This blog documents the restoration, and conversion, of a 1965 Humber (Singer) Vogue to a fully electric vehicle. The Vogue will be powered by an 11kW(modified), 3 phase industrial AC motor, controlled by an industry standard Variable Speed Drive (VSD) or Inverter. To be able to produce the 400 volts phase to phase the VSD will need about 600 VDC of batteries. A big thanks to the contributors on the AEVA forum:

Monday, October 27, 2014

Letter to Engineer in 2012

I wrote this letter to the Engineer (that approved the Vogue) in January 2012 prior to his first visit.
It's actually one of the best summaries of the car - something lacking in the blog until now.

I began converting the Vogue to electric and restoring it about 2 1/2 years ago.
The Humber Vogue Mk3 (1965) is a medium sized sedan that was powered by a 1600cc overhead valve engine coupled to a Borg Warner 35, 3 speed automatic transmission. Made in Australia by the Rootes Group, the Vogue is very similar to the Hillman Minx of the era.

The Vogue has front 9" disc brakes with no booster, no power steering and no air conditioning. These things make the electric part a lot easier as there is no need to power a separate steering pump, vacuum pump or air conditioner pump. The Vogue is still registered and has been continuously for the past 47 years. I have owned it for about 17 years and driven it about 50,000km on the old engine.

The Vogue is now powered by a nominal 11kW induction motor (3 phase ACIM) that has been rewound to a lower voltage with high temperature windings, embedded thermister, independently powered cooling fan and shaft encoder. The motor can develop around 65kW peak and since the continuous rating of 11kW was at 1500 RPM, the manufacturers concur that it can comfortably maintain 22kW at 3000 RPM.

The motor is coupled directly to the tailshaft which has been custom modified to include a sliding spline.

The motor is driven by a Lenze 9329 DC to 3 phase Variable Speed Drive (controller) which in turn is powered by 384 Lithium Iron Phosphate cells arranged in 2 parallel 192 series to deliver around 600 VDC. The cells are packed into 12 battery subpacks of 32 cells each (2P16S). Each cell is 3.2 V, 10AH. Each sub-pack has it's own 3A charger.
Each sub-pack weighs 12kg. The accelerator is an Audi A6 pedal (new) and feeds a custom configuration in the controller that provided a very petrol engine-like "feel" with full Torque control. Being an AC system the Vogue has very powerful and configurable regenerative braking.

The entire battery pack is isolated from the car chassis and has a vacuum contactor at either end of the pack that is rated to break maximum voltage and current. In addition there are two contactors that isolate the center of the pack from a nominal "center" connection (required for the DC-DC 13.8 V convertors of which there are two). The control system will not allow the car to "start" unless it is in Neutral and the Charger is disconnected.

For the purpose of wiring layout and identification I generally refer to a +300V and a -300V side of the pack.
The packs can be broken into six isolated sections with hand-safe connectors and that is how I work in the vehicle.

The 12 chargers are sequenced on in four stages to avoid large mains inrush (in 2 second intervals). The car draws 2400 W from a 240 VAC supply. The mains supply inlet is protected with a combined 16A RCB/MCB.

The seven front battery sub-packs are split into four mounted on a 1.6mm stainless steel tray which is mounted on the firewall and to the front inner guards. The other three subpacks are on the motor frame. The motor frame mounts on the original engine and rear transmission rubber mounts.

Four of the rear five subpacks are mounted on an aluminium frame which is secured to the Vogue "upper" boot area immediately behind the steel rear firewall. The fifth rear subpack is securely mounted where the Vogue guard-mounted fuel tank used to reside.
All 12kg battery subpacks are secured with 300kg polypropylene camlock straps (Lion brand). The three front motor frame mounted subpacks have two straps each. All metal corners where straps are involved are rounded to a radius just short of the metal thickness, finished with 1200 grit wet-and-dry and, if aluminium or mild steel, painted.

While I did not weigh the car before starting, I did measure the ride heights of front and back, right and left sides, and have documented all weight removed and added to the vehicle. So far it is about 6kg lighter than original. A great deal of effort has been made to keep the weight distribution the same as original which meant "stuffing" as much as possible into the engine bay. For instance, my original design had six subpacks in the front and six in the boot but this was changed to seven in the front and five in the boot to move as much weight forward as possible (battery packs are light compared to cast-iron engine blocks).
There are very few places where I have had to drill new holes as the Vogue provided extensive mounting points. There has been no steel cut from the vehicle (other than drilled holes).

The Vogue has been professionally resprayed and is currently having a completely new interior fitted. The steering box has been professionaly overhauled and the car is entirely rust-free.
I have tried very hard to adhere to NCOP14 throughout the design and implementation of the conversion.

The "electric" or conversion part of this project has been 99.9% finished and drivable since July 2011 - the restoration has taken somewhat longer than I envisioned.

If I have left anything relevant out, a complete, up-to-date (and time consuming to read) build blog is available at:

Navigation is easiest and fastest if you use the "Labels" on the right of the page to pinpoint any specific areas of the build.


mototreiber said...

Hi John,
Leaving the gearbox is a rare concept, and bringing it on the streets is even more...CONGRATULATIONS!!!
I would be very pleased if you could tell me your opinion on my concept, a MGB GT (see
The car weighs about 1000kg, the AC motor is labeled 28kW (S2 60min) max rpm 5500. Coupled directly to the propshaft I can choose between a 4.3 or a 4.875 diff. The tires are 165/14 giving appr. 1,88m circumference. With the 4.3 diff, will I be a lame duck accelerating at the traffic lights? What do you think? Or do you strongly recommend the use of the 4.875 diff?
Thanks in advance for your reply to

Johny said...

Hi Sven. I would need more details on your motor for a precise answer but if you are going direct to tailshaft (no gearbox) then use the highest diff. ratio you can find. Direct drive also needs a really powerful controller (high current) to get good low-down acceleration. You will be wanting over 1200NM at the axles for reasonable performance so with 4.874:1 you need a motor with 250NM of torque from standstill. If you want performance over range - use a gearbox.