A majority of the electric cars on the road today are "home brew" conversion vehicles. People with an interest in electric cars convert existing gasoline-powered cars to electric in their backyards and garages. There are many Web sites that talk about the phenomenon and show you how to do it, where to get parts, etc.
Convert Your Car to The Vehicle Electrical Your Workshop
A typical electric vehicle conversion uses a DC controller and a DC motor. The person doing the conversion decides what voltage the system will run at -- typically anything between 96 volts and 192 volts. The voltage decision controls how many batteries the car will need, and what sort of motor and controller the car will use. The most common motors and controllers used in home conversions and electric car conversiondiycome from the electric forklift industry.
Usually, the person doing the conversion has a "donor vehicle" that will act as the platform for the conversion. Almost always, the donor vehicle is a normal gasoline-powered car that gets converted to electric. Most donor vehicles have a manual transmission.
The person doing the conversion has a lot of choices when it comes to battery technology. The vast majority of home conversions use lead-acid batteries, and there are several different options:
Marine deep-cycle lead-acid batteries (These are available everywhere, including Wal-mart.)
High-performance sealed batteries
Once the decisions about the motor, controller and batteries are made, the conversion can start. Here are the steps:
Remove the engine, gas tank, exhaust system, clutch and perhaps the radiator from the donor vehicle. Some controllers have water-cooled transistors, while some are air-cooled.
Usually, the electric motor needs a reduction gear for maximum efficiency. The easiest way to create the gear reduction is to pin the existing manual transmission in first or second gear. It would save weight to create a custom reduction gear, but normally it is too expensive.
Find space for, and build brackets to safely hold, all the batteries. Install the batteries. Sealed batteries have the advantage that they can be turned on their sides and fitted into all sorts of nooks and crannies. Wire the batteries and motor to the controller with #00 gauge welding cable. If the car has power steering, wire up and mount an electric motor for the power steering pump. If the car has air conditioning, wire up and mount an electric motor for the A/C compressor.
Read more Electric Car Conversion Guide and Convert your car to the vehicle electrical your workshop