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Old 03-05-2008, 10:16 PM   #1 (permalink)
Did you get that thing?
 
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I'm thinking electric

Ok, I have a few questions about this and I have a few ideas running through my head and I know you are the guys to run them by. I'll start with my goal and the best way would be for you to tell me what I have to do to achieve it, or refine my ideas into something that would work.

My goal is to have an all electric car that would have at least 40 miles range (for my commute to work, which is a straight drive down a busy road that opens up for about 30-40% at 55mph.. more range would be great!, then I could drive it to school too) and would be able to do 55mph. Where should I start my research on this? I'm thinking of turning the civic into the electric, but I'm open to suggestions on what would be a better starting platform. I'm trying to do this as cost effective as possible, but I will spend whats needed to get the job done. Meaning, I won't skimp, but I would like to keep the costs down where applicable. The way I look at it is, if I can eliminate gas altogether from my budget, then at some point and time, the mods will pay for themselves, and I realize that my electric bill will go up, but lucky for me, electric is included in the rent... plus I like the idea of tackling a project like this.

-One thing I have thought of was to add solar panels on the roof, trunk and possible hood to charge the batteries while it sits at work all day, I know the cost of the panels will be high, but if it will add a considerable amount of range to the car, then I believe it would be worth it. I haven't done my homework on this yet.

-One con That I thought about would be the lack of heat. I'm in Buffalo NY and it gets pretty chilly here in the winter. I know an electric heater will kill my range and I want to start looking into that. My drive home will also be at night in the winter, so I will have to use headlights also.

-One major problem I will have with keeping the build cheap is going to be time. I don't have a whole lot of free time, and I don't have the space to disassemble a forklift, so I will have to buy these parts seperately, which I know will drive the cost up. I plan on building the car myself, and honing my welding skills at the same time

I'm hoping you guys can give me some insight into this project, and opinions too on if you think it would even be worth doing. This site actually gave me the idea. Its just a thought for now, but if it turns out to be a plausible one, then it will quickly become a project.

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Old 03-06-2008, 12:15 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Solar:
Solar is a wonderful thing, but PV panels are not cheap, nor light or aerodynamic, so I really don't think they belong on a car unless you are in the middle of NOWHERE. People have done some amazing things with solar and cars, but I don't think it's the way to go for a starter project. Electric outlets are EVERYWHERE! (Wait til X-mas and just look to see where all the lights are plugged in!)

Heat:
Heat in an electric car is a big concern of mine. Even if I am wearing gloves and a coat, the windshield MUST be clear and viewable. I think I will install an electric heater unit in place of the original ICE heater. This will be mostly just used as needed for a defroster.

You could also have a standard electric space heater in the car set up on a timer, so it kicks on for a while in the morning before you hop in the car to leave. Then your car is at least nice and warm to start with, and the electricity comes from your house instead of your batteries.

Cheap:
I am trying to do my conversion as inexpensively as I can. It seems like the keys to this are: be patient, wait for deals, find GOOD used equipment, and talk to lots of people.

I would also highly recommend looking through all sorts of the electric vehicles at the AustinEV site.

There is also the EV discussion list and DIY Electric Car Forum
and lot of other interesting places on the web to visit.

Hope that helps!

-Ben


PS: You will LOVE electric! It is SO FUN!
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Old 03-06-2008, 12:30 AM   #3 (permalink)
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If you have the money, check out eBay, right now there are 5 Electric pickup trucks, 3 Chevy s-10s and 2 ford rangers, factory built, not cobbled together, and from what I can tell from Wikipidia, the Chevy S-10 uses the same drive train as the EV-1, and it sounds like most parts are still available for them.
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Old 03-07-2008, 12:07 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I second all the advice given.

Since you don't have time, Ryland's makes a lot of sense. Buy something that someone else has already built. Chances are you'll need batteries for just about any used EV however.

The EV Album is also a great place to get an idea for how much a typical conversion costs, and how far it'll go. Ball park, converting a vehicle properly into a 40 mile commuter will cost about 8-12k.
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Old 03-07-2008, 12:37 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Wow - just found this, and boy does it sum things up nicely.

Quote:
This page is intended to be the first stop for anyone who has decided to create their own DIY EV. The following websites and resources are staples of the DIY electric car builder's diet. They are a great place to start, will answer many of your questions and provide plenty of inspiration for your conversion.

http://www.diyelectriccar.com/forums...ead.php?t=8451
So it mentions the ForkenSwift - I may be biased in my recommending it.
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Old 03-07-2008, 11:55 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Thanks guys, very good info and very informative links. I now see the folly in adding solar panels to a vehicle, haha.

I think maybe if I do this, I might have to put some time into it. Maybe make it a project over a year or two, because 8 to 12k just isn't in my budget. If it was closer to about 4k I could swing it probably. I'll have to play with the numbers and look and see whats out there.

Well, that was just the info I was looking for, If I do end up deciding to build one, I'll be sure to start a thread... but at this point, I'd probably have to attend a lot of funerals if I told you to hold your breath.
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Old 03-20-2008, 01:33 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I am also intending to do an EV Build.
I haven't started the build thread yet because i'm waiting until i have most of the parts. I don't want to start a build thread then go 3 or 4 months without an update because of cost.

When you look to build/buy your EV you must remember to OVER budget.
For example - at a forklift junk yard i bought a used motor for about $60 that's a good size. but that $60 doesn't count the first motor i follied on for $30.
(I'm awful lucky having a local forklift scrap yard. otherwise the same motor would of cost around 2K used.)

You haven't said how much $$ you hope to limit yourself to with this project.
I'm trying to limit mine to an unheard of $2k (including batteries) for a 100 mile range build. This budget is already anticipated to be impossible but i'm doing my best.

Just remember to exorcize patience, listen to that good sense voice in the back of your head, and err on the side of caution. It is better to take a month to get a part you need than it is to spend an extra $1000 - don't be over eager.

Your goal IS an achievable one so don't get discouraged. Every online EV community is more than willing to help. It means one less ICE car on the road and one more step to mainstream acceptance of EVs.

Best of luck.

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