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Welcome to the Electric Car Weblog. In addition to links, news, and tips about electric cars and other forms of alternative transportation we are publishing an on-line diary of our current EV project. Started in August 2005 the chronicle follows the conversion of a gas powered Ford Probe into an Electric Car.

You will find articles organized by categories, along with recent comments, along the right hand column of the website. If you are just getting started with the idea of converting a gas car to electric be sure to check out Your First Electric Car

Welcome and enjoy!

Electric Car II · 4 September 05

I’d like to introduce Eve, our next electric car.

Eve before electric conversion

We bought Eve yesterday and while cleaning out the old registrations in the glove box I discovered that she’s been lying about her age. She’s actually a 1990 Ford Probe, not a 1989. Bonus year!

There’s a little over 160k miles on her, almost all of it southern driving. No discernible rust, engine compartment is clean, and the tires have a few years left on them. Records show regular maintenance. All in all a very well cared for car.

Eve's old gas engine
click to zoom

It’s tempting to drive into the garage and start pulling out unneeded components; that’s what I did with the first EV. This time I’m going to try to do a little more planning.

Here’s a list of pre-teardown items before starting the electric car conversion. I’ll add to this list over the next few days.

  • insurance and registration
  • get her on a scale to get the pre-conversion weight
  • thorough washing, especially under the chassis
  • put an ad in the paper to sell motor, gas tank, exhaust
  • buy a detailed manual w/wiring guide (i.e. Chilton’s)
  • visit garage, have them drain AC freon
  • make a list of what gets removed
    • drain oil
    • siphon gas
    • drain radiator
    • disconnect battery
    • remove hood (mark outline for future alignment)
    • disconnect throttle linkage
    • disconnect all wires and hoses hooked from chassis to engine
    • remove radiator
    • pull engine out
    • put car on jack stands, remove exhaust
    • drain gas lines, remove gas tank
    • remove all of the engine electronics:
    • pull out heater core (in passenger compartment)

This should be fun!

Comments 29
  1. — Martin Bobak    Sep 04, 2005 21:03 PM    #
    this is great!
  2. Shaun Williams    Sep 05, 2005 05:19 AM    #
    Jerry, I loved your first diary, very honest. I can’t wait to follow this one!
  3. Ted Jerome    Sep 06, 2005 06:23 AM    #
    Looks like the beginning of a beautiful friendship!
  4. Jerry Halstead    Sep 06, 2005 08:53 AM    #
    Thanks everyone.
  5. Gary Owens    Sep 06, 2005 14:25 PM    #
    very nice couple of sites, I’m in the planning stage now, and I’m looking at all the conversion sites I can find
  6. — Martin Stacey    Sep 06, 2005 15:13 PM    #
    Good luck with the project Jerry, will you be using the same motor/controller as before or something new.
    With the price of gas in the uk I should be doing something like this myself! Will follow your progress with interest.
  7. — Ruth Ward    Sep 07, 2005 14:42 PM    #
    May I ask, why did you choose a metal body vehicle? Wouldn’t a fiberglass body be lighter?
  8. danny    Sep 07, 2005 18:00 PM    #
    Great work Jerry. Bring it to London – you’ll park for free and avoid the congestion charge too!
  9. Jerry Halstead    Sep 07, 2005 18:36 PM    #
    Gary: thanks.

    Martin: yep, same motor, controller, relays, vacuum, most everything but the battery frames (didn’t unweld from old car) and batteries. Ultimate recycling!

    Ruth: it would and I would have loved to have one. But in my search I didn’t find a likely candidate. I plan to take this car apart a bit more, see what can be trimmed out. Maybe they make plastic/fiberglass replacement fenders for it?

    Danny: London, eh? Hadn’t thought about that…but, hey, free parking!
  10. — Greg Coleman    Sep 08, 2005 23:06 PM    #
    Jerry, glad to see you have another car to start on. I will be following your progress and doing some refining on mine.
  11. — Dale Rose    Nov 28, 2005 17:22 PM    #
    hi jerry im just finished a cad diagram of a free wheel design thats connected to a dc generator that should charge the batteries in my mini whilst braking and driving normally. ill write back once ested great website, helped out alot in starting
  12. Jerry Halstead    Nov 29, 2005 07:20 AM    #
    Looking forward to seeing it.

    You didn’t say “charge while driving” right? ”:^)
  13. — Dale Rose    Nov 29, 2005 08:01 AM    #
    yep i works on how the old formula one cars used to store energy whilst braking plus some more complicated bits but im runing it throw my engineering lecture at uni so hopefulley it should be fully working during august ill send u a schematic once weve check it out and worked out the bugs
  14. — Chris Moore    Apr 23, 2006 18:20 PM    #

    Jerry, would ford ranger pu make a good conversion with batteries located in bed

  15. Jerry Halstead    Apr 24, 2006 07:43 AM    #

    Hi Chris,

    Sure, a number of folks have converted rangers and S10s to be EVs.

