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James May's Metro EV · 11 November 05

James May's EV

A month ago I got an email from James May. James lives in Coventry, England and was getting ready to purchase a second hand Electric Car conversion from a local EV supplier.

It’s a 1991 Rover Metro. I’m not sure if that’s him sitting there or not.

The EV needed a new set of batteries and according to James the supplier wanted to fit the EV up with gel/fibremat sealed batteries (AGM). After doing some research, here and elsewhere, he decided to stick with regular lead acid batteries.

Jame's new battery pack

Here’s the new pack: 16, 6v 230Ah Trogjan T6220 wet lead acid cells. Looks like he’ll need a larger car to squeeze all of those in!

Gas tank and batteries

The following pictures were taken when he first started looking at the EV, before ordering the batteries.

First off the EV currently has a propane heater. Here you can see the small propane tank nestled in with some of the batteries. (click thumbnails for larger images)

James said that he’s investigating a replacement for the propane heater.

Dash Meters

Here’s a view of the dash. I’ll forego the “it’s on the wrong side!” jokes for now. In the instrument cluster are a couple nice, analog meters: voltage and current. Off on the right is an E-meter.

On my first EV I just had the E-meter and it was a little bit out of the direct line of sight. I think that having a couple of analog meters is a great idea, you can quickly scan and assess the vehicle’s status. Like flying an airplane you establish an order of things to scan in between views out the window.

The E-Meter shows current and amps, but it’s digital which takes the brain a little bit longer to process.

Brake System

Here’s a look at the brake area. Not quite sure what everything does here, there’s an obvious vacuum pump off to the right. That might be the acceleration/potbox there on the left hand side. A couple plastic “kit” boxes most likely hold relays and/or fuses.

The plastic in the lower right is part of the battery enclosure.

The charger (not shown) is a Zivan K2. The car has a large aluminium plate which couples the motor to the original gearbox via the original clutch and unlightened flywheel (and starter ring).


The million dollar question, of course, is where to put all of those batteries?

Why not hide them under the back passenger seat? So, maybe the passenger sits a little higher…all the better to view the lovely England country-side on a Sunday afternoon drive.

Best of luck to James with his new EV. Hopefully he’ll be checking in with more details and first hand experiences.

Comments 9
  1. Wong PoK√©r Hu    Nov 11, 2005 11:53 AM    #
    Haha interesting. How long till you need to replace them?
  2. — James May    Nov 12, 2005 06:26 AM    #
    If I take care of them, 5-7 years.
  3. — Dan    Nov 12, 2005 08:34 AM    #
    James, How far do the rear-seat batteries raise the rear seats? How far below the underlying floor do they sit? Can you see them from the underside of the car?
  4. — James May    Nov 13, 2005 10:59 AM    #
    Hi Dan, the seats are not raised at all. There is a deep fibreglass battery tray cut in to the floor between the rear footwell and the rear subframe. The battery terminals are just shy of the seat springs – so I’ll need some heavy duty insulator! Pictures coming soon!
  5. Jerry Halstead    Nov 13, 2005 20:51 PM    #
    BTW, James sent more pics of their work-in-progress and a few more details. I hope to post them in a few days.
  6. — Robot    Apr 16, 2006 05:43 AM    #

    Afternoon Captain. Just telling my friend about your EV Metro and found this site through Google. Hope it’s still all running OK!

  7. — James May    Apr 17, 2006 15:28 PM    #

    Just brilliant Clarkatron! I only wish the shell was a little newer so that it might capture the public imagination better. How about an convertible MGF shell? That’d look good. Tell me if your friend wants a demo.

  8. — Dave    Jun 22, 2006 10:15 AM    #

    Hi james just a quick question are you on any sort of medication ?

  9. — James May    Jun 23, 2006 07:44 AM    #

    Not at the moment!

    BTW the car is working fine. I did however have a problem this week with a loose connection in the charger and had to fix that last night.