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Step 8: Other

Currently, the car is insured and registered, although the DMV is still requiring that I drag it in and PROVE that there is no engine in the car before they give me the emissions tesing exemption.

This car can go for 20 miles on a charge, and has a top speed of 45 MPH, the speed limit right outside my house. In town is all 25 mph anyways. My typical ride is 10 miles for going to work, grocery store, post office, etc, and back home.

If I doubled up the battery pack, I should be able to go 30 to 40 miles on a charge.

This project has cost me about $1200 total, including buying the car in the first place. If I would have done the machining myself, I would have only spent around $800 for everything. This car charges at my house through a renewable energy program. All electricity comes from wind, bio-gas, and other renewable energy sources.

I kept the back seat and can carry four people total.

The original driver and passenger airbags are completely intact and functional.

I mostly drive this car in third gear. Turn the car on - put it in third - drive. It's really that easy. There's no engine to kill, so you don't have to push in the clutch before coming to a stop. The motor has so much torque that I can pull away from a dead stop in fourth gear.

I still need to come up with a heater. (EDIT: Please see below) I think I will wear an extra thick coat and gloves for winter driving and have an electric defroster on the dashboard to keep it from frosting. The heat issue has been on my mind since the start of this project. The inefficiency of a gasoline engine is a blessing in a cold Wisconsin winter.

I did gloss over a few steps of this project.
I skipped telling you how many times I took apart, and put back together, the electric motor. How many times I lugged it back and forth to the machinist's. A friend and I were up til 2 in the morning one night fixing the control arm mount! Or how I had to literally shorten the motor because it was too long to fit in the car! But those things are for another story at another time!

I made sure to have an interlock, so I can't accidently drive away while plugged in. Make sure to have a nice big fuse inline of your main battery pack.

All the little challenges of a conversion like this are part of what makes it fun and interesting. In my case, I did a fair bit of experimenting of the best way to run the power brakes.




Winter Heat:
Sure, gasoline engines aren't efficient, but all that waste heat sure is nice in the winter. Since this car no longer has the original engine, it doesn't have the original heat either. The blower motor is still there and works fine for defogging the windshield.
Some EV converters remove the original heater core and replace it with a ceramic heating element that runs on their pack voltage. That sounded like a lot of work, and I was already sick of tearing apart the dashboard.

I already had a household (120V AC) electric oil-filled radiator. I just put that behind the passenger seat, and run an extension cord out the window to a timer.
The heat comes on automatically in the morning and heats up the inside of the entire car before I get in it.
The mass of the oil in the radiator stays hot for about 10 minutes or so after I leave. Most of my trips aren't any longer than that anyways.

I like that with this heat system in that:
1) I didn't have to buy a darn thing
2) The entire interior of the car is already warm - seats, steering wheel, everything!
3) This also helps keep the batteries warm.
4) All the electric power comes from the wall, instead of the batteries

The only down side is that if I am parked all day somewhere that I can't plug in, I don't have that same heat for the ride home. On the other hand, most of my trips are pretty short, so it's not the end of the world.

This heat system consumes about 5 cents worth of electricity per use.

BRAKES:
One of the reasons why I chose this car to convert was that it has manual windows, manual locks, manual transmission, non-powered steering,pretty much manual everything - except the brakes. The first time I drove the car as an electric conversion, I found the brakes to be a little hard. (You CAN stop the car WITHOUT power brakes, you just have to push really hard!) It was just a low-speed test drive, but it was pretty obvious that I had to work on the brake system. Power brakes work on vacuum created by the engine. Without an engine to make the vacuum, the brakes just don't work the way they should. 
Some people say to find a different, manual, master brake cylinder and install that, or even just to punch a hole in a certain spot in the cylinder to convert it to manual. Neither of these sounded like great options. Really, I just needed an electric way to make a vacuum.
So, to start out with, I played around with an aquarium air pump, just to learn how the vacuum brake system works. After that, I starting looking around for a 12v air pump with a connection on the "In" end, so that it could be used as a vacuum pump. A friend of mine dug one up, along with an aluminum bottle that had a threaded connector already on it.
I connected the air pump to 12V+ power through a vacuum switch. The vacuum switch measures vacuum in the bottle - if there isn't enough vacuum, the switch turns on the pump.

