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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!

Electric Car Motors · 25 October 05

ADC electric car motor

I realized the other day that some folks might be reading this EV conversion without having read the first one. One day I pop out the gas engine and a few days later a fully attached and matched electric motor is in place…

Hey, where’d that come from?

Let’s talk EV motors…

Back when folks first started putting together their own electric cars they didn’t have many economical choices in motors. Often the first EVs used surplus aircraft starter-generators as a motor.1

Aircraft starter/generators were most likely used because you could find them as surplus relatively cheap and they had enough power to move a car. The EVs weren’t high performance, but could easily make it from point A to point B.

Soon electric car enthusiasts started using higher power motors and controllers, like John Wayland’s Blue Meanie2, a 1972 Datsun 1200 which started off as a souped up aircraft starter based EV and soon moved up to a 9” Advanced DC motor with Curtis controller.

The days of plodding electric cars were numbered.

Most folks familiar with gas engines are taken back by what they perceive as the low horsepower rating in an EV. Here’s an explanation from Austinev.org3:

“Electric cars are driven by large electric motors usually rated between 3.5 and 28 horsepower. For those accustomed to gas engines, this may not seem like much power, but the rating systems used for gas engines and electric motors are so different that the numbering system is almost meaningless. Gas engines are rated at their peak hp, electric motors are rated at their continuous hp. The peak hp of an electric motor is usually 8 to 10 times its continuous rating.”

The motor installed in Eve is an Advanced DC FB1-40014. This is a 9” diameter, 140lb series wound DC motor. I purchased is back in 1995 for our first EV and, as long as we don’t abuse it, the motor should last for decades. The one part that wears out, commutator brushes, typically last 80,000 miles and are pretty easy to replace.

On the first EV I failed to tighten one of the motor-transmission adaptor set screws and over a period of five years the adaptor worked its way back into the motor faceplate and wore away some of the metal. In the process it damaged the bearing. I found a local electric motor shop to replace it for $100, including parts and labor.

motor adaptor breakout

The hand drawing shows how the motor mates to the transmission. You’ll find more details on our Mazda 626 motor and adaptor page5.

There’s a much larger selection of motors these days for all sizes of vehicles and performance needs. Most EVs use series wound motors6, but you can also pick up permanent magnet and AC motors, even experimental wheel hub motors7.


  1. Bob Wing’s MGA
  2. Blue Meanie
  3. EV Motor Info
  4. ADC Motor Specs
  5. Jerry’s Mazda 626 EV motor and adaptor
  6. Motor Characteristics
  7. Wavecrest motors

Motor related links:

Comments 122
  1. Jesse    Oct 25, 2005 16:48 PM    #
    Hey, I’ve read the older site numerous times, and just found this new site, didn’t realize you were a fellow New Hampshireite (I live in MA now though, shh). I’ve been thinking about building an electric car for quite some time, but haven’t had the extra resources to buy a mess of batteries, or an extra car.
  2. Jerry Halstead    Oct 25, 2005 21:02 PM    #
    Howdy Jesse and welcome…
  3. — Carl Voigtlander    Dec 23, 2005 22:27 PM    #
    Hey this is cool I have been following some ev things.One Question when you put the electric motor in do you keep the torque convertor in it’s place?The drawing never seams to show that. Great job
  4. Jerry Halstead    Dec 26, 2005 14:29 PM    #
    Hi Carl,

    I haven’t had to deal with a torque converter since my EVs are both manual transmission. If you were to use an automatic (i.e. w/torque converter) then I suspect you’ll have to keep it and/or make other modifications to keep the auto trans happy.

    Since I don’t even use the clutch I’ve also skipped out on using the flywheel. There’s a number of thoughts on this and approaches, all depends on the type of vehicle and driving you’ll be doing.
  5. — Woody Becher    Feb 23, 2006 08:40 AM    #

    On your first EV did you test your controller disconnected from the motor using lightbulbs etc., like it shows in the manual? It shows using 10 X 12VDC lights in series to get the 120VDC load. Press the accelerator and watch the bulbs get brighter etc. Would a 120VAC light bulb work the same way or is there a difference between AC and DC bulbs? I would just try it with the motor, but I’m just a little scared of turning on the ignition and crashing backwards through the overhead door.

