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Old 11-08-2008, 02:46 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Red face 1995 Toyota pickup EV conversion...

I recently stumbled upon a '95 toyota pickup (not the early tacoma, just the "toyota truck") for sale in my area. the body is in decent shape, some rust but not bad for a 13 year old vehicle... never been in an accident, complete structural integrity, 4x4 which is housed in a seperate "thingy" for lack of a better word on the drive system that can be removed to make it a 2 wheel drive only, V6 (gah), 170,000 miles, automatic four speed. EPA est. 12 city, 16 highway. the seller has a fuel log, low 20s around town and highway. it is priced at a near giveaway (1/3 KBB) and i am considering buying to for a conversion to an EV.


sans the difficulty of the actual conversion process which i will have a bunch of people helping me with, is this vehicle a good candidate for a conversion?

P.S. if anyone has ever / does owned this truck and you know almost exactly what FE you got, please let me know because i've heard everywhere from as low as 11.8 to 20 in normal non-highway driving without towing

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Old 11-08-2008, 03:33 PM   #2 (permalink)
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separate "thingy"= Transfer case
The automatic transmission would be the worst thing about the vehicle as far as doing an electric conversion. But it could be replaced with a manual.
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Old 11-08-2008, 03:45 PM   #3 (permalink)
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ah! transfer case, thank you

yeah, ive heard, but never understood why autos are worse than manuals for EVs.
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Old 11-08-2008, 03:59 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Autos are worse than manuals for some simple reasons:

The torque converter at the front of the auto acts as a clutch to let the engine and tranny turn at different speeds, especially when the vehicle is stopped; the torque converter is also a torque multiplier. Electric motors don't need multipliers like that, and when the vehicle is stopped, so's the motor. You do want a clutch for when you're shifting, but otherwise you don't need it much. Also the automatic's shifting system may rely on inputs from engine vacuum, the ECM, or something else that may be lacking or difficult to reproduce from your motor controller. The manual doesn't need any of that, having an infinitely more sophisticated control system: you.

If the auto has a lockup torque converter, that's great, but a lot of folks who build EVs do it with the intent of having a quiet, efficient around-town vehicle. In that operating regime, the lockup never would lock up. So you'd be sending amps into the motor to generate revs that simply disappear in the torque converter's slippage.

I won't say it's a bad plan, but I think you've got a tall order in front of you to convert the 4x4 to a 4x2 wihle also converting it to an EV.

That said, for a homebrew conversion, I wouldn't bother with anything but a truck. There's plenty of room under the hood, lots of loadbearing capacity left in the chassis to carry batteries, etc. But to make life simpler, unless the price is simply too good to pass up, I'd keep shopping for a 4x2 manual.

Hey, buy this one, fix it up cherry and sell it to fund your EV project.
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Old 11-08-2008, 04:09 PM   #5 (permalink)
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how about skipping the rear drive shaft and making it a front wheel drive EV? how many of you that have home built electric vehicles shift the anyway? my commuti-car has the motor right on the axle without a tranny at all.
having an automatic on an electric vehicle is kind of counter productive, automatics get poor mileage because they rob power, but they are used because people are to lazy to learn how to drive.
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Old 11-08-2008, 04:56 PM   #6 (permalink)
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i'd have loved for it to be a manual, they are much more fun to drive as well has FE but nothings perfect... and yeah, the KBB on the vehicle is around 3500, and the guys selling it for 1000 firm. my school is starting an EV project (s) with the science and vocational departments co-operating. I talked to my teacher and i will be one of those select few involved with the project. We have two dead 4x2 pickups at the school donated by a local dealership, and we have gotten a grant from the state to start an EV program. HOW COOl is that???? we'll start by converting those 2 via kits to EVs then with the knowledge garnered from that and other sources begin a program converting people's vehicles to EV to teach the voc. kids about the technology to give them a leg up in future vehicular competition. i spoke to my teacher about the truck and he said that they would welcome it as one of, or the first personal vehicle to convert. so, with all of the collective automotive knowledge involved i dont think it would be much of a problem to make it 4x2 EV or even FWD.
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Old 11-09-2008, 12:21 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Converting to 2WD is likely to be a bigger project than you're thinking. It's not just the separate "thingy", but a driveline, front differential, and locking hubs. (If you're in 2WD, the hubs allow the wheels to rotate without the rest of the front driveline turning.)

Besides, why not keep the 4WD capability? You might find it useful someday, say in a snowstorm or when you need to haul a load of firewood out of the woods on a muddy dirt track.
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Old 11-09-2008, 10:27 AM   #8 (permalink)
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true true. whats looking to happen if we do buy it is just keep it IC fix it up sell it for profit or just keep it for a beater, but thanks for the info/suggestions all.
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Old 11-09-2008, 07:05 PM   #9 (permalink)
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It can be done; in fact, it's the basis for the EVAlbum's signature "lead sled."

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Old 01-04-2010, 11:03 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Thread necro! Hey... it turned up on a Google search.

I was thinking along the lines of an electric front drive, leaving the RWD fully intact. I need a lot more range and versatility than an EV would provide, especially with a full sized truck.
I have an '86 Silverado with a 350/350, and it's a 4x2. While thinking on my more than occasional need for a little bit better traction, the option of converting my old truck to 4x4 is currently on the table. And... no, I'm not interested in starting all over with another old truck I'll have to 'get right' again.

Now, it seems that, for the occasional use of the front drive, I could make *that* electric, and it'd be used mostly for an acceleration booster (save gas on acceleration) and for enhanced traction on slickery surfaces. Obviously, I'll need to ensure that the front/rear wheel speeds don't differ enough to cause control issues, I'm sure some of the folks on this board could come up with a simple controller configuration for this.

So, I'll have my 4x4, and it'll be a hybrid. This is only a germ of an idea, and I haven't touched the battery/charger issue yet, but I'm thinking that won't be as much an issue as with a pure EV.

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