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Old 05-21-2018, 06:07 AM   #1
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Join Date: Nov 2016
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Default Trucks similar to "Stepvans", how tall are they? Is a roof raise possible?


So, again I find myself looking at the nomadic, camper life. I also recently got pretty inspired by the idea of converting a vehicle into an Electric Vehicle, and I think the marriage of these two projects would be using something like what I've come to understand is called a "Stepvan."

The typically square "delivery trucks" that usually have a "garage door" in the back, and sliding doors for the cab. From what I can tell, they're often made primarily of aluminum or even Fiberglass, which would suggest they're a lot lighter than a vehicle made of steel... weight being a huge factor in the efficiency of an EV.

I'm trying to learn more about this type of vehicle and see if maybe it's what I'm looking for. I was originally looking at buses since they can be had for so cheap, but most of them also weigh like 20,000lbs, so... maybe not feasible to power with a DIY electric setup.

The main thing I'm concerned about at the moment are the height of stepvans: how tall do they get? And, is it reasonable to do a roof raise on any particular makes/shapes of step vans? I know a lot of buses have relatively "square" points that make a "straight" roof raise possible.

It seems like it's hard to find a place where you can cut a "straight" line and just add a ~1' panel of aluminum or steel (and structure, of course) to increase the height of the box.

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Old 05-23-2018, 12:20 PM   #2
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Don't know much of anything about what you're thinking about. But, if you go electric maybe a drivetrain from a crashed Chevy Volt or Bolt? I've heard the battery in the Volt is pretty substantial.

'03 Freightliner FL112, 295" wheel base, with '03 United Specialties 26' living quarters, single screw, Cat C12 430 h/p 1650 torque, Eaton 10speed , 3.42 rear axle ratio
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Old 07-15-2018, 11:48 PM   #3
Join Date: Nov 2016
Location: Rosarito
Posts: 45

Roof raise? Anything is possible with enough money.

Increasing the height seems likely to increase windage, and you push a shoebox now.


Diesel electric?

Instead of burning diesel to turn the tires, you will be burning diesel to turn a huge alternator to push DC into batteries to turn a motor to turn your tires.

Each stage of DE subtracts efficiency from losses at connectors and electronics and wiring and heat sinks.

I know DE sounds like a wonderful improvement == cover your van roof with PV? == but unless you go straight plug-in without on-board generation, your range is limited to around town for part of the day.

Would your on-board battery bank weigh less than the ICE you remove?

Diesel has a set amount of energy. For every horsepower you need to move your van, that energy needs to be extracted from the fuel, either diesel or batteries. To full batteries with current requires a fuel such as nuclear or hydro. Coal?

What are your goals for this conversion? Range will be limited. Accessories such as power steering need some form of energy, too.

You may want to consider going to a smaller van... or mebbe a rickshaw.

By all means, let us know how this works out for you.
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