  6. Jerry Halstead    Feb 23, 2006 09:40 AM    #

    Manual? Instructions? ”:^)

    I don’t recall the lightbulb suggestion. First off I hooked a single battery right to the motor, with wheels off the ground, to watch the motor spin the tranny/wheels.

    Then I hooked up the controller, batteries, etc.. and took about a dozen voltage readings from all over a number of times (check, recheck, check the recheck) and then operated the potbox by hand so I could watch things and be ready to yank cables.

    All that to make sure it spun the right way, sounded ok, nothing got hot, and so forth. Final smoke test was of course getting behind the wheel and trying it out. Tense!

    The lightbulb idea is pretty good though. You might want to use some high wattage flood lights. A lightbulb is nothing more than a resistor that happens to put out some light along with the heat. And like a resistor it doesn’t care about AC vs DC.

    I’ve heard of folks using big floodlights as a load for battery testing. Here’s one such circuit

  7. — Dave    Aug 05, 2006 16:26 PM    #

    Have you spoken to anyone whose has taken a kit car and made it into an ev? I was thinking about a Lotus Super 7.

  8. — TJ GRIMM    Mar 11, 2007 01:21 AM    #

    I am new at this and have an idea about a new EV that doesn’t need to be recharged, Gas engine assist, a million batteries, or explosive Hydro gas fuel. What i need to know is if the electric motors you speak of in these articles are they variable speed, or are they controlled, like a throttle on an electric train? Is that throttle some sort of POT or some sort of computer connectted to the gas pedal? Finally according to the article above, if I wanted a 400 hp engine, I would need a 40 hp motor?

  9. jer    Mar 11, 2007 08:04 AM    #

    Hey TJ, dunno if that rule of thumb follows equally no matter how high the HP, but maybe. 400hp? You making a train?

    Most DC motors are vari-speed, the control comes from outside the motor.

  10. Mark Jeffers    Mar 13, 2007 19:52 PM    #

    Found this motor on ebay, maybe useful for somebody. Item #140094113729 GE D/C series wound. Unknown HP.

  11. — TJ GRIMM    Mar 30, 2007 00:33 AM    #


    Eventually I will be able to place this engine in a train engine. It is ratio oriented, i.e. you can use the same design, just larger versions. I have been running my alarm clock radio for ten years on a version of this engine that is no bigger than a VHS tape. It wakes me every morning and has never stopped putting out power. The 400 hp I stated earlier refers to the gasoline engine equivalent HP. For instance, my LeBaron has a 2.2 Turbo or 325 hp engine. According to your article, That means the hp of the electric equivalent should be around 33 hp, correct?
  12. — Chris    Mar 30, 2007 11:23 AM    #

    If a motor is listed as 144 volts, does it always run at that voltage or can it vary? Basically I am wondering if its possible to use the motor you have, for instance, with a higher battery set voltage, like 192 V.

  13. jerry Halstead    Apr 04, 2007 18:12 PM    #

    Hi Chris,

    Sorry about the delayed response. Usually the motor will have a chart which shows the typical range and power curve(s). Here’s a good motor page over at Electro Automotive which shows the range for two DC motors (96-120vdc and 96-144vdc) along with sample test data.

    I can’t really tell you how well they’ll do pushed far outside of their published specs. Most likely if you are running at higher voltages you run the risk of arcing across the commutator pads.

    Warp makes motors rated for higher voltages, like the Warp 9 which goes up to 192vdc.

    Take that number with a grain of salt. My 144vdc EV was really closer to 160vdc when fully charged, but that is what is leaving the batteries and heading to the controller. The controller is going to chop/modulate the power and what the motor sees will be quite different.

  14. — Antoine    Apr 24, 2007 17:56 PM    #

    First things first I have no knowledge or background in this area but have a question. Is it not possible to simply run a gas generator (which some run for hrs on a gallon of gas)to run the motors with lesser batteries as backup?

  15. — James May    Apr 25, 2007 07:15 AM    #

    Hi Antoine

    I think what you are taking about is called a series hybrid. Using a generator to charge a small battery pack which runs an electric motor to power the vehicle.
    Jerry talks about this in his FAQ

  16. — TJ GRIMM    May 03, 2007 00:34 AM    #


  17. — Georgia Najar    May 04, 2007 01:31 AM    #

    Where can I get an electric motor for my Jeep? Would I have to get rid of my stick shift?

