Electric conversion - Fiat 126 car

Fiat 126 Electric


  • 5th September 2016
    72000 km done! new IFM display (showing all cells), new charger TC (CAN controlled)
  • 23th April 2015
    installed LTC6804 BMS, mileage 52000 km, changed main contactor (old got stuck in ON position)
  • 14th May 2014
    installed BMS, software needs to be still finished however basic functionality works (start balancing >3.5, stop balancing <3.47, over/under voltage LED blinking + balancing LED)
  • 19th February 2014
    registered for eTourEuropa!
  • 31st January 2013
    another 2 Sinopoly cells (200Ah) have been added, now having 36 cells, 108V nominal voltage (128V charge voltage), usable battery capacity 20 kWh
  • 28th October 2013
    mounted Cycle Analyst - I used hall current sensor L06P 400 S05, it measures current from -600 A to 600 A (0-5V), for a speed input I used Omron induction sensor (E2A-M12KN08-WP-B1)
    after one week I am celebrating 1000 km!
  • 20th September 2013
    added 2 CALB cells, now I have 34 cells, 102V nominal voltage, available battery capacity is now over 18 kWh 
    (Curtis settings had to be adjusted since it was reporting overvoltage even when 1st cell added)
  • 9th September 2013
    Curtis parameters were tunned a bit (faster response, 100% current, 8000 rpm, battery level indicator set correctly), we have also added second joint to half shaft (wheel == rubber joint == joint == transmission joint)
  • 24th August 2013
    Another problem - broken rubber joint (http://fiat500126.cz/product.php?id_product=176), electric mileage over 500km, also tested max speed 3rd gear = cca 110 km/h, 2nd gear 75-80 km/h, over 6500 RPM, I will try to set the controller for 8k RPM
  • 20th August 2013
    got new gearbox, first longer ride (85 km) finished allright!
  • 3rd August 2013
    problem was found - differential problem (stripped wheel), this was not cause by motors torque, the gearbox block was wrong from the beginning
  • 28th July 2013
    first test ride with lithium cells and new motor + gearbox configuration! However after 15 km something went wrong (most probably gearbox problem)
  • 21st July 2013
    5speed gearbox + AC-35 finally inside - motor shaft goes around when wheels are rolling! Gearshif lever is shifting! Some details still to be finished this week hopefully (oil-tight bearing, hand brake, triming the new flange)
  • 24th June 2013
    32x Winston 160Ah cells ready for initial charging, gearbox + motor still not finished
  • 16th May 2013
    Driveshaft is being customized to meet new gearbox requirements. Next week picking up 32 cells Winston 160Ah
  • 14th April 2013
    100V, 82 NiCd cells, 25/12A charger, driven over 200+km (10-15km per charge), Skoda 130 gearbox + AC-35 coupled and prepared for fitting
  • 10th March 2013
    Old motor + Curtis controller = http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sP0nq0CNVQY
    AC-35 does not fit perfectly so I could not use like "out of the box". I will couple Skoda 130 gearbox + AC-35 in future.
  • 20th February 2013 
    AC-35 + Curtis had already arrived and now is waiting for clearance (paperwork Nerozhodný). It was shipped on Tuesday and arrived to Prague on Friday! 80 NiCD cells are charging now!
  • 30th January 2013
    almost ordered AC-35, also formating NiCd cells properly (2nd cycle I got 21Ah from 25Ah)
  • 19th December 2012
    paperwork of transfering the vehicle from the original German "papers" to Czech ones is finished! The car can be now registered, insured and legally used in the Czech republic. Nice!
  • 16th December 2012
    I took the old motor out to make sure how it is connected and what all I will need to customize for the new motor
  • 3rd December 2012
    almost sure to buy a new motor + controller. Definitely Curtis 1238R + AC motor (Kostov 10AC9 or more probably HPEVS AC-35). Setec controller does not work anymore and I do not want to spend another week investigating how to wire this black box or how to fix it
  • 28th October 2012
    the car finally moved and we drove almost 2 kilometers !!! what a satisfaction after a few months of hard work Smějící se However some cells must be bad because the car was not able to get up the hill (was very lazy actually)
  • 20th October 2012
    NiCD cells are finished, starting to put them in a car Smějící se finally I was charging them 10s5p 5A using Turnigy Accucel-8 (used PC PSU) for almost 2 days and they seem to work fine!
  • September 2012
    still playing with cells, bought new charger (Turnigy Accucel-8 150W 7A) - now at least I do not need to use 6V bulbs to discharge cell and watch cells while charging (can set limit Ah, minutes, delta peak...), also car is being checked - brakes, steering. See batteries section of this page
  • 17th August 2012
    I received lithium hydroxide (LiOH) and potassium hydroxide (KOH) for the batteries - they need new electrolyte
  • August 2012
    I am getting together NiCD cells borrowed from Jaromír... 120 air craft cells 25Ah)

Links related to Fiat 126 and forums and eshops.

4th July 2012 - Fiat 126 has new home and the owner!  (see the pics at the bottom)

Curtis 1238 programming

Motor (Induction)

This car has an induction motor of nominal power 6.5 kW. Its peak power is around 15 kW (controller limit). I found nice post about comparing BLDC motor and induction motor http://www.teslamotors.com/blog/induction-versus-dc-brushless-motors. The car should be much more agile and definitely faster accelerating then a classical version with combustion engine)

 Setec + ATB LoherAC-35 + Curtis 1238Combustion
Maximum power15 kW
~40-50 kW (2500 rpm)
 18 kW (4500 rpm)
Maximum torque~ 50-100? N.m160 N.m (0-2500 rpm)41 N.m (3000 rpm)
Efficiency (gas/battery energy to kinetic energy) *60 - 90%60 - 90%~ 15 - 25 %
Mas speed120 km/h140 km/h~105 km/h
Weight (dry)~ 500 kg 580 kg
Weight (operating)will depend on batteries used 600 kg
Weight (total maximum)920 kg 920 kg

* average consumption of a small combustion car is 5 - 6 litres of gas / 100 km (~50 kWh) while average consumption of an electric Peugeot 106 12 kWh / 100 km (4 times more efficient)


Here are the gearbox ratios. I tried to estimate a maximum speed at 6500 motor rpm (used the same wheel size as Peugeot 106 as a reference, 6500 rpm --> 90 km/h, fixed gear ratio 7.2).

  • 1st gear ratio is 1 : 3.25, total 15.8, ~41 km/h
  • 2nd gear ratio is 1 : 2.067, total 10, ~64 km/h
  • 3rd gear ratio is 1 : 1.3, total 6.33, ~102 km/h
  • 4th gear ratio is 1 : 0.872, total 4.25, ~152 km/h
  • reverse ratio is 1: 4.024, total 19.6, ~33 km/h
  • final gear ratio is 1 : 4.87

Total 1st gear ratio: 15.8 : 1. Compared to for example Peugeot 106 Electric has 7.2 : 1 or new Tesla S 10 : 1 (both fixed gear). Yes, mine will burn tires on first gear!

Source: http://www.kropi.webz.cz/index_maluch.htm


SETEC controller is used in the car. Setec company seems to give their hands off this product and the company is not able to provide ANY support.

According to Ben's blog (see http://ben-el.blogspot.cz/2012/01/fiat-126-controller-setec.html) the parameters are following (I was not able to find any label on my controller):


Originally the car was converted for 12 x 12V 60Ah lead acid batteries.

LiFeYPO4 cells

Future plan is to replace old NiCd cells with lithium ones. For sure it is going to cost more than few thousands of euro, but it is worth it I am sure. I plane to have range about 200 km maximum. Two things need to be done:

  • prepare some kind of smart BMS system
  • make the money for cells

48 cells need to be bought (144V nominal) - Setec controller

32 cells need to be bought - 96V nominal - for Curtis 1238R. Full charge voltage cannot exceed 130V, so eventually I could choose 34 cells (3.8*34 = 129).

  • 160 Ah, $6250, ~125000 CZK, 15 kWh, +175 kg, max range 190 km, 480 A max current (this is probably the option I will choose)
  • 200 Ah, $7800, ~156000 CZK, 19 kWh, +250 kg, max range 250 km, 600 A max current

Supposed (minimum) consumption is 8 kWh / 100 km. Real consumption will be a bit higher I guess so the range will decrease a bit. By the way I do not think 200 Ah battery pack is real - it is very heavy and dimensions do not match the car well.

* price estimation is without TAX

For details about cells: http://www.ev-power.eu/Winston-160Ah-300Ah/WB-LYP160AHA-LiFeYPO4-3-2V-160Ah.html

NiCd cells

I have some old NiCd cells available (about 130 of them) which have very low or small capacity and need cleaning and new electrolyte. The procedure I was doing is:

  • remove old electrolyte
  • I put water in then put water out many times, then a few times do it with warm water
  • put 15% H2O(hydrogen peroxide) and let it react for about 1 hour (it is fizzing)
  • remove peroxide (it is usually a bit darker)
  • rinse in distilled water
  • fill the cell with new electrolyte
  • charge C/10 for about 15-18 hours and do a few cycles (2 or 3), which can be for example 6A and 4 cells in paralel
  • I am also trying to charge batteries in serie, because it is realy a lot of them and I am not able to do one by one
  • UPDATE: I only rins cells in hot water like 5 times, then 15% H2O2 and then new electrolyte

See more detailed description and sources

Basically: 1 litre of water + 356g KOH + 14g LiOH

 NiCD batteries


Fiat 126 racing clubs in the Czech Republic