Electric Conversions

Electric Vehicle Concepts 50 year electric conversion time line

          Electric conversion time line

     In the 1970's we did not have digital cameras and computers to store photographs. Over this time many photographs were lost, destroyed or thrown out. Scanning fifty year old photographs doesn't look that great. This time line may be educational to some or boring to others. Can't say I remember half of it.

The basics of electric conversions are the same but the components have improved over the past fifty years. Many car models were repeated because they were good choices for electric conversions.

There are cars, tractors, boats and motorcycles. Concept designs and prototypes. Electric kit cars and vintage customs also in the mix.

In the 70's high volt DC drives were not readily available as they are today. Lead Acid batteries were it. Motors came from the fork lift industry and jet air plane starter motors. General Electric was the go to company with their DC motors and the EV1 controller.

EV-1 controller.jpg

                     1973
The EV-1 was one of the first DC high volt controllers available. Now we have controllers half the size that can handle the same amps.

GE motor.jpg

                    1973
Very well used electric conversion. GE motor, Adapter and coupling I made connected to the Fiat transmission using the clutch. Fans for motor and controller.

There are many factors that will create changes in the performance of your electric conversion. Your vehicle choice and electric conversion components. You cannot see a magnetic flux field. You can calculate what you think your electric conversion kit will do. But in the end it is only the real seat of the pants experience that will give you the true experience and education.

There is a lot of electric conversion history in this website. There should be something for everyone.

Donor car choice for Lead Acid Battery powered Electric Conversions

The charger may be the most important choice in your electric conversion. It MUST shut off at the proper voltage. Lester chargers were one of the best in the 1970's. Voltage designed for 144 volts. 110 or 220 V ac input. Had a 12 Volt DC charger built into the same case. 144 volts was the goal. That is 24 - 6 volt batteries at 65 pounds each equals over 1500 pounds.

 

You are going to remove 500 pounds of gas components and add 1000 pounds. The small trucks were a popular choice in the early days. Not everyone wants a two passenger truck. Most people want a light vehicle that could carry four or five adults.

#1. You must be able to change the spring and shocks to carry the extra 1000 pounds.

#2. The bearings, brakes and suspension must be be strong enough to carry the extra weight.

 

My electric conversion car of choice in the 70's was the Italian made Fiats. The Fiats used the common 5" diameter coil spring and out board shocks. Most vehicles in the seventies used this design. I raced stock cars and had many extra springs and shocks that size. The over all steel was great. The manual transmissions were the best. I raced gas powered Fiats in the SCCA series also.

This is the reason you see so many Fiat's used in my electric conversions in my seventies.

     Electric Conversion Basics

 

  Removing and Replacing Components

#1. Welding and Steel Fabrication

The world was a different place fifty years ago. The thought of doing an electric conversion was entertaining back then. I have found that 75 percent of the conversion process of changing a gas car to electric is steel fabrication and welding. It can take years to become an experienced steel fabricator and thousands of dollars in welding and fabrication equipment. Steel fabrication is some thing that you are intrigued with and enjoy or you will never be good at it. Steel fabrication is an art and not a science. I started at ten soldering tubing together to make electric slot cars. I designed and fabricated my race cars for the NASCAR series and SCCA series. I still today in 2020 enjoy building electric vehicle concepts. Anyone can buy parts. You still have to put them together and install them in your vehicle. Electric Vehicle Concepts is still here to help with your electric vehicle build. This website is created to share my electric conversion history and hopefully educate the interested.

 

#1: Removing gas parts.

I have had people ask if they should remove the gas components before the car arrived. Knowing where the wires are going and coming from is easiest to see when they are attached to the components. Marking them well is a big time saver.

#2 Removing the structural steel.

Most of our modern cars are uni body steel structures. We have seen the change from frame and body cars to the uni body design of incorporating both the frame and body in one stamped part to save weight. Many designs use sub frames with the uni body design. This can speed up assembly. The front sub frame would carry the engine and transmission along with steering. The rear sub frame would carry the differential and rear suspension. Trunk areas are usually redesigned to carry batteries.