  18. — Richard Blakely    May 07, 2007 14:40 PM    #

    you can get get unlimited mileage with off the shelf parts!can you guess what it is?

  19. — bruce    Jun 08, 2007 17:42 PM    #

    is there a company that manufacturers the addapter plate so I can mount a 8 or 9” motor to my VW transmission with clutch?

  20. steve EVfuture    Jun 16, 2007 20:09 PM    #

    Hey Bruce,
    I believe that Electro Automotive does that (beware, they are being swamped with orders, I think due to “Who Killed the Electric Car?” so it will take awhile). I have a link to them on my blog. I’m trying to convert a Posche 914 from a kit they put together. http://www.electricvehicleproject.blogspot.com

  21. — James May    Jun 17, 2007 04:47 AM    #

    Hi Bruce

    here’s one

  22. — sarath    Jun 19, 2007 02:43 AM    #

    Pl help me to convert small car to EV

  23. steve    Jul 10, 2007 16:24 PM    #

    im trying to convert my vw trike over to ev where can i find a ev kit for a vw beetle

  24. John Harding    Jul 10, 2007 19:21 PM    #

    I don’t know a specific kit but check out Electro Auto

  25. — ken weber    Jul 23, 2007 11:26 AM    #

    looking for a 24 volt dc motor about 7 hp to operate a hydraulic pump

  26. — Rick B    Aug 26, 2007 23:52 PM    #

    How about runing belt straight drive sytems? Any thoughts on dc motors. Will this work without a transmission?

  27. jerry Halstead    Aug 27, 2007 08:52 AM    #

    Do you mean using a CVT or some other form of belt drive (i.e. with or without any gearing/ratio)?

    The main thing is having it geared such that the DC motor doesn’t go outside its safe operating RPM, which will vary from motor to motor.

  28. — mac    Aug 28, 2007 00:30 AM    #

    i recently found a Redi_Line 1600w generator at a garage sale, it has two 115(?)VAC receptacles on it, positive and negative terminals on each on end on the top side. no manual or anything with it. i am wondering if i could re work this thing to work solely as a drive motor? appreciate your thoughts


  29. — Joel    Aug 28, 2007 17:11 PM    #

    Someone needs to start checking on these comments, they are getting out of hand

    No you can’t use the generator. if anything, it is rated for 1600 watts. That is 1.6KW, the motors used for EV are at the smallest about 16KW, and with ~24KW being the norm. Think about it, its being driven by a oversized go-kart motor, if the gas motor driving can’t move a car by itself efficiently, the generator wont do it either. and you would need AC voltage to move it, good luck with that.

  30. — James May    Aug 28, 2007 18:04 PM    #

    Hi Mac, your generator sounds like a useful bit of kit as it is if you ever had a power cut. Might be worth keeping it by,

  31. — mac    Aug 28, 2007 19:58 PM    #

    1600 watts is 1.6KW …wow your a friggin genius.
    i didnt ask if it could drive a car , i asked if it could be used as a drive motor…
    james, thanks for your more useful input


  32. — Nick Smith    Aug 28, 2007 21:15 PM    #


    I took a quick look at the Rediline website (dub dub dub rediline.com) and It would appear to me that you could take the DC motor out of it and use it (as you asked) as a drive motor. Given its original duty, I would say that it may be more suited to a continuous speed application such as an AC or PS pump drive. You really need to find out what type of motor it is ie. series, shunt, or Permanent magnet. A motor rewinder could probably tell you straight off which it is.

    Given that it turns out to be suitable for your needs (you didn’t say what it was for) you will probably find that it rates out at a bit higher than 1.6kW as it wouldn’t have the AC generator losses. Is it a 12V or 24V unit?

  33. — Joel    Aug 29, 2007 10:05 AM    #

    well, I asumed it would be used as a drive motor for a car, since the nature of the site itself.

  34. — James May    Aug 29, 2007 13:39 PM    #

    Hi Mac,
    People do ask beginner’s questions like that on this site sometimes.

  35. — reza    Nov 13, 2007 08:28 AM    #

    plz send for me
    weight&power dc-motors
    usago for electric car

  36. — Jeff    Nov 29, 2007 13:30 PM    #

    I understand about the horsepower difference, but what about torque? I hear that torque is often a concern in these motors.

