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Vehicles for EV Conversions
The best candidates for EV conversion are typically small, lightweight vehicles similar to the ones pictured below.
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Geo Metro
Eagle Talon
Honda CRX
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EV Motors FAQ's
1. Why build an EV?
2. What basic steps are involved?
3. How much does it cost to complete a typical conversion?
4. How much will I save on gas?
5. What are the most popular EV conversion vehicles?
6. What driving range can I expect per charge?
7. How fast will my converted EV go?
8. How do electric cars work?
9. How do I measure State-of Charge of my batteries?
10. How can I get more range out of my EV?
11. How do the EV batteries work and how how much do they typically cost & weigh?
12. What should I know about battery care?
13. Can I use an automatic transmission?
1. Why build an EV?
Today there are limited production electric vehicles (EVs) available, so converting an existing internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle to an electric vehicle (EV) might be the best choice available to obtain an EV. Building your own electric vehicle (EV) can be a rewarding and challenging experience. Not only will you be a pioneer in the EV movement, but you will also be recycling a car that may be headed for the junk yard. Don’t wait for Detroit. Custom build an EV yourself. A typical EV conversion will achieve a range of 30-60 miles for each charge. Studies have shown that 80% of commuters travel less than 40 miles per day, and 50% of commuters travel 20 miles (or less) per day. An EV conversion can meet those daily driving needs. EVs are a clean, efficient alternative to conventional vehicles – using technology that is readily available today! EVs produce zero emissions, and when you consider the full fuel cycle to generate electricity, are up to 99% cleaner than gasoline and diesel vehicles. EV owners enjoy the financial benefits of significantly lower fuel and maintenance expenses. Finally, EVs help reduce our dependence on oil.
D&D Motor Systems does not provide complete electric vehicle (EV) conversion kits. We only provide the motor and controller. To obtain complete kits or other components go to our Links section and look under EV Conversions for potential suppliers.
2. What basic steps are involved?
A.Define the purpose of the vehicle.
 Ask yourself the following questions:
 Why do you want an EV?
 Where will you drive it?
 Who else will drive it?
 How many miles do you require on a daily basis?
 How often will you drive the vehicle?
 With or Without passangers?
 Will your employer allow you to charge at work?
 How much do you want to spend?
 How much time do you have for the conversions?
B.Evaluate the vehicles manufactured.
 When you start to evaluate the different vehicles, you will find there are mainly 2 classes out there:
 1.Sports cars, such as the Honda CRX, Pontiac Fiero, Toyota MR2, Porsche 914, Fiat X-19, Nissan Pulsar, MGB or MG Midget. Sports cars have limited space and minimal payload capacity.
 2.Passenger cars and vans, such as the Ford Escort, VW Rabbit, VW Beetle, Saturn, Honda Civic and Geo Metro. The payload capacity for a Geo Metro is about 600 lbs.
 Each of these classes have their own characteristics with respect to aerodynamic drag, curb weight, Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR), passenger compartment, and available space for batteries.
Table 1 lists typical vehicles under each of these classes and their range using various lead acid battery packs (6V and 12V). Range is a function of battery weight because the battery represents the fuel. Typically it takes 15-20 lbs of lead to achieve 1 mile in range. A Rule of Thumb is that 1/3 of the EVs weight should be batteries; the other 2/3 represents dead weight (i.e. frame, suspension, body, motor, etc). If you could decrease this dead weight to 1/2 leaving 1/2 for fuel, you would have superior performance.
Table 1
Pontiac Fiero25301205SHP336044
Honda CRX21751205SHP306047
Toyota MR22695144SCS225343040
Nissan Pulsar2025144SCS225286346
Ford Escort230096T-145345759
Geo Metro1695120SCS225245138
Honda Civic2260144SCS225306340
VW Rabbit193096T-105296748
1. Calculations based on spreadsheet developed by Electric Vehicles of America, Inc.
2. Typically curb weight increases each model year.
3. Average range based on 1 percent grade at 50 mph - representing some traffic.
 Other Considerations
 Front Wheel Drive(FWD) vs Rear Wheel Drive (RWD)
 A FWD vehicle has the advantage of being more efficient; which improves range. However, front wheel drive vehicles typically have smaller engine compartments, which limit the location of batteries. Also, the front -wheel drive vehicle requires more weight (typically 60 percent) on the front axle. If you locate batteries in the trunk, the tail can wag the dog in rain or snow. This is a problem with many Geo Metros with batteries in the trunk.
In addition, the high voltage, high amperage EV controllers and EV motors can produce greater torque and horsepower than the original engine in the smaller FWD vehicles. This can produce a problem. There are two distinct limitations for FWD vehicle. During launch (initial take-off from a standing start) all cars tend to pitch up (front rotates up relative to back.) This is because the center of mass is above the force being exerted by the tires against the road. In a RWD, this pitch tends to plant the driven tires more firmly against the road, thus enhancing traction. In a FWD the effect is opposite. The force pressing the drive wheels against the road is reduced because of the pitch. If power is applied while the car is in a turn, RWD is much more stable. If the rear wheels spin, the car over-steers. If the front wheels spin, the car under-steers and may easily spin out.
 Availability of Spare Parts - Age of Vehicle
 Spare parts should be available. This availability is related to the production of that specific vehicle and which part of the country in which you live. Also the availability of after market parts for suspension upgrades can be important.
 Manual Vs. Automatic Transmission
  Most EV conversion vehicles are manual transmissions because they are more efficient than automatic transmissions and provide greater range, require less motor torque, require no transmission cooler, and are easier to convert. The problem with an automatic transmission is that it shifts at about 2000 rpm; the electric car motor is usually designed to operate efficiently between 4000-5000 rpm. Consequently, the automatic transmission is a poor choice which results in decreased range. If you buy a vehicle with an automatic transmission, you can replace it with a manual transmission. The additional cost is $150 and up depending on the transmission and used auto parts dealer. Consider trading the automatic transmission.
 Power Steering