 

#3 Transmissions and gear boxes.

All vehicles use a transmission or gear reduction gear box. All gas and gas-electric (hybrids) use transmissions with a final drive gear box. Many hybrids use CVT's (Constant Velocity Transmissions). Many gas cars are using CVT's now.

Most full electric vehicle are direct connected to a gear reduction gear box or trans axle system. The electric motor can change the rotation direction electrically. No need for reverse gearing.

Electric conversion to a gas drive will need to fabricate and adapter plate to connect the transmission to the electric motor face. Also the flywheel or torque converter will need to be coupled to the electric motor shaft.

We have used automatics in the past. Manuals are good with a working clutch

New motor mounts will have to be fabricated along front battery box and mount for controller. Adapter plate on front of motor for AC compressor, power steering pump, alternator if you use it. Mount DC to DC converter. Mount charger and vacuum pump.

E-V Concepts has made over forty different styles of motor to transmission adapters and couplings. Canadian EV has some adapters. Call or email us if you cannot find one for your car.

 

#4 Wire your vehicle together.

Electric vehicle concepts

The generator sat over the electric motor. Using the Curtis DC controller at 150 volts. The batteries and charger were in the small trunk area. The generator could charge the batteries while driving or stopped.

Hybrid generator

Ford manual transmission with working clutch connected to the DC 9" motor. The Honda EU 6500 generator are double insulated and very quiet. With electric start and choke we moved controls to the interior of the car.

Electric Conversion Goals

 

Design Priorities - Parts and Manufactures

 

#1. Total System Voltage

You want the total running voltage as high as possible. 200 volts or more, up to 400 volts.

You are limited on space in most gas - electric conversions. You will use lithium ion batteries from a new EV. The higher the volts the less amps you use 
making the batteries run cool. Modern EV's run near 400 volts. Modern EVs are designed to use the complete floor for batteries. This is not the standard for gas converted cars. The front and rear are more common areas in gas conversions for batteries.

Out of the many electric conversions in the past fifty years. I find it hard to get over 300 volts using lithium batteries in gas-electric conversions. Less than 150 volts will barely push a 3000 pound vehicle at freeway speeds. The more battery capacity (Amps) the more range.

vwgenerator

 With little space in the VW  we decided to use a Honda EU1800 generator for a hybrid design. The generator could run during driving or stopped. Electric on/off start switch was moved inside.

VW electric conversion

 This was the start of the Winston (ThunderSky) LiPo4 lithium cells. We had enough space to get over 150 volts using 100 amp cells. Anything was better than lead.

 

#2. Chargers.

 Your resting lithium ion cell is 3.7 volts times your total cells. The charger must shut off at the exact top of the charging voltage. Adjustable chargers are rare. Manzanita have been around for many years and will run up to 340 volts.

Elcon chargers can be programed by Elcon and small changes can be made in the car. Both will run 110 AC and 220 AC. Your choice of amps they put out. Nice feature Manzanity you can adjust the amperage out put.

#3. DC Controller or AC Inverter

Cost can have some decision on your choice of AC Drive or DC Drive.

AC Drives:

There are many choices under 150 volts for controllers or inverters.

AC Drives are usually more expensive. Especially over 150 volts. The Inverter is designed to work with the motor. These are bought as a motor - inverter kit.

EV charging

 We still like to carry a new 50 foot charge cord. There were no charging stations or J1772 plugs. The alternator was used as the regeneration for the 12 volt battery during braking.

Electric hybrid

      The small trucks had full steel frames and the heavier suspension to carry the extra 1000 pounds of lead batteries. We could carry a generator. The lead batteries would overheat if you worked them to hard.

lead

 Originally we used smaller lead acid batteries to get the voltage up higher with the limited space we had. Ten years latter we put lithium batteries in for a new owner.

959 kit car

We connected an eleven inch electric motor to the factory transmission with a working clutch. Used a high powered Zilla DC controller and Mazanita charger in the front.

