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MetroMPG 11-15-2007 03:58 PM

Electric car conversion: Project ForkenSwift
See also:

"Electric car conversion on a beer budget"

01-10-2006, 03:25 PM
: Date this thread was originally started (on a different forum).

[EDIT: Jan 16/07 - This thread documents Project ForkenSwift from the time the proverbial light bulb went on to the present, in excessive detail.

Watch as I reveal my startling ignorance on a wide range of topics related to converting a car to electric power, and then begin a journey down the path towards... continued startling ignorance!

Also note that this is actually a two-person project. It may come off sounding like I'm doing it all, but that's just because
I'm the computer nerd documenting things.]


Thread Index/Summary ...
(Added Nov./08)

01-16-2006 - Some general research on the feasibility/specs of a low speed, budget EV has us thinking we're going to give this a shot!

01-19-2006 - A rough cost estimate: $2631 Canadian

01-19-2006 - A list of lightweight host cars that may be suitable for EV runabout duty

01-20-2006 - Found a couple more potential host cars...

02-05-2006 - Tips for locating cheap beater cars, potential EV hosts; located a red Suzuki Swift with a decent looking body, asking price $100

02-13-2006 - More host vehicle shopping; Finally talked to someone at the forklift place who says they have a used/dead one available

02-18-2006 - Someone offered us a free Firefly 5-door, but it's too far away to go fetch.

02-20-2006 - Went to look at the used forklift tonight

02-24-2006 - Green light! Ivan and I crunched the numbers and decided to forge ahead with the project; made calls agreeing to buy the $500 forklift and the $75 Suzuki Swift

03-04-2006 - Picked up the Swift today. A closer look at the rust has me thinking it may not be salvageable, but its parts can still contribute...

03-07-2006 - Pics of the front suspension rust/welding repair on the Swift

03-15-2006 - Forklift delivered! I guess we're committed now.

03-17-2006 - Down periscope! The forklift is sinking into the driveway.

03-18-2006 - Test lift, using the 20 ton railway jack; started removing misc knick-knacks

03-21-2006 - Major forklift dissection begins! Moved it, under battery power, into the garage, jacked it up and removed the first hydraulic pump motor.

03-22-2006 - With pics: got the second hydraulic motor out and both hydraulic pumps. Starting to worry that the drive motor will be REALLY heavy...

03-23-2006 - Forklift traction motor-ectomy complete. 240 lbs!

03-24-2006 - It's gone! The forklift, that is. Called around to scrap dealers and picked one who offered to come collect the bones with their flatbed truck. Plus pics of the bittersweet occasion.

03-25-2006 - Picture (and inventory list) of ALL the good loot we scavenged from the Baker forklift

03-29-2006 - Uh oh. Up on jack stands, the underneath of the Swift is MUCH rustier than we realized. Moral: don't buy a car sitting in long grass!

04-06-2006 - Pics: we've deemed the red Swift's underbits too rusty to repair. And we've already located a potential replacement - a blue Metro of similar vintage (and in better condition) sitting in someone's yard a few blocks away.

04-06-2006 - Fixed the divots in the driveway where the forklift sank in; ALSO - picked up the blue Metro ($175 !) and made a list of its obvious problems

04-12-2006 - Began swapping good parts from the red car over to the blue car: ball joints, ignition switch, hatchback, tires, etc...

04-30-2006 - More rust! Lifted the blue car's carpet, got out the grinder, and transformed the 2 small holes into a small future brazing/welding project

05-12-2006 - Pics: the rusty floor is finally fixed

05-17-2006 - Pics: rust repair before/after; also... SPIDERS!

05-19-2006 - For a net investment of $89.85 all in, the blue car passes inspection

05-22-2006 - For a laugh, see the pic at the bottom of this post: " why bother electrifying the car when it's already a hybrid?"

05-23-2006 - Preparing to yank the drivetrain from the Swift to get its transaxle mounts, axles & shift linkage for the blue car. Those 4-cyl parts offset the transaxle further to the left, meaning more room to mount a big motor in the available space.

05-26-2006 - Ack! Discovered that the diameter of the forklift drive motor is too large! Centered on the transaxle, it will interfere with the passenger side drive shaft. Considering options to make it work... Also: pulled the drivetrain from the red car.

