Maxim CONOPLIN, Oleg SARGU and Victor DAMASCHIN are the three engineers who pursued the challenge of developing a conversion kit and transforming one of the most popular cars in Moldova with traditional type of propulsion – Dacia Logan – into a one hundred percent electric car! This became possible thanks to an R&D project, supported by the Technical University of Moldova and carried out within FabLab-Chișinău, part of UTM.
Having extensive experience in engineering and the automotive industry, the three talented engineers proposed relatively simple and practical solutions to ensure the viability of the project. They installed an electric motor with a power of 30 kW – 41 hp, thus replacing the internal combustion engine, which they disconnected. They chose a LiFePo4 type battery, based on iron and lithium phosphate – one of the most affordable, reliable and durable, with a total capacity of 15 kWh and a maximum current of 400 A. Even if it has a relatively low voltage – 72 V, compared to the lithium-ion batteries used in more expensive electric cars (respectively the charger for recharging is 72 V, maximum 90 A), it still has a sufficient capacity for operation in the urban areas and is less dangerous.
The Dacia Logan test unit successfully went through the electrical conversion, the engine, controller and battery being already mounted, all operating in test mode. The car was subjected to tests on closed territories, and the consumption and capacity calculations show a promising autonomy: about 120 km in urban areas. Currently, the car is at the stage of obtaining the permits to be tested on public roads, after which the figures of autonomy in real life will become more relevant, with the possibility of identifying and eliminating any imperfections.
The creators of the kit claim that this combination of electric motor and LiFePo4 battery is designed for cars weighing up to 900 kg and is the version with the minimum acceptable performance for Logan. However, it is possible to opt for a more powerful electric motor and a larger capacity battery. For a small scale production, the cost of the kit would be estimated at about 7000 euros, with all components and work included. And in the case of expanding the volume of production, it could have a significantly more affordable price.
It is an attractive option for taxi companies, for example, or companies with parks with similar cars, as they will benefit from a significant reduction in operating costs. Moreover, this conversion is not necessarily to be implemented on a new car, as it is also acceptable to be applied on a Logan that traveled a distance of several hundred thousand kilometers, and the conversion will give it a second chance for an environmentally friendly life and the ability to operate at much lower costs.
The efforts of the three engineers do not finish here. This electric Logan is just a first step in a grandiose project, which will continue at FabLab-Chișinău, part of UTM, and one of the largest prototyping and small-scale production workshops in Eastern Europe.
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