Can't afford a Nissan Leaf? No Problem!
Build a cheap electric car yourself by removing the the car engine, replacing it with a forklift motor, and adding batteries.
I have plenty of videos about this project at:
The primary "build blog" for this project is at:
but watch out! That is a good read for when you have WAY too much time on your hands.
For a good intro to basic electric car construction, stick with this Instructable.
For more in-depth construction information, check out the instructional Video DVD available at 300MPG.org
If you are a teacher, and would like to start a class or extra-curricular at your school, I would like to GIVE you a copy! (Click this link for details.)
Step 1: Get a car.
I was looking for something lightweight, with no power anything.
Heavier cars need more energy to push down the road, thus limiting your range on batteries.
Things like power steering and power brakes run off the engine, which is going to be removed anyways, rendering them useless. Power windows and locks add weight and complexity to the vehicle.
I ended up finding a Geo Metro for sale, for $500. The engine ran fine, and the body wasn't too bad, but I couldn't drive it home because the clutch was messed up. Oh well, this conversion isn't going to use a clutch anyways!
Make sure the car doesn't have anything major wrong with it (other than maybe a blown engine!) You want to do a Conversion, not a Restoration!