Now the car has power brakes, just like it did originally, only it's driven by a tiny electric motor in a little pump, instead of by a gasoline engine. Compare this to newer versions of the Prius, where the air conditioning is driven by an electric motor. That way, you can have AC without the engine running!
<p>This project is so advanced but yet does not look that complicated after all. However, I think you would still require a tyre and rim insurance after being done with the conversion job. This is just to help safeguard yourself against any possible unfortunate events that might follow you in your DIY masterpiece.</p>
<p>but does'nt the motor overheat</p>
<p>but does'nt the motor overheat</p>
<p>but does'nt the motor overheat</p>
Awesome sauce!
I thought that transmissions were only for gasoline cars. Why did you have to put one on an electric car's motor?
<p>Most motorized things require some form of a tranmission, electric, diesel, propane, and gasoline engines all typically do dependin on application. They do so for two reasons, one in earlier rwd cars the crankshaft of the engien couldn't directly be hooked up to the wheels, so a gearbox drive shaft, and rear differencial are needed, to change the direction of the power output. Secondly and more importantly, without a transmission of some form the engine would always be engaged to the wheels, meaning the second you start it up, even while idling it will be moving, constantly moving, and with such a setup the brakes would be fighting the motor all the time making for horrible stopping power and great potential of either a damaged motor or failed brake system, the clutch/torque converter allows them to disengage from eachother, allowing you to stop.</p>
why try and build some type of altenator that way while u drive it can charge batteries and drive unlimited
<p>because you would be breaking the first two laws of thermodynamics which make doing that impossible</p>
<p>a kers system would be excellent on a setup like this, get back some of that power wasted stopping after all that's supposed to be the general purpose of electric vehicles Is efficiency</p>
<p>very nice..</p>
<p>How do you change gears without a clutch?</p>
<p>It's surprisingly easy. Just rev the motor up to the right speed, and push it into gear. It took about a day to get used to for me.</p>
<p>That's how most truck drivers do it...</p>
<p>Automotive transmissions aren't made the same way truck transmissions are. Truckers don't shift like that right off the get go, either. Takes some time of learning the truck and how it shifts by shifting properly. I'll be doing this conversion to a 2009 Base model standard jeep compass, and I'll for sure be keeping the clutch. I guess It'll be easier to maybe take out the clutch? But for longevity, keeping the clutch is the smartest way to do it. <u>In my own opinion!!!</u></p><p>More fun that way as well.</p>
<p>MPaulHolmes, does changing the gears in this way not damage the gears? I'm asking, not to be critical, but because I am hoping to build my own EV. I'm wondering whether I need to try to keep the clutch. It seems like most people don't use a clutch, but to me, that sounds like it would damage the transmission pretty quickly.</p>
<p>Mate that was awesome well done something to be proud of :-)</p><p>One thing is I was wondering to save battery power would there be an advantage installing a light flywheel to install the clutch so you can change gears?</p><p>I know electric motorcycles benefit greatly if they have a manual gearbox.</p><p>It requires a lot less power to take off and maybe a smaller motor could be used.</p><p>It would not be that hard to do.</p><p>Regards Rik</p><p>Home Mechanics</p>
<p>This is a great project, thumbs up..I have 2 points to raise: did u do the math how much $ u will save till batteries ascend to God ? the other thing is what about all those bloody sensors hooked all around the notorious combustion engine ? how to keep them quiet from making the computer stop the car ?...oh.. on a 2nd thought, what can the computer do ? cut the fire from plugs? or shut the carbeurator ? they re kicked out of the car anyhow..still some sensors that bring signals to dash may need to modify.</p>
<p>For someone who claims to have a low level of knowledge about cars I salute your ability to soldier on in any case. I am a mechanic and looking at your project for the hints on how to go about the conversion. LOL</p>
Why did you put a trans. To the motor, i thought that transmissionswere only for gasoline cars, why?
Ever put a solar panel on electric car????
<p>hello</p><p>i wanted to now more about it </p><p>i like elec car wil you help me</p><p>greetings sam</p>
<p>Well, when I tried to make this car battery, it didn't work :(. Your instructions didn't make sense and didn't answer my question... how can I make an electric car battery using tools I can buy like screws and that crap from a local store like Home Depot or some crap like that! Next time, be smart and read what question you answer before you say some other stupid rambling bullsh*t!</p>