 Power steering is not recommended because of the continuous power required of the battery system. Even on many of the trucks that get converted, most people eliminate the power steering. The cost to change from power steering to a manual steering box is under $100 and less than 1 hour of work. The equal weight distribution allowed reasonable manual steering.
 Power Brakes
 Power brakes are a definite advantage as you increase the weight of the vehicle approximately 800-1200 lbs with the EV parts. In many cases, this represents an increase of 2025 percent in the curb weight of the vehicle. Your goal should always be to have a safe vehicle. Power brakes unlike power steering are only an intermittent energy demand. A typical system requires a vacuum pump and a vacuum switch.
Curb Weight Curb weight is the weight of the vehicle parked at the curb. No passengers and no payload. If you want to have 1/3 to 1/2 of the finished weight in fuel; then the initial curb weight of the vehicle should be less than 3000 lbs. The Geo Metro is one one the lighter vehicles with a curb weight of 1695 lbs. Consequently, an 800 lb battery pack seems ideal, except that GVWR and weight distribution become a major problem.
GVWR and Distribution This is the most important consideration in any vehicle, because this directly affects the safety of the vehicle. As previously stated, converting an existing vehicle to an EV will add 800 - 1400 lbs in curb weight. Check the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of the vehicle including the tires presently on the vehicle to see if it is designed for this increase. The GVWR and each axle rating are located on the drivers side door jamb. If the GVWR of the vehicle is exceeded, then the vehicle frame, suspension system, and braking system may be beyond their design value.
Although the Geo Metro can perform with an 800 lb battery pack, the payload capacity of the vehicle is 600 lbs. Payload equals GVWR minus curb weight. With two people in the Geo, the available payload decreases to 300 lbs. Consequently, an 800 lb battery pack can lead to braking and handling (See FWD vs RWD above) as well as a long term fatique problem with the unibody. Therefore, the lightest vehicle is not always the best vehicle.
You must also consider where the EV components will be located. Where will the batteries be located; they are the bulk of the additional weight. Will the charger be carried onboard or offboard? How will this change in weight distribution affect the vehicles handling? In the 1973 VW, the majority of weight was on the rear wheels; this was great for snow.
C.Select a Vehicle to Convert
D.Look for an EV Kit for the vehicle you choose
 Kits will make the conversion significantly easier - they include all the parts, except batteries. A conversion kit will cost about $3,000 - $6,000 and the batteries, depending on how many you need, can cost from $700 - $4,000 , depending on the type you choose.
E.Gather the proper tools for the job
 Make sure you have access to the proper tools and supplies, and a place to do the conversion. You may need to rent equipment like engine hoists and contract out welding work. Contact EV veterans for advice and assistance.Go to our Links page, and look under Electric Vehicle Conversions.
F.Familiarize yourself with the EV parts
 The most common batteries for EV conversions are lead-acid batteries, specifically, 12-volt sealed batteries.
 Any project involving automobiles and tools has inherent risks. Be aware of these possible hazards to prevent damage to the vehicle and serious injury to you.
H.Remove ICE components
 Remove any ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) components, making room for the EV parts.
I.Install EV components
 Install the motor, components, battery box, and batteries. Install the wiring for propulsion (traction pack), auxiliary power system (12-volt system), and traction pack charging system, and displays and controls.
J.Safety Testing
 Test the battery charger; check the wiring and fuses, connections. Then take it out for a spin and notice the quiet, smooth ride. Be sure to show it off!
3. How much does it cost to complete a typical conversion?
Obviously this firstly depends greatly on the vehicle you looking to convert and what you pay for that vehicle. Secondly, the overall performance and range you require in your application are major price effectors. With that said, the range could be anywhere from $4,500 to $11,500 typically.
4. How much will I save on gas?
Gas Guzzler - Assumptions 
 Milage:20 miles/gallon
  Cost Per Gallon:$4.00 (US Ave.) / gallon
 Cost Per Mile:$0.20 / mile
Clean Electric -Assumptions 
 Electricity Cost:$0.07 / kWHr (Kilowatt Hour)
 Recharge Cost:Aprox. $0.84 / charge (12 Kw-hr / Charge)
 Vehicle Range:Aprox. 50 miles / charge
 Cost Per Mile:1.68 cents / mile
Savings -Assumptions 
  Savings Per Mile:($0.20 - $0.0168) = $0.1832 / mile
 Annual Miles Driven:12,000 miles / year
 Annual Savings:$2,198.40 Per Year
* Annual Savings Do Not Include the reduction in annual maintenance expenses! So, you could save more than estimated above.
5. What are the most popular EV conversion vehicles?
The most popular EV conversions are done on vehicles which have a huge market supply.
They include the following:
(click on any picture below to view specifications)
VW - Beetle, Golf, or Rabbit
Geo - Metro
Ford - Probe
Pontiac - Fiero
Honda - CRX
Jeep - Wrangler
  * Another critical factor when choosing your EV conversion car, is to ensure the vehicle has plenty of battery storage space.
6. What driving range can I expect per charge?
Of course it all depends on the conversion – vehicle type along with the number and type of batteries. However, most people who drive electric street vehicles say they get between 30 and 60 miles per charge, without saying what they mean by charge. I believe it is only reasonable to state the range based on a 50% drop in charge capacity. You can go lower, but repeatedly going down to 40% and less capacity (remaining capacity) point will shorten the life of the batteries. Keep in mind that driving habits impact distance. For more detailed information regarding vehicle range, go to FAQ #2 - Section B, above.
7. How fast will my converted EV go?
Depending upon your vehicle type, set-up and application the average top speed is anywhere between 30 - 70 MPH (miles per hour)
8. How do electric cars work?
Electric cars are something that show up in the news all the time. There are several reasons for the continuing interest in these vehicles:
Electric cars create less pollution than gasoline-powered cars, so they are an environmentally friendly alternative to gasoline-powered vehicles (especially in cities).
Any news story about hybrid cars usually talks about electric cars as well.
Vehicles powered by fuel cells are electric cars, and fuel cells are getting a lot of attention right now in the news.
An electric car is a car powered by an electric car motor rather than a gasoline engine.