05-29-2006 - Motor decision: Based on feedback from the EVDL, we've decided NOT to try to use the 12 inch motor, and will instead adapt one of the two hydraulic pump motors

05-31-2006 - We're swapping the front strut/spring/hub/brake assembly from the red car into the blue one. Why? Possibly stiffer springs, and also bigger brake rotor/caliper

06-05-2006 - Pics: the red '93 Suzuki Swift (from whence the EV's nickname came) was officially put out to pasture, via hillbilly tow-bar.

06-06-2006 - Well, the blue car is now officially mine. I registered & paid tax on it this afternoon

07-21-2006 - Adapter plate cut! Still need to drill the mounting holes

08-17-2006 - Officially at the most critical engineering phase of the project: planning an approach for the motor/tranny coupler

10-05-2006 - Dropped off the motor, transmission & adapter plate (blank) to the machinist so he can finish the coupler & align everything perfectly

11-04-2006 - Back from the machinist: pics of the stuff he made for us 11-05-2006 - The blue ForkenSwift will never move again powered by gasoline - started removing its various life support connections

11-08-2006 - Internal combustion engine is out! (Plus: debate on "out the top" vs. "out the bottom" removal technique)

11-12-2006 - Pics showing the "3-cyl" vs. "4-cyl" positions of the transaxle (with motor mockup stuck on it)

11-13-2006 - Got the transmission hooked up in its "new" location, using the mount, shifter & stabilizer rod from the 4-cylinder car. This gives us more room in the engine bay on the motor side of things.

11-19-2006 - Disassembled & cleaned/de-greased the motor (hydraulic pump motors get greasy, apparently); reassembled & mounted on adapter plate, transmission

11-21-2006 - Started work on motor bracket; also, eBay purchase arrived: 225A 48V Curtis controller

11-26-2006 - Motor is installed in the car (properly... with brackets)! With pics

11-27-2006 - Whoops! The motor is spinning the wrong direction for the transmission input shaft; reversing polarity doesn't fix it. Investigating...

12-11-2006 - Pics of the motor apart, trying to sort out brush timing for the new direction of rotation

12-26-2006 - Video: It's alive! (First power-up of the motor in the car)

12-27-2006 - Pics of the motor brush timing adjustment

12-27-2006 - What's our motor's "red line"? About 6k RPM, according to the motor guru

12-28-2006 - Clone wars: find inspiration & information in an EV Album entry for another 48 volt Metro conversion

12-28-2006 - Beginning of a multi-day, somewhat frustrating effort to make one or both of the controllers work for bench testing purposes

01-02-2007 - Got the EV-1 controller working!

01-03-2007 - Finally got the Curtis working - with help from the EVDL; also, pics of the EV-1 controller test setup

01-04-2007 - Snagged a good deal on eBay for an ammeter and shunt

01-07-2007 - Weekend update: scored 20 feet of used 2/0 welding cable; plus other progress tidbits

01-08-2007 - Video! First controlled motor power-up

01-08-2007 - How powerful is the car with the 225A 48V controller? About 12 peak hp

01-09-2007 - First attempt at a schematic

01-13-2007 - Media coverage: AutoBlogGreen finds the ForkenSwift YouTube videos and posts an item about them

01-15-2007 - Forklift company comes through! Picked up eight free, very used 6v flooded golf cart type batteries to assemble a test pack.

01-16-2007 - Weighty matters: estimating how much the conversion will change the car's weight. Will it sit level?

01-17-2007 - Latest update of circuit schematic

01-18-2007 - Beginning of the Potentiometer Saga. Or, "to what lengths will I go to avoid spending $30 on a new, Curtis pot?"

02-04-2007 - Pics of the modified forklift potbox installed in the car; also cardboard battery mockups in place, working out positioning & clearance.

03-11-2007 - Working on the front battery racks

03-27-2007 - For the first time, the batteries & controller are all connected... inside the car. OK, batts on the floorboards, cables everywhere. But a test drive is imminent.

03-28-2007 - Feeding the ForkenSwift: (with pics!) first try-out of the 36v forklift charger on the dog's breakfast of near-dead batteries

03-30-2007 - Big milestone! First electric test drive!

