Save the 1976 Porsche 912E from hybrid hackery!

#1

The quy that called this morning wants to make an electric Porsche 912E. He doesn’t know what year the car is! He called it a '78 but it is a '76 they only made them for 1 year. It is a Carrera chassis and running gear with an EFI 4-cylinder. They omly made 2099 of these! There are a million BMWs and VW Bugs out there for him to screw up.

If he wants to reduce his carbon footprint then he should restore and drive the 912, it gets like 38mpg. This is due to it’s 2.0l four cylinder engine, ~2200lb weight and low drag coefficient. In it’s original form the 912 is a testament to common sense simplicity and economy, something that automobile manufacturers have rarely achieved.

In the last few years prior to the financial meltdown 912s enjoyed a surge in value as rare and collectible underdog Porsches. In some cases selling for $10,000. I even heard of one guy trading straight across for a Boxster.

Hacking this thing up to me is like painting a mustache on the Mona Lisa for the simple fact that you are learning to draw mustaches!

#2

I really like the body style,the Type IV engine is great, the fuel injection system (Air Flow Control) is primitive but better to work with than CIS,the 38 mpg is a fantasy. What do you mean it is a “Carrera chassis”?is this a different chassis when compared to a 911 of the same year?

I had a similar discussion with a friend when Ted Turner wanted to present the “classics” in color,I felt if he bought the rights he could show them in reverse if he wanted.

#3

Instead of a 912E consider a 911 of similar vintage. Starting in 1975 all 911s (and the 912E in 1976) were built using a high-zinc steel, making them much more rust-resistant. In addition, if the engine is in decent shape you should be able to sell it and defray much of the cost of the conversion. If electrocution is really a concern find a local chapter of the EAA http://www.eaaev.org/. There are local chapters all over the country with members able to help. On the air the option to use a mid-90s BMW 318 was mentioned. One supposed advantage of the 318 is the relatively large number of aftermarket go-fast parts. Hello??? McFly??? Someone must have noticed that Porsches tend to turn up, rather successfully, in various racing forums. I will wager dimes to donuts there are far more suspension upgrades available for the 911/912 series than for the 318. Grab a recent copy of Excellence magazine and flip through the pages and pages of ads.

Finally, the 914 is a popular EV conversion candidate. Two trunks and a pretty spacious engine compartment give you lots of places to tuck batteries and electronics. There’s a pretty active 914ev mailing list too http://groups.google.com/group/914ev. When considering a 914 watch out for rust though!

#4

If the guy’s doing this because he’s an environmentalist, he’d better stay away from lead-acid batteries – they’re unnecessarily toxic and dangerous, and the world doesn’t need another half-ton of lead! (“Recycling” programs for LA batteries vary a lot; some are ok, and most are terrible, exposing workers and families to shockingly high lead levels.) Lithium batteries maybe be more worthwhile, but overall, there are a lot better ways to reduce your carbon footprint than rebuilding a car!

#5

Lead acid batteries are easily recycled and are currently the most cost-effective solution. No need to dispense with them on environmental grounds.

#6

The amount of lead from older TV’s CRT’s that is not properly disposed of is significant,now with the digital change over there may be even more old CRT televisions scraped (I know older TV’s will work with a box)

It seems no matter how well intentioned the 'going green" idea is you can take two steps back for one forward.

#7

Yikes…can’t he find a regular crap box to butcher!

#8

Telling someone not to use lead acid batteries in an EV is rather hypocritical as all the millions of gasoline powered cars have lead acid batteries under the hood. Yes, there are a plenty of horror stories of sleazy “recycling” facilities, mostly overseas, run by slimey companies trying to increase their profit at the expense of their workers’ health. However, there are plenty of places that do it right. For instance, here on the east coast East Penn will recycle the battery properly and turn it into a new battery: http://www.eastpenn-deka.com/default.aspx?pageid=1308
On the other hand, recycling programs for Lithium Ion batteries are not yet well established. Most such batteries (common in cell phones and laptops) end up in the landfill. Go for the lead acid batteries and work to have the sleazy “recyclers” shut down.

#9

In general, Porshe’s are good candidates for EV conversion. Relatively lightweight, and with a number already built the needed adapters can be bought off the shelf. The BMW would be a lot heavier and less aerodynamic. If the 912’s are indeed rare, then the suggestion to trade for a 914 and get a little cash in the deal is a great idea.

I’ve had the privilege of riding in a converted 914, powered by dual motors and a Zilla controller with 300+ KW of power on tap. grin