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Old 09-23-2011, 05:56 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Need help insuring my 1994 Geo Metro conversion.

Hello everyone, I am Donovan Gibson and I have been converting my 1994 Geo Metro to electric power for the past year and a half and I have finally gotten it almost road worthy with one major hiccup. The insurance companies I have tried calling are denying me insurance on my car due to the fact I converted it myself. I would like input on what insurance companies you guys have found to be cooperative, I really want to get on the road soon!
The specs on my car are planned to be:
144 volt system using a slightly modified Open Revolt controller I bought from Paul and Sabrina (Thank you so much for your controller and the support on it!)
and an archaic Baker Electric 12 inch diameter forklift motor, original clutch and transmission. I am not using a solenoid contactor, instead I am using a small switch (which turns on the pre-charge resistor on and off) and a large Anderson connector (which I manually plug in) attached to the center console, this doubles as an emergency disconnect as well (which I did have to use one a recent test drive).
Currently (No pun intended) the car is at a local garage getting the breaks fixed, so I cannot take pictures of the mods I did to the controller yet, will hopefully get them taken on Monday and make a new thread on my changing the power side to be able to take 800 Amps (Component wise), need to figure out how to change the firmware to make use of that though.
I appreciate any input on any of the things I listed, especially the insurance issue.
Happy Ecomodding!!!
-Donovan Gibson

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Old 09-24-2011, 08:28 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Donovan,
I insured through Erie Insurance here in PA without problems. I heard of other success stories using State Farm. However I believe alot has to do with the type of insurance you’re looking for. For me it was only basic liability coverage as a pleasure vehicle. Cost was $288 per year. Things get complicated when you’re looking at insuring the cost of your conversion in the case of theft or accident related repairs (i.e. comprehensive & collision). Many insurance companies won’t insure a customized car since it doesn’t fit their standard policy. Also, I didn’t tell Erie I converted it myself, only that I had a gas car “converted over to electric”. They didn’t ask for more detail so I didn’t provide any.

You really should include a contactor. Low voltage control of your high voltage is a must for safety. Your Open Revolt motor controller can turn it on after a programmed delay (to allow precharge). An inertia switch should also be in series with the contactor coil to cut power in the event of impact. Most importantly, a contactor keeps you from manually plugging/unplugging the Anderson (which has no business being in the passenger compartment). I got my kilovac contactor off ebay for $60 and routinely see them go for $70. The inertia switch was from a Ford Ranger and also purchased off ebay for $10.
I have the contactor’s coil wired to my Open Revolt controller, inertia switch, and even an e-stop switch on the dash. I use my clutch cable to disconnect the Anderson located in the engine bay (my system is clutchless). The clutch pedal is shortened to prevent accidentally bumping it during normal operation.

Good Luck
-Chris
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Old 09-25-2011, 12:52 AM   #3 (permalink)
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It should be the same as insuring a hot rod, street rod or any other car that is at any car show.
I have my electric car insurance with Progressive.
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Old 09-28-2011, 12:19 AM   #4 (permalink)
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State Farm, minimum coverage. They don't care what I did to it at all- but I must admit that the insurance was on the car before, during, and after conversion too, so that may be why they didn't care....
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Old 10-04-2011, 07:11 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Alright everyone I thank you for your input!
I finally got a deal made with GEICO. Interestingly enough Progressive turned me down, practically hung up on me when I mentioned it was a home converted vehicle. After that I stopped mentioning that it was any different than a regular car.
-Don

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