  37. — clint    Nov 29, 2007 22:52 PM    #

    Whats better on small cars ac or dc. HELP!!!

  38. — Gary    Dec 15, 2007 10:44 AM    #

    I have a 1997 Ford Ranger XLT with a 2.3L engine and a 5 speed manual trans and I want to convert this truck into an EV. I work as a mechanic and will be converting this truck myself but I wanted to know what conversion kit would be best for my truck. I drive 3 miles a day to work and back and it will be used as a grocery gitter also. Really no need for high performance. E-mail me, thanx.

  39. — Dave    Jan 25, 2008 01:59 AM    #

    Back to torque converters – electric motors draw huge amps at startup; wouldn’t a torque converter ease the startup load considerably?

  40. — James May    Jan 26, 2008 13:35 PM    #

    Hi Dave

    If you have a controller, you have full control over the voltage and thus the current at motor start-up. I don’t think initial motor current is a problem which needs to be solved.

  41. — Terry    Feb 13, 2008 18:34 PM    #

    Dave you have to keep the torque converter.
    the trans will not work
    with out it.

  42. — Dave    Mar 12, 2008 17:10 PM    #

    Question for anyone that may be able to help me with a controller question. I have a MET 36v Perm Magnet Motor I will be using on an electric motorcycle. Can I use a Curtis 1204-412 36/48v controller or do I need a special controller for use with a Perm Magnet Motor. Thanks in Advance for any help!

  43. — Cliff Montanye    Mar 15, 2008 13:10 PM    #

    I have a 1994 Ford Probe and was wondering if I can convert it to an EV. If so, about how much would it cost and what speed could I get out of it if I stripped all the extra weight off

  44. — James May    Mar 16, 2008 18:08 PM    #

    Hi Cliff

    Have you tried the EV Calculator on this site? It might give you an idea of your top speed. For conversion costs, find the nearest conversion on evalbum.

  45. — Cliff Montanye    Mar 16, 2008 18:52 PM    #

    Thanks for the tip on the EV calculator. I’ve also been looking into the GEM car. I’ve been thinking if I put a 7.5 motor and 16 inch wheels on one maybe I could get over 40 miles an hour out of it. Anyone got any ideas?

  46. Greg Fordyce    Mar 17, 2008 07:27 AM    #

    Hi Dave,

    Have a look at Kelly Controller

    They have controllers designed for PM motors and also offer regeneration which a standard series controller won’t give you. I have purchased one and should have it on the road shortly.


  47. — Cliff Montanye    Mar 17, 2008 12:08 PM    #

    I know I’m bouncing around here with EV conversions, GEM cars and all the rest. This is all new to me but I think I’m getting my head straight. I’m back to converting the 94 Ford Probe. That EV calculator is a great tool. It only had a 93 Probe listed. Can I convert a 94 Probe with an auto trans and would the setup be pretty much the same? Anyone got any suggestions?

  48. — Alan Matevia    Mar 17, 2008 13:17 PM    #

    A lot of people seem to be thinking you need a DC motor to run a car. Try looking into using a AC motor ,batteries and a AC to DC conversion system.Also the braking system can use a DC motor at each wheel to slow the car down and at the same time this can generate electricity to help recharge the batteries. Look at how Teslamotors.com put thier system together. Good luck

  49. — James May    Mar 17, 2008 16:52 PM    #

    Hi Alan,
    Most of us are using a DC motor and controller because it’s less expensive than an AC one. You can get better efficiency with an AC motor and brake regeneration is easier to set up and more effective.
    Everything AC is much more expensive. I suppose it depends on your available funds. I think most people go for more expensive batteries before an AC system because it gives more bang per buck. Batteries are usually the limiting factor in an EV.

  50. — Rick    Mar 25, 2008 20:33 PM    #

    What a reat site! I am preparing to convert a Fiero with an auto tranny. Are there motors and battery combo’s that work better with automatics?

  51. — Dan P.    Mar 26, 2008 02:20 AM    #


  52. — Rick    Mar 31, 2008 13:46 PM    #

    Thank you, Dan. I found a couple more Fieros pretty cheap. 1 is a stick. Light weight, low drag. I am looking forward to this project and will keep posting progress. I worked in Iraq for 18 months as a security contractor, I am ready to end my dependance on oil!