 

#4. Questions and answers.

Call or Email. Advise is free. I like to share my years of history and many testing failures. Saves you time and money.

The torque falls off above 3000 RPM's.
The smaller 9" motors rev higher and can run to 300 plus volts. $2500 
The Solitron DC controller will adjust to any voltage under 340 volts. $3000

The Manzanita Charger will adjust up to 340 volts. $3000 
You need an transmission adapter and motor coupling. $1500 Front adapter plate and pulleys may be needed for AC and power steering. $500

Need a proper fuel gauge Link Pro. $300

audi tt e-conversion

Soliton DC controller with Manzanita charger behind the front seat. All lithium LiPO4 batteries in the trunk.

ev adapter plate

 Front wheel drive. The electric motor seemed just a bit longer than the gas engine. Was a tight fit with the AC and power steering pump on the front.

     

 

 

#5: Battery Choices

There are some mass produced batteries now.

The Fiat Samsung Bosch batteries come in factory package of 5 and 6 cell modules. The modules are the size of a group 23 lead battery. Ten pounds each. 20 volts each. Cost is $300 each. Ten would get you 200 volts. Higher is better. Return with any questions.

ev adapter

                    2004

      Porsche Boxster 2000

AC compressor and power steering pump on the front. Used the factory front motor mount along with the rear motor mounts.

boxster conversion

                    2004

       Porsche Boxster 2000

Made the rear battery box go around the transmission. Had batteries in the front trunk area.  And a few more in the engine bay.

Mercedes SL500

The LiPo4 battery cells were easy to arrange in different shapes Water cooled Soliton DC controller could put out high amps and high volts in comparison to most DC controllers.

sl500 automatic transmission

    Some of the older automatic transmissions were easy to work with in comparison to the electronic controlled automatic transmissions. Great for the heavier cars and much more efficient.

In the early 1970's the V twin Harley Davidson was the ideal small engine for E-V Concepts hybrid designs. The large displacement V-twin made good torque at low speeds and matched the running speeds of our electric motors. The V-twin gas engine was inline with the electric motor and coupled by an electric clutch much like the magnetic clutch on your automotive air conditioning compressor.

Under hood Mazda conversion

                    2007

              Mazda RX8

Front battery box went across the front where the radiator and AC condenser would have been. Put the factory engine cover back on.

Mazda battery trunk

                    2007

              Mazda RX8

This car was going into colder area of the USA. We built hot water boxes under the front and rear battery boxes. Electric heater could run during charging or driving.

1969 Fiat 124 Sport coupe

                 1972

First Electric Conversion

1969 124 Fiat Sport Coupe. Used the Fiats for many electric conversions and kit car donors in the 70's.

Electric Sport coupe.jpg

                      1973
First fiberglass design concept in 1973. Body put over a 1969 Fiat 124 Sport Coupe electric conversion. Hard top roof was removed and soft top made. First and last time for cutting the top off a car to make a convertible.

1974

         1970 Fiat 124 Spider

Bought my first Fiat 124 Spider in 1972. Later raced them in the SCCA national series for a few years.

E-124 Spider Berlinetta.jpg

                    1975
Another Berlinetta fiberglass body over a 1969 Fiat 124 Spider

electric conversion. Wheels and tires from my NASCAR racer.

1974 Fiat 131 salon.jpg

1976

1974 Fiat 130 Salon

electric conversion. This model was never sold in the USA. Fiat sent six of these 130's along with forty other vehicles for crash testing in the USA. I was able to get a couple. Bent front bumper from a 5 mile a hour crash test.

                     1977

The 1969 SL Mercedes was a good start for the early electric conversions. They were inexpensive back then. Could carry the weight of the lead batteries.

1968_mustang.jpg

                     1978

Still running lead acid batteries. The older 1966 Mustangs were plentiful and cheap. Easy to change the suspension for the extra battery weight.

1927 speedster EV

                     1979

The old hot rods were a simple toy for city use. A lot of show but not much go with lead batteries.

