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Spitfire Electric Car · 26 August 07

Alvan's EV Spitfire

This is a 1980 Spitfire which Alvan Judson converted to electric.

Alvan sent along a suggested change to Eve’s schematic a couple years back and mentioned that he was in the planning stages for his own EV. Now his own electric car is done and he’s already put 2,000 miles on it. Looks like he did a great job!

Of course the first photo (click to see full sized) shows that you too can have a sporty EV parked in your driveway!

Alvan's Spitfire EV interior

Here’s a view of the interior. I told a friend about the EV and, apparently familiar with Spitfire’s, he asked where the heck all of the batteries went. You can see in this photo that a couple of them went right behind the seats. Alvan used a separate battery box (insulated?) for each battery, which does give things a neat appearance.

The dash looks nice an clean, with maybe an extra meter or two.

Alvan's Spitfire EV under hood

There are ten batteries in the Spitfire, 5 up front and 5 in the back. If you pop open this photo you’ll see the layout for the front five. Also, just barely visible, is the Curtis 1221 Controller in the middle right. Next to it is the ACC battery for the EV: a PowerSonic 1250 5 AH AGM. It only weighs 2lbs and provides an alternative/backup to the CC Power Electronics DC/DC converter (the blue box?).

Alvan's Spitfire EV, side view

Another view of the front batteries. The car has rear wheel drive so the Advanced DC 8” motor is probably nestled right under the row of three batteries, mated straight to the transmission.

The EV uses a Zivan NG 3 battery charger.

Thanks for sharing, Alvan.

If you are working on, or have a completed EV that you’d like to share with us, be sure to drop me an email. We’ll take all of the photos, schematics, and gory details (blood, sweat, and tears) that you can send.

Comments 22
  1. — Phil Feinstein    Aug 27, 2007 11:04 AM    #

    Does The Prince of Darkness know about this?!? The Irony of a British EV is overwhelming! Nicely done!

  2. — 96rt10    Aug 27, 2007 19:13 PM    #

    Awesome looking conversion. Speaking of the UK(and the rest of europe for that matter)… why aren’t there more EV’s over there? Doesn’t gas cost a bundle over there?

  3. — James May    Aug 28, 2007 04:24 AM    #

    In lots of places in the UK having a small and not very fast car does nothing for your social fitness. I think it might be different in the centre of London where you get the most tax breaks (no congestion charge).
    Cars which are expensive to run are currently a status symbol. I’m still waiting for my little EV to become a status symbol! A Prius hybrid is quite acceptable though, due to it’s brand name.

  4. — John Westlund    Aug 30, 2007 16:43 PM    #

    You can see more pics of this car here:


    Any information as to top speed, range, or 0-60 mph acceleration?

  5. — Will Steuber    Oct 05, 2007 23:00 PM    #


    I’m interested in converting a 1985 fiat spyder to electric. I’m looking for some help or maybe someone to hire. Can you tell me where I could look? I live in Philadelphia.

  6. — James May    Oct 06, 2007 08:01 AM    #

    Hi Will

    If you visit this page: http://www.austinev.org/evalbum/1131 and click on the “WebPage” link there’s a pretty comprehensive website on a 1977 Fiat Spyder conversion.

  7. — John Garrett    Feb 25, 2008 16:00 PM    #

    If someone can convert a 80 Spitfire, can you help me convert a 79 Midget? I am testing the idea since learning of the Spitfire EV.

  8. Nick Dittler    May 06, 2008 10:07 AM    #

    ive seen this car on youtube and it is a brilliant design. it even sounds like a spitfire too thanks to the gearbox. to recharge the batteries he flips the gas cap open and plugs an extension cord onto a plug. that must be a fun car to drive even being electric. i own a 1964 spitfire myself and its great to drive.

  9. — Walt Koniewicz    May 09, 2008 14:13 PM    #

    I’m looking into converting my 1963 MGB to electric any info you can tell me would be greatly helpful.I’m just outside of Philadelphia,Pa.What size motor would you use?

  10. — wade    May 14, 2008 20:37 PM    #

    I have a 78 spitfire and will convert it to electric. I have been doing some searching and find it hard to choose from an AC or DC motor. Any advice? What are the correct steps to take? Is the motor the first thing to buy then build around it or is their another item to consider? Thanks.