  53. — Rick    Mar 31, 2008 13:49 PM    #

    By the way, since the fuel tank is in the console between the seats I was planning to build a rack and put the batteries there. How much ventalatoin is required for vapors and heat dispersion?

  54. — James May    Mar 31, 2008 14:04 PM    #

    Hi Rick

    I don’t think you need to worry about heat with lead acid batteries unless you are in a very hot climate.
    If you are using the non-sealed flooded type of lead acid battery, then make sure you vent the gases away with something like 12V computer fans. They can produce an explosive concentration of hydrogen under a heavy charge. Good Luck!

  55. — Roger    Apr 13, 2008 00:42 AM    #

    Could you tell me where I can order to buy a D.C. Motor?
    (around 3-4 H.P. series with top RPM of around 2600 RPM.)
    Thanks in advance,

  56. — Tom    Apr 22, 2008 11:24 AM    #

    Cool articles! Has anyone ever experimented with putting a hub motor in 2 or 4 of the wheels in a car? I am thinking if you could, it might be possible to replace both the engine and the tranny.

  57. Jerry    Apr 22, 2008 15:51 PM    #

    Cool site, I gotta look over this more. I’ve got a plan to convert my ’87 5-speed Civic to electric…

  58. — K. Harrison    May 06, 2008 22:36 PM    #

    Mr. Halstead,

    I am in the process of converting an ’86 Dodge Ram 50 to electric. About how much would one of those 9” 140lb series dc motors cost nowadays? Where would you acquire one?

    K. Harrison
    Latell, WA

  59. — Dennis    May 10, 2008 11:33 AM    #

    I’m New At EV Coversions, But Have Built Lots Of Cars And Could Use Some Help.I Haven’t Purchased A DC Motor Yet, And Planning On Making My Own Adapter.
    Is There A Common Center Hole Size And Motor Bolt Pattern (Frame Size) on Most Of The EV Motors Availiable? I Have Noticed One Adapter Called For A 3” Center Hole. What Is The Center Hole Measurement And Bolt Pattern For A D&D Motor ES-15A? I Understand Once I Get My Motor I Will Have This Information, But I’m Sure This Would Be Helpful To Someone Else Too. Thanks

  60. ZAPPDOG    May 11, 2008 16:03 PM    #

    @ MAC
    (QUOTE)i recently found a Redi_Line 1600w generator at a garage sale.

  61. — Charles    May 13, 2008 22:43 PM    #

    I am new at this and was also thinking of the generator/elecectric motor conversion. Honda (http://mayberrys.com/honda/generator/html/maingenerator.htm) makes one of the most fuel efficient and quiet generators on the market. They have ac/dc outputs….so why not use an AC motor? If there is not enough output from the built in converter, then perhaps a larger converter can be used in it’s place? (http://www.voltageconverters.com/itemdesc.asp?ic=PW6000-12) This one puts out 12000 watts @ peak.

    If one generator does not work, Honda’s can be piggy backed to run together. At 135lbs ea., that is still lighter than a motor, transmission and a 12-20 gal gas tank.

    (The EU3000is – Super quiet generator with 3000 Watts at Maximum output. 135 lbs. with Eco-Throttle & Optional Parallel Operation Connection Cable. Can operate 20 hours on less than 3.5 gallons of gasoline! Our most popular model for Recreational Vehicle usage. Connect (2) generators and double the wattage! (with optional parallel connection cable))

    Any suggestions?


  62. JohnW    May 13, 2008 23:56 PM    #

    My setup is using a 11kw DC motor. The 11kw is a constant rating and the peak could be anywhere as high as 44kw when accelerating. At 3kw per generator you would need somewhere between 3 – 10 units depending on their actual peak output to get the same result. That’s why Hybrids have batteries as well as a generator to cope with the initial acceleration etc and match the generator to the cursing requirements rather than the peak.

    At least that’s how I understand it anyway.

  63. — Kenny    May 18, 2008 11:21 AM    #

    I have a Yukon Denali all wheel drive. What sive electric motor(s) would I need? What size generator would I need to run them? Don’t want to use batteries except for back up.

  64. Jerry    May 18, 2008 11:44 AM    #

    Hi Kenny,

    Is your goal to use more gas to drive that huge vehicle?

    Adding another step to turn gas into electricity into power at the wheels isn’t going to magically make the Denali “efficient.” Just the opposite.