Berlinetta down

                     1980

Another electric kit car from our Berlanetta molds. Triumph TR7 donor chassis. A lot of extra work to make battery boxes to carry lead acid batteries.

Carriage 1903 replica ev

                     1981

This was a good choice for electric conversion 1903 carriage for park tours.

Jaguar-E 1968

                     1982

The early 1968's Jaguars were built to carry the big engines. Plenty of space and could carry the weight. Aerodynamics helped a lot.

red-kelmark-gt-51-520x325.jpg

                     1983

Early Ferrari look alike called the Kelmark. Could be put on a number of chassis. Well done for the early kit cars.

MK1 Jaguar 1963

                     1984

The older 1958 MK1 Jaguar. Real luxury for it's time. Could not find many people in the USA to maintain or get parts. They are expensive cars now.

Rix-36-ford_electric

                     1985

Early iron from the 1930s was solid and strong. Easy to work with and could carry the weight. Always used steel wheels.

Ferrari-250-GTO-Replica

                     1986

Early Ferrari GTO look a like replica used the 240Z Nissan. There were some interesting kit cars in those days.

Fiberfab avenger.jpg

                     1987

Early Ford GT40 look alike called the Avenger created by Fiberfab. Always liked the kit cars. This used the Mustang 11 suspension.

daytona-spyder-365-gtb-.jpg

                     1988

Early Ferrari look alike called the Daytona. This was a limited  production made by Bernie Mac. Was sued by Ferrari for his copies.

rixster-golf cart

                     1989

This was the beginning of the A123 26650 spiral lithium cells used in the Dewalt portable power tools.

We designed a futuristic 1932 lowboy coupe, Rixter Roadster.

mgb 1972.jpg

                    1990

With the new light weight 26650 lithium spiral cells we could now use donor vehicles for electric conversions that could not carry the heavy lead acid batteries. 

MGB 1972

Mercedes Electric kit car

                    1991

1953 Mercedes Gazelle kit car. Built on the Ford Mustang suspension and sub frames . Ford transmission and rear end. Hybrid design with the Honda EU 3500 generator mounted over the  motor.

                    1992

Commissioned by a Brazilian biodiesel manufacture wanting to produce electric vehicles for international sales. The Sigma GTE. Created the body from their conceptual drawings. AWD Twin motors designed by E-V Concepts.

1990 miata.jpg

                    1993

Mazda Miata electric conversion. Since there were no more Fiat 124 Spiders. The Miata was a direct copy of the Fiat. Good transmissions. Nice small convertible EV.

64 beetle electric conversion

                    1994

1964 VW beetle. We would not convert the VW's and Porsche's with lead acid batteries. They could not handle the weight. It was to difficult to beef up the old style suspension.

Sigma-GTE convertible

                    1995

The Sigma GTE body was used on a number of donor chassis's. The Mitsubishi Eclipse was a favorite of mine. Hardtop or convertible.

E-Varri electric motorcycle

                    1996

The Brazilian company wanted a motorcycle. Their conceptual body was designed by an Israeli digital engineer. He considered it to be a Ferrari design concept. We made the real thing electric.

vette e-kit car

                    1997

1958 corvette electric kit car.

used Camaro sub frames and suspension. Chevy transmission and rear end

S10 electric conversion

                    1998

1990 Chevy S10 truck

The early small trucks were very poplar electric lead battery conversions. The Nissan"s trucks were available in the 1960's.

Porsche 911-959

                    1999

   959 Porsche fiberglass kit car body on a 911 Porsche.

This was the last lead acid electric conversion. The owner did not want to spend the extra money it cost for lipo4 lithium batteries.

37fcc78.jpg

                    2000

A 1937 Ford fiberglass kit car

Used Ford Mustang suspension.  Conversion using the 26650 A123 lithium spiral cells .

550 Kit Car

                    2001

         550 Spider Kit Car

Convertible electric Conversion

With the light weight batteries the VW suspension could be used. We made a tube frame to match the original factory tube frame with all original VW suspension.