  11. — James May    May 15, 2008 08:03 AM    #

    Hi Wade
    For one thing, you will need an AC controller if you use an AC motor. They tend to be more expensive but slightly higher in overall efficiency. Most AC systems work from much higher battery voltages which is likely to affect your battery and charger choice.
    Have a good look through EVAlbum to see what people are doing. Maybe see Metric Mind Engineering to give you ideas on AC systems.

    Does anyone else have advice to add to this?

  12. — wade    May 21, 2008 22:24 PM    #

    Thanks for the info James. The public bothers me these days. The movie “Idiocracy” is really where the US is headed. This is what the public thinks…Bigger = more protection, Bigger = take the kids to ball practice then unload a small pile of dirt (The Avalanche). The media is swallowing America. A commercial I recall today was to buy these growing butterflies for $30. They are selling us butterflies today. I guess if we are down about the price of gas we should get some watch’m grow butterflies in our homes. I am shocked there is so little information about EV conversions. Sorry but the whole public sucks. dumb dumb, dumb da dubby dumb, dumb dumb. There is so much better out there than what we have been using for the pass 30+ years. The Prius is like running your computer on windows 98. We should expect more and better. Lets put our brains together and kick the 1000 moving parts gas engine to the special use curb. I need more advice/info or I need a class on electric motors so I can mass produce, advertise, and make the public smarter. cheers to NO gas! I gave her $5 for pump 2 and she farted and gave me a receipt. I need a beer!

  13. — James May    May 22, 2008 03:55 AM    #

    I think there are lots of people who share your frustration about the direction things are taking. Keep patient, don’t lose your cool and as my Dad always says (He’s a teacher) “Try again tomorrow!”

  14. Greg Fordyce    May 22, 2008 11:56 AM    #

    Regarding motor selection, I would recommend a series wound DC motor if this is your first conversion. Lots of these have already been done so you should be able to get lots of help and advise. For a spitfire I would go for as high a voltage as you can afford, voltage=speed and you want your spitfire to be able to get out of its own way! So look at min 120 volt. A Zilla controller if your budget will stretch to that will give you tire smoking performance.


  15. KEN    May 22, 2008 22:08 PM    #

    This is for the guys in philadelphia. I’m in Deptford, New Jersey which is ten minutes from philly. I just converted my metro convertible to electric and i would love to show it to you guys. I could also convert a car for you or get you headed in the right direction to do it yourself. email me

  16. ken    May 22, 2008 22:12 PM    #

    Sorry guys email is hellraiser79@msn.com
    My car is at WWW.EVALBUM.COM/1652

  17. — wade    May 24, 2008 19:19 PM    #

    Because I am new to this I have a hand full of questions. Thanks for all the links guys. Are the DC controllers reliable? I want something I can rely on. I also want reverse without much headache. I am looking for 60-70 miles on a charge and 70 mph. I am more concerned about these factors rather than tire smokage. That would be a plus though. Thanks

  18. Jerry    May 25, 2008 13:07 PM    #

    Yep, this technology is well tested. Curtis has been around for quite a while, kind of safe and stodgy. Zapi had a few fits and starts when they first came out with EV controllers based on forklift designs, but I believe they are working nicely for a number of folks. As Greg points out the Zilla controllers not only have been powering a lot of EVs, but also some of the fastest racing EVs out there.

    The controller really has less to do with overall range, unless you do tons of stop/start driving that can benefit from regen. Range typically revolves around weight, batteries, and for higher speeds (like 70mph) car aerodynamics.

  19. Greg Fordyce    May 26, 2008 08:44 AM    #


    You will probably need to investigate lithium battery technology if you are going to convert a standard car or small truck to get your required range and speed.


  20. — wade    May 26, 2008 14:02 PM    #

    lol…I’ve been saving up my old cell phone bats. I have 4 or 5 at this time! Any donors out there? I maybe able to swing a Zilla controler but gotta look more into the cost of the batteries. Thanks fellas.

  21. — Dan Busby    Jun 13, 2008 18:28 PM    #

    I just bought a ’65 Spitfire and I’m sourcing components for my conversion. I’d like to know if he’s using a clutch or if he’s gone clutchless with his ’80. For me, it’d be one less thing to fix on my donor!

  22. — khooper    Jan 22, 2009 01:51 AM    #

    Generally you start by ripping out the petrol engine, tank and exhaust and replacing them with a big electric motor a controller and a heap of batteries. Things like your existing AC and power steering often get powered by a separate smaller motor and electric heaters can be bought to replace your existing heater