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Homemade Electric Cars

Updated on July 1, 2013

An Electric Car of 1919

Electric car technology has been around longer than many people realize
Electric car technology has been around longer than many people realize | Source

Homemade Electric Cars

While electric cars are catching on more and more as the technologies improve over time, they come at a hefty price tag new from the dealership, often thousands, even in some cases tens of thousands of dollars more than similar gas-powered cars.

That is why hobbyists who know there way around automobiles, and who are environmentally friendly, or are just tired of having to put gas in their cars every few days, are making their own homemade electric cars. There are a few companies now who are able to provide full conversion kits, which allows their customers to convert just about any gas powered vehicle into a full electric car. At the current time, the battery technology still has room for some improvement, as the range of these cars is often around the 100 mile range or less. But even with that it still makes a great city car that you will never have to put gas in again!

A DIY Electric Porsche 997

A Porsche 997 converted to electric by RUF
A Porsche 997 converted to electric by RUF | Source

White Zombie

Electric Cars Are Slow and Boring

That's what would have come in to my mind when I heard the words 'Electric Car' before I did any of the research for what I now know about them. True, there are a lot of full electric cars out there that do accelerate pretty slow, and the styling of many electric cars up until very recent years - well, it appeared as if there was no styling involved. The manufacturer's cars are starting to look better and better, and if you want to see for yourself you can look up some of the models produced by Tesla or Fisker.

But that's where one of the advantages of building your own electric car with a conversion kit comes in. You get to choose your platform, and I've seen everything from Honda Civics, Volkswagen Karmann Ghias, even various Porsche models!

As far as going fast goes, I will admit that most economy priced electric car conversion kits aren't meant for high performance, you can eventually piece together your own custom kit using stronger electric motors, even dual electric motors, and upgrade your power sources for a little more speed and longer mileage ranges in between charges.

Electric Car Conversion Parts

The three main parts required for a successful electric car conversion are:

  • Electric Motor
  • Controller
  • Battery or Batteries

World's Fastest Homemade Electric Car

As I said in the previous section, you can eventually piece together your own custom kit if you want your homemade electric car to go a little faster. In this section, I will show you somebody who did just that, and actually competes in competition drag racing with his car! The car he used is a 1972 Datsun 1200, and is more commonly known by its racing name, "White Zombie". His fastest time at the quarter mile is 10.258 at 123.8 mph! For those of you who may be unfamiliar with quarter mile times and what is considered 'fast', that makes the White Zombie faster in the quarter mile than a 2012 Lamborghini Aventador, and only half of a second slower than the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport. I have a blog post with a little more information about why type of electric motor and battery setup he is running at White Zombie Electric Car.

Perhaps the most amazing thing about this car is that it is totally street legal for daily driving!

Homemade Conversion?

Would you ever truly consider either doing a conversion yourself, or buying one that is already done?

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Tesla Roadster Electric Car

2011 Tesla Roadster - One of the higher end electric cars available on the market.
2011 Tesla Roadster - One of the higher end electric cars available on the market. | Source

Electric Car Conversion Parts

There are three main parts to any electric car conversion. They include: the electronic motor, an electronic controller, and the battery or multiple batteries. There are plenty of other small pieces required to complete the kit, though, such as the wiring, mounting hardware, fuses, and the mounting plate to connect the electric motor to your transmission.

The electric motor is what replaces your car's internal combustion engine when you convert. One advantage the electric motor has over the internal combustion engine, is the amount of moving parts. A gas powered engine has hundreds of moving parts, meaning many wear points and possibilities for failure. An electric motor only has one single moving part, meaning they generally will last longer, and require very little maintenance.

The electronic controller is what transmits the signal from the accelerator pedal to the electric motor, providing more power the further down your foot is pressed. This is the same concept as in a gas powered car, clearly, except in an internal combustion engine most of the time this transmission of power is done mechanically between the throttle pedal and the throttle body of the engine.

The battery or batteries are what is going to store the electrical energy potential until the car is being driven. Some electric car systems use a single battery, but many use multiple batteries. There are two main types of batteries that are commonly used: the lead-acid battery, and a lithium-ion battery. The lithium-ion battery is better performance-wise and will provide more power, but the technology is still very expensive.

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    • jabelufiroz profile image

      Firoz 4 years ago from India

      i prefer electric cars for their low noise and zero pollution..

      Informative...voted up and useful.

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