Build an Electric Car

Want to convert your car to all-electric on the cheap?  Check out bennelson's awesome Instructable, Build your own Electric Car! 

Ben walks you through the steps of converting a Geo Metro (purchase price $500, gas-requiring parts sold for $550) to run on a forklift motor and 6 12V batteries.   According to his calculations, the car gets the equivalent of about 130 mpg.  Not bad for an entirely self-taught mechanic!

Check out the video of his converted Metro going up hills:

Sounds easy, right?  So when are you planning to convert your car or truck?

This post has been sponsored by Pepsi. The Pepsi Refresh Project celebrates the people, businesses, and non-profits with ideas that will have a positive effect on our world.

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marc40757 years ago
do electric cars have power steering
It depends on the car you use. If you use a car that has power steering than it will just waste battery power and runs your battery dead sooner.
fozzy137 years ago
Now how about through the terrible Ohio snow?? From what I've read, batteries don't do so well in cold weather.. Or 12 inches of snow..
I drive an electric truck to school everyday, including through our super-snowy winter. The weight of the lead-acid pack gives it tremendous traction on slick streets, and the enormous low-end torque lets it plow over snowbanks. It's my favorite car to drive in bad weather. The battery pack has 1" Styrofoam insulation around it, and the heat generated through charge/discharge cycles, coupled with the high thermal mass of lead, keeps them plenty warm. This past winter, we spent about three weeks with the temperature never getting above 10degF, and the temp probe in the battery pack never dropped below 65. In very cold climates, or if insulation isn't possible for some reason, battery warmers can be slipped in and around the pack.
LeerCourier Shell.jpg
Awesome! That's convincing.  Is the whole bed filled with batteries?  How many miles are you able to go between charges?
The battery box sits in the front of the bed, and is built to hold 20 6V batteries. It extends back to just in front of the wheel wells. Six batteries in the old pack of 20 failed (cheap Chinese crap batteries), so it's now running on 10 12V gel-cells. With the old pack it had something like a 40-50 mile range, with the reduced pack it's probably closer to 20 or so...we haven't wrung it out all the way, the current pack is a collection of used batteries that we're babying to last as long as possible (or until we get some other projects out of the way).
Cool, how much have the batteries cost you?  20 miles won't get me to school and back though : /..
.  Yes, battery performance is dependent on temperature, but ...
.  Modern batteries still have plenty of juice at sub-zero temps - or else you couldn't start your car in Winter. There will be a definite impact on power and range, but not that bad.
.  Batteries self-warm as they put out power.
.  The amount of snow will not affect the batteries, just the ambient temperature. If the batteries are placed over the drive wheels, they will improve traction.

You have some good points there : ).. I honestly didn't consider the whole self-warming thing : )..

But if I run out of juice, who wants to be stuck in the snow??..


Invest in some new nifty solar panels that are flexible.. can't recall what they actually call them, but you can walk on them and all kinds of stuff.  Maybe when you park your car can charge just a little to increase range.
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