DC Fast Charging in a converted classic electric car

If you drive an EV you want to recharge it as fast as you can right? And you want the ability to travel long and far, often further than your range, and make the most of the ever-growing network of public chargers.

Even though you may not need it everyday, on the occasion when you DO need to rely on a public charger to make it to your next destination, you don’t want it to be a slow charge (unless you’re staying overnight).

Why not just put enough batteries in so that you never run out of juice? Well, it’s a balancing act between cost, space, weight and performance. You definitely do not want to overload your classic car with so many heavy (and costly) batteries to account for that once-per-year road trip that is double/triple the range you otherwise need the rest of the year. That would be a crazy expensive conversion.

What you need is DC (direct current) charging capability. It effectively increases the flexibility of your classic electric car, without adding the cost or weight of more batteries. Of course it relies on there being sufficient public DC chargers, but there are a number of organisations rapidly building out networks across Australia with coverage improving daily.


But strangely, almost all converted electric cars in the world only have slow AC charging. Even the latest and greatest conversions from top-end conversion workshops in the USA and Europe are choosing to overlook DC fast charging capability as standard. When researching this topic a couple of years ago I couldn’t find any converted classic cars with DC charging, nowadays there are still only a couple around the world.

I always had the intention of incorporating DC charging into any electric conversion I designed. That way, I could be confident with the range from a relatively small battery that matched the weight carrying capacity of the car (which removes the requirement to improve the suspension or brakes to satisfy regulations), yet still have the option to travel longer distances by utilising public DC chargers.

Fortunately I had a CHAdeMO fast-charging port from a wrecked Mitsubishi iMiEV (the hardware), and there was one BMS (Battery Management System) on the market that supported this protocol of DC Charging – the Orion BMS2 (the software). So despite there being hardly any documented converted cars to follow, we set about with the intention that this should work “out of the box”, however it wasn’t quite that simple.

Stay tuned for the next instalment of the trials and tribulations of getting DC charging working on a classic electrified car.

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