    The typical approach is to temporarily pop the truck bed off (maybe put in hydraulic lifts) and place the batteries between the frame, basically where the old gas tank was. This lowers the center of gravity and lets you use the bed for hauling other things.

  16. — Brian Osburn    May 09, 2006 19:07 PM    #

    Very cool, Jerry. I see where I’m only a couple of steps away from doing what you’re doing at this stage in the process. This is a very well written and documented EV site. The more I sit and read…the more I like it. My fear right now is that my car doesn’t have enough room for batteries. I need to find out how many I’ll need and where they’ll fit. I get the MR2 on Friday (5/12/2006). And BTW…I only paid $100 for it. It has a great body, great interior, good tires and a broken driver’s window ($115 to replace). Not a bad deal for a T-Top, huh?

  17. — Al Swisher    May 23, 2006 19:27 PM    #

    I just finished reading all about your first EV, and got a lot of great ideas. I’m having a hard time finding links that have actual items for sale. I’m over in Merrimack, and could probably get parts at the same places that you do. Exactly how much of this stuff do you buy online/mail-order, and do you have any current links? By the way, I was thinking about re-building the engine in my 94 Jeep Wrangler, and had a light bulb go off over my head about doing this conversion on it instead. With the soft top, and the soft doors, it’s actually a very light vehicle. And, its 4-wheel-drive to get around in the NH winters.

  18. — Adam Rupeka    Dec 07, 2006 19:27 PM    #

    I am in Albany NY and I have 1971-1984 vw bugs sitting around and would like some opinions on converting one of them. My brother made a dune buggy out of one and talk about light weight. Does anyone think there is enough rook in one of them to make this work? Email me at arupeka@nycap.rr.com to discuse ideas.

  19. — James May    Dec 08, 2006 09:16 AM    #

    Hi Adam

    There are at least 10 beetle EVs on EVAlbum

    I like EVAlbum, I can flick through the vehicles for hours looking for ideas. Thank you those people who have compiled it!

  20. — Adam Rupeka    Jan 20, 2007 05:48 AM    #

    Thanks James. Great site for VW’s. And other EV’s. Does anyone know of a club near NY?

  21. — Lindsay    Jan 24, 2007 15:12 PM    #

    #16 Brian. University of Canterbury in New Zealand is working on a MR2 conversion. May find their experience useful http://www.elec.canterbury.ac.nz/research/powerelectronics/documents/IEEE_EV3_Seminar.ppt

  22. — Eddie    Mar 09, 2007 02:33 AM    #

    i was just wondering, what electric motors are there that would be equivalent to a 130 horse power gas engine, thank you Eddie

  23. jerry Halstead    Mar 09, 2007 08:30 AM    #

    Most of the bigger ADC and Warp motors, see them and their specs here at EVParts.

    And comparing HP of a gas engine to an electric motor is less of an apple to apples comparison than you might think. I wrote a short article about it here: Electric Car Motors

  24. — ben s. jones    Aug 31, 2007 12:09 PM    #

    have you published your conversion procedure in a plan or book form available for purchase, if so where and how much

  25. — Aaron    Mar 27, 2008 19:33 PM    #

    Hey if you wanna send me any parts I wouldn’t mind I have a car exactly the same as that.

  26. — Ish    May 13, 2008 22:34 PM    #

    Its 2008 now and gas is at 3.61 I am so ready to do this. Im now looking for lightweight cars. Whats the min/max weight I need to consider?

  27. Sunny Huang    Dec 04, 2008 15:05 PM    #

    I am very appreciate of your helping people to use less gasoline, please check our web-site, we are also developing solar and electric cars, we are looking for partners to design and marketing the new electric-solar car to the world.
    Also i have a 1999 MBenz SUV ML320, how do you think if i add a DC motor to it but keep the Gas parts, so i can drive it as hybrid, i mean drive at 45MPH in city by electric, keep gas power for freeway and aircondition-heaters. also instead od lead-batterys, let use LiPo4 batterys, it is 1/5 lighter, but 3 times more range, how do you think ?

    Thank you,
    Sunny, solarcar2@gmail.com



  28. — DanP.    Dec 04, 2008 15:33 PM    #

    Nice toy kiddie cart.

  29. Michael    Feb 01, 2009 22:28 PM    #

    We have been involved in many car convertions and the best battery chargers for Ev is the Australian owned designed and manufactured Woods battery chargers there Ev range can be custom made to suit any application Volts amps and battery type