From the outside, you would probably have no idea that a car is electric. In most cases, electric cars are created by converting a gasoline-powered car, and in that case it is impossible to tell. When you drive an electric car, often the only thing that clues you in to its true nature is the fact that it is nearly silent.

Under the hood, there are a lot of differences between gasoline and electric cars:
The gasoline engine is replaced by an electric motor .
The electric motor gets its power from a controller .
The controller gets its power from an array of rechargeable batteries .
Inside an Electric Car
The heart of an electric car is the combination of:
The electric motor
The motor controller
The batteries
 A simple DC controller connected to the batteries and the DC motor. If the driver floors the accelerator pedal, the controller delivers the full battery voltage to the motor. If the driver takes his/her foot off the accelerator, the controller delivers zero volts to the motor. For any setting in between, the controller chops the battery voltage, thousands of times per second to create an average voltage somewhere between 0 and Full Battery pack voltage.
The controller takes power from the batteries and delivers it to the motor. The accelerator pedal hooks to a potentiometer (variable resistor), and this potentiometer provides the signal that tells the controller how much power it is supposed to deliver. The controller can deliver zero power (when the car is stopped), full power (when the driver floors the accelerator pedal), or any power level in between.
The controllers job in a DC electric car is easy to understand. Let us assume that the battery pack contains 12 12-volt batteries, wired in series to create 144 volts. The controller takes in 144 volts DC, and delivers it to the motor in a controlled way.

The very simplest DC controller would be a big on/off switch wired to the accelerator pedal. When you push the pedal, it would turn the switch on, and when you take your foot off the pedal, it would turn it off. As the driver, you would have to push and release the accelerator to pulse the motor on and off to maintain a given speed.

Obviously, that sort of on/off approach would work but it would be a pain to drive, so the controller does the pulsing for you. The controller reads the setting of the accelerator pedal from the potentiometers and regulates the power accordingly. Say that you have the accelerator pushed halfway down. The controller reads that setting from the potentiometer and rapidly switches the power to the motor on and off so that it is on half the time and off half the time. If you have the accelerator pedal 25 percent of the way down, the controller pulses the power so it is on 25 percent of the time and off 75 percent of the time.

Most controllers pulse the power more than 15,000 times per second, in order to keep the pulsation outside the range of human hearing. The pulsed current causes the motor housing to vibrate at that frequency, so by pulsing at more than 15,000 cycles per second, the controller and motor are silent to human ears.

Most DC controllers used in electric cars come from the electric forklift industry.
Electric Car Motors & Batteries
If the motor is a DC motor, then it may run on anything from 96 to 192 volts. Many of the DC motors used in electric cars come from the electric forklift industry.

DC installations tend to be simpler and less expensive. A typical motor will be in the 20,000-watt to 30,000-watt range. A typical controller will be in the 40,000-watt to 60,000-watt range (for example, a 96-volt controller will deliver a maximum of 400 or 600 amps). DC motors have the nice feature that you can overdrive them (up to a factor of 10-to-1) for short periods of time. That is, a 20,000-watt motor will accept 100,000 watts for a short period of time and deliver 5 times its rated horsepower. This is great for short bursts of acceleration. The only limitation is heat build-up in the motor. Too much overdriving and the motor heats up to the point where it self-destructs.

Right now, the weak link in any electric car is the batteries. There are at least six significant problems with current lead-acid battery technology:
They are heavy (a typical lead-acid battery pack weighs 1,000 pounds or more).
They are bulky (the car we are examining here has 50 lead-acid batteries, each measuring roughly 6 inches x 8 inches x 6 inches).
They have a limited capacity (a typical lead-acid battery pack might hold 12 to 15 kilowatt-hours of electricity, giving a car a range of only 50 miles or so).
They are slow to charge (typical recharge times for a lead-acid pack range between four to 10 hours for full charge, depending on the battery technology and the charger).
They have a short life (three to four years, perhaps 200 full charge/discharge cycles).
They are expensive (perhaps $2,000 for the battery pack shown in the sample car).
9. How do I measure State-of-Charge of my batteries?

Voltage Method

Measuring state-of-charge by voltage is the simplest method, but it can be inaccurate. Cell types have dissimilar chemical compositions that deliver varied voltage profiles. Temperature also plays a role. Higher temperature raises the open-circuit voltage, a lower temperature lowers it, and this phenomenon applies to all chemistries in varying degrees.

The most blatant error of voltage-based SoC occurs when disturbing the battery with a charge or discharge. This agitation distorts the voltage and no longer represents the true state-of-charge. To get accurate measurements, the battery needs to rest for at least four hours to attain equilibrium; battery manufacturers recommend 24 hours. Adding the element of time to neutralize voltage polarization does not sit well with batteries in active duty. One can see that this method is ill suited for fuel gauging.

Each battery chemistry delivers a unique discharge signature that requires a tailored model. While voltage-based SoC works reasonably well for a lead acid battery that has rested, the flat discharge curve of nickel- and lithium-based batteries renders the voltage method impracticable. And yet, voltage is commonly used on consumer products. A “rested” Li-cobalt of 3.80V/cell in open circuit indicates a SoC of roughly 50 percent.