04-02-2007 - YouTube video of the first electric test drive

04-04-2007 - We need a welder (machine, that is). Fun when projects justify new tools!

04-05-2007 - Decided we're going to sell the 12 inch "torque monster" (forklift drive motor)

04-06-2007 - Jim Husted of Hi-Torque Electric has been exceedingly helpful in identifying/evaluating the motors (via e-mail)

04-08-2007 - Fun with ammeters - making a battery load tester with a coat hanger

04-15-2007 - ForkenSwift gets an EV Album entry

04-17-2007 - YouTube vid: I'm convinced that at some point the car will have a bicycle bell in it, like this EV

04-20-2007 - Finally "de-exhausted" and "de-fuel tanked" the car. Also ruptured a rusty brake line!

04-23-2007 - Forklift company offers to supply us with free, dead batteries! Perfect for testing purposes .. possibly a way to find some pearls and assemble a usable pack?

04-26-2007 - Does the ForkenSwift need power brakes? Description of our rotor/caliper upgrade. Also: brakes fixed! Lines replaced.

04-28-2007 - Project NET cost update: $978.35 CDN or about $876 US; still some good forklift & Suzukiclone parts left to sell, so this will decline.

05-03-2007 - Score! (With pic.) Returned home with a pickup truck load of used 6v batteries! Thanks Fred; thanks Allan!

05-06-2007 - There's no way we're going to be finished the electro/mechanical stuff before the Ottawa EV Expo at the end of May, so we decided to switch the focus onto making it pretty instead (body/paintwork).

05-11-2007 - If you're going to try hypermiling your converted EV (with brushed motor), you might want to keep the clutch.

05-23-2007 - OK, not a milestone, but I like them: got the "ironic racing stripes" painted on, and I like them! Also started fabricating a custom tow bar to get the car to the EV Expo in Ottawa.

05-26-2007 - ForkenSwift attends its first EV Expo, in Ottawa as a "work in progress". Pics, details in this post, and scroll down for more.

05-27-2007 - Yee haw: the "new" used batteries are installed and they're going to do the trick! Range: 15-22 km achieved on two separate runs.

06-01-2007 - Pics: a couple of decent "vanity" photos (magic hour, anyone?) starting at this post, plus scroll down for a "before" shot

06-10-2007 - Milestone! The car has broken a speed limit! (50+ km/h)

06-13-2007 - Got some info/specs from the company that makes the 24v charger we've been using to split-charge the 48v pack

06-20-2007 - Pics of front battery rack layout & construction

07-08-2007 - Milestone: first "real", useful trip!

07-22-2007 - Finished installing the front batteries; starte on the rear rack.

08-26-2007 - Rear battery racks made, installed & full of batteries; also: comparing the 48v ForkenSwift to a CitiCar/CommutaCar

09-06-2007 - Saving money on cable lugs - decision made to try making our own

09-09-2007 - Show 'n' tell: home made cable lugs; some battery cables installed; routing the cables under the car inside plastic conduit

09-10-2007 - Good news: home made cable lugs/ends work well! Not even warm to the touch after driving

09-11-2007 - The 5.25v lower limit - or "How to avoid killing flooded batteries under load"; Also - 30 km range on a single charge!

09-12-2007 - Pics: Curtis controller is now properly installed on a heat sink (instead of tied down on the transaxle!)

09-13-2007 - How & why to size AC circuit breakers for DC use; a list of recycled components (so far) in the ForkenSwift.

09-14-2007 - DIY: making cable ends for battery interconnects instead of crimp-on ends.

09-17-2007 - Planning the contactors setup - man, they're loud!

09-18-2007 - Calculating the electricity cost to drive the car: 2.5 - 3.7 cents / km (1.6 - 2.3 cents / mile) depending on power costs.

09-23-2007 - More cables made; piecing together clutch-activated emergency disconnect

09-26-2007 - Made & installed component platform; accessory battery tray

09-26-2007 - DC-DC converter won on eBay - $25 (48-12v, 100w)

09-28-2007 - Took the car to my mechanic for "pre-inspection advice". He's excited about the project & very helpful.

