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Old 05-26-07, 11:21 AM   #1
phantomcow2
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Anybody ever convert a vehicle to electric?

This has been on my mind for the past few weeks. I am really considering buying a used vehicle with no engine, and replacing the guts with electric goodies to make it run. According to my calculations, assuming I drive 25 miles a day, I will be spending about $1k a year on gas. Plus motor oil, fuel filters, etc.
25 miles a day with an electric vehicle will cost me roughly 200 a year. Plus, there is no oil, fuel/air filters, oxygen sensor, etc.
So the conversion would pay itself off in probably 3-4 years.
I would keep my current Honda (gas) through it all, and use it for longer trips. Target range for any electric vehicle would be 50-75 miles on a charge. Plenty for normal, daily errands + commuting. Obviously not suitable for road trips.


I was wondering if anybody here has any experience with something like this. Or, has a good source for a 20-25HP brushless DC motor.
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Old 05-26-07, 11:23 AM   #2
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It couldn't be that difficult.

The most important thing would be to have the lightest possible car. Something tiny like a MR2.
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Old 05-26-07, 11:25 AM   #3
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How about aquiring element 115, bombarding it with protons, use the anti matter and react it, and transform the gargantuan amount of energy into electrical form. Hm.
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Old 05-26-07, 11:27 AM   #4
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I remember an old 1970 Lincoln Continental hybridized with a Briggs and Stratton 5 HP sideshaft powering a generator to a battery bank to an electric motor, back around 75 or so that got 195 MPG and had a top speed of 60 mph with balance in discharge rate/charge rate at that 60 mph. Popular Mechanics had a writeup on it IIRC.
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Old 05-26-07, 11:29 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michigander
It couldn't be that difficult.

The most important thing would be to have the lightest possible car. Something tiny like a MR2.
I agree, small and light car was my plan. I would probably remove the back seat to make room for batteries. I might even remove the front passenger seat and replace it with a spike to discourage people from getting inside.
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Old 05-26-07, 11:29 AM   #6
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There are kits out there to convert Porsche 914s and Volkswagen Rabbits to electric. Not cheap, though. 8-10 grand if I recall, not including the donor car. I think the driving range falls within your requirements.

Electro Automotive is where I saw the kits, but their site doesn't seem to be loading for me at the moment.
[edit: Oh, it's loading, the site is just very, very slow.]
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Old 05-26-07, 11:30 AM   #7
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Evil oil companies.
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Old 05-26-07, 11:51 AM   #8
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One thing to keep in mind is that good batteries won't be cheap. As I remember, even a gas/electric hyrbid like the Prius uses a 2,000 dollar battery, and it must be replaced every 80,000 miles. A pure electric would require a lot more battery power. They say that with a hybrid, it would take 7 dollars a gallon for it to be cheaper than an all gas car. (As Tom very effectively just pointed out, hybrids are very wasteful compared to what could be done, but thats another story.)

Not that I have any objections to going the extra mile for the enviornment, but if your objectives are purely to save money, I'd say you should very carefully look into all of your options. A tiny car with a tiny engine with a turbo and about 4 pounds of boost can come close the fuel economy of a hybrid. If you somehow managed to find a long stroke engine and turbo it, you could do far better than with a hybrid. You can get 150mpg from a mini bike. There are lots of ways to save gas. Just the same, it sure would be cool to make an electric car to say eff you to the big auto makers who bowed down to pressure from big oil and scrapped all of their electric cars.
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Last edited by Michigander; 05-26-07 at 04:19 PM.
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Old 05-26-07, 03:48 PM   #9
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I converted a gas rider mower to electric.
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Old 05-26-07, 03:54 PM   #10
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Just buy one of those tiny european scooters.
Or ride your bike there.
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Old 05-26-07, 04:36 PM   #11
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I thought about this for a while. Instead of using an electric car, I thought about ordering a kit-style car. Apparently a high-school group did it not too long ago for a project with a kit body bought off the Internet and a standard high-power electric motor. Gorgeous-looking and had a top speed of about 140mph (with a life of a few minutes at that speed!) or a more normal 40-mile range at a more reasonable pace.

It would really make a lot of sense here in Texas -- we've got enough sun that if I could use photovoltaics, I could squeeze enough sun down to take care of my daily drive. 'course, it'd cost about $30k, at least...
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Old 05-26-07, 04:45 PM   #12
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PS: I also had a passing thought earlier in the year when I randomly saw a Trans-Am that looked exactly like Kitt go for about $600 that that'd be the the most awesome thing ever...
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