Audi TT

                    2002

  Audi TT Convertible Conversion

We had never done this model Audi. I think this was one of the best choices for electric conversion with lithium batteries.

Audi A8.jpg

                    2003

Audi A8, 1998 Nice car with AWD and all aluminum. We used the Automatic transmission and sold the  big V8 engine.

ev porsche boxster

                    2004

       Porsche Boxster 2000

These early Boxsters had engine oiling problems. The electric conversion cost the same as a Porsche gas engine replacement.

SL500 electric conversion

                    2005

       Mercedes SL 500 2000

 

Told the client to find something he liked and would want to keep.

This was a pretty choice.

 

Cobra electric kit car

                    2006

    Ford Shelby Cobra kit car

Still one of the most popular  replica kit cars. A good number of companies made replica bodies.

You can always find kit car projects that people gave up on completing.

Mazda RX8 conversion

                    2007

          2004 Mazda RX8

The Rotary Wankel engine could have engine trouble if not taken care of.  Nice looking car and could get them with low miles and a bad engine.

Charger in trunk

                   
The ford Mustang was a little heavier than some other choices now that we had the lighter lithium batteries. The trunk space was all we needed for battery space.

Mustang conversion

      Power steering pump, AC condenser pump and alternator were run off the front motor pulley

2000 Mustang electric conversion

                    2008

         2000 Ford Mustang

This was a little heavy for a lithium electric conversion. But this was the clients choice. Nice looking and inexpensive for the time.

Electric Bobcat tractor.JPG

                    2009
Brand new diesel Bobcat  Built for the New York city storm drain maintenance.

Link to other pictures and info

Facade_Hybrid.JPG

                    2010

Facade Electric Vehicle Concept

This was the only four door E-V Concept we designed. This was done for a new EV company. The original donor was the Dodge Intrepid. Later the Honda hybrid.

Extended drive.JPG

                    2011

           The Flying ZEN

This was designed to run on an overhead rail system for long runs. The overhead wheels would retract into the back of the car for general city street use.


Link to other pictures and info.

Sigma GT Electric Conversion

                    2012

Another Sigma GTE Electric kit car

Conversion. Changing the donor car gave it a unique look. Manufacture choice was a client option along with other body modifications.

1- Mamba-concept - Copy.jpeg

                    2013

       Mamba  electric kit car
Design by another upstart EV company. We took they conceptual drawings and created the full size sculpture (plug) for a fiberglass molds. The Mitsubishi Eclipse was used for the donor. Hardtop or convertible.

Electric-reventon

                    2014

          e-venton kit car

One of the few times tried to make a replica. The Lamborghini Reventon was a limited build of 21 cars. A client requested we build him an electric replica of this million dollar supercar.

Electric gallardo

                    2015

        Gallardo  kit car

Another replica of the Lamborghini Gallardo. The Toyota Celica was the donor car with electric conversion. The electric motors sat very low compared to the gas engine.

Electric-Sailboat

                    2016

         Yacht Conversions

The Entra Coastal Canal runs from New York to Florida and travels threw Charleston port.

mamba ev

                    2017

       Miata electric kit car
Designed and built for a client in New Jursey. Used the retractable hardtop to hold up to the snow loads in the winters.

wheel chair van ev

                    2018
 

Wheel chair accessible Van

Started with the PT CruiConversion

company wants a motorcycle. Their raeli digital engineer. He considered it to be a Ferrari design

Mino-Reverse trike - Copy.jpg

                    2019
reverse trike Conversion

company wants a motorcycle. Their raeli digital engineer. He considered it to be a Ferrari design

Economical and Ecological Advantages Electric Vehicle Concepts owners are eligible for state and federal tax credits and are exempt from some excise and luxury taxes. Drive in carpool lanes

Sigma gte convertble

                    2020

1958 corvette kit car

Convertible Conversion

company wants a motorcycle. Their raeli digital engineer. He considered it to be a Ferrari design

                    2021

electric vehicle concepts

 

1958 corvette kit car

Convertible Conversion

company wants a motorcycle. Their