To reduce the pollution from petroleum (fossil fuelled) transportation we must look at other energy sources. Hydrogen is promising but still many years away from consumer use despite billions of dollars spent on research. 

 

Electric power is here now and available. Unfortunately the big auto manufacturers (original equipment manufacturers OEM's) have discontinued their efforts to introduce battery electric vehicles (EV's). I feel that they have realized that the EV's do not meet the continual repair cycle that gasoline and diesel powered vehicles do with their ignition, fuel and emissions systems. Without continued repair revenue and low sales volume initially they are not interested. The components left in common are the complete body, frame, tires, brakes and perhaps the heating and cooling system.

CHOOSING AN APPROPRIATE DONOR VEHICLE
The conversion process starts with selecting an appropriate donor vehicle. All vehicles could be converted. Most are either too heavy, not of a popular make (to obtain parts later) have an automatic transmission (some power lost in slippage) and some may be rusty. That leaves the popular, compact, standard transmission vehicle as a best choice. Since electric power has sufficient torque at low rpm idling is unnecessary. It is easy to do most "around town" in second gear.

Now that we have eliminated a lot of potential donors let us look at other criteria. Air conditioning can be run with an electric motor for the compressor but EV's are naturally cooler as there is no heat producing engine under the hood. I will be using a simple fan on the dashboard in my pick-up electric vehicle conversion.

DO IT YOURSELF OR PROFESSIONAL HELP?
Assuming we now have a proper donor we have a number of choices. We can do the job ourselves or hire the job out to a shop specialising in electric vehicle conversions. One such business is REV Consultants in Ottawa operated by Richard Lane. Electric Vehicle Conversion shops will usually supply the components to do the job yourself if you wish. There are two basic ways to proceed; one can buy a "kit" if a popular donor has been chosen or one can buy the parts separately and invest sweat equity.

ELECTRIC COMPONENTS
Alternating or Direct Current? These are two distinctly different systems that can be used. Most private conversions are DC but if one has a larger budget some AC systems are commercially available. AC systems require an inverter to change the DC power from the battery to the AC for the controller to send to the motor. AC systems require an inverter to change the DC power from the battery to the AC for the controller to send to the motor. However, more components means more cost; but one advantage with AC is regenerative braking which is built into the controller and saves wear on the friction brakes that normally stop the vehicle.

 Electric Vehicle Components:

1 Electric Motor

2 Battery Pack

3 Motor Controller

4 Contactor

5 Fuse

6 Vacuum Pump

7 DC/DC Converter

8 Instrumentation

9 Power Steering Pump

10 Battery Charger

Read More Electric Vehicle Conversion Process

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