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Discussion Starter #1
I built my own electric car:

http://galaxy22.dyndns.org/ev-talon/

But my car is fairly limited, with a maximum range of about 20 miles. Still, it works for my short commute. but my wife drives 40 miles per day. We've been examining the possibility of buying one of those cars from "Hybrid Technologies" or "Lion-EV" that are pre-built with Lithium batteries and ranges up to 200 miles. But these things costs $35K to $40K so they are pretty expensive. But if you look at how much gas she spends just getting to work, it is between $200 and $300 a month. I think I could save enough money on gas to make such a vehicle worthwhile. The car payment would be higher, but that would be offset by the lack of a gas bill, and when the car is paid off, then the savings would really start flowing in.

I think the Volt is a good start. But if it is in the price-range they are advertising, I think it will have competition from the other big conversion companies as they continue to grow.

One thing I think they should do is offer the Volt in different forms. A cheap version that has only a battery pack, even if it can only go 40 miles. Then a more expensive version with twice the capacity on batteries OR the gasoline range extender. That way they'd have something to fit everyone's needs and pocketbooks.

Also, I don't know if the Volt's bodystyle is set in stone yet.. but I'm really not a fan. I'd still buy it if the price was right just for the fact of what it is. But they really need a style that is more universally appealing.
 

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Thats very interesting thanks for sharing!

On a side note, I have read a few times that the Volt concept will undergo many cosmetic changes before it is released. The roof for example will not make the cut, so hopefully the final version will be more "universally appealing" for you and other consumers :D.
 

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adric22:

I have often wondered about doing a conversion.

Where did you get the plans, or maybe the question should be, what is the best way to get started?
 

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Do you have regenerative breaking? If so how did you implement it?
I did not impliment regenerative braking. On DC systems like mine, Regen only works with permanent magnet motors or Sepex motors (seperately excited motors) and I didn't want to go with either of these types of motors for various reasons. So Instead I went with a series-wound motor, which can't generate electricity because it has no magnets inside unless power is going to it.

Another way to do it is with AC brushless motors like they use in modern hybrids. But these are very expensive and the controllers are very expensive. For the extra 10% or so range it would give me, it wasn't worth the cost.


Where did you get the plans, or maybe the question should be, what is the best way to get started?
There were no plans. I just did a lot of reading on various websites and asked lots of questions from those who have already done conversions. I picked out all the parts myself. Fortunatly, I already had a decent understanding of how cars work, and I know how to weld. Those are really the only skills you need going into a job like this. Everything else, you are going to learn along the way.

The best way to get started is to pick out what kind of car you want to convert, and make sure the car will suit your needs and be capable of the type of conversion you want.. then go buy it. Spend a few days (or weeks) stripping out things that you won't need. Then start designing brackets and stuff to hold things in place.
 

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Able to use Lithium-ion Batteries insted of Lead acid.

Does anyone think that you will be able to open purchase one of these new lithium-ion batteries to build your own EV?

I love the idea of converting b/c you already have the vehicle that fits your needs and now with your personal micanical skills you can make it electric!!!

I have been looking around at this and this guy has a kit that you can transform your vehicle with everything you need except a Lithium-ion Battery. http://www.grassrootsev.com
 

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You can now buy Lithium-ion batteries but the prices are steep.
A respectable size battery package can range from $8,000
to as high as $12,000. Even more for "extended range" packages.
Lion EV is soon to be selling NEW converted Ford Rangers
(for around $38,000) and they sell kits which include everything from the electronics and motor to the transmission adapter plate. The battery packages are not included in the kits but sold separately.

The $12,000 pakage is the same that goes into the Ranger and provides 200 miles of range with highway speeds.

Here is their website:

http://www.lionev.com/

(I am not affilitated, etc.)

If GM let's me down (again), or the Phoenix or Miles sedan doesn't pan out, I might buy one. The price isn't that bad.
Or I could wait until Toyota, Honda, Mitsubishi, and/or Nissan offer theirs which should happen ~quickly~ after Miles Automotive or Phoenix vehicles hit the streets.
TexicanRadio
 

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Cost Effectiveness of EVs

Phoenix Motorcars has a calculator on their website that shows their "truck" EV breaking even in terms of costs with cheaper ICE vehicles in about 5.5 years (closer to 7 years with the SUV model).
Their truck is like $45,000 and the SUV is $52,000.
(based on fuel savings and LOW maintenance costs).

So the Lion EV Ford Ranger would probably "break even" with a traditional ICE vehicle in 4.5 to 5 years. Providing the company is still there to back their Lithium ion battery package and other warranties. I am hearing they last a very long time, but eventually go to 80% capacity and stay there. They don't like the cold, so when I get one, I will keep it in a heated garage in the winter or use an approved (safe) heater for the battery compartments. Luckily, Winters aren't too hard in the Houston TX area.
I think there is obvious appeal in waiting for a major manufacturer to
offer a true highway capable EV, because of the warranty, service (if needed) and of course price. Companies like Toyota will offer affordable EVs sooner rather than later once this ball really get's rolling. I can hardly wait to own an EV.
TexicanRadio
 

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Conversion moving up to production EV

I built my own electric car:

But my car is fairly limited, with a maximum range of about 20 miles. Still, it works for my short commute. but my wife drives 40 miles per day. We've been examining the possibility of buying one of those cars from "Hybrid Technologies" or "Lion-EV" that are pre-built with Lithium batteries and ranges up to 200 miles. But these things costs $35K to $40K so they are pretty expensive. But if you look at how much gas she spends just getting to work, it is between $200 and $300 a month. I think I could save enough money on gas to make such a vehicle worthwhile.

I am in the same situation, having driven a converted Rabbit pickup since 1997. At the moment a new set of lead acid batteries is sitting on the garage floor waiting to go in. The weight is 1200 pounds and I only use under 4 KwH for a 15 mi round trip. I paid just over a dollar a pound for the 20 Lead acid batteries but would sure like to have 20 KwH on board at half the weight, but the cost is going to be 10X. The Rabbit pickup is aging fully at over 25 years and I need something more recent, not comfortable putting that kind of loot into a clunker. I like the pickup but don't like Ford very much so not looking at Rangers particularly. Volt is getting all my attention now as my wife's Volvo wagon may just make it til 2012 and I'll get a Volt "for her." I ride a BionX electric assist bike to work 2 to 4 days a week in fair weather, and I like that fine too.
 
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