Step 9: The Finished Car.

Picture of The Finished Car.
I will still need to collect data on total electric energy and LP consumed based on various range trips.

In electric only mode, this car has already clocked in pretty consistently at about 130 Miles Per Gallon Equivalent.

Running as a hybrid, it will NOT be as efficient, but I will be able to use the car on many more trips that I would have otherwise driven a gasoline vehicle.

I also like that the generator provides charging for the 12V accessory battery and has some possible use as a winter heater as well. (This car does NOT have an electric rear defrost, but the generator is right under the back window....)

Running in Hybrid mode, the car IS louder than a typical gas car would be, (from the drivers point of view. It's really not that loud from outside the car. )  I may explore completely boxing in the back, including soundproofing.

I also like that I have complete manual control over the generator. In commercially produced plug-in hybrids, the driver doesn't have any control over when the car switches over to run the generator. I like that I can decide when to run it, based on my battery charge and how far away my destination is. 

Overall, I am very happy with the finished project.

Swing by my blog for info on my other clean transportation projects.

trav9973 years ago
If i did this conversion with a truck and put batteries and propane in cargo area would this be legal?
ben2go4 years ago
This is a cool conversion.However, it's not legal in any state.With a sealed generator compartment to protect occupants from explosion and a DOT approved tank,it will be half way there.The flooded lead acid batteries put off a gas while charging that is both toxic and explosive.I'm not flaming or degrading your project.In fact I really like it and it would be fabulous in a small pick up.I'm just not sure that you have all the information needed to make this a safe conversion.
bennelson (author)  ben2go4 years ago
This car uses SEALED batteries, not flooded.

The main contactor, and other electrical connections are in a sealed box under the hood.
Sealed batteries still release gasses. IDK about gel but I would assume they probley do to. If your box is sealed then I would just run a piece if 3" PVC under the car with a Computer fan pulling air out. As for the propane tank it is illegal by federal DOT reg's to carry a propane cylinder in the passenger area. Here in maine you can only transport them in a pickup bed. any other method is illegal.
ben2go jpayton3 years ago
AGM and gel batteries do not release any gas.There is no vents of any type on those batteries.This is all I run in my vehicles because there is 100% no emissions from them.
It's not the batteries that make it illegal, friend. Transporting a cylinder in an enclosed passenger cabin is against DOT regulations, as is operating a combustion engine in the passenger compartment.
I agree and any state some one lives in that has vehicle safety inspection as where I do will not pass the inspection with this "conversion".
Also propane is a heavy gas and any leak it will accumulate at the lowest point in the car and then BOOM...
As for your (bennelson) statement of no possibility of sparks you are wrong - THE GENERATOR. Also you have the generator sucking it's air from the passenger compartment as well. I would never ever drive or be in a car like this.. Now if it was in a pickup truck; I would put these items except the propane tank into a truck tool box. Then use a DOT tank mounted either in the bed or under the truck..
This would work except you will have to enclose it in a heavy sheet steel and insulated box with vents to outside and the propane tank mounted OUTSIDE of the car.. The tank will also have to be DOT certified - this certification means the tank will not rupture on impact in an accident if it is hit...
I and others are not putting down what you did; BUT how you did it; it is not a safe conversion..
I agree with what your saying, however this conversion looks to be more proof of concept rather than a final product. On that note if he ever got pulled over in that car they would arrest him and make him tow the car home.
Ok.Then you are golden there.
Strong Hart4 years ago
I want to do this with an old 4X4 than take it through the mud.
So this is a propane / electric hybrid? Good job BTW!
urwatuis4 years ago
since you pulled the gas tank out why not use that space for the propane tank and generator? or did you put something else in there already?
bennelson (author)  urwatuis4 years ago
The batteries are in a custom box that takes the place of where the gas tank used to be, under the back seat. In the photo of the back seat above, you can see that the bottom is actually a piece of plywood, covered with carpet. This bolts down as a cover over the batteries. Here's a photo of it under construction.

That is something that I did since the "original" conversion of the car to electric. (I noticed that I hadn't yet updated that in my electric car conversion Instructable.)
wirecutter4 years ago
NICE ONE! It's the way to go if you are going to visit out of the way places without a power line!
I think that if you can box the propane tank in, and vent it to the out side air top and bottom you will be much safer,
How long is charging time of the main batteries from this genny? and any idea as to the LPG consumption?

I just wish I can 'Find one' in the UK

Keep up the REVOLT (uion)
Ben, I have to take my hat off to you. Others talk, you do! I use to own a small chev. Metro just like the one you using for your Hybird Electric, what was good about the vehicle is it only had three cylinders and got close to 40 miles per gallon of midgrade fuel. I purchase the 1999 Chevy. Metro Authentic Technical Service Manual 1st & 2nd Vol. I still have it but no longer the vehicle I traded the Metro for Toyota Tacoma because I needed a small truck. The Manual is like new condition regularly costs over $100.00 If anyone is interested in it I would let both volums go for $35.00 plus shipping. PayPal allow one to send money via email address.
Yeah, way cool... but I'd hate to get rear ended with that propane tank back there...