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Discussion Starter #1
I drove to Tofino on the West Coast of Vancouver Island last week, and what should I see charging at the Visitor's Centre but this Chevy Bolt:
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What's that, you say? Not a Chevy Bolt? Not even an electric vehicle? Look closer:

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That's odd, I didn't know that VW even made electric Vanagons. Well it may look like a Vanagon, but take an even closer look:

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See anything that looks familiar? You should be able to find at least four different reasons why I call this a "Chevy Bolt". And here's the fifth, although you'd be forgiven if it didn't look as familiar:

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Discussion Starter #6
Did you get to speak with the owner of this FrankenBoltagon? Interesting concept.
I didn't, although I did sneak a peek at the license plate to learn that the van came from Quebec.

In the first picture you can see the Bolt battery (literally) bolted onto the bottom of the chassis.
 

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OK, I give up. What are referring to in photo five? I see what appears to be a small Chinese charger, or inverter, and maybe a mirror, or display screen against the side.

[edit]
OK, I see the battery disconnect!
 

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I think the orange cover is part of the Bolt's battery pack. You don't normally see it because it is tucked beneath the floor in the Bolt, and not exposed like it is here.
 

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I think the orange cover is part of the Bolt's battery pack. You don't normally see it because it is tucked beneath the floor in the Bolt, and not exposed like it is here.
Yup. It is actually right under the seat cushion, easily seen after releasing two latches at the front of the seat cushion.
 

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So many questions:
  • Were they able to incorporate the BMS into this thing? (I'm going to have to assume they did. But how?)
  • If they were able to make this work, would it be outside the realm of possibility to stack another battery on here (to provide more juice/range), and, while they're at it - mount another motor to the rear wheel/axle to provide AWD? :geek:
 

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Hippies gone electric! What will they think of next :giggle:
Next? Before buying my used YM240 (a 1970's model, 24 hp Yanmar farm tractor) in 2003, my research led me to one that had been converted, at least 30 years ago, now, to electric. There was an article describing it, in something like the Whole Earth Catalog. Of course it was at a back-to-the earth communal garden.
 

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I have a few questions:

1) Did he install a Pedestrian Growler Speaker? Because if he runs someone down, with all the safety equipment in that thing, he's just going to be handing over the keys to his house if he didn't.
2) If he needs to take it in for service, do you think he's going to get his panties in a bunch if he gets an ICE as a loaner (or will he modify the ICE to be a BEV and return it as such?)
3) Is he in a state where there is emissions testing, and if so, did he reclassify the original VIN of that thing as electric, and if so, how easy was that? And no, legally, he can't use the VIN of the Bolt ..... I said legally, not that he didn't pull it off with the don't ask don't tell philosophy that I personally believe in. I live in a country where the loophole, no matter how 'wrong' it is, is the correct answer.
4) How do the chicks react to it? The Bolt style as it is .... is a c-o-c-k block. Except all your wives here, I know they think you guys look cute in yours. I get it. Denial is huge here.
5) Does he wave to a Tesla driver like I do? When I wave, it's envy. For him, it's got to be a grin of a whole different level.
6) How is towing?
7) He clearly solved the uncomfortable seat issue, but does he have a spare? If he has a spare, that's a game changer. I may want this mod. I want a spare.
8) What exactly does the car identify as? If he's on the west coast, that opens it up to a ton of other directions too.
 

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Hippies gone electric! What will they think of next :giggle:
I found it! Story of a Yanmar tractor like mine converted to an ETractor. I think this is a second one, the one I remember was green.

36V Yanmar Tractor EV

Tractor was converted to electric drive in 1992 ...
... has proven to me the viability, utility, and long-term reliability of electric drive for farm equipment. Not to mention the quiet operation and lack of smoke and fumes. No idling necessary.
I could cut heavy grass for 2 ½ hours using a double mower deck.
And of course:
... cleaning and repainting so it could tow a float in the City of Mendocino Independence Day Parade. I was at the helm that day, with a bucket full of lettuce, an Uncle Sam top hat, and towing a large flatbed trailer covered with straw and carrying organic farmers undulating with gardening implements. All while we were being circled by folks on electric bikes and scooters from MendoMotive Electric Bicycles. It was quite a circus, and a good time was had by all :)
 

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Discussion Starter #18
OK guys, I found out where this "Vanabolt" came from:

Thread on Samba.com
Here is my Vanabolt, a 100% electric 1980 Vanagon.
In fact, it can look like a Vanagon, but really it's a 2017 chevrolet Bolt. Almost every piece of the Bolt had been integrate in his new VW body.
So, the base vehicle was a wrecked Chevy Bolt. This one have a 60 kWh battery and an efficient drivetrain / design allowing a range* of 300-500 km (190-300 miles) between charge. In his new, wider, bigger, less aerodynamic, heavier, Vanagon body the range* I obtain after a full charge is 200-300 km (125-190 miles).
 

