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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!

Family Guy · 20 March 07

Spring is drawing closer. I know this because a corner of Eve’s car cover melted clear the other day and she no longer looks completely like a white mound of snow. Someday soon we’ll perhaps be able to roll her into the garage and figure out where everything was left off.

In the meantime I’m having no problem staying busy. The baby is due in 67 days and I’m, for want of a better word, nesting. My current job is to turn the old attached garage (where Eve used to live) into a family room; with sufficient closets to make everyone happy.

Here’s a time-lapse video from this weekend’s work.

Comments 8
  1. — jim hurst    Mar 23, 2007 20:18 PM    #

    Hi Jerry,
    Sad to see the Garage go, but I see you have french doors. Will Eve fit through them :)

  2. — Tom Greenhaw    Mar 24, 2007 14:22 PM    #

    Would you take a look at these batteries and let me know what you think about using them in an electric car conversion?


    BTW, nice time lapse!

  3. jerry Halstead    Mar 25, 2007 12:26 PM    #


    I’d LOVE to use those in an electric car but the price tag (typically north of $10k) scares me off each time. But if you have the money or a means to get them cheaper they’d make a great EV pack.


  4. Shaun Williams    Mar 26, 2007 07:25 AM    #

    I’m betting that the only EV we’ll see in that room again was the one in the last couple of frames…

    The Bub is going to be a HUGE distraction Jerry. A very, very enjoyable distraction. :-)

  5. — Tom Greenhaw    Mar 27, 2007 11:50 AM    #

    WOW – I hear you on the price for those batteries!
    Here is what Valence sent me for pricing:
    U27-12XP: $2550 per unit
    I’ll take 12 please. Ouch!

  6. — James Killick    Apr 05, 2007 16:50 PM    #

    Hi Jerry,

    I have been reading your page with great interest about the Ford Probe conversion Eve. I have bought a Ford probe with exactly the same thing in mind. Mine is a 1996. I am in the UK and we never had the first instalment of the Probe, so you would know this as a mk2. It is the v6 2.5l that you know as the Probe GT. It drives like an absolute peach. It was my wife’s suggestion as she said not to convert a stupid looking small car, but do it to something nice looking that you can be proud of. She always liked the Probe. I had never driven one before I bought this one for a measly £700 ($1400 approx). The body is in mint condition. I found that unless they have been badly abused, the mk2 probe only really suffers from a bit of rust on the sun roof. I looked at quite a few on the web and phoned several. I settled for a fiery red one. I was majorly surprised to find that it sticks to the road like curry to a sweatshirt.

    The first step in my odyssey is to kill the Petrol engine and I swear the car’s name is Christine as I cannot kill it. Obviously I want to keep the body good so I try to keep the speed down to 130MPH so as not to damage the suspension or brakes too much either! All of the interior is good and it did not come with AC so that is one less thing to remove.

    I had some ideas that might be possible and you have mentioned.

    With regards to the gearbox, is it possible to use the differential off a rear wheel drive car with independent suspension. In Europe we had the Ford Granada or Scorpio (same car). It was rear wheel drive and sported a limited slip differential it has a convenient drive with 4 bolts to connect to your motor. I estimate that this would be like being permanently in 4th gear. The weight should be about 10 kg less (20lbs) than a gearbox and will take up less space. However mounting it may be tricky as the configuration for the motor would need to be north-south instead of transverse. AVT in the uk do a special gearbox for electric conversion that is direct drive for people with big wallets. Another alternative would be to dismantle your Mazda 626 gearbox down to just the bits you need. Possibly to get rid of most of the shafts and gear trains and a whole load of metal could be cut away. For starters there is no need for the bell housing. Some service manuals give you a nice exploded view of the gearbox, so get out the TNT. You may be able to recover just the differential part of the gearbox and remove the rest of it away. This is surely no more difficult than all the wiring you have removed.

    I work with those mysterious ECUs and I can tell you that with the right software and some programming knowledge you could take that baby and reprogram it. What you have there is a simple micro with a lot of IO, both analogue and digital. Think of all the sensors and actuators on a petrol engine not forgetting this had an electronic throttle and some motorised or controlled devices. So there is a good place to go. It may pay to get chummy with some experts at the local backstreet hacker / tuner garage. There are long haired egg heads doing this all the time to make there gallon guzzlers go faster (and die quicker). Don’t throw it away and then coble all these other bits together. You have the hardware, just need some software. Some time ago I was working on a project where we have to convert messages from an old tester to a new vehicle before a new system was introduced, so we needed a short term solution. We took a module for a bifuel vehicle that supported the old and the new protocols, put it in a metal panel box and wired it up. Some dudes from a software house came along and figured out how to get comms using the cheesy rs232 on a laptop to Reflash the module and then re-wrote the software. They used some of the outputs to control some indicator lamps on the outside of the box. It worked a treat and got us out of a real hole. There was an abundant supply of these bi-fuel modules as the program got canned, so the solution came and worked.

    The ECU is a valuable piece of kit that could be adapted to drive your meters. My Probe has 4 meters beside the Speedo and tacho including oil pressure, battery level, engine temperature and the fuel gauge. I will take these and adapt the graphics, but keep the gauges as they are and adapt the output signal so that the full scale deflection of the meters matches the maximum I am likely to measure. For example the Battery voltage currently reads up to about 18v. As the batteries will be 144v all told, then if I scale them down by 18/144 = 1/8th using a potential divider and install a trimmer, then I can have the original gauge for battery level. Alternatively I could take this into a module using one of the 0 to 5v analogue inputs (and this is pretty much standard) and a potential divider for 5/144 = ~1/30th then I can manipulate the digital value in software and output this to a gauge using a PWM output (also pretty standard) or digital output to drive a digit display.

    The ecu would also already receive the vehicle speed, so there is a given to factor in to other readings.

    Oh and your friend is right, electronics are built with smoke added….87)

    How is Eve? Last I could see you were still pondering over the batteries. Are the batteries in your Mazda dead? Is your Mazda dead? I though you thrifted many parts from the Mazda including the motor, so why not the batteries?

    James Killick

    Lead Diagnostics Definition Engineer
    Powertrain Control Systems Engineering (EESE)
    Tel +44(0)1268 403341, Email: JKILLICK@FORD.COM
    Mail: Ford Motor Company Research & Engineering Centre
    GB 15/3B-B09-A, Laindon, Basildon, Essex. SS15 6EE England

  7. — James May    Apr 05, 2007 19:21 PM    #

    Hi James

    I bought my car from AVT. it’s based on one of his earlier “kits” and has been going with various owners for lots of years. I think I’d really like a direct drive redution gearbox, but I was on a budget, so it was the existing bellhousing adaptor plate setup for me. Works very well. Robert from AVT has just recently dropped by to reprogram the controller.

    James – Coventry

  8. dc    Apr 12, 2008 21:36 PM    #

    Have you ever researched how much power loss there is going through the transmission and differential? It seems like we’re up against a rock with this about weight/vs range/vs performance. I read with you stripping off every possible screw to maximize performance and I suspect there is a certain amount of your horsepower that never leaves the unneeded transmission. (couldn’t we not still go fairly well without a differential if we just drove one wheel?) (We could burn out easier while showing off too!)