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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!

Gas Free · 30 September 05

No Gas

I won’t be so bold as to say that Eve is an EV just yet, but I think it is safe to say that she is no longer a gas car either. Last night I removed the last vestiges of gas, namely, the gas tank.

If you’ve never pulled a gas tank out of a car you’d be surprised at how much crap is hooked to it. I imagine that it probably looks a lot like Dick Cheney’s heart, what with all of the bypass hoses, valves, and wires.

The gas tank was about as ornery, too. All of the pipes were woven over the back cross-member without any real room to get in and disconnect them. I finally got out the cable cutters and had at it, cutting all of the hoses including the giant hose from the filler nozzle.

More Tools

On an earlier entry I outlined some of the tools that I’ve been using on the project. Pictured here are some equally useful items: high leverage cable cutter, a 1/2 inch socket drive bar (lots of leverage), and a floor creeper. Ignore the socket on the bar, it’s a non-tempered socket from a set that has been driving me crazy. One of these days I’m going to have a non-tempered tools rant.

The floor creeper is great fun once you get used to it, zipping around the garage like a turtle flipped over onto skates. You get used to having a ton of car zipping by inches from your nose and dealing with everything upside down. For a luxurious ride check out this creeper.

While I was under the car I removed more excess weight, including a heat shield panel. If not for the exhaust, cars could be made more streamlined underneath. As it is there’s a balance of keeping the hot pipes away from the chassis without hanging too low. Up to 80% of the gas burned in a car comes out as waste heat that has to be dealt with. On a hot, sunny day you have the sun broiling the top of the car, the engine broiling the bottom, with us inside playing the part of grilled cheese sandwiches.

The view down under

On the first EV I used rubber mats and streamlined the underside of the engine compartment. This also helped keep water from splashing up into the electric motor. It might be nice to find a nice, lightweight, yet rigid material to cover the entire bottom of the car with.

The photo shows a view of Eve’s undercarriage as seen from the front of the car. In case you haven’t tried it yet most of the pictures I put on these pages are clickable to see a larger version.

Comments 31
  1. — Dan    Sep 30, 2005 20:52 PM    #
    Congratulations on giving your host the simethicone treatment. I hope you don’t find it too revolting the second time around.

    I’ve always been induced to make an EV but have resisted for their lack of capacity to go far enough. Now that it’s the current trend, I may lose my reluctance. I’m a terminal dreamer and I get too wired trying to guage the right design, but I’ll keep monitoring your progress.
  2. — Kendall    Sep 30, 2005 21:04 PM    #
    Will you be making a photo gallery of the conversion? I have a ‘96 Probe that I think will be undergoing a conversion once I get the wife’s truck converted. More pictures please! :)
  3. — Jerry    Oct 01, 2005 01:10 AM    #
    I have started looking for the Ranger. Getting the fever now. How in the world do you get so much done? All the links etc you put on your page. I take a look every day really enjoy it
  4. Jerry    Oct 01, 2005 07:37 AM    #
    Simethicone, that’s a good one. EVConvert could be the Beano of the automotive world!

    Dan, the nice thing about an EV is that you can keep on tweaking. It’s like Terry says, “get it working, get it working well, customize.”

    Kendall, I think Textpattern makes it relatively easy to make image galleries. What kind of photos are you thinking of beyond those I’ve been using?

    Good luck, Jerry, hope you find a nice donor. RE. links & such: it’s much easier if the software is doing most of the “heavy” work. On the first EV weblog in ‘96 I was doing all of the html by hand…badly. ”:^)
  5. darin    Oct 01, 2005 11:56 AM    #
    Jerry said: “It might be nice to find a nice, lightweight, yet rigid material to cover the entire bottom of the car with.”

    you’d see a significant increase in high-speed efficiency (range) if you did.

    check out how a custom made “belly pan” (among other aero mods) contributed to a well-documented 28% increase in hwy efficiency (on a gas toyota pick-up): evworld article

    admittedly, it’s a fairly extreme “make over”, but it demonstrates that there remains much room for improvement in vehicle aerodynamics, out of the box.
  6. Jerry Halstead    Oct 02, 2005 09:48 AM    #
    Great link, Darin, thanks for passing that along.
  7. — Dan    Oct 03, 2005 21:58 PM    #
    I knew I had seen a site where someone covered the underbelly of a CRX with polyethylene sheets. I Just couldn’t find the link until now.
  8. — Seth    Oct 06, 2005 17:10 PM    #
    Anybody in NJ thinking of converting? mail ev “att” pachai “DOTT” net
  9. — Scott T    Dec 27, 2005 16:15 PM    #
    There are alot of printed 2’x3’ (or larger )political signs left over after election. Piece a few of those under there with a little bailing wire. If that don’t work use them for sliding down grassy or snowy slopes. Also good for working under cars if you don’t have a creeper. Also makes the enviroment look better to remove those signs from the yard.
    Enjoying your website. Got the convert it book and am looking to convert a 83 mazda 626.
    Do you still have your adapter plate??$$$ Or will it fit your Eve?
  10. Jerry Halstead    Dec 29, 2005 11:29 AM    #
    Hi Scott,

    Yep, still have adaptor plate and you’ll see (or have seen by now) that it’s hooked up. Saved some money being able to re-use.

    I turn the signs inside-out and use for “yard sale” or “free” signs. The metal rods are also good for making trellises in the garden. ”:^)
  11. — Scott T    Dec 29, 2005 17:12 PM    #
    The type sign I was refering to is built like a cardboard box about a quarter inch thick. Usually use them to slide the body under cars when changing the oil. They are pretty common here In Oklahoma, maybe not where you live.
  12. — Greg P    Jan 29, 2006 02:25 AM    #
    Coroplast (corrugated plastic) is what those signs are made out of. You can buy it in 4’ X 8’ sheets. Thought about doing this to my JET Electrica 007, but never got around to it.
  13. — Ken E.    Mar 02, 2006 14:36 PM    #

    Just started looking at your site…It’s great! I put a 3kWh pv system on my roof and now want to convert a 93 Altima. As far as sealing the underside of the car, what about the spray-on truck bed liners? Can they spray it from under a jacked-up car?

  14. — PKM    Oct 24, 2006 09:23 AM    #

    Dan, congratulations on the most impressive battery of electricity puns in one sentence ever (I spotted induced, resisted, capacity, current, terminal, wired, gauge). It’s truly shocking.

  15. — Greg Gullatt    Oct 24, 2006 12:50 PM    #

    The two part spray-on pickup truck bedliner material makes great, durable undercoating and can be sprayed on, under a car on jack stands however from my experience with it take this as advice. You must mask off everything that you do not want the material to get on. This includes using masking paper as drapes attached to the rocker panels extending all the way to the ground. Also mask the car entirely with plastic and duct tape and use plastic on anything in your garage/shop that you do not want the material to get on. A problem that I had with it, and have since taken care of, was, I mixed all of the material, poured the material in the screw lid canister, attempted to screw on the undercoat gun and the gun was too small. I had to two hand the spraying part of it. Also the clothes that you wear to do this and they will get the bedliner material on them, must be allowed to dry or cure for a week before you put them in the washer/dryer. Probably best just to throw away the clothes that you wore while you applied the “undercoating”. Once the material cures it is as hard as a rock. It also makes a good coating inside of the car on the floorboard if you decide to do away with the carpet and sound deadening material. One kit in the cans unmixed weighs 4.4 pounds. It takes two kits to do the underside of the car and one kit on the inside of the floorboard.

  16. — James May    Oct 24, 2006 13:48 PM    #

    PKM that post is a year old. Dan’s a pun and run type :)

  17. — James May    Oct 24, 2006 14:06 PM    #

    Ken E. In addition to what Greg Gullatt has said, it might be worth thinking ahead and seeing if there are any areas of the underside which you’d be able to close off with thick polythene sheeting or something similar. It’ll prevent water getting in to your wiring and ruining your day, and it will, if done judiciously, increase your range / top speed by causing a smoother flow of air beneath the vehicle. I think Darin is the expert on this sort of thing. I have plans for my EV. they involve making shells of expanded polyurethane foam between formers. The idea here is to make light and stiff panels where you need to make more complex shapes than thick polythene will allow. I don’t know if it will work. It might be better if supported with chicken wire.

  18. — Charles    Jan 16, 2007 02:05 AM    #

    ABS plastic seemed to work well for Ken Norwick… right? (IM by no means an expert and i can take criticism) http://www.docdockdocuments.com/conversion/Conversion65.htm

  19. — James May    Jan 16, 2007 08:32 AM    #

    Thanks Charles.

    I have bought some thick sheeting but have yet to put it on. Where did you get your plastic? It looks pretty darn suitable.

  20. — Charles    Jan 16, 2007 10:34 AM    #

    I wish that was mine…
    but it belongs to ken norwick. I have no idea where he got it, but i googled abs plastic sheet and apparently the stuff isnt rare.

  21. — Dan P.    Mar 25, 2007 23:28 PM    #


  22. — James May    Mar 26, 2007 07:12 AM    #

    Hi Dan, Thanks, This is funny! I think I’ll send it to my energy conscious friends.

  23. — Dennis V.    Apr 22, 2007 22:38 PM    #

    how many pouunds of ICE equipment do you think you removed from Eve?

  24. jerry Halstead    Apr 23, 2007 09:10 AM    #

    Hi Dennis. Not quite sure; 300-400lbs? There’s the motor, gas tank (and gas), and a bunch of wires/accessories, pipes, exhaust, and caked on grease.

  25. steve mccrea in fort lauderdale    Apr 23, 2007 21:52 PM    #

    I visited a guy in South Carolina and I found this site via a youtube movie. So here is the South Carolina’s tool shop (second video) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r2ijdVC_AAQ

  26. — Randy Scott    Aug 01, 2007 21:46 PM    #

    Speaking of belly pans – have you heard of anyone ruining their elec motor by splashing thru a puddle? Here in Houston high water is a constant threat – flat land, frequent rains.

  27. — James May    Aug 02, 2007 07:11 AM    #

    I have heard of people’s controllers cutting out under splashing until they dry out. I have yet to make a belly plan and my DC motor is quite exposed. it will have been splashed by now. No problems yet.

    A belly pan seems to be a very good idea unless it causes overheating due to reduced ventilation.

  28. jerry Halstead    Aug 02, 2007 07:44 AM    #

    My first EV’s electronics board was situated just perfectly such that incoming rain from where the radiator used to be washed right over it. I came home from the movies one evening in torrential rain and the EV stopped on the way up the hill. Got out a towel, carefully wiped things off, and drove the rest of the way home. To fix it I blocked off the front a bit and put the interconnects on rubber blocks that held them off the flat board.

    There was a splash guard underneath to protect the motor from moisture and dirt. If you are going to drive through deep standing water you’d want to mount things higher at the very least.

  29. — wheelywheel    Feb 26, 2009 22:01 PM    #

    Nice job on removing your gas tank. You just made your EV lighter giving you more power.

  30. — wheelywheel    Mar 02, 2009 20:07 PM    #

    By the way I found an article saying that you can use different batteries to power your car. But I think it will cost problem.

  31. Anna    Apr 10, 2009 11:37 AM    #

    Dan, Thanks, This is funny! I think I’ll send it to my energy conscious friends.