DIY Electric Car Conversion Project in New Zealand

The following is a Youtube video of a chap by the name Gavin Shoebridge. He’s a DIY electric car retrofitter from New Zealand. You can see from the video, he bought a faulty 1987 Mitsubishi Treadia donor car for $180 back in March 2007.

Electric Car Build From Home Garage

It is possible to have an electric car build from our home garage? To do so, it is pretty much depend on you. To convert a gasoline driven car to electric at home is not a simple process. It will involve a lot of preliminary planning and you have to commit some time to get it done.

Many people like to idea of using an electric vehicle to commute. For the time being, a new car from electric car manufacturers is still relatively expensive. It is understandable some would want to convert their car to run purely on electric on their own. Most would star by reading electric car conversion guides. There is some prerequisite to start a Do It Yourself (DIY) electric car build from home. Firstly, you must have well versed knowledge on automotive engineering.

EV conversion is like doing heart operation to your vehicle. You are literally taking out the heart of the car which is the internal combustion engine and replacing it with an electric motor. It is no simple task. Further more, the process of connecting the electric motor to the transmission is very tricky. To join the 2 components together, you can either custom made the joining plate or purchase an expensive ready made one. The message here is…you have to know your stuff before you start building your own electric car. Not knowing what you’re doing will lead to frustration and time wasting. At the end of the day, you won’t have your EV, worst still, you won’t be able to drive your gas guzzler either.

If you really want an electric car build from home, it is a good idea to start with some electric vehicle knowledge. You can get review of electric car conversion guides here.

Why Convert Gas Driven Car to Electric

Before we convert our gasoline driven car to run on electricity, we want to know why? What are the advantages of driving an electric car? There are some very obviously answers but I decided to do some research and write a blog post about it. As usually, I open up Peter Millward’s Electricity 4 Gas e-book to find the answer.

There are a few interesting facts in the electric car conversion manual. One of the main reason has to do with our environment. A car with an internal combustion engine is very harmful to the earth. It creates toxic fumes, greenhouse gas, toxic waste, you name it it has put it in the environment. According to my Electricity 4 Gas review, car exhaust is one of the biggest contributors to air pollution that has ever existed.

The last couple of years, we’ve seen car companies have been forced to clean up their act, to a point. For example, the California Air Resources Board has passed the Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) to help clean up the city air. Unfortunately, the mandate was amended due to strong pressure from the car manufacturers. The fiasco was documented in the movie Who Killed The Electric Car.

Finding new ways to fuel our cars is the answer. Using renewable energy to power our cars is the answer that we are pursuing here. An electric vehicle produces very close to zero emissions, which is an excellent solution. We can use conventional AC power from your home, which is more and more produced with renewable energy sources.

Driving an electric car not only can save you money, but as an added benefit, it is also good for the environment. We cannot depend on fossil fuel forever. We have to start using alternative energy source such as electric to power our cars. What we need now is more publicity for the humble electric vehicle.

How to Make Your Own Electric Car

How do you make your own electric car? A lot of people have been asking that question including myself. In the mid of 2008, we have seen the effect of rising global crude oil prices. Global oil prices skyrocketed to almost US150 per barrel. Stopping by the gasoline station to refuel was a very painful ordeal for myself and I bet for many people too. I have thought of converting my gasoline driven car to run on electricity. Since a brand new electric car is not available where I live, my alternative is to build one myself. But how do I make my own electric car?

I started off doing some research on Do It Yourself (DIY) electric car conversion. I realized there is a lot of work to be done. I doubt I would have the skill, the tools, the know how nor the time to retrofit my car to electric myself. Most probably, in order for me to own an electric car, I would have to outsource the retrofitting process to a professional mechanic.

