a dollar and open road travel is about one cent per/km.

The Volvo was bought new by Kjell's father in 1972. During the past 15 years has been stored in a garage in the Öland country. Kjell wanted to restore the family treasure, but an ordinary renovation was never considered.

I thought it was interesting to put an electric motor for my grandchildren's sake. With "my grandfather's electric car", they can see what is possible. For my part, I wanted to see if it is possible to convert old cars to electricity, says Klell Ekelund.

With a background as a foreman at Volvo in Växjö, he possessed the right skills for a conversion. Kjell chose a three-phase motor of 7.5 kilowatts to run the car, a type used in the industry. A converter converts the DC battery voltage to AC voltage.

The electric motor has dual output shafts. On one side is a flywheel and clutch fitted - the other shaft drives the car 12-volt generator. The electric motor is only replacing the petrol engine, otherwise the car as standard with 4-speed gearbox. Kjell's solutions are different from the modern electric car manufacturers, but the system works.

It is completely his design-concept. "I wanted to test if it could be run in this way with so little power output that I have - and it works better than expected, "he says.

Kjell chose a battery pack consisting of 30 units of maintenance-free 12-volt lead-acid batteries. They weigh 250 kilograms which is quite low for electric cars here. They are divided between the location of the fuel tank, and the engine compartment. That means interior space is completely intact.

The conversion took approximately 300 hours used and the entire renovation, including painting cost 60,000 SEK. Of the total cost was approximately SEK 25,000 for batteries, and 20,000 SEK for the motor and converter. (1000SEK=US$140)

Kjell Volvo uses on a daily basis and it works perfectly in town. He says that interest has been great when the car has been shown in various exhibitions.

Many people travel 20 or 30 kms back and forth to work. Then it would be ideal to have one of these as second car, says Kjell Ekelund. 

Volvo 142 Electric

Volvo 142 Electric

Volvo 142 Electric

Volvo 142 Electric

Volvo 142 electric car conversion model year 1972
Curb weight: 1410 kg
Total weight: 1720 kg
Manual transmission 4-speed
Electric motor 7.5 kW 2880 rpm 230/400V 50Hz
Frequency Converter 18.5 kW
Maximum speed: 80 km / h
Max drivetime approximately 45 minutes
Charging time: 6 hours

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