The discharge voltage curves of Li-manganese, Li-phosphate and NMC are very flat, and 80 percent of the stored energy remains in this flat voltage profile. This characteristic assists applications requiring a steady voltage but presents a challenge in fuel gauging. The voltage method only indicates full charge and low charge and cannot estimate the large middle section accurately. 

Lead acid has diverse plate compositions that must be considered when measuring SoC by voltage. Calcium, an additive that makes the battery maintenance-free, heat raises the voltage by 5–8 percent. Temperature also affects the open-circuit voltage; heat raises it while cold causes it to decrease. Surface charge further fools SoC estimations by showing an elevated voltage immediately after charge; a brief discharge before measurement counteracts the error. Finally, AGM batteries produce a slightly higher voltage than the flooded equivalent.

When measuring SoC by open circuit voltage, the battery voltage must be truly “floating” with no load present. Installed in a car, the parasitic load present makes this a closed circuit voltage (CCV) condition that will falsify the readings. Adjustments must be made when measuring SoC in the CCV state by including the load current in the calculation. In spite of the notorious inaccuracies, most SoC measurements rely on the voltage method because it’s simple. Voltage-based state-of-charge is popular for wheelchairs, scooters and golf cars.


The hydrometer offers an alternative to measuring SoC, but this only applies to flooded lead acid and flooded nickel-cadmium. Here is how it works: As the battery accepts charge, the sulfuric acid gets heavier, causing the specific gravity (SG) to increase. As the SoC decreases through discharge, the sulfuric acid removes itself from the electrolyte and binds to the plate, forming lead sulfate. The density of the electrolyte becomes lighter and more water-like, and the specific gravity gets lower. Table 1 provides the BCI readings of starter batteries.
Approximate state-of-charge Average
specific gravity
Open circuit voltage









8. 30


Table 1: BCI standard for SoC estimation of a maintenance-free starter battery with antimony. The readings are taken atroom temperature of 26°C (78°F); the battery had rested for 24 hours after charge or discharge.

While BCI specifies the specific gravity of a fully charged starter battery at 1.265, battery manufacturers may go for 1.280 and higher. When increasing the specific gravity, the SoC readings on the look-up table will adjust upwards accordingly. Besides charge level and acid density, the SG can also vary due to low fluid levels, which raises the SG reading because of higher concentration. Alternatively, the battery can be overfilled, which lowers the number. When adding water, allow time for mixing before taking the SG measurement.

The specific gravity also varies according to battery type. Deep-cycle batteries use a dense electrolyte with an SG of up to 1.330 to get maximum runtime; aviation batteries have a SG of 1.285; traction batteries for forklifts are at 1.280; starter batteries come in at 1.265 and stationary batteries are at a low 1.225. Low specific gravity reduces corrosion. The resulting lower specific energy of stationary batteries is not as critical as longevity.

Nothing in the battery world is absolute. The specific gravity of fully charged deep-cycle batteries of the same model can range from 1.270 to 1.305; fully discharged, these batteries may vary between 1.097 and 1.201. Temperature is another variable that alters the specific gravity reading. The colder the temperature is, the higher (more dense) the SG value becomes. Table 2 illustrates the SG gravity of a deep-cycle battery at various temperatures.

Temperature of
the Electrolyte

Gravity at full charge

Table 2: Relation of specific gravity and temperature of deep-cycle battery
Colder temperatures provide higher specific gravity readings.




Errors can also occur if the acid has stratified, meaning theconcentration is light on top and heavy on the bottom. High acid concentration artificially raises the open circuit voltage, which can fool SoC estimations through false SG and voltage indication. The electrolyte needs to stabilize after charge and discharge before taking the SG reading.

Coulomb Counting

Laptops, medical equipment and other professional portable devices use coulomb counting as a SoC indication. This method works on the principle of measuring the current that flows in and out of the battery. If, for example, a battery was charged for one hour at one ampere, the same energy should be available on discharge. This is not the case. Inefficiencies in charge acceptance, especially towards the end of charge, as well as losses during discharge and storage reduce the total energy delivered and skew the readings. The available energy is always less than what had been fed to the battery, and compensation corrects the shortage.

Disregarding these irregularities, coulomb counting works reasonably well, especially for Li-ion. However, the one percent accuracy some device manufacturers advertise is only possible in an ideal world and with a new battery. Independent tests show errors of up to 10 percent when in typical use. Aging causes a gradual deviation from the working model on which the coulomb counter is based. The result is a laptop promising 30 minutes of remaining runtime and all of a sudden the screen goes dark. Periodic calibration by applying a full discharge and charge to reset the flags reduces the error.

There is a move towards electrochemical impedance spectroscopy and even magnetism to measure state-of-charge. These new technologies get more accurate estimation than with voltage and can be used when the battery is under load. Furthermore, temperature, surface charge and acid stratification do not affect the readings noticeably.

10. How can I get more range out of my EV?
A)Maintain Your Car - Ensure tire pressures are kept high to ensure reduced rolling resistance. Ensure that your batteries, controller and motor are kept as cool as possible.
B)Drive Accordingly - Try to choose a less steep gradient for your route. When pressing the accelerator, use a more gradual approach. Don't have a "heavy foot". Focus on good driving habits. Don't speed from stop light to stop light.

Adjust Charging Time - It's all too easy to arrive home in the evening, plug your car in and immediately start it charging for the next day's commute. But while you'll know your car will be fully charged when you need it, you may be reducing your car's available range.