Outsourcing my electric car conversion doesn’t mean there’s nothing I can do. What I can do is to make sure the work in done within my budget. To do so, I have to read up on the science of an electric car and its associated parts and components. There are numerous book at the book store and on the web about electric car conversion. Some are quite basic while other covers the technical details. The main point is for me to be prudent. At least I want to know when I am being charged for unnecessary parts of work done on my car. Check out these electric car conversion guides comparison for your own copy of the book.

Les Oke’s Convert 2 EV Review – Other Components of an Electric Car Conversion

On the fifth chapter of my Convert 2 EV review, the author of the manual Les Oke wrote about the other components in an electric car. These are all smaller parts but no doubt very important.

Les started off by explaining the components needed to connect the electric motor to the drive train. The component is call the adapter kit which consist of the adapter plate and coupler. The setup of this unit is very important because any misalignment will affect the performance of the electric motor.

Next, Les talk about a manual disconnect for the electric motor. Apparently this small component will prevent you from being electrocuted by the electricity from the batteries. A small investment to save guard your well being. Another safety feature covered is the inertia switch. Very important just in case you have an accident on your electric car.

Measuring instruments are covered in the following paragraph. You will need instruments to measure volt, amps and total batteries charge. How do you power other electrical instruments such as turn signals, head lights, brake lights etc? You will need an auxiliary battery.

To control the amount of current going from the batteries to the electric motor, you will need a variable resistor or a throttle box. That component is mounted at the gas paddle linkage and your foot control the motor speed. Other miscellaneous parts are cables, fuses, contacts, vacuum pump and heater for the driver and batteries.

The fifth chapter in Convert 2 EV is quite lengthy. If you are planning to do your own electric car conversion, these are all the small parts and components that you must get ready. For more information on Do It Yourself (DIY) electric car conversion, check out the Convert 2 EV manual.

Find Cheap Batteries with Convert 2 EV

In this blog post, I am going to review Convert 2 EV Chapter 4. This chapter focuses on the batteries. Batteries are the heart of the electric vehicle. Since the internal combustion engine is gone, all its associated components such as radiator, exhaust pipe, gas tank and fuel distribution lines are removed as well. Where do we get power for the electric motor? From the batteries!

Batteries are used to store DC electricity during your daily charging cycle for use at a future time. According to Les Oke, choosing the batteries are a very critical decision for an electric car conversion project. Apart from the electric motor, batteries will take up a big portion of your retrofitting budget. When looking for batteries, the author suggested for you to consider the price, weight, and amp hours of performance.

Where do we source for cheap used or reconditioned batteries. Based of Les’s experience, he suggested 2 location…the golf course and industrial area. Les gave a very lengthy explanation on how you can go about securing these batteries. There is a certain skill involved. It will take some time to do so, but in the end it is worth it because you will be saving a tonne of money.

How many batteries do you need for an average electric car? Depending on the car, you will need approximately 20 units. All these batteries need to be charged. To do this, you will need a battery charge for your electric car. Luckily, Convert 2 EV Chapter 4 provides multiple links where you can find competitive charger.

When working with batteries, safety always come first. Getting electrocuted from 1 battery may not cause too much damaged. Imagine getting electrocuted from 20 batteries, it will ruin your day. Spend some time to source for cheap batteries for your electric donor car. Check out my Convert 2 EV review on donor car for your electric conversion project.

Convert 2 EV Chapter 2 – Where to Find Cheap Electric Motor

The last post I did was Convert 2 EV Chapter 1 Review. The amazing thing is, that particular post was indexed by Google in less than 1 hour! That is pretty amazing if you ever launched your own website. Sometimes Google will take a few weeks to index your page. But that’s enough of my rambling, back to the post.

This post will cover Convert 2 EV Chapter 2. This chapter is call “Electric Motor, Where to Find Them”. One of the main component of an electric car is the electric motor. It is the heart of the vehicle and from my understanding, it is also one of the most expensive part in an electric car conversion project. I think it is great the author of the book shows you how and where to find cheap or reconditioned electric motor.