09-30-2007 - The final push is on to get the car ready for inspection: more cables made; shunt installed; safety contactors installed. Also adjusted motor brush timing.

10-04-2007- Mechanical inspection tomorrow. Not too worried; the car is fit.

11-27-2007 - An EcoModder member comes to see the car

10-05-2007 - Got the car's registration updated: fuel type = "E"

10-11-2007, 02:59 PM - It's legal!
Insured and plated, another road legal EV joins the fleet.

10-11-2007 - Fun with math! Pack capacity is 10.5 kWh (when NEW), or less than 1/3 of a gallon of gas, equivalent energy

10-12-2007 - Some people on the EVDL are suggesting we upgrade to 72v from 48v.

10-13-2007 - For fun: how the car looks like with 4 more batteries in the back (=72v), on the stock suspension...

10-15-2007 - Had the car weighed - post conversion - at the city dump scales: 942 kg / 2070 lbs

10-15-2007 - EV driving school: Got some pointers on technique from the masters on the EVDL.

10-16-2007 - First batch of cost km/efficiency calculations

10-17-2007 - First 0-50 km/h (31 mph) acceleration test run: 36 seconds (on the 225A controller).

10-23-2007 - The car gets an appropriate additional nickname, given how it will be mostly used: "The Electric Umbrella".

10-24-2007 - Picture of the car's DIY tachometer

10-26-2007 - New YouTube video - "It's legal!"

11-04-2007 - 24V charger dies ... and is repaired.

12-11-2007 - Observations on driving in winter weather (snow).

12-14-2007 - Fun with math: what's the theoretical max distance the car could go in 1 year of driving with the current pack & charger?

12-20-2007 - Cost per km calcs of the ForkenSwift vs. Ivan's 4-cyl compact pickup truck

12-26-2007 - Observations on first ever "highway" run.

01-27-2008 - Big, self-administered dope slap: drove away with the charger still plugged in

02-01-2008 - Media coverage: EcoModder blog post about the car gets Dugg, takes down the server

02-06-2008 - What happens if your EV can't climb overpasses, and a train blocks all the level crossings?

02-08-2008 - Worst. Driving. Ever. I smack the side of my brother's minivan on the rear corner of the ForkenSwift, creating yet more work for myself.

02-29-2008 - Worst. Efficiency. Ever. Also, bought another cheap DC-DC converter on eBay

03-15-2008 - New video: shifting gears (remember, no clutch)

03-16-2008 - Milestone: someone in a parking lot noticed that the car is electric! Also: experiment comparing coasting distance in gear (brush drag) vs. neutral

03-17-2008 - Big news: new charger arrived - donated/remanufactured DeltaQ smart charger

03-28-2008 - Water consumption: 2 L added to batteries for about 6 weeks of use

04-01-2008 - Cheap eBay controller upgrade! Replaced the 225A (max) 48V Curtis controller with 300A 48V Curtis

04-08-2008 - Repaired the body damage I did to the car a while back.

04-13-2008 - Cheap eBay controller upgrade part le deux! Installed the 400A 48V Curtis controller in place of the 300A one. 57 bucks for an almost 80% increase in peak current! (Compared to the original 225A.)

05-06-2008 - Installed an LED battery pack monitor: "It's awesomeness can't be underestimated."

05-08-2008 - New video: LED monitor in action - this has become the indespensable gauge in the vehicle.

05-27-2008 - Repairing rusty control arm mounts - the SILENT METRO KILLER! (Incl. pics.) Also, cosmetic paintwork for the EV EXPO.

06-01-2008 - The ForkenSwift at its 2nd annual EVCO (EV Council of Ottawa) EV Expo - including a few pics.

06-04-2008 - Answer to the frequently asked question about getting insurance for an EV in Ontario

06-04-2008 - Pictures of the newly painted & spiffed up motor compartment

06-06-2008 - Brought the car by the forklift place; the guys were impressed & offered a deal on batteries (cost)

06-08-2008 - Parking brake is sticking, eating into efficiency

07-06-2008 - National media coverage on CBC TV news about EV conversions includes the ForkenSwift

08-15-2008 - New video: Just for fun, how long would it take to hot swap the car's battery pack?

08-16-2008 - Bringing the "A pack" of batteries to life after more than a year in storage. Looks like 25 km, vs. 19 km best ever on the "B" pack.

