Ok, so a lot of people have been wondering what we have been up to! With our last update on the 27th of February this year people have thought we may have gone silent, and been another company that was just wishy-washy and promising false hope. We would like to reassure you that this cannot be further from the truth, and we have been working tirelessly to actually develop something, and that we have just been really really slack at updating the website.
Anyway, as a lot of people have messaged us about a previous article where we talked about developing a “Universal Translator” for CANBUS messaging to enable us to more easily and seamlessly integrate Electric Drivetrains into a wider range of vehicles.
We realised very early on into the research for this that this was going to be a monumental task, and with the Project car still on underway, we had to decide what to do with our time and efforts, and worked on making the project car as great as it possible can be, so that we can get something ready and going.
So for those that are following our YouTube Channel, you would have seen the project car, a Proton Jumbuck.
Now the Proton Jumbuck is a great little car, it’s versatile, parts are “easy” to get a hold of, and there’s a bucketload of them around.
For those that don’t know what a Proton Jumbuck is…
The Proton Jumbuck, also known as the Proton Arena in other markets worldwide is a 1/2 tonne Utility vehicle produced by Malaysian Automaker Proton.
Note, when I say it was a “1/2 tonne” Utility, I mean that in the truest sense of the word, I understand that for American readers of this article, your concepts of 1/2 Tonne, 3/4 Tonne, and 1 Tonne pickups, or utility vehicles vary greatly compared to how I am using the term here.
The Proton Jumbuck has a payload of 500kg in it’s load area, so 1/2 of a metric tonne. Trust me, it’s not fun with that much in there, as the Jumbuck is front wheel drive, so loading that much weight over the back end is potentially dangerous, as it lifts a hell of a lot of weight off the front wheels.
Now the front is a conventional suspension setup from the Proton Wira/Persona and also shared with the early 90’s CC/CE Mitsubishi Lancer/Mirage, as you note, the front end is actually very similar, and was licenced off Mitsubishi once the CE/CE lancer line had run it’s course for Mitsubishi.
However in the rear end, it housed a solid beam axle with a single parabolic leaf spring setup, and this leaf was tremendously oversprung, meaning that when unladen, the Jumbuck has a habit to literally “buck” on rough road, or over speedhumps. Very horrible charicteristics.
However wen fully laden, the vehicle also has a tendency to “bottom out” and hit the bump stops, leading to a very rough ride when laden.. Not great handling characteristics.
So, with this in mind, we set about making this car better, and which was why we “gave away” or “shelved” the idea of a universal translator for the meantime.
What we have been up to!
What you are seeing here is a full rear end replacement subframe chassis for a Proton Jumbuck, this has been designed to mount the battery from a Nissan Leaf or eNV200 (Our donor vehicle) in both 24 and 40kWh sizes (We haven’t been able to get our hands on a 60kWh battery to check it’s dimensions yet)
Now this chassis is designed to unbolt the factory Parabolic Leaf and bolt to the same frame mounting locations, bracing the rear end, and allowing us to add in independent suspension.
This should enable the Jumbuck to handle extremely well, and hold it’s load over rougher terrain, and with increased capacity in the rear end (We have spoken to an engineer about a modest GVM/GVWR upgrade of 300-400kg for this)
As a happy little accident, we have also come to the realisation that this setup should not only work for EV Conversions, but with a minor custom exhaust, and some other minor tweaks, should be easily able to be fitted to a stock Jumbuck, so once the engineering and compliance of this setup is finished, you may see us being able to offer them not just for EV conversions, but also for anyone that want’s to breathe a new lease of life into the Jumbuck.
As it stands, the above is a culmination of around 400-500 hours in CAD (I’ll be honest, I eventually just lost count of how long I was spending doing this, walking to the shed, re-measuring the car, tweaking the CAD, and going back and forth)
And the work isn’t finished, so this design has now been sent off to an Engineer here in Brisbane (Who at this stage would like to remain anonymous) and he is going through all of his initial checks, not just on battery security (As per VSB14 and Electric Drive conversions for security of batteries) but also simulations on the suspension, it’s mounting, and how strong everything will be to see if it can handle to stresses that it will be under.
However ultimately, once this is all completed, we are hopeful that this project will be at least driving under it’s own steam by Christmas 2021, and hopefully fully engineered and on the road by Mid-2022, with kits available to do conversions around the same time if you can find yourself a Donor Leaf.
So yeah, thanks for reading this update, and if you haven’t, I’ve been doing the bulk of my updates over on the YouTube channel, so please be sure to like, share, and subscribe over there, so I can do the majority of updates via YouTube, and not have to come into the office and spend even more time on the computer typing up blog posts.