In this chapter, Les Oke started off with explaining the differences between an AC motor versus a DC motor. He recommends using a DC motor for your electric car because it is cheaper and easier to work with. The place where you can find cheap DC electric motor is EBay.com. It is not surprising why Les recommends to search in EBay to find cheap motor since there are so many people offloading their used stuff.

There is one important information that you must know. What type of DC electric motor to look for in EBay? Luckily in this chapter, he actually recommends the attributes of an electric motor that you must take into consideration such as RPM, shaft size, amp and voltage when looking for an electric motor.  You want to make sure that you do not choose a DC electric motor which is too large because it will swiftly drain the power from the batteries. Then again, you do not want a motor which is too small either. The key here is balance.

If you are thinking of sourcing for an electric motor for your electric car conversion project, the information highlighted in Convert 2 EV Chapter 2 will show you the ideal specification.

Convert 2 EV Review

It has been 3 months since I started this blog. The great thing is, on 31st December 2008, this DIY Home Built Electric Car Blog has received a PageRank 1. If you are not familiar with PageRank (PR), it’s okay. PR is what Google gives to web pages on the web on relevancy and relative importance.

Back to my topic for this blog post. Convert 2 EV is one of the e-book I’ve bought back in October 2008 when I was doing my research on DIY electric car conversion. It is a product distributed through Clickbank and I have been promoting it since as an affiliate.

In this Convert 2 EV category, I will write a detailed review of the e-book. Here goes. Convert 2 EV is written by a couple call Les and Jane Oke. I am not sure if they are real person. Most probably they might be fictional authors as part of the marketing strategy to sell the book. To me, it does not matter who wrote the book, what I want is the message and not the messenger.

The book consist of a total of Ten Chapters. I have to admit. The book is pretty amateurish. Meaning it doesn’t give you a lot of technical information. Then again, I don’t think many people that bought an electric car conversion guide will be doing their own EV retrofitting. There are a few people out there with mechanical, electrical and tooling skills that might do it. But the majority would not.

Why do anyone want to buy the Convert 2 EV e-book then? So that we are not being ignorant. If I want to convert my gasoline driven car into an electric vehicle, most probably I will send it to a professional mechanic to get the retrofitting done. But before I do that, I want to have some basic understanding on the parts and components of an electric car. Reason being… I don’t want to look stupid when talking to the mechanic. It is also for me to be prudent. I want to know when I am being charge for any unnecessary parts or work done at the shop.

Hence, on the next couple of posts on this blog, I will write more Convert 2 EV reviews as per its individual chapters. In the mean time, if you do not want to look stupid when talking to a mechanical about electric car, you can get a copy of Les and Jane Oke’s Convert 2 EV e-book.

How to build an electric car? You can do so by initiating a Do It Yourself electric vehicle (EV) conversion project from your home garage. But before you start to build and electric car, there are couple of things you have to know. The following are 5 things you have to know before your build your own electric car.
1)    What do you want to use the electric car for? Do you plan to drive short distances only for groceries shopping or go across town. An EV can only cover a limited distance per charge. If you have to drive long distance, an electric car may not be suitable.
2)    Are there power charging points where you park? If you drive your electric car to work, are there any power sockets to charge your car? Are you allowed to charge up your car at work?
3)    What type of donor car would your use? Not all cars are suitable to be retrofitted into EV. Preferably, you will need a car which is manual transmission, rear wheel drive and has ample storage space.
4)    Are you okay if your car has no air conditioning? If you leave in a very cold or hot place, EV may not be suitable. This is because there is not air conditioning or heater. The additional fittings will drain the batteries and reduce your car mileage.
5)    Can you get a permit to drive your EV? An electric car is categorized as a Neighborhood Electric Vehicle (NEV). NEV can only go at a certain speed. Some district does not allow NEV due to safety reasons.
If you are really keen to know how to build an electric car, start with getting an electric car conversion guide from the web.