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Old 08-16-2008, 11:24 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Got a Eclipse, where do I start to make it an EV?

I have a 97 Eclipse with a dead engine. I was wondering whether it would be suitable for an EV conversion and where to get information on specs and whatnot for converting it. I've seen other eclipse conversions, but they've all been the prior gen car types. Does it matter that it's an automatic? And, I have a low budget. My husband certainly wouldn't agree to a multi-thousand conversion when the car is "worth" only a thousand(if that). He's pretty car handy, so I might be able to pursuade him to help on the conversion. He's more into B-body wagons right now though. At least we have most of the tools, except for a engine hoist.

Anybody in S Florida?

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Old 08-16-2008, 11:40 AM   #2 (permalink)
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You will not be able to make a low budget conversion that will have any practical use. Batteries alone will put you over your minimalistic goals. Believe me, the pioneers on this site that are planning conversions and carrying them through are a bit more than handy around vehicles. If indeed the vehicle is beyond repair I would consider an economical used alternative while you delve into the world of electric conversions, which would include, choosing the proper motor for the project vehicle, the different types of controllers available and necessary to regulate the power, the number and types of batteries you will need in order to get the range and top speeds you want to get out of your project. ANd once you have the knowledge, then research welding shops that can make the brackets and parts necessary to pull it all together.

I would start by researching rides like forkenswift, which is on this site, and see what he went through to convert his vehicle and what that vehicle is realistically producing after the conversion.

Believe me, if the conversions were that plug and play we would all have them by now. In terms of toys this one would be labeled for ages 14+ .. LOL

Good luck.
Thx NoCO2; "The biggest FE mod you can make is to adjust the nut behind the wheel"

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Old 08-16-2008, 12:19 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Jupiter, FL here

I don't know where you're at, but try some of the junk yards in the Stuart area.

About three weeks I was up at A&A Auto Salvage, they had tons of old electric pallet movers as well as a forklift.

If I could suggest any place to give your business to, I'd be A&A.

Good luck on your project,
- Josh
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Old 08-16-2008, 12:22 PM   #4 (permalink)
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For a very good book on the subject of building electric cars, try Bob Brant's Build Your Own Electric Vehicle. A little dated but very informative and the overall technical information hasn't changed much since the book was first published. As Trik said, your first steps should be to determine exactly what functionality you want from an EV and then research as much as you can to help keep prices down.
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Old 08-16-2008, 02:30 PM   #5 (permalink)
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As well, I always encourage EV prospects to visit EV Photo Album: Our Electric Cars on the Web - great source of information.

It's unlikely that you'll be able to build an EV that the average driver would consider useful (fast enough, far enough) for a few thousand dollars.
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has launched a forum for the efficient new Mitsubishi Mirage
www.MetroMPG.com - fuel efficiency info for Geo Metro owners
www.ForkenSwift.com - electric car conversion on a beer budget
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Old 08-16-2008, 03:13 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Dr. Larry EV

Hello! Here's my 2 cents:

First, I recommend getting a car with a manual transmission. Automatics can be done, but the range is less. For a good example of this, check out "n2confusion" on YouTube. He's very helpful too, if you have any questions.

First, check Ebay every now and then for at least a 72v 400 amp controller. They come along every now and then. There was a guy selling a bunch of them. He had 17 as of a couple days ago, and then out of nowhere someone bought all 17! I was just about to buy a couple extra myself! OOOH that made me so mad.

For a good example of how to do a small car for around $3000-$3500, go to google and type:

Dr. Larry EV

The car I'm doing could have had 40 mile range, but I only needed like 10 - 20 mile range, so I got fewer batteries. (also the back end of my car was rusted out, so I didn't want too much weight)

Here's a cost breakdown for a smallish EV with approx. 40 mile range and a top speed of about 55 mph (but 40 mile range only at like 35 mph):

DC Motor: $300-$800
72v Curtis or Alltrax Controller: $300 - $750
Contactor: $95-$200 (to turn on the power with the key)
2 gauge cable: $40-$140 (to connect the batteries)
lugs: $50 (to connect the cable to the batteries)
Adapter plate / Coupler: $80 - $500 (to mount motor to transmission)
Angle Iron for battery racks: $20 - $60
Batteries: $1150 (13 Deep Cycle Walmart 125 Amp*hr batteries)
Pre-Charge Resistor: $5
300 amp ANL Fuse & Fuse Holder: $15
PB-6 Throttle: $75
Charger: $140 - $450
Extension cord: $15-$50
Emergency disconnect: $30
Welding fees: $0 - $300

That's about it. The low end price means you can either do it yourself or you have a very good chance of buying something from Ebay or some other creative source at that price. Also, the 125 Amp*hr Walmart batteries have an 18 month replacement warranty, so that's nice. Dr. Larry got several years of use out of his Walmart batteries.

So, the low end total is about: $2400 or so.
The upper end is more, but my baby is waking up and I can't add it now! oh no!
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Last edited by MPaulHolmes; 08-16-2008 at 04:01 PM..
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Old 04-12-2009, 09:38 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Just a reply to some of your posts

Hi Mr Holmes, just to say thanks for all your various posts. I find them helpful and considered, with encouragement for potential E.V.ers very distinctly and kindly worded.I,ve stumbled upon your posts regularly and like your style
Just to let you know that you and forkenswifts team finally got me to snap in the E.V. conversion direction, that and the idea that an EV project would be a great "vehicle" promoting a just local cause.(Save Sligo General Hospital's Cancer Care services allied to Green (E.V.+ re-cycling issues) I,m in Ireland where E.V.s are as scarce as the proverbial hen's teeth.(this one for Sligo may well be the first)

Anyway the plan? Build a '93 bToyota Corolla Conversion (3 Door European Hatch)using donated 36 volt reach truck parts. with a beefy 48 volt fork lift motor.(Full specs to be ascertained this next fortnight) I have a fair mech.knowledge but terms like ohms and amps are foreign to me, resistors? my brain is currently full of them??using Electric motors and the voltage possibilities of a 48 volt motor vis a vis a 72 volt controller is a puzzlerwhat can i use and where? that,s the puzzle that you guys seem to have mostly licked, having boldly gone before me. At 66 i,m on a very steep learning curve, reading ecomodder posts avidly hoping that i,ll hear an internal "click"c as the pennies drop.

Basically though, i sense that you take your E.V.ing very seriously well peppered with fun and consideration for the aspirations of the would be ev enthusiast. Many thanks meantime, Regards Archie Bell
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Old 04-12-2009, 09:56 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Thank you! That is a wonderful cause. I know you will be successful! If you have a good sized 48v forklift motor (at least 60 pounds), you will be able to run it at 72v no problem, without any adjustments. It might be better to have a motor that's a bit heavier than 60 pounds. Maybe like 80-120 pounds would be better. A larger motor can handle larger vehicles better.

Hey! My mom's family is from the Mulvihill clan in Ireland! Both my sister and she are fiery red-heads. hehe!

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