In today’s post, we’d like to share the story of our first EV conversion, but first, we want to announce that we’ll be showing it off at the Moab Bronco Safari, from May 2-6. If you’re already planning on being there this year, we’re looking forward to seeing you! If not, it’s not too late to register for the event, but act fast because campgrounds and hotel rooms are hard to get during events.
We’re looking forward to an exciting event, including several trail runs where people will see our Bronco in action and some time at a vendor table where we’ll get a chance to meet some of you in person.
What will we be showing off? A classic Ford Bronco powered by a Netgain Hyper9HV motor drawing power from 37 kWh of recycled battery pack. The motor puts out 172 lb-ft of torque into our four-speed Ford transmission, which then gets fed into a traditional two-speed transfer case and solid axle four wheel drive system. We’re targeting a range of about 85 miles, and the Bronco can be recharged in about 5.5 hours from a standard J-1772 plug.
172 lb-ft might not sound like a lot by modern gas-powered SUV and truck standards, but keep in mind that the original inline six and V8 engines the Bronco came with weren’t modern fuel-injected engines, and you’d have to get the 289 V8 up to 2200 RPM before it would produce maximum torque. Our Bronco not only produces its full torque from zero RPM, but also provides serious off-road control over all terrain, including downhill segments where you can descend many hills without touching the brake pedal.
As you can probably imagine, this is a pretty big departure from what powers most classic Broncos. So, it took a lot of work to get there. After removing the modern fuel-injected V8 we already had in this Bronco, we had to completely redo many of the vehicle’s systems. We used the stock engine mounting points to hold up not only the Hyper9HV, but also the battery pack. All in all, the weight of these two things was pretty close to that of the engine we had removed, so not only overall weight, but weight distribution is very close to a stock Bronco!
This, of course, required a lot of custom wiring (to fit the Bronco), and fabrication both for the battery pack and for the mounts to keep all of this securely fastened to the vehicle. We also had to 3D print several parts that needed to be custom made for this build. Unlike most classis Bronco work, it also required a fair amount of IT work. We needed to use computers to connect to the motor, motor controller, onboard chargers, and battery management system to configure it all to work with the Bronco and the parts we selected. But, none of this was a problem for our team, as we’ve got a diverse set of skills between us.
Between now and the Bronco Safari, we’re planning on doing some final tuning and taking it out on some local trails to make sure it’s ready to go for not only the event, but to show the public what a Bronco powered by instant American torque can really do!