08-16-2008 - Efficiency milestone: 146 MPGe, or 228 Wh/mi at the wall after "tuning" the "A" pack of batteries. Since bested (check the fuel log).

10-03-2008 - More media: gave an interview about the car to a student magazine at Algonquin College in Ottawa

10-06-2008 - Minor ForkenSwift milestone: drove Mom to church, thereby validating the car in the eyes of my neighbour.

10-10-2008 - LED pack monitor assembly details posted on

10-21-2008 - State of the (battery) Union: calculating how worn out is the "good" ForkenSwift battery pack (currently in the car)?

10-22-2008 - Test run of the DC-DC converter

10-26-2008 - Getting a new batch of used batteries that are likely in much better condition than the existing pack. And.. installed, they seem to be better indeed.

10-31-2008 - A "downside" to a pack with more capacity: the charger has to work harder, longer. Discovered it went into a thermal protection mode today when it got too hot recharging. And it's a cool day (air temp).

11-13-2008 - my last EV trip of 2008 (going to the east coast for the winter). Total distance & cost since conversion: 2658 km / 1652 mi & $946.28 Canadian

12-30-2008 - the ForkenSwift enters hibernation for winter 2008/2009


NOTE: index continued in next post...



01-10-2006, 03:25 PM

the fact that i'm still thinking about this several days later tells me it may go beyond just exercising my synapses...

any electric car experts in the group? here's what i would like to do, but i'm not sure what the motor/batt specs would need to be. just fishing for ideas and discussion.

design criteria in order of importance:

1) inexpensive (used parts if poss.)
2) low range is OK (under 20 miles - live in a small town)
3) low top speed OK (e.g. sub 40 mph)

the ultimate budget ev conversion i've seen so far is this $800 (total cost) yugo.

the host vehicle will probably be a metro hatchback, because it's light and there's one available nearby.

MetroMPG 11-15-2007 03:58 PM

01-10-2006, 04:38 Pm
Thread Index/Summary ...
(Continued from previous post...)

04-05-2009 - Aaaaaand we're back! On the road, that is.

04-06-2009 - Now with more power! How easy is that? Remove two little hex head bolts on the controller, turn two potentiometers.

05-19-2009 - Pedestrian proximity alert installed


jerry at just pointed me to an excellent resource: the EV List


as luck would have it, one of the thread running through the group lately is how to do a budget geo metro conversion (around $1000). this figure assumes you already have a donor car - and the guy also has a free forklift motor.

MetroMPG 11-15-2007 03:59 PM

01-10-2006, 04:52 Pm
someplace to start:


Miles = BatteryType x Weight. For each mile of range, a particular EV might need 5 pounds of lead-acid batteries, 4 pounds of nicads, 3 pounds of nimh, or 2 pounds of lithiums. Pick your battery type, and you know how many pounds of them you need for a given range. (source)
i want to go sub 20 miles, and lead-acid is least expensive, so i'm looking at roughly 100 lbs for batts. that seems low.

45 lbs: weight of my 75 amp-hour deep cycle lead acid 12v battery from my boat (kept in the basement in the winter for maintenance charging)

180 lbs of that battery type makes 48v.

however, the formula may be for a different (lighter) type of battery.

MetroMPG 11-15-2007 04:00 PM

01-16-2006, 10:23 Pm
budget ev update. been following the ev list and reading up on some conversions...

(yeah, i'm still thinking about this.)

- 48 volts is the minimum you can get away with for a small car. with a light car you could do 30 mph max and 20 miles. 72 volts is more reasonable (saw one 72v conversion rated at 50 mph/40 miles)

- motor controllers above 72v get pretty expensive

- motor continuous ratings of 5-10 hp will work for a small car (metro)

- you can opt to go without a controller and just use use a contactor. a low power pack with one controller would work like a golf cart: a binary accelerator

- that makes parking and low speed maneuvers kind of tricky, so you can also set up a "contactor controller" arrangement, where you split the pack so one contactor gives you partial voltage and the second gives you full.

