Spinning the wheels
Okay, so the motor wasn’t yet in the car itself but I was determined to see our Figaro’s wheels spinning under electric power for the very first time. At this point, together with Pedro, we teamed up with fellow EV converters Jason and Steve who are working on their EV projects, the Electric SLK and RX-8. After much reassembly and a lot of wiring and programming improvements, we were ready to try the complete drive system out on the test stand.
Amazingly, everything worked! Of course, as with all new creations we now wanted to know what it could do. All of the documentation we could find confirmed that the Leaf motor had a power rating of 80kW, a maximum rotation speed of 10,000 RPM and the fixed reduction gearbox ratio was approximately 8:1. Asleep yet? What this meant in real money was that the Fig-Leaf should have a top speed of around 80mph and have around 100 horsepower. A bit of an upgrade over the original. What we weren’t prepared for was the torque!
A car’s engine power is determined by 2 main factors: how fast it can spin (max speed in RPM) and how quickly it can accelerate to that speed (torque in Nm). While 80mph doesn’t sound very fast, where the leaf motor excels is that all of the torque is available to the motor from stationary. We decided to put this to the test…
To give you an idea just how much extra torque we are dealing with, here is the power and torque curve information for both vehicles from automobile-catalog.com