    Here’s a couple articles somewhat related to the subject:

    Gas Powered EV

    Poor Man’s Hybrid

  65. — Kenny    May 19, 2008 07:49 AM    #

    Isn’t there a small desiel generator that would make enough power to run the motors but not burn much fuel?

  66. — Andre    May 23, 2008 00:47 AM    #

    hi jerry my name is andre, im 16 years old and i am interested in building my own electric vehicle this summer. I have a lot of mechanical knowledge and skills, but i would like to ask a question. I have decided to convert a honda civic del sol, and from my research i want to put an AC motor and was wondering what type of (inexpensive) battery i should use to have a distance of 80 miles or more in a single charge?

    Also how many kw the AC motor should have for the same purpose, and what brand you recommend?

  67. — John    May 24, 2008 21:34 PM    #

    I would like to know if you can sprocket drive 1 alternator per battery If the car were rear wheel drive, you could drive alternators of sprocket that will spin with rear wheel,and if that is not enough maby add a wind turbine or 2

  68. Jerry    May 25, 2008 13:02 PM    #

    Hi guys,

    Read the gas powered EV link above and substitute diesel for gas generator. Diesel may add a bit of efficiency but you face all of the same issues, plus the fact that the fuel needs to be pre-warmed in the winter.

    I don’t think you can use the words “AC” and “inexpensive” in the same paragraph (grin). If you are going to be spending over $10k on AC components, why cheap out on the batteries? AC may give you a slight be more range but not enough to offset the higher costs. I am only aware of a few AC systems/dealers and have no direct experience and can’t make any recommendations.

    Not sure what you are getting at there. You aren’t suggesting that you could charge the batteries while driving, now are you? If so, then head over here. Otherwise let us know what you are trying to do and we’ll do our best to help out.


  69. — John    May 25, 2008 22:12 PM    #

    Just an idea not sure if it will work, my idea is to weld a very large sprocket to the inside of each rim on the back drive wheel then maybe run a small drive shaft with small sprocket to make shaft run as fast as you can, then drive maybe 8 alternators could line the shaft, those could charge the batteries as you drive, and if that’s not enough maybe add two wind turbines with maybe squirrel cage fan under hood because you push air, might as well use it for something.

  70. Tom    May 26, 2008 09:00 AM    #

    Hi, any help on building avery light weight car body. Maybe useing carbon fiber for the structure. The material is not that expensive any more, I will be importing carbon fiber soon and I am interested in possibly making a mold for the structural components. If you know of anyone that wants to build a body I can would like to know. Let me know if you have anything on that Thanks

  71. Sean    May 26, 2008 12:57 PM    #

    Here’s what I’m considering. This is a Porsche 356 replica beuilt on a VW bug frame. What a perfect way to make an EV with style! http://www.vintagespeedsters.com/

  72. — Bill    May 26, 2008 15:02 PM    #

    Hey Jerry- From my understanding an EV conversion isn’t really that difficult. My question is- what about connecting the air conditioning and heater. I live in Tx. and that is a must. Thanks.

  73. — wade    May 28, 2008 12:17 PM    #

    If the conversions are not difficult, what are the first steps? For example, when buying a computer by parts the first thing to consider is the chip then motherboard and so on. So, what is the first thing to consider to the last thing to consider? Build around the motor, controller, or batteries? I would quess leave the batteries until the final purchase. Im looking for simple general 1,2,3… steps to take. Thanks.

  74. Scott    Jun 08, 2008 22:05 PM    #

    Diesel Generator uses about 1/4 gallon per hour here, perfect option to run ac motor woulf work on a small truck however not something to use in a small car. something to consider.

  75. Jerry    Jun 09, 2008 07:29 AM    #

    Bill & Wade, Check out the new article I posted: Your First EV


    1/4 of a gallon per hour doing what? Not pushing a 3,000 pound vehicle, or 4,200 lbs considering the generator itself weighs over 1,200 lbs. A diesel gen isn’t going to be more efficient than using a diesel engine to power the car directly: remember, each time you convert energy (diesel to motion, motion to electric, electric to wheels) you lose some of it.