- flooded lead acid batts are cheapest (no surprise there), but need maintenance (watering)

- you don't necessarily need to add a vacuum pump to the brakes. apparently by drilling through the vacuum assist "canister" (the big black round container behind the master cylinder) and puncturing the diaphragm inside, the pedal action becomes relatively easier and you can stick with manual brakes

- still not sure where to source a motor, but there's a fork lift company in town that we're going to talk to (surplus or used would be good).

- changing a car's registration from gasoline to electric is a simple matter of dropping by the licencing office (in ontario anyway); no special paperwork needed (if only i'd known, i could have been skipping those pesky e-tests all these years with my "electric" cars...)

- i think we're actually going to do this. we'll probably aim for essentially a metro golf cart - lo-tech, not sophisticated. waiting to hear back on a potential host car: 84 civic from the west coast (rust free), but she wants too much money for it (relatively speaking). going to look at a couple of dead metros tomorrow also.

MetroMPG 11-15-2007 04:03 PM

01-16-2006, 10:31 Pm
one more tidbit i learned:

- apparently honda engines turn in the opposite direction to most - and most electric motors. this adds an extra challenge if you're doing a honda conversion (not sure how far back this goes, e.g. n600)

MetroMPG 11-15-2007 04:16 PM

01-17-2006, 03:50 Am
The question was raised: do you keep the clutch or go clutchless with a conversion...


(the link partway down this text has some good pics of an adapter using the original clutch as an interface - but not for its traditional role - between the electric motor and transmission input shaft.)


Electric Vehicles of America, Inc. (EVA) provides both clutch and
clutchless designs. There are advantages and disadvantages to
both. The decision is the customers based on cost, vehicle make,
personal preference, etc.

EVA has used a clutchless design since 1987 and it works
successfully. However, because of some confusion, it should be
called a "clutch pedal-less design". We eliminate the clutch pedal
but not the clutch disk. The clutchless design is a direct
connection between the motor and the transmission. We mount your
clutch disk on a stainless steel and aluminum coupling; therefore it
matches the input shaft of your transmission and the springs in the
clutch disk absorb the initial shock from the motor.

In an internal combustion, not only is the engine always running,
but you have a massive flywheel. So there is lots of inertia and a
clutch is required. This is not so with an electric motor. The
motor stops when you stop. There is no idling. There also is
minimal inertia. Synchromesh transmissions easily handle any gear

The clutch disk (provided by the customer) is critical. And we use
the existing clutch disk to connect the motor output shaft to the
input shaft of the transmission. The advantages of the clutch
pedal-less design are:

1. It allows the conversion of vehicles for which a clutch design
is not available or affordable. A manual transmission is
recommended because it allows you to operate the motor at higher
rpms but you do not have to add a clutch pedal assembly. This makes
it easier to convert vehicles that have an automatic transmission to
a manual transmission.

2. It eliminates the potential of overspeeding the motor with
different EV Users. If new drivers step on the accelerator and rev
the motor before popping the clutch, there is the possibility of
overspeeding the motor. This is a concern here in New England
because of the hills. With the clutch pedal-less design, you simply
put the transmission in gear and step on the accelerator. This
helps many high school drivers who may not have experience with
driving with a clutch.

3. The design is fairly simple. We need only three dimensions and
the clutch disk and we can make the adapter plate and coupling.

4. It allows the conversion of vehicles that once were automatics
without having to install the hydraulics etc. We have converted
existing S10s for the U.S. Air Force; they were automatics. We
just replaced the automatic transmission with a manual transmission
and used our design We did not have to install a clutch pedal and
all of the other hydraulics. this allows greater flexibility when
looking for a potential EV. The manual transmission is only $150.-

5. Shifting is accomplished because of the minimal inertia of the
motor (no flywheel) and the synchromesh.

6. You save weight and money. One racing customer recently stated
that for every 7 lbs in rotational weight is equivalent to 100 lbs
of vehicle weight So by eliminating the flywheel and pressure
plate (35 lbs); it could be the equivalent to removing 500 lbs of
vehicle weight. The same goes with aluminum wheels vs steel wheels.

