Your Homemade Electric Car

With the talk about all electric cars and hybrid cars, have you been thinking about your own home built electric car?

I am sure that if you are like me you at least dreamed about such an animal sitting in your garage. It does however, seem like those “things”, electric powered vehicles, are about the ugliest, smallest, most inconvenient, looking car a guy or gal could be caught in. To say that, all electric cars, are in this category though, would also be an inaccurate statement. Certainly, electric car manufacturers, have a thought on this, and could change the looks of their electric powered vehicles to something that we could all be proud to own. I am sure they will in the next few years.

Then there is the price to consider on these new cars. For most of us, they are priced way out of our range. The $35,000 to $50,000 ones are just to much, especially in these times. There are a few coming down below that now, around $15,000.

If that price is still out of range for you and you still want to join the electric car club, you could consider your very own homemade electric car. You would need some time, you would need some knowledge or expertise, you would need some type of shop with basic tools, but most of all, as with anything worth getting, you would need some desire, and as always, you would need some of the green stuff (money) to go green, however much less than a new electric car. We call these the 5 “you would need some’s” to end up with your home built electric car.

Lets start with “you would need some” time. First you will need to decide which car or pickup you want to convert to electric. By the way, out here in Kansas we call a pickup, a pickup, not a pickup truck. A pickup by my definition is a small less than 1 ton rated vehicle for light hauling purposes. A truck is used for hauling heavy payloads that require more suspension and capacity. I hope that is not confusing for you. Anyway, all electric cars have a certain amount of weight to carry in the batteries and electric motor, and other components. The more batteries equals more distance between charges. That is why small pickups work the best for, electric conversions. If you shop around, you can find a small, used pickup with a “bad” engine and replace the engine with the electric motor. This will definitely save you lots of money.

Have you ever heard this before? “We can have that engine out in 1 hour”. I have heard it, but never said it. Because, it just never seems to work that way. 4 hours later the engine is hanging from the shop hoist dripping oil, antifreeze, and greasy dirt. Yep, it is out though.

Now, you have to find and mount an electric car motor to the drive train of the vehicle. Next, we have to come up with the electric parts, where to get them and how to install them correctly. Also, how to install and wire the batteries into the electric system so that they are working properly. Also, where to locate and buy batteries, new or used. How heavy the wire needs to be from battery to working component and many other parts that need hooked up and mounted in and on your homemade electric car.

For me to say this do it yourself project will take a certain amount of hours, would not be fair. I will say this though. With proper guidance and educating yourself, you and a friend with average mechanical skills working for 2 weekends and doing some phone calling and chasing electric car parts during the week, would most likely be driving up and down the neighborhood streets, in your very own home built electric car, in a couple of weeks.

I am writing about all of this so that you will know the truth, about our friend “how much time” involved to do electric conversions as best as I can tell you, from my own experiences of doing things myself. I want to encourage you to look at the possibility of you doing this for yourself and your family. In the future you may be one of these guys or gals joining the electric car club. Who knows this could even turn into your very own business, if you find that you enjoy doing this type of work. Doing a project, like a homemade electric car or pickup, could be a very rewarding and fulfilling experience for you.

Look for part 2 in this series of 5 articles, titled, you will need some, written to help you decide if building your own homemade electric car would be a benefit to you or your family.