That's because most plug-in cars on the market today slowly self-discharge when they've finished charging, either through battery cell balancing or through natural chemical processes occurring within the battery pack. Over time, this practice can slowly affect your car's battery pack. In fact, allowing your car to sit for hours at a full state of charge is something that many automakers—including Tesla, Nissan, Ford and Mitsubishi—advise against.

While it makes a minimal difference, scheduling your charge to finish charging just before you drive it can give you a few extra miles of range— compared to a car that sat with a full battery pack for many hours. (It's also better for the long-term health of the battery, and allows you to make use of cheaper time-of-use rates.)

11. How do the EV batteries work and how how much do they typically cost & weigh?
A) How Electric Car Batteries Work

A battery is a device for storing chemical energy and converting that chemical energy into electricity. A battery is made up of one or more electrochemical cells, each of which consists of two half-cells or electrodes. One half-cell, called the negative electrode, has an overabundance of the tiny, negatively charged subatomic particles called electrons. The other, called the positive electrode, has a deficit of electrons. When the two halves are connected by a wire or an electrical cable, electrons will flow from the negative electrode to the positive electrode. We call this flow of electrons electricity. The energy of these moving electrons can be harnessed to do work -- running a motor, for instance. As electrons pass to the positive side, the flow gradually slows down and the voltage of the electricity produced by the battery drops. Eventually, when there are as many electrons on the positive side as on the negative side, the battery is considered 'dead' and is no longer capable of producing an electric flow.

A lead-acid car battery
Lead-acid batteries, similar to the one shown here, have been used in automobiles since the middle of the 19th century.

The electrons are generated by chemical reactions, and there are many different chemical reactions that are used in commercially available batteries. For example, the familiar alkaline batteries commonly used in flashlights and television remote controls generate electricity through a chemical reaction involving zinc and manganese oxide. Most alkaline batteries are considered to be a disposable battery. Once they go dead, they're useless and should be recycled. Automobile batteries, on the other hand, need to be rechargeable, so they don't require constant replacement. In a rechargeable battery, electrical energy is used to reverse the negative and positive halves of the electrochemical cells, restarting the electron flow.

Automobile manufacturers have identified three types of rechargeable battery as suitable for electric car use. Those types are lead-acid batteries, nickel metal hydride (NiMH) batteries, and 
lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries.

Advantages: This chemistry has been proven over more than 140 years. Batteries of all shapes and sizes, available in sealed and maintenance-free products, are mass-produced today. In their price range, lead-acid batteries provide the best value for power and energy per kilowatt-hour, have the longest life cycle and a large environmental advantage in that they are recycled at an extraordinarily high rate. (Ninety-seven percent of the lead is recycled and reused in new batteries.). No other chemistry can touch the infrastructure that exists for collecting, transporting and recycling lead-acid batteries.

Disadvantages: Lead is heavier compared to some alternative elements used in other technologies; however, certain efficiencies in current conductors and other advances continue to improve on the power density of a lead-acid battery's design.

Advantages: It has a high specific energy (the number of hours of operation for a given weight) making it a huge success for mobile applications such as phones and notebook computers.

Disadvantages: More expensive than lead. The cost differential is not as apparent with small batteries for phones and computers, and owners of these devices may not realize that they are paying much more per stored kilowatt hour than other chemistries. However, because automotive batteries are larger, the cost becomes more significant. In addition, currently there is no established system for recycling large lithium-ion batteries.

Nickel-metal hydride
Advantages: It is reliable and lightweight. In hybrid vehicles, these batteries have equal to 100,000 miles.

Disadvantages: The metals in the battery are 25 times more expensive than lead. Nickel has been identified as a carcinogen. Hybrid vehicles have not been on the road long enough to allow the batteries to completely prove their projected cycle life. No significant recycling capability exists.

Note: The Advanced Lead-Acid Battery Consortium has helped to develop and test an advanced lead-acid battery powered system that operates at the partial state of charge demands necessary for a hybrid vehicle and recently equipped a Honda Insight with this system. Advanced lead-acid batteries will challenge the more expensive nickel metal hydride system in hybrid vehicles today.

Lead-acid batteries were invented in 1859 and are the oldest form of rechargeable battery still in use. They've been used in all types of cars -- including electric cars -- since the 19th century. Lead-acid batteries are a kind ofwet cell battery and usually contain a mild solution of sulfuric acid in an open container. The name comes from the combination of lead electrodes and acid used to generate electricity in these batteries. The major advantage of lead-acid batteries is that, they are well understood and cheap to produce. However, they do produce dangerous gases while being used and if the battery is overcharged there's a risk of explosion.

Nickel metal hydride batteries came into commercial use in the late 1980s. They have a high energy density -- that is, a great deal of energy can be packed into a relatively small battery -- and don't contain any toxic metals, so they're easy to recycle.

Chevy Volt chassis
© GM Corp.
This Chevy Volt concept vehicle chassis clearly shows the location of the vehicle's lithium-ion battery pack (in blue).

Lithium-ion batteries, which came into commercial use in the early 1990s, have a very high energy density and are less likely than most batteries to lose their charge when not being used -- a property called self discharge. Because of their light weight and low maintenance requirements, lithium-ion batteries are widely used in electronic devices such as laptop computers. Some experts believe that lithium-ion batteries are about as close as science has yet come to developing a perfect rechargeable battery, and this type of battery is the best candidate for powering the electric cars of the near future. A variation on lithium-ion batteries, called lithium-ion polymer batteries, may also prove valuable to the future of EVs. These batteries may eventually cost less to build than lithium-ion batteries; however, at the present time, lithium-ion polymer batteries are prohibitively expensive.

B)Cost & Weight
A typical 6V golf cart battery (lead acid) such as a Trojan T-105 with a 2 hour Amp-Hour Rating of 146 will weigh 62 lbs. and cost approximately $140-$150.

A typical Lithiom-Ion battery used for EV's such as a CALB/SkyEnergy 3.2 V with a 100 Amp-Hour capacity weighs 7.1 lbs and costs about $140-$150. Some Lithium-Ion batteries depending on the brand and model can be 2 to 3 times as much!
12. What should I know about battery care?

Any electric car that uses batteries needs a charging system to recharge the batteries. The charging system has two goals:

  • To pump electricity into the batteries as quickly as the batteries will allow
  • To monitor the batteries and avoid damaging them during the charging process

The most sophisticated charging systems monitor battery voltage, current flow and battery temperature to minimize charging time. The charger sends as much current as it can without raising battery temperature too much. Less sophisticated chargers might monitor voltage or amperage only and make certain assumptions about average battery characteristics. A charger like this might apply maximum current to the batteries up through 80 percent of their capacity, and then cut the current back to some preset level for the final 20 percent to avoid overheating the batteries.So here are my proven recommendations on how to take care of these batteries:

  • Always fully recharge them as soon as possible after use. Do not leave them even only slightly discharged for long periods of time.

  • Maintain a trickle charge current on the battery at all time when not in use. A DC current of 10mA (ten milliamps) is sufficient to keep the battery fully charged up indefinitely, but is small enough that it will not cause any evaporation or wear. I am not describing a charging method here, just a trickle current. This is the circuit I am using. When the battery is connected, the LED turns on. When there is a power outage, the LED does its diode work and stops the battery from discharging back into the charger.

With that said, here are some proven recommendations on how to better care for your batteries:
  • Never store a battery on a concrete floor, or directly on any floor. This may cause a temperature gradient inside the battery and will accelerate aging. Use thick pieces of wood (2x4 OK) or even better, store it on a table, away from the cold floor.

  • Never discharge a battery to less than 80% of its nominal voltage. For a 12.6 VDC battery, this is 10.0 VDC. This is applicable also to Deep-Cycle batteries. These batteries, contrary to what their naming suggests, do not like a deep discharge.

For batteries that need maintenance, the battery should be cleaned using a baking soda and water solution; a couple of table spoons to a pint of water. Cable connections need to be cleaned and tightened as battery problems are often caused by dirty and loose connections. A serviceable battery needs to have the fluid level checked. Use only mineral free water, Distilled is best as all impurities have been removed, and there is nothing left that could contaminate your cells. Don't overfill battery cells especially in warmer weather because the natural fluid expansion in hot weather can push excess electrolytes from the battery. To prevent corrosion of cables on top post batteries use a small bead of silicone sealer at the base of the post and place a felt battery washer over it. Coat the washer with high temperature grease or petroleum jelly (Vaseline), then place cable on the post and tighten. Coat the exposed cable end with the grease. Most folks don't know that just the gases from the battery condensing on metal parts cause most corrosion.

13. Can I use an automatic transmission?
Most EV conversions are manual transmissions because they are more efficient than automatic transmissions and provide greater range, require less motor torque, require no transmission cooler, and are easier to convert. The problem with an automatic transmission is that it shifts at about 2000 rpm; the electric motor is usually designed to operate efficiently between 4000-5000 rpm. Consequently, the automatic transmission is a poor choice which results in decreased range. If you buy a vehicle with an automatic transmission, you can replace it with a manual transmission. The additional cost is $150 and up depending on the transmission and used auto parts dealer. Consider trading the automatic transmission.

Still have questions? Visit the Q & A section at Wilderness EV.

Electric Vehicle (EV) Motor News
2012-01-24 22:09:30^ Go Back to Blog Top
An Electric Hybrid Truck Designed For Utility Fleets
  By: Ucilia Wang
Filed Under: Electric Vehicles -

If you can soup up a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle(EV), what features would you want? For some fleet managers, turning plug-in hybrids into a source for powering up construction tools or buildings during a blackout is high on the list.

That’ why Pacific Gas & Electric Co. has been helping VIA Motors to convert new General Motors trucks into plug-in hybrids with the ability to export a large amount of power. The utility, the largest in California, envisions sending a bunch of these trucks into the field for routine maintenance work and to deal with emergencies. The amount of exportable power here will be large enough to run hydraulic lifts to send workers up the powerlines to do repairs or serve as backup power for homes while workers fix faulty circuits or transformers, said Dave Meisel, director of transportation services at PG&E. (EV motors)

Hybrid cars offer fuel savings over time – the price of gasoline has risen and will continue to increase at greater rates than the price of electricity – as well as environmental benefits such as lower emissions, he said. As federal and states introduce stricter fuel economy and emission standards, businesses must comply by buying vehicles with more fuel-efficient engines or ones that run on cleaner sources of fuels. But alternative-fuel vehicles also tend to cost more partly because they aren’t made in large volumes, and fleet managers very much focus on the payback period of their investments. (electric motor conversion kits)

Adding the exportable power feature creates additional savings for fleet owners like PG&E, Meisel said. It eliminates the need for buying portable generators that run on fossil fuels, for example. Using the hybrid trucks to reduce the length of a blackout also is an attractive proposition for utilities, which face fines if their customers experience a high number of outages or if they can’t restore power quickly.

“We are looking at broader savings that a lot of people are not looking at,” Meisel said. “When I look at the total operational savings, including fuel savings, the math starts to look really nice.” PG&E has about 9,000 vehicles in its fleet, and roughly 3,100 of them run on alternative fuels, such as natural gas, electricity and biodiesel. (electric car motor)

PG&E has been field-testing two EV trucks since last year and giving the car company feedback about its experience and suggestions for improvements. The utility estimates that the trucks could deliver annual fuel maintenance savings of $7000 per vehicle compared with conventional trucks, said Greg Pruett, senior vice president of corporate affairs at PG&E, during a press event at the Detroit auto show earlier this month when VIA discussed its plans to launch not just hybrid trucks but also hybrid SUVs and vans. VIA plans to convert only GM models, such as the Chevy Silverado, for now.

VIA has developed a powertrain that includes a 24 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack, which can last up to 40 miles per charge. The gasoline engine is for generating electricity to run the electric car motor, which moves the wheels. The company is putting its technology in brand new vehicles only, not used cars. When VIA Motors showed up at the Detroit auto show, its executives rattled off a list of things that people can do with vehicles that double as power generators, such as catering to outdoor parties and running outdoor concerts.

“Think of a 3-day camping trip where you have unlimited power with the car you drive into the woods with,” said Bob Lutz, a member of VIA’s board of directors and the former vice chairman of GM, during a press conference at the auto show.

The two VIA trucks PG&E has been trying out cost about $400,000 total, Meisel said. The trucks are the early version of what VIA plans to produce commercially later this year, Meisel said. The price for the trucks at “low volumes” should be in the $70,000 range, and it should continue to drop as production increases, he added. (electric motor conversion kits)

VIA isn’t the only company PG&E is turning to for converted hybrids with exportable power. The utility also is considering vehicles from Electric Vehicle International, which turns beefier pickup trucks to plug-in hybrids. VIA’s truck delivers 15 kilowatts of exportable power and is working on boosting that to 50 kilowatts while Electric Vehicle (EV) International is working on trucks with 100 kilowatts of exportable power. Figuring out a good way to cool the equipment that generates and routes the power becomes a greater hurdle as the size of exportable power increases.

PG&E and other fleet owners are turning to companies that can do after-market conversion for now partly because major automakers have yet to introduce the plug-in hybrid version of the trucks that the fleet owners want to buy.(EV motors) But that day will come if consumers continue to show interest in electric cars (and the prices for them drop). When that happens, companies such as VIA Motors may find it difficult to compete, said Kevin See, an analyst with Lux Research.

“There may be a short-lived window for them to make their mark,” See said. “I wouldn’t expect their businesses to be long-term because of the competition that will enter the market. (EV motor)”  MSD

2012-01-24 22:00:49^ Go Back to Blog Top
Electric vehicle owners can get a charge in Media now
  By: Susan L. Serbin
Filed Under: Electric Vehicles -

Media Borough has created another reason to make “Everybody’s Hometown” a destination. This time an initiative will make downtown the hometown for owners of electric vehicles (EV).

As only the third known location in Delaware County, Media has inaugurated a charging station in the municipal parking lot next to the Media Fire Department, across from Media-Upper Providence Library and one block from all that State Street has to offer.

The borough is participating in a pilot project for EV charging powered by 100 percent Pennsylvania wind energy. Borough officials and Community Energy, Inc. had the ribbon cutting recently, with attendance by representatives of the energy firm, Mayor Bob McMahon, Councilman Eric Stein, Environmental Advisory Council Chair Walt Cressler and several other borough staff member.

While the technology includes several cutting-edge elements, charging station operation is fairly simple: pull into the dedicated parking space (lot is between Jasper and Front streets just east of Jackson Street); plug the electric vehicle (EV) into the charger; dine, shop or attend to other borough business. In the span of an hour or two, EVs can be charged enough for at least several dozen miles.

“We are pleased to be partnering with Media Borough and the Media Fire Company as this becomes one of the first charging stations in the county,” said Jay Carlis, Vice President of Retail Marketing for Community Energy, Inc. based in Radnor. “This pilot project, funded by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, comes early in the electric vehicle transition. At the government level, Media has been a leader in environmental sustainability. This is a great location for residents and visitors.”

Carlis said there are electric vehicle (EV) charging stations in Radnor and Wayne and only a handful in the state, placing the borough in the forefront of the technology. To kick off the enterprise, he drove a Chevrolet Volt and hooked it up to demonstrate the virtual plug, charge and go technique.

Representatives from Thomas Chevrolet brought a second Volt. Amy Ercolani of Thomas said the dealership has sold several Volts, has one in stock, and expects the manufacturer to supply a small but steady stream of the model, which has a gasoline back-up capability. EVs are available from other automotive manufacturers as well.

Running at a 240-volt service, the public station works twice as fast as a charge from, for example, a home outlet which is generally half the volts. An hour charge is expected to cost $3.50 with Community Energy paying a fee to the borough for the actual electric used. The mileage value of a charge varies depending on the electric vehicle and road conditions, not unlike gas mileage. Not surprisingly, there are “apps” which can monitor the charge from mobile devices.

In the borough’s view, the station sends multiple signals about the alternative energy commitment which already includes a solar energy grid and wind-generated electricity purchase.

“I’m a strong supporter of renewable energy and any electric car conversion. I have solar energy at my home, so I’m not just talking theoretically,” said Stein, liaison to the Environmental Advisory Council. “It’s good for the economy, and good for the environment.”   MSD Continued...


2009-03-13 14:25:30^ Go Back to Blog Top
General Motors and Iberdola to study EV charging infrastructure in Spain, UK
  By: Sam Abuelsamid
Filed Under: Electric Vehicles -

General Motors will be collaborating with Spanish energy company Iberdola on a feasibility study to determine the infrastructure needs to support electric car motor vehicles in Europe. Similar studies are underway already between automakers and utility companies in the United States and elsewhere. The two companies have a relationship through other EV projects being run by EPRI. Under examination will be the needs for private, residential, and commercial customers as well as for publicly-accessible electric vehicle plugs. Among the issues that need to be resolved are how rates will be determined for EV (electric vehicle) charging and billing mechanisms. The study will be focused in Spain and the UK. As long as a good electric auto motor and electric vehicle motor controller can be procured, of which both can be procured at D&D Motor Systems, inc., anyone can build an EV car.    (Electric car motors kits)   MSD

2008-09-30 14:53:54^ Go Back to Blog Top
Chrysler Unveils Dodge EV
  By: Ray Wert -
Filed Under: Electric Vehicles -

A Tesla-Like All-Electric Sports Car

EV parts | EV conversion | electric cars kits

Today on CNBC, Chrysler CEO Bob Nardelli revealed a Tesla -like all-electric performance sports car called the Dodge ev along with three other vehicles operating either partially or entirely on an electric powertrain. The four vehicles are Chrysler's ENVI electric car motor program, and include an extended -electric Chrysler minivan, a new "gated community" electric called "the peapod" and a Jeep Wrangler four-door. The ev (electric vehicle), the first of the four unveiled, not only operates entirely on plug-in power like the Tesla Roadster and appears to have similar performance numbers, also has some striking visual similarities with the Tesla. And why shouldn't it? While the Tesla's built on the Lotus Elise, the Dodge ev appears to be based on the Lotus Europa. (electric motor conversion kits)

2008-08-14 19:56:49^ Go Back to Blog Top
Utilities: Grid can handle influx of electric cars
  By: AP
Filed Under: Electric Vehicles -

Which draws more juice from the electric grid, a big-screen plasma television or recharging an EV (electric vehicle)?

The answer is the car. But the electricity draw by plasma televisions is easing the minds of utility company executives across the nation as they plan for what is likely to be an electric car conversion of much of the country's vehicle fleet from gasoline to electricity in the coming years.

Rechargeable cars, industry officials say, consume about four times the electricity as plasma TVs.

But the industry already has dealt with increased electric demand from the millions of plasma TVs sold in recent years. Officials say that experience will help them deal with the vehicle fleet changeover to EV's. (electric motor conversion kits)

So as long as the changeover from internal combustion engines to electric vehicles is somewhat gradual, they should be able to handle it in the same way, Mark Duvall, program manager for electric transportation, power delivery and distribution for the Electric Power Research Institute, said Tuesday.

"We've already added to the grid the equivalent of several years' production of EV hybrids," Duvall said at a conference on EV's (electric vehicles) in San Jose. "The utilities, they stuck with it. They said, 'All right, that's what's happening. This is where the loads are going, and we're going to do this."'

Automakers, such as General Motors and Toyota , are planning to bring EV motors to the market as early as 2010. But speakers at the Plug-In 2008 conference say it will take much longer for them to arrive in mass numbers, due in part to a current lack of large-battery manufacturing capacity. (electric motor conversion kits)  MSD

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2008-08-14 19:49:37^ Go Back to Blog Top
A New (Good) Look for Electric Cars
Filed Under: Electric Vehicles -

Electric cars or EVs (electric vehicles) have been around for almost 170 years, but it's not just the limitations of battery power that have thwarted their more widespread use. Since Scottish businessman Robert Anderson pioneered the first electric carriage in the 1830s, most EV's have lacked one of the key markers of auto success: good looks. Just take a look at La Jamais Contente, designed by Belgian Camille Jenatzy in 1899, or Billard and Zarpe's space-age oddity, the Elektra King (1961). Even today's EV models — the REVA, or Zaps Zebra — are proof that the best adjective to describe most electric cars remains quirky.

Now two new models show that green can be given a devastatingly cool makeover. Britain's Lightning GT and the U.S.-built Tesla Roadster both reach 60 m.p.h. in 4 seconds or less, their makers claim, with top speeds approaching 130 m.p.h. The Lightning GT - unveiled at London's International Motor Show last week and set to be available from the end of 2009 - sports an impressive, sleek and sexy design, drawing on Aston Martin's classic British look. Tesla, which launched its hot, little open-top two-seater a couple of years ago, has already sold out of the 2008 model and is eagerly taking reservations for 2009. Battery power has rarely, if ever, looked this good.

ev parts | ev conversion | electric cars kits

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2012-08-14 19:14:39^ Go Back to Blog Top
Converting gas-powered cars to electric
  By: Curt Merrill - CNN
Filed Under: Electric Vehicles -

Larry Horsley loves that he doesn't buy much gas, even though he drives his '95 Chevy S-10 back and forth to work each day. (Electric Car Conversion)

Horsley, a self-described do-it-yourselfer, simply plugs his EV motor(electric vehicle) truck into an electric wall outlet in his Douglasville, Georgia, garage and charges it overnight, instead of buying gasoline refined from mostly imported oil. Using electric motor conversion kits, many hobbyists are doing the same thing.

"If I can keep a dollar from going overseas, I'll spend two dollars," he said. The whole electric car motor conversion, including the truck and high performance EV motor, cost him about $12,000, which parts dealers say is about standard for an electric car conversion.

Another Atlanta-area tinkerer, David Kennington, converted his Honda Civic del Sol from gasoline to an EV for a different reason: "I'm a raging greenie," he said. (Electric Car Conversion)

Both Horsley and Kennington are fed up. They're among a growing number of Americans who are refusing to wait for big-car manufacturers to deliver a mainstream electric car, called EVs. Not only have they rebelled against the status quo by ripping out their gas-guzzling engines and replacing them with a zero-emission electric car motor, they say just about anyone can do an electric car conversion. As long as you get a good electric vehicle motor controller and electric auto motor, both can be purchased from D&D Motor Systems, Inc, you are well on your way. MSD

ev parts | ev conversion | electric cars kits

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