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So many questions:
  • Were they able to incorporate the BMS into this thing? (I'm going to have to assume they did. But how?)
  • If they were able to make this work, would it be outside the realm of possibility to stack another battery on here (to provide more juice/range), and, while they're at it - mount another motor to the rear wheel/axle to provide AWD? :geek:
I recall the episode "Spock's Brain" in the original Star Trek where primitive, scantily clad, women surgically removed Spock's brain to serve as the controller for the planet. Spock believed he was still in his body, pumping blood and breathing, all while really operating planetary life support systems. William Shatner got to chew scenery.

This Vanagon-Bolt proves that what we judge primitive can be inspired to leaps of creativity that achieve the apparently impossible for little cost. Take a look.

  • This is a rear wheel drive vehicle. Why? Look at the DCFC charge port cleverly hidden behind the license plate. No version of the Vanagon Camper would put a fuel tank here because it would go directly into the engine compartment. It is easier to fit adapt a transaxle design like the Bolt EV to another transaxle design like the Vanagon. It looks like the conversion artist picked a spot where they could fit the Bolt EV drive train while not cutting or extending HV cables.
    • There is a lot of room once you drop the orginal engine and get rid of the gas tank--Lots of ancillary coolant tanks for the Bolt could be bolted into the hollows.
    • You really do not want to deal with the front end steering of a Vanagon. It's delicate, tuned and works well. Modifying it would be a major challenge I wonder how or if they implemented the power steering?
    • Front end of a Westphalia Camper is really full. I do not think you can get a Bolt EV drivetrain in here.
    • You do have to find a way of reversing the motor drive. The motor is on the rear wheels that have to push. Perhaps the entire Bolt EV drivetrain has been reversed? Or there has been some clever re-phasing of the inverter?
    • Simple solution. Fit the Bolt EV motor where it naturally connects, make it push the vehicle, then find how to make all of the components connect without overly modifying the HV lines.

There is more room in the back once you drop the engine, VW transaxle, and fuel tanks. The Bolt EV drivetrain should fit.


Gas tank removal. It sits on near the front axles near the passenger seat and takes up space.

  • The battery has been bolted on back to front. Why? The orange 'plug' in the last picture is the MSD (Master Service Disconnect) located under the rear seat of the Bolt. The black, bail lock is usually on the right in a Bolt. Here it is on the left against the refrigerator/stove cabinet. So the battery is facing backwards.
    • Placing the battery backward makes all of the connections face the Bolt EV drivetrain. It's simpler.
    • You do have to find where to put Bolt EV radiators and battery conditioning systems, but there should be lots of room with all of the gasoline engine and support gone.
    • (The Bolt EV battery has an internal BMS. All you need to do is send the right signals and it does the rest.)
    • The bottom of the Westphalia Vanagon does have multiple attachment points for things like fuel tanks, propane tanks, and water tanks. What the bump on the bottom of the first picture may be is all of that adapted for the Bolt EV battery.

Note the access door on the cabinet in about the middle of the cutaway. The Bolt EV battery faces backwards from here.

  • Controls are a sophisticated cut and paste.
    • Only the minimum of electronic shift lever and control display were apparently taken from the Bolt EV and tacked into place.
    • You can extend low voltage control wiring much easier than HV lines.
    • There appears to be some genius in making the control system believe it's still in a Bolt. I do not believe that the artist used the power steering from the Bolt nor the Bosch electronic ABS braking system. Yet from other posts (https://www.chevybolt.org/threads/pulled-abs-sensors-test-top-speed-here-is-what-happened.33945/#post-520731) there may be driveability issues. Was the decision to live with the issues or was there a clever solution?
  • The rest deserves a book. The artist behind this kinetic art needed to understand exactly what they could dissect from a Bolt and have it still run.
    • Heater and A/C? Was there a modification to the original heater box with extension lines?
    • Bolt EV radiator shutters have a sophisticated speed and control logic. Did the conversion drop these and just live with the alarms (that would appear on the non-existent DIC?
    • Do they have a speedometer? The Vanagon used a cable connected to the VW transaxle. That's gone.
    • More questions and more questions...
    • How much of the Bolt EV do you really need to move a vehicle, and how much is necessary for safety, and how much is just nice to have but you can slash it out?
This looks like a primitive rust pit, but the creator behind this would put all of us to shame.
 
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