OK, so is it really possible to build your own DIY Electric Car from parts you can obtain yourself, at a cost that won’t put you in the poor house? That’s really the one question I seem to get most often from skeptics.
To be honest, I don’t know why there aren’t more DIY electric cars on the road. I suppose people assume that if it were really so simple, everyone would be doing it. Driving for 4 cents per mile instead of four dollars per mile is a no-brainer. Who wouldn’t do that if given the choice? Everyone would gladly say goodbye to tune ups, oil changes and the gas pump forever if the could. Therefore, many conclude that converting a car to electric power must be difficult, highly complicated and beyond the ability of most people.
What I do know is that it is a lot of fun to build and drive and the project is easy and cheap to complete. Simply begin your DIY Electric car project with a car that is appropriate for converting and a good set of plans. You’ll need to mount batteries and the electric motor inside, so you’ll need a car with enough room for those but is still relatively light and small.
To make the project a lot easier, the car should also have a manual transmission. Don’t worry if you can’t or don’t want to drive a stick. A converted vehicle requires no shifting once the project is completed. It’s pretty amazing how inexpensively you can pick up a used car with engine damage that is in otherwise excellent condition. Just check for issues in the transmission, undercarriage, breaks etc before you buy it.
In spite of their 50-60 MPH top speed and range of 200 miles between charges, I always recommend that the first conversion not be performed on the owner’s primary vehicle. Instead, get a cheap 2nd car to convert. One more point to remember once you do complete your project take some time to get used to the responsiveness. You must get a feel for the controller (the electric car version of the gas pedal) because these things are amazingly zippy off the line.
The reasons the plans are so important is that a good set of quality plans will not only guide you step-by-step through the entire project, but will also provides priceless information on where to locate all your parts very inexpensively-and in some cases even free. You can save a ton of money using a good instruction guide. For example, retail conversion kits cost $6000 or more and that’s before you even buy a single battery or the vehicle, or you can spend $50 on a set of plans up front and convert the entire car for under $500 including the batteries. Readers can learn a lot more about DIY electric cars here.