  76. — Eugen    Jun 10, 2008 03:16 AM    #

    good site —very informative
    Cheers from down under
    doing a converssion and am stuck too much variation in prices and value any suggestions? thanks Eugen

  77. — Jason    Jun 10, 2008 18:17 PM    #

    I have a question about transmissions in a converted EV. I have noticed that many of the conversions state to keep the trans and pin it into one gear. Why not remove the trans all together and attach directly to the drive axle? This would save weight and the gear ratio could be changed in the driveline if needed.

  78. Jerry    Jun 10, 2008 20:01 PM    #

    Hi Eugen, great to hear from you! Not quite sure what you mean: too many part/price choices or something else?

    Jason, if you have an axle with the right ratio it might work. You have to remember that a DC motor will have a maximum RPM, typically due to the brushes/commutator. I think the main reason folks go with a tranny is that it is already there and a known entity.

  79. — James May    Jun 10, 2008 21:16 PM    #

    Re: Jason’s question.

    Here’s a great article on cafeelectric.com which talks about the merits of direct drive vs. transmission: http://www.cafeelectricpress.com/blog/?p=22

  80. — Madhav    Jun 14, 2008 09:11 AM    #

    why only a series motor, why not a compound motor that gives the advantages of both series and shunt motor….?

  81. Jerry    Jun 14, 2008 12:08 PM    #

    I think it’s mostly a matter of availability.

  82. — Geoff    Jul 02, 2008 01:03 AM    #

    i want to put an electric motor in my jeep. i dont know if i should get an ac or a dc motor? i was also wondering if you could put some sort of charging system that runs off the motor like in a gas vehicle? any help would be awesome thanks

  83. — Allen    Jul 11, 2008 19:03 PM    #

    Great job on answering the questions that should be answered!
    I’ve got a 2004 Denali. I’ve already relegated it to about 15-20 miles a day, so I’m considering the conversion to use the guzzler as a commuter.
    Cost not being my main factor, I’m concerned about the capability of using the existing systems already in place. (i.e. GPS, Speedo, Gauges, Computer issues, etc.)
    I realize that this is not the ideal conversion, but I really like the luxury and would rather convert something usable for 4 adults, if only for going to dinner in town.
    Has anybody seen any calculators for a vehicle of this size and/or had any experience with existing electronics on newer vehicles?
    I’ve seen a couple of motor kits that should work at around 30KW (Rated, not Max) but I would like to hear more about the potential issues. I’ve already figured (approximately, until I settle on the motor) the other needs. (i.e Batteries, Controller, Mounting Space, etc.)

    Thanks, in advance.

  84. — Allen    Jul 11, 2008 19:43 PM    #

    Forgot to mention…I was curious about the potential of utilizing the AWD. Any ideas?

  85. Jerry    Jul 14, 2008 13:05 PM    #

    Well, let me say, it’s good that cost isn’t your main factor! “:^)

    Get a nice big 9” ADC motor (or two!), a Zilla, and splurge for the latest Lithiums. That ought to get you more power (in exchange for more money) to haul the large vehicle around.

    As for saving all of the gadgets: no problem, they all run off of 12vdc and shouldn’t notice the difference. Some gauges aren’t going to make the cut, notably: temperature and gas. But you can usually rig something up for a Tach, the speedo is typically coming off of the tranny.

    Feed power into the tranny and your AWD will work. Of course being automatic you’ll have to rig up the EV motor to idle most of the time to keep the hydraulics pumped.

    But, as I’ve said a zillions times: converting an inefficient gas guzzler to electric just gets you an inefficient electricity guzzler. Just doesn’t seem worth it. Instead, buy a little sports car (preferably with a blown engine) and convert it. Use that to zip around town and use the Denali when you just gotta have the space/luxury/cup-holders/long distance driving.

  86. — Fuzzy    Jul 22, 2008 01:54 AM    #

    Most of the posts on here are honest to goodness decent posts. As for the others, come on, be nice, so much on the internet these days you have to pay for. This site and any and all who give their time to it to help others deserve some respect for that.

    Thanks folks.

  87. — manny    Aug 04, 2008 03:33 AM    #

    were do i get to buy one of thos motors in AuZ

  88. — Mushir Khondkar    Aug 13, 2008 05:03 AM    #

    I want to convert a Jeep TJ 1998 2.5L 4cyl to electricity. Please let me know the motor ac or dc and the HP and volts and current requirement and the controller to be needed.

  89. — Dