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Baby Jeep Blog

An off-road journey from petrol to electric.

Background

Back in 2011 I found myself in Sydney needing a new car. One capable of driving on the highway, but also leaving the bitumen behind. At a car yard on Parramatta Road I found a tidy 2003 KJ Jeep Cherokee Red River Edition with very low kilometers. It was reasonably standard with a 3.7L V6 automatic, but more importantly, it had a transfer case.

As this car was going to be used extensively on the highway, I spent some time and money removing the fuel system and installing a dedicated LPG vapour injection system controlled by a Haltech ECU, with the help of the now defunct Tweakit Performance in Sydney. This was quite a bit more effort than I would have liked as apparently nobody converts Jeeps to LPG, but the end result was a well behaved, medium sized 4x4 that didn't break the bank to fuel. It remained like this for 7 years and xxx,000km until the engine started misbehaving, the LPG started freezing and I finally diagnosed a blown head gasket.

This very well may have been where the story would end, except that I had been wanting to convert a car to electric propulsion for quite a while. I had already purchased some EV parts, including a previously converted Mitsubishi Starion that needed some love, and now I was looking at the unfortunate engine problem as an opportunity to build an epic EV.

The plan

One day I was Googling for interesting EV projects, and I came across a webpage written by Don Incoll detailing his 1973 LandRover Series III, FFR Lightweight, EV conversion. At that moment my thought bubble turned into a project. Thanks Don.

The plan was simple. Remove the Kostov 11" DC motor from the Starion, mate it to a Jeep manual transmission and install it in place of the current engine and transmission along with the Soliton1 controller. After all, I already had most of the gear needed for a complete EV, and all I needed was a transmission and a battery.

Where to now?

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