Feel free to tell me I'm crazy, I won't be offended. But if I don't ask, I won't know, right?
I would like to build an electric car, both because it's fun to build your own stuff and because I'm not really satisfied with some of the shortcuts Nissan took on the Leaf -- which is the only electric car that would be in my budget. We have done pretty major projects in the family before (engine swaps, restoration, etc) but I am not a programmer by trade, and a bit nervous about all the Canbus stuff.
The basic idea is to find a donor car with a decent body and interior, remove the engine and transmission, install the motor and batteries, etc. This was done (and written up nicely) on a VW Passat several years ago, but the nicest donor car I can find locally in my price range is a 2002 V60. The transmission is probably bad, the engine is definitely bad (as in, it threw a rod), but the body is supposed to be decent and it had a fair bit of work put into brakes etc before the engine failed. The guy would take a little over scrap value for it, and since I could try to sell some ancillary parts I wouldn't need (engine-driven PS pump, alternator, fuel injectors... plus the scrap value of the bad engine) it would be a pretty affordable chassis. I would probably remove the Haldex AWD and just use it as a RWD car, both for the weight savings and because the electric motor doesn't need more resistance between it and the wheels.
Leaving aside questions of mounting the electric motor etc, how bad a fit will Canbus throw if the car doesn't have any engine at all? I'm sure it will throw a check-engine light and likewise be offended about the transfercase being missing, but will it refuse to let e.g. the ABS or airbags work?
Any words of wisdom would be much appreciated, thanks!