A $672 electric car, built by two DIYers

by Benjamin Jones on January 30, 2008

$672 home built electric car

What do you get when you cross a Geo Metro with an electric forklift, a golf cart, and a bunch of used batteries? You get the “ForkenSwift” (see web site), a ridiculously inexpensive, home-built, street-legal electric car.

This battery powered grocery getter was built by Darin Cosgrove and Ivan Limburg, of Brockville, Ontario. The friends were looking for a project to do in Limburg’s new workshop, and set their sights on building an EV after reading about a couple of DIY electric car conversions on the web.

Since neither of them had tackled anything quite like this before, they were wary of breaking the bank on what amounted to a rolling science project with a questionable outcome. So they bought all their parts & supplies second hand, and scrounged a few for free. They even recovered some of their costs by selling left over parts as they went along…

  • They sold the Geo’s engine and its recently replaced gas tank through an online ad – you don’t need either of those in an EV!

The $500 donor forklift arrives by truck.

They caught a big break when it came time to get the car’s lead acid batteries.

“We met another EV owner who liked what we were doing, so he gave us a bunch of used batteries he had just replaced in his own EV,” says Cosgrove.

But the second hand lead has a downside: they probably could have doubled the distance the car could go on a charge if they had bought new.

Rear batteriesThe Metro’s small 48 volt battery pack is a major clue as to how they were able to keep costs so low: Cosgrove and Limburg built the car with ridiculously modest specs. With just eight 6 volt batteries and a motor controller from a golf cart, it’s an understatement to say the electric Metro doesn’t go very fast or very far.

But they say it does just fine as a neighbourhood runabout on the quiet streets of their small city. And by aiming low, they were able to avoid the pricier components and extra batteries needed for a more powerful, highway capable EV.

Their forklift motor driven Metro passed inspection and went on the road a few months ago. Since then it has gone more than 650 kilometers (400 miles) without using a drop of gas… or oil (hey – it was a 16 year old Geo engine after all).

Forklift motor installed on transmissionCosgrove reports a top speed of 65 km/h (40 mph), a range of 15 to 25 km (9 to 15 miles) on a charge, and says it costs about 3 cents per km (4.8 cents per mile) to run on renewably sourced, clean electricity. (For comparison, Limburg figures his gasoline powered compact pickup truck costs 12 cents per km to drive.)

While it’s fair to say the electric Metro’s performance won’t cause any worry over at Tesla Motors, you can also be sure its builders aren’t losing much sleep about car payments either.

More information about the $672 electric Metro:

Popularity: 84% [?]


1 Imee March 12, 2009 at 2:59 am

Wow, cool car. You guys should start up a business of converting older cars into electrics or hybrids. I’m sure it’ll be a good business especially now that everyone’s trying to save money and the environment.

2 REV. FR. CHUKS CHUKS June 11, 2009 at 11:28 pm

i would like to have the car especially now i cannot afford fueling my car. i need see it work here in nigeria.


cc: Ogedi Nwadike

3 Clyde Gray June 24, 2009 at 8:40 pm

Hi Guys, I live near Phoenix, Arizona and will be traveling to NY, Buffalo area the first of July and would love to talk with you and see you Fork Swift. I have been rebuilding rust free Metros, Swifts,and Sprints for years and would like to do an electric car. I am especially interested in an electric motor from a forklift if you still have one available. Ideally I would like to find a larger one given I also have several rear wheel small cars that also might convert well…Mazda GLC’s. Please respond quickly with a contact number and/or address given I am leaving 30 June. If you wish to call my cell # 602-793-8693 Thanks! Clyde

4 Luke July 27, 2009 at 12:30 am

Awsome!! As I know, $600+ can only buy a new 1kv dc-dc converter for golf car!

5 Car Shipping August 11, 2009 at 4:25 pm

I would like to find a larger one given I also have several rear wheel small cars that also might convert well…Mazda GLC’s. Please respond quickly with a contact number and/or addres

6 Industrial Electrician September 1, 2009 at 2:08 am

It is unbelievable! Great work.

