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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

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Gas Powered EV · 16 March 06

Trusselle Quad Sociable

I get an email from time to time which goes like…

Why don’t you add a lawnmower/weedwhacker/gas engine to your EV? Wouldn’t that help the range?

Well, yeah, it might…but it wouldn’t be an EV! And, hey, who said I needed more range? ‘:^)

Still, it’s a common enough question that we ought to talk about it a bit.

There’s a few ways to make a gas powered “EV” and not all of them are necessarily called hybrids. For example there’s a few pusher trailers where the owner only hooks up a gas engine (actually the front end of a gas car!) when more range is desired. The rest of the time it’s a pure EV.

Of course some folks permanently bolt a gas engine into an EV, making the batteries haul it and the gas around everywhere they go “just in case” they should have a Springsteen moment, and need to hop in the car and never look back.

Tulsa Paradyne

Or, they bolt EV parts into a gas car. The University of Tulsa Motor Works have built a couple such do-it-yourself hybrids, the Tulsa Paradyne and the Trio.

They a little shy of details, no schematics or block diagrams to show how they juggle between gas and electric but taking a look at the images you can start to form an idea. That sure is a boot-load of switches! Wow! I used to make control panels for radio stations back in the 70’s that looked like this. Still, I’d love to see the schematics.

When I wrote Poor Man’s Hybrid last fall I said something about putting a beefier alternator into your gas car (along with batteries), thereby making it a quasi-hybrid. Oddly enough the ELECTROCHARGER announced around that time seems to do just that, although they seem to be having problems going into production (be sure to read comments at bottom of page).

When folks start thinking about an EV (usually to get better gas mileage) the progression of thought is that they can just pop in an old lawntractor motor or genset they’ve got kicking around the garage and top off the batteries whenever they need it. That’s not to say you can’t get a good engine, but it’s probably going to cost you and there’s a fair bit of integration involved.

The challenge is to not end up with an “electric car” that gets worse gas mileage and pollutes more than the original donor vehicle.

EV Generator

Alain St-Yves took a slightly different approach (be sure to read the evlist excerpts at the bottom of the page). Instead of a pusher and instead of permanently mounting a gas engine in the vehicle, he created a range extending unit that he can pop into the back of his truck. He also has a rig on his car.

The topic of EV range extension is currently being talked about on the EVList. Scroll down a bit to the message from Neon John regarding generators. John also posted a good writeup/review of the Generac Quiet Pack 55G Generator.

I’m not sure what to call these. They aren’t plug-in hybrids, maybe hybrid plug-ins? Naw, too close. EV boosters? Trunk Gen? Any other ideas?

But to answer the original email, the reason I don’t put a gas powered engine into an EV is that I don’t need it. Actually for the number of times that I go on long trips it would be far cheaper (and less wiring) to rent a car!

Optima Yellowtop

BTW, if you haven’t looked around the rest of this website at some of the other conversions you are missing out on some great discussions. James and Woody both got their EVs going and Dr. Larry’s EV post continues to get interesting comments.

Speaking of the evlist, and completely off-topic, someone posted a link to a how-to for making your own battery cable crimper. You want to crimp your battery cables, folks, not solder. And you want it to be a tough solid crimp as well.

Comments 11
  1. jcwinnie    Mar 17, 2006 19:55 PM    #

    Psst… Hey, buddy!

    Can I interest you in some CMU refinements for Eve?

  2. jcwinnie    Mar 22, 2006 00:28 AM    #

    Of course, if you ever did decide to ICEve, there’s always the Bond accessory

  3. — john    May 15, 2006 11:48 AM    #

    Here’s an interesting pusher concept. :)


  4. — Doug    Apr 20, 2008 22:36 PM    #

    Why do you want to crimp your battery connections instead of soldering?

  5. — ken    Apr 21, 2008 00:07 AM    #

    Because you would have to get it very hot to solder something like 2/0 cable effectively, and it would make the cable very brittle. Not my words, but as i remember it from the book convert-it by michael brown.

  6. — James May    Apr 21, 2008 16:45 PM    #

    also: solder has much higher resistance than copper. It also has lower melting temperature. It could conceivably get hot and fail.

  7. — Doug    Apr 22, 2008 20:17 PM    #

    So would it be wise to use a dielectric grease or a similar deoxydizing compound to keep the crimped conections corrosion free?

  8. — ken    Apr 22, 2008 22:56 PM    #

    yes, i used a tube of noalox that i got from the electrical department at home depot. Its really for connecting the aluminum wiring they used in the 70’s to copper terminals. It works great for our application. I filled the lug half full with noalox and then pushed the cable into the lug and crimped it with the hammer style crimper. Then you just wipe off the excess and slide a piece of 3/4” heat shrink over it. It works great and ends up looking very professional.

  9. Greg Fordyce    Apr 23, 2008 09:14 AM    #

    Another reason that you don’t want to solder the connections is that the solder makes the wire stiff at the joint and thus more prone to metal fatigue caused by going over bumps while driving. A crimped connection is more flexible and will last longer.

    In the UK I haven’t been able to find a source for noalox but I have just found a couple of products by Wurth.

    The first is Kontakt OS, similar to noalox, part no. 0893 61

    The other, Kontakt SL is a clear spray lacquer to spray over the connection after it is assymbled, part no. 0893 70

    I have only just recieved these, will post an update once I use them.


  10. — Cameron    May 25, 2008 12:48 PM    #

    Noalox is an antioxident to prevent “Electrolysis”. That’s the reaction of 2 dissimilar metals causing oxidation of both. Break out your “Ugly’s” book. Its in there. Electricians still use some form of Anti-Ox today and you frequently get some for free when you buy a battary from the auto store.

    Planning my first EV conversion in the form of a motorcycle now. I ordered “Convert It” from Amazon yesterday. Going with a motorcycle because it will be cheaper when I make mistakes, and there is alot less original wiring to deal with. Thinking of going with a BMW because they have transmissions that are separate from the ICE. So do Harley’s but they are inherently heavier.

  11. — Cameron    May 25, 2008 15:49 PM    #

    Has anyone checked out John Bidwell’s book on his 1987 Ninja? He’s charging $40 for the book and it looks like a good how to.