The disadvantage of the clutch pedal-less design are:

1. It takes a little longer (1-2 seconds) to shift. You cannot
speed shift. However, as I stated in my Driver Ed message, an EV
may drive in 2nd gear in town and 3rd gear on the highway. An S10
can be driven in 2nd gear from 0 -45 mph. So you don't need to
shift very often. With your car standing still and engine off.
Shift gears without pressing the clutch pedal. Notice how you can
go from one gear to the next without using the clutch. Why?
Because there is no inertia. It is the same way with the electric
motor, there is no huge mass of inertia. That is how the clutchless
design works.

2. Downshifting takes 1-2 seconds longer because the speeds have to
match. I usually downshift only at a stop sign coming off a
highway. Remember you shift an EV very infrequently. Usually only
2nd and 3rd gear are used.

We have customers who have the clutch pedal-less design (one with
more than 50,000 miles) and are happy and customers who would like
to try a clutch in their next EV because of their specific driving
conditions or habits (they always had one).

The synchros in the transmission make it smooth. Some people have
suggested that the synchros wear out quickly, but some of our
clutchless customers have more than 30,000 miles total on their
vehicles. For more information on clutchless, refer to Svein
Medhus' Ford Express Electric Home Page This is our customer in
Norway. This includes pictures of the installation of clutchless,
the clutch installation is similar. Another site is

Once we asked someone on the West Coast why they thought a clutch
was required and how that myth got started. He stated that a clutch
was required on the old voltage switching and resistance controllers
in order to allow one to park without banging the others cars. This
problem was solved with PWM controllers.

As always, we just want to give the facts. We offer both. My
personal preference is the clutchless because of the convenience.
Our S-15 truck has a clutchless design and aluminum wheels - it gets
great range because we eliminated about 70 lbs in rotational weight.
Using the rule of thumb above - this represents about 1000 lbs of
vehicle weight. WOW!

The decision is made by the customer based on the specific vehicle,
cost, driving habits and experience.

MetroMPG 11-15-2007 04:17 PM

01-19-2006, 03:23 Pm
bizarre coincidence: yesterday i did a rough cost estimate of my budget NEV idea. it came to...

- $2,631 CDN. (too high to be practical, but it was a liberal estimate - still have wiggle room)

then i headed over to "wilderness ev's" to look around, and saw that they sold a recent metro conversion for...

- $2250.00 US.

guess what that converts to in canadian funds? at yesterday's exchange rate...

- $2631.42 CDN. 42 cents difference. that's just freaky.

if you want to see how a budget ev is done commercially (low end of the scale), you need to head over to Wilderness EV.

MetroMPG 11-15-2007 04:18 PM

01-19-2006, 04:56 Pm

Originally Posted by SVOboy
Damn, this is all very interesting. Are there any parts you haven't sourced or wanna source more cheaply? I have a knack for getting stuff free or close to it.

i haven't really sourced anything. i just made a shopping list, and went around various sites getting new/used estimates.

not surprisingly, the biggest expense is going to be the motor... any help there would be ideal. 36-72V DC 5hp continuous duty as a minimum (7-10 hp continuous would be the max. we need). prices i've seen range from $375 US used to $567 new.

i'm just starting to try sourcing stuff locally to save as much as possible on shipping/currency exchange/customs fees.

after the motor, next biggest expense will be batts. have to do that locally.

we haven't even included a motor controller in the spec, because it would put the price right out of the park. but if one could be got cheap, we need a 36-72V 200A(min) unit. they also tend to range around $500 and up US (new)

this is still all very hypothetical. but the fact that it's been over 2 weeks since my friend and I started actively researching this must mean something...

MetroMPG 11-15-2007 04:19 PM

01-19-2006, 06:17 Pm
fyi, host cars i've considered:

- 89-94 metro: 1650 lbs
- 84-87 civic: 1797 lbs
- 95-99 metro: 1830 lbs
- 94-97 aspire: 2004 lbs
- early fiero: 2500 lbs

weight is a prime consideration, since this will be a strictly urban vehicle. i wouldn't say "the" prime issue though, up against price & availability.

currently waiting to hear back on a dead 95 firefly & a dead 93 firefly. the pre-89 metros were sub-1600 lbs, but also smaller (harder to place batteries). and there aren't any left around here (rusted away).

MetroMPG 11-15-2007 04:20 PM


Originally Posted by SVOboy
85 crx hf = 1713, also.


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