7 Furqab September 18, 2009 at 4:41 am

Hi, this is Furqan… I wana gift my younger bother an electric car…. but I’ve no idea how to make it… I don hav any knowledge or any thing…. plz plz pzl help me. . . . . I need a video based tutorial on how to make an electric car. . Thank u

8 bob September 29, 2009 at 5:48 am

i think your car is not very good. not compared to mine any way. i have found a way to put nitrous oxide on them witch is good or bad. and you can put your own design on it. i belive this will attract young drivers they can only have nos if they pass a test or racing in my private race track. beat that.
love bob xxxxxx

9 bob September 29, 2009 at 5:50 am

my number is 555 367 call me we can talk

10 bob September 29, 2009 at 5:51 am

email me please i will love to talk to you

11 Mussa Ali November 9, 2009 at 3:56 am

I like to know much about the electric car conversion
So please would you send me more detailed step-by-step conversion process including the description of the works and specifications of the materials to be used.
I really like inventions and DIY works although I didn’t still issue a work of my own
Hope hearing from you soon.

12 David Drift November 13, 2009 at 11:30 pm

You guys should try looking for financiers, this project could be very successful when done by the “right hands” especially nowadays that people are so conscious of spending for their cars particularly on fuel consumption and replacement of car parts.

13 Ike November 28, 2009 at 3:13 pm

Why not use the allready eletric car and put a allnater on it and never stop to recharge just drive and recharge itself. battery never run down.

14 Lee January 12, 2010 at 11:42 am

It’s a great idea to use an alternater to recharge a battery and have a never ending supply juice to run the car on.

Only problem is that it won’t work. 🙂

Check here to see why: http://electricdemise.blogspot.com


15 dm January 16, 2010 at 10:01 pm

i bet the average suv is “greener”. i mean we burn coal to produce electricity dont we. And coal is very dirty. i bet gas in an ordinary suv is better on the environment. i think we are trying to produce a perpetual machine here. Not going to happen. we pollute when we use energy. no if, ands, or buts. we always pollute and gas is cleaner than coal.

16 Howard Mahoney February 25, 2010 at 10:24 pm

Last night 2-24-10 I watched a video on AUTOBLOG showing a comparison of the new Porsche Boxster Spyder with a 232 hp engine and a new lighter body! And the new TESLA Roadsterwith a 288 hp electric motor! The Drivers took turns driving each of the cars around a road course making comments while doing so! The driver of the Porsche took the Tesla and was really impressed with it except the steering, his comment was “it’s to stiff!” What he liked was the 6 cyl sound of the Boxster and the way it handled in turns and on curves!
The driver of the Tesla was impressed with the way the boxster handled but wasn’t to impressed with the noise and the fact that all kinds of air polutants were coming out of the exhaust!
Next the driver of the TESLA suggested a Drag Race! They lined up and when given the go all th driver of the Boxster saw was the rear end of the TESLA disapearing in the distance!
I know why the TESA could out run the Boxster, the Boxster had to BUILD it’s horse power and the instant the driver of the TESLA stepped on the throttle he had the 288 horse power right then, he didn’t have to build anything!


17 Thomas March 15, 2010 at 2:09 am

Its definitely inexpensive, battery powered electric car. This will be a great idea to implement all these.And this will be successful one if anyone try over these plans.

18 Andrew Wilson March 15, 2010 at 5:06 am

I like to know much about the electric car conversion
So please would you send me more detailed step-by-step conversion process including the description of the works and specifications of the materials to be used.

19 cars March 21, 2010 at 1:46 pm

Nice… is there any detail diagram?

20 car paint March 23, 2010 at 7:48 pm

I’m looking for a video that shows you exactly how to alter the engine

21 Local Movers March 25, 2010 at 1:52 am

Understanding how to build your own electric car is not just interesting, it is educating and fun. A car uses an extensive electrical system just to produce, store, and distribute all the electricity and a major component in the car electrical system is the battery. What are all major problems in this system?

22 Carrom Boards November 17, 2010 at 10:17 pm

Wow, cool idea and thanks for sharing it with all. You can even start as a business of remodeling older cars into electric or hybrids by helping peoples who dont have an idea on this. So that many can own car in affordable price too.

23 JOHN WONG January 25, 2011 at 4:39 pm


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