100% Electric Volvo Amazon wagon

Building for 6 years
driven 3171 km
GAME OVER ?

The story

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
CHAdeMO DC fastcharge
Siemens AC motor
Tesla model S battery modules
6,6 kW AC charging
Airconditioning for active battery cooling

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 AC motor

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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 battery modules

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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.

CHadeMO DC fast charging
Monitoring CHAdeMO DC fast charging

AC onboard chargers

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

AC granny charger Charge Amps
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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.

Displays

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

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.

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

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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.

Classic appearance with modern technology

Heavy duty battery boxes

Stainless steel boxes with vent valves.

DC fast charge

In house developed CHAdeMO controller.

Integrated screens

Small screens where the temp. and tank meter used to be

Knobs in Amazon style

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

Smartphone App

Remote monitoring and enabling the stationary heater.

Airconditioning

For active cooling of interior and batteries.

Power brakes

Silent electric brake booster from a Tesla

Power steering

Speed dependent electronic power assisted steering.

Stationary aircon & heater

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

Central locking & alarm

Alarm and central locking with remote.

Thermal management

Realtime info showing battery thermal management

Heated seats

Heated front and rear seat

AC charge port integrated

AC charge port hidden behind original tank cap with store magnet

EV peripherals

Custom electronics to control all secondary components.

Custom badges

Amazon wagon sport E-badges.

New wiring with CAN-BUS

Hundreds of new wires and tripple CAN-BUS.

Rear seatbelts

Integrated duo-sensitive seat belt with ELR

Handmade swirl pots

Aluminum swirl pots to get rid of air automatically

Optimized cooling

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

Sunroof

Electrical operated steel panel sunroof.

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 pre enginebay 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.

EV conversion book

I was already working on a ‘coffee-table’ book about my EV conversion project. A mixture of large photo’s , EV conversion information and lessons learned. I never expected this plot twist but will continue writing my book.

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