In the spring of 2008, I started going to the meetings of OEVA (Oregon Electric Vehicle
Association). They meet every second Thursday evening of the month in Portland. Before
the meeting you can see a variety of conversions completed by the other members and ask
questions about their projects.
I thought I would attempt an EV (Electric Vehicle) conversion project and see how far I
could take the project. My concern was that EV conversion projects are very costly and I had
a very limited budget. In the worst case, I decided to look at this project as a learning experience.
If you have a very limited time, here is the scoop: I was able to complete the conversion. I was able to drive the truck up to about 15 mph. The main problem was that the inverter was not powerful enough to create more torque. I was able to charge the batteries on downhill with regenerative power. The total cost of the project was just under $3000. This included a simple charger to charge the batteries, but did not include a battery monitoring or management system. I used 15HP 3 phase AC motor with 15HP Hitachi inverter and 20 lead acid batteries.
First, I wanted to use a small light weight car to have a longer range. But I did not want to deal with the problem of beefing up the shocks (or springs) to carry the extra weight of the batteries. The second problem was building metal shelves to carry the batteries. If I picked a truck as the target vehicle, both problems would disappear since trucks are built to carry weight, and I could put all the batteries in the back outside the cab.
I kept monitoring the Craigs List ads to find a truck with engine problems. Finally I picked 1984 Mazda long bed truck. See below the pictures of the delivery of the truck.