<p>Hi guys,</p><p>you are the pioneers of electric cars so I would like to invite you to join 80edays, the hardest EV endurance test driving around the world! </p><p>I would like to make a link exchange with this great website.</p><p>Kind regards</p><p>Rafael de Mestre</p><p><a href="http://www.80edays.com" rel="nofollow">www.80edays.com</a></p>
<p>Hi Ben! The ecomodder and 300mpg links aren't working.</p>
<p>They worked when I clicked them. Maybe try a different browser or check again later. You can always do a google search if you needed to.</p>
<p>the motor u used is a universal motor(ac/dc) or a PMDC motor??? nice work.</p>
<p>It's a series-wound DC motor, 10.5&quot; diameter, Nissan brand, originally out of a full-size electric forklift.</p>
<p>Thanks for all the great information. Have you found another electric engine as a power source other than from a forklift?</p>
<p>Hey thank you for this intractable! Definitely puts the idea in perspective. The question I have is what do you think would be the weight max of a car you wanted to convert to electric and still be efficient/practical?</p>
<p>Where do you find the batteries that cheap?</p>
<p>With gas being $2.10 a gallon, why would you want to ruin a perfectly good running Geo Metro, which has 3 cylinder engines and averages 50 MPG anyhow? </p>
<p>Gas is only $2/gallon at the moment. In my area, a few years back, it's been as high as $4.50/gallon.</p><p>Electricity is cheap. At my electric company rate a &quot;gallon of electricity&quot; works out to about a dollar, so it's still HALF the cost of even &quot;cheap&quot; gasoline.</p><p>Also, I can make my own electricity, but I can't make my own gasoline. (For example, I can charge a vehicle from this: <a rel="nofollow">http://www.instructables.com/id/Solar-Swing-Set-PV...</a></p><p>Lastly, the Metro actually wasn't in working condition when I bought it. It had a some problems, including the starter and the transmission. The engine did run. When I converted the car, I sold the engine to a Metro owner whose engine had died, so that he could fix his up and keep it running.</p><p>Besides purely the cost of fuel, there's all sorts of other reasons to build an electric car, such as the great learning experience. Also, just test drive an electric car sometime - it FEELS different than a gas car. You can't help but smile!</p>
It's different with an electric motor than with a gas engine. With the motor, there's not all that extra weight of the flywheel and the power of the engine still idling when your foot isn't on the accelerator. Just let off the accelerator, wait a moment, then shift. It's really easy. It's one of those things that's hard to explain, but if you experience it, you just go &quot;Oh, that was easy.&quot;
<p>just a few things that might help, one take the batteries out and buy a cheap generator from harbor fright about 120 and that will give you over 5 hours of use per 1.25 gallons of fuel, and it would atomatically regulate its output based on the demand from the motor, also keep 2 batteries in to bridge the gap between the generator giving more power and the drain for the motor, and 2 buy a thing of 20 gauge nichrome wire and make a coil around a tube put a small fan at one end and attach it to the vent that would normaly be the input from hot air from the engine, and then wire it to a potentiomiter/switch and then 1 battery that way you can turn on off and controll its heat output, and then i want to do this type of project, how hard was it to adapt the motor shaft to the cars transmisssion?</p>
<p>absolutly no. buy a utility trailer and put a generator on it. only need to use the generator when driving over the charging range. then you'd never need to discharge the battery on long trips increasing the balling-ness of your road trip. in fact, get an old VW diesel for the generator. I know it would get good MPG, we took one from Vancouver to Alberta at 15.00 dollars spent on diesel. the Olds that we took that winter was 80 bucks every time we saw a gas station. EV cars plus diesel generator makes long ass road trip.</p>
<p>hola si el auto que tengo que convertir es manual no tengo que montal la volanta para hacer los cambios gracias alfredo</p>
<p>Mr. Nelson, i don`t speak english well but i need your help. I`m a Colombia Mechanical Engeenering, living in the north of Brasil -Amazonia-, working like mechanical automotive teacher, and I am looking for a course in USA about car conversion, including theory and practice. Please send me information. Thank you. </p><p>Gerardo Mu&ntilde;oz Herrera.</p><p>gerardo2502@yahoo.com</p>
Hello, super inspiration and my big dream for many years! BUT, what about technical licence? I don't know US laws, but all european police patrols strictly check the &quot;papers&quot; of a car and &quot;conersion&quot; like this is direct order of very big fine :-(. <br>If it's easy or free in the US, I'm quietly envying, but I'm afraid, nor there is it possible...
