You too, can convert an MG Midget to electric
The Midget makes an excellent choice for an electric conversion. It is light and small which are key characteristics of good electric cars. It’s fun to drive, and makes a good commuter car. If you have a short commute to work like me, then you can drive it every day.
My goal was to have a midget that drove like the midget I’ve owned for 35 years. While I drive the midget almost every workday, I don’t ever have to go very far. The most I would drive in single day was about 50 miles. After reading many forum topics on electric vehicle conversion I realized that it would be important to get my range safely above the 50-mile goal. Range anxiety can be an issue when driving an electric car, and it is easier on your batteries if you don’t have to push them near their limits. The EV calculators that people had published on the web allowed me to estimate the range fairly well. I wanted a car with a 75-mile range. What I ended up with was a car that can drive 70 to 80 miles in real driving conditions, and the performance of a fast gas midget.
In order to get the range I wanted, I put 475lbs of LiFePo4 batteries in my midget. While it still drives like a midget, it doesn’t feel as light as a 1275 midget. It is 380 lbs heavier than my ’74 Gas Midget. I did start with a ’77 midget, so I probably have a 150 lb penalty over someone who can start with an earlier version. My batteries have a capacity of 19.6 Kwh. If you want an electric midget that feels like the real thing, then the battery weight is the limiting factor. For anybody considering a conversion, I would recommend not going above the 475 lbs of batteries. I have written individual articles on the motor, batteries, and controller, and I’ll leave the details about these items to their articles.
Why the motor, batteries, and controller works so well in my midget
The motor can produce the same torque as the spitfire 1500 engine when you drive 550 amps though it. The controller can deliver 550 amps, and the batteries can deliver 550 amps. The Soliton Jr. can easily handle the 550 amps for the times I need that kind of power. The batteries I choose are 160ah, and can handle current draws of 3C, that is 3 X 160, or 480 amps for sustained periods of time. Pushing them to 550 amps is not a problem. The car is quicker than the gas version because you can get the maximum torque of the gas midget at all rpms, not just the peak rpm like a gas engine. You still need the transmission, but that is half the fun of driving a midget. Because of the improved torque you actually have to learn to shift faster. The Warp 9 Impulse also recommends not going past 5000 rpm. My controller is set to shut you down if you go past 5000 rpm.
The cost of all of this
The conversion costs for my car are high. Since I'm writing this in hopes that others will consider trying a electric conversion, it's only fair I point out the costs involved. The batteries are the largest cost, and your stuck having to use the LiFePo batteries over lead acid if you want the range with reasonable weight. I was able to get slightly used cells at a 10% discount, but they will cost about $8,000 dollars. I can hear the groans now. I was lucky to live in Colorado where there are tax rebates for converting your cars to lower emission vehicles. This helped with some of the cost issue. The controller can run you between $1,000 and $2,000. The motor is about $1,500, and the charger can be from $500 to over $3,000 depending on how fast you want to charge your batteries. Those are the base costs of converting a car. Certainly, people find ways of doing this for less. I urge you to check out various sites dealing with EV conversions. There you'll find people who were able to reduce the costs using various ideas.
So there you have it. I hope I have convinced a few people to try to convert their own midget. I have laid out what you can expect from your conversion. Please remember that my range estimates seem to be conservative compared to other people’s claims. I’m sure my car can go 90 miles like other people claim, but that would mean driving at 40 mph with little stopping and starting. If your like me and want to know more right away I suggest you check out the DIY Electric Car site. The WIKI has many good articles to help you better understand how the whole conversion process works. I am also very willing to help someone follow in my footsteps. Please feel free to contact me if you’d like some help.