The Electric Speed Shop previously looked at a SWAP-C for a Dodge Challenger. On those posts, is much more detail about an actual SWAP-C and what goes into the design decisions. For more information on that, please click here.
In short, this is a space, weight and power review of a candidate car for an electric conversion. At the end, a rough estimate of cost is also reviewed. While is not a build plan, it is a good way to quickly review if your desired electric conversion can meet your needs. These four items are the most critical when choosing a donor. Do you have enough space? What will be an approximate weight of your finished conversion? Are you using a large enough battery pack? All three are intertwined and impact each other. Finally, is your budget realistic?
Specifically looking at a G6 Coupe, not the convertible. This is a front wheel drive (FWD) transversely mounted V6 that makes between 220-240 HP depending on the year. The average weight is 3,540lbs.
I choose to look at this car, as back in the day (2007) this was a desired daily driver. It was one of the cool cars of the time, especially for a high school student. Another reason, its smaller and somewhat lightweight. So, it was part nostalgia part partiality part practicality. My original intent, as I am partial to do, is to use the Tesla Drive Unit. Thus, this would be a massive power upgrade. This is again always a goal for Electric Speed Shop Conversions. Let’s start SWAP-ing!
When looking at an EV conversion, I prefer to start with the space and/or weight. This information is easy to find online, should you not have the car already. If you do, you can make these sections much more detailed. My main priority is to determine the available space to insert electric components. Very basic concept, anything outside the interior cabin is fair game once you remove all the internal combustion engine portions.
As stated, this is not an overly large vehicle. Fortunately, most EV components are smaller than the ICE counterparts. The cabin is just about 78” X 40” X 59”. This leaves the remaining 111” X 50” X 59” area for your electric parts. The cabin is almost centered which leaves around 48” X 60” X 30” on either end.
As stated before, this method is rough. Only buy having the car or a very accurate 3D model are you able to make a real build plan. For deciding if the selected vehicle is a candidate that meets the requirements of your build, it gets the job done.
My original plan was to use a Tesla large drive unit, placed in the rear, driving the rear wheels. Unfortunately, while space allows for it, heavy modifications are needed. This is due to the G6 being FWD. The best approach would be to swap the existing rear with RWD from a different model. Right now, that is beyond the scope of this review. For this reason, I took an alternative route (All the Tesla information is at the end of the article, should you be interested).
Fill It Back Up, with POWER
Many other motors exist for EV conversions. Tesla just has a stranglehold on the electric car market. The most popular conversions seemingly always use Tesla components as well. However, many conversions mount the electric motor directly where the engine once was and use the existing transmission (manual ideal, automatic is a little more work). This is the path I would take for a G6.
New white logo tee’s
Yes, the performance upgrade would not be as great compared to making the G6 RWD. The instant torque helps and would make a converted G6 a pleasure to drive, even using the existing transmission (you can modify this too if you want to eliminate gears /save weight). A 144V dual AC-35 motor also falls within the HP and torque max limits of the G6 transmission. BONUS!
The current engine is approximately 25” in length while the dual AC-35 is 19”. Mounting it in the place where the current engine resides should be a minimal issue. This would keep the current transaxle and FWD as well.
Due to the lower required voltage, less batteries can be used and still meet my range requirements (For road driven cars the internal goal is always 100 miles). The Tesla Model S battery modules are 22.8 volts and 5.3 kWh. Using just 6 modules a pack voltage of 136.8 V (22.8 X 6) and 31 kWh is achievable.
Adding more batteries would be difficult, especially without having the car to measure directly. From this approach there is a high level of confidence 6 modules will fit, even if it means sacrificing truck space.
The de-ICE process and addition of electric components is the best weight loss and bulking/adding muscle diet that exists. In this method you remove the engine, exhaust system, gas tank (curb weight includes a full tank) and all the associated systems. Total estimated weight loss? 688lbs.
From the table, the addition of the motor, batteries and other miscellaneous parts adds back slightly less than was removed. My miscellaneous estimate is probably light. Even so the estimate is 100lbs under the starting weight. Less weight= better performance and range. Removing the tiny back seat would help while giving more storage and/or battery space, if you wanted to look at this option.
The goal of all Electric Speed Shop conversions is to increase performance. Keeping this lightweight should aid that, especially in the case of this G6. That being said, if the desire is to have a “green” machine this approach works perfectly for a unique EV.
The G6 was chosen for this SWAPC as I like the styling, they are relatively available on the market and don’t cost a ton. Most can be purchased for $4,000 or less, especially when you factor in re-selling or scrapping the ICE components. If you source your parts for a vendor, which is my preferred approach, the cost of parts is estimated to be around $30k.
One way to save cost would be to build more parts yourself or buy them from a different source (non-vendor). This conversion would take between 350-450 hours (based on looking at other similar ones) depending on your skill level. Based on my estimated $90/hr. US mechanic rate the cost of labor would be an additional $36,000. Making the total conversion cost just over $66k.
In the conversion world, that is a reasonable price. Depending on your source and car you can expect to pay anywhere between $50-$100k or even more if you get fancy.
Just add Lightning, get Love
While I originally started with dreams of a tesla power RWD G6, the smaller motor FWD seemed disappointing. Looking back now, it is not a bad option. At all. This conversion would be unique, fun to drive and is relatively low cost. If you take a more DIY approach you could spend less. Does it fall into true mission of the Electric Speed Shop? Not completely, but that’s ok. As a business we would still convert this for a customer. What do you think? Would you drive an electric G6?
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Tesla Drive Unit Backup
I stopped looking at the finer details of this conversion. For this to work, you need to remove the existing rear suspension from the G6. Then replace that with an RWD suspension from another vehicle, such as a tesla itself. While it is not impossible, it is beyond the scope of these quick SWAP-C studies. It would however, be insanely fast and put an electric smile on my face to see it done. In the future I will investigate this more, for now, below is a quick snapshot. Let me know what you think about a Tesla powered RWD G6? Maybe I will look at putting the Tesla unit in the front?