<p>In which European country you live in. In Finland this is possible and if it is possible in Finland there should not be a place in a world where it is not possible :)</p>
<p>The Czech republic. In general, it's the same, but it very depends on what &quot;official vehicle inspection facility&quot; needs in fact. I'm afraid (and listen to), it's very very complicated (and expensive) process. Do your authorities need no technical drawings (project), special mechanical test of your &quot;self-built&quot; car, etc.? The main argument of our authorities (officers) is, that changing of engine and adding a battery change driveability and also safety. It's tru in general, but they make it more complicated than is necessary. It's really horrible process, and most of people I know, they wanted to do it, rather finally bought some old official electromobile and change battery (it's much less problem). Hope, it'll change, but not yet, unfortunately ...</p>
<p>Here is a link</p><p><a href="http://ecars-now.wikidot.com/ecars-now:faq#toc32" rel="nofollow">http://ecars-now.wikidot.com/ecars-now:faq#toc32</a></p><p>this is how it is in Finland</p>
No matter where you live, make sure to check your insurance, title, registration, and any other legalities you need to take care of before doing an unusual car project.<br><br>You want to make sure ahead of time that you can legally drive your vehicle when it is all finished. The only issue that I had on my car was that it was difficult to pass pollution controls! Yes, even without an engine, I still had to do a smog test!
<p>can you elaborate on the difficulties you had passing pollution controls? I thought it would only be a matter of showing the bureau of automotive repair that you had modified the car to run on electricity. do you have to pass some sort of electrical emissions test?</p>
<p>I live in one of the counties in south-eastern Wisconsin that requires emissions control testing. Usually, this just requires going to a specific location and having a test run using the ODBII port. Without the engine, the ODBII port has nothing to talk to! I originally mailed a letter to the state, explaining what I had done to the car, including photos showing the conversion process. The letter was returned, apparently unread, with a rubber-stamp response of &quot;Please take your vehicle to your local emissions testing station.&quot; When I did that, the person there plugged in to the ODBII, which of course would NOT connect. She then said, &quot;Let me try again....&quot; thinking it was a bad connection, rather than the fact that THERE WAS NO ENGINE IN THE CAR! The local folks at that test center had NO idea how to deal with it. Even on all the forms, it listed GAS and DIESEL as the only choices for fuel types. Eventually, I was able to find a real person, with an actual job title, business card, and desk. With him, I was able to make an appointment at a &quot;Technical Assistance Center&quot;, which was also further away than I could drive to, so I had to tow the car there. When I FINALLY got the car back into their shop and has somebody of authority look at it, the entire &quot;inspection&quot; consisted of me popping the hood and a man looking into the engine compartment and saying &quot;Yep, there's no engine in there.&quot; He then signed the bottom of a form and faxed it in to the state and told me I should be set forever on pollution testing on the car. No joke, pollution testing on the car really was the hardest part of building it! It's a little different from State to State, and maybe even which county you are in. Some places no pollution testing. Also, many places exempt vehicles older than 1996, because that's when ODBII came in to play.</p><p>Moral of the story? Just figure out what you need to do before you start your project. The last thing you want is not to be able to legal drive the project you put so much work into. Does anyone here drive a Volt or Leaf? What did you have to do for emissions testing or pollution control? (Keep in mind that my project was built BEFORE those cars were available.)</p>
<p>Here's a photo of me in the middle of winter, posing happily as I just passed the &quot;Yep, there's no engine in there,&quot; test.</p>
<p>For the full story on emissions testing, please visit: http://www.300mpg.org/projects/electro-metro/emissions-testing/</p>
If I understand well, your car is really completely legal? May I ask what all did you need to do (and what to pay for it) for registration ability? We in Europe need for this action an army of lawyers connected to bribed officers and policemen. <br> <br>Sumary: It's quite easy (and relative cheep) to physically convert, but quite impossible (and/or expensive) to legalize. So, finally nobody try it there (although there is gasoline more expensive than in the US!), because of legalization problems and/or fees :-(

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Bio: Ordinary guy with no special skills, just trying to change the world one backyard invention at a time. See more at: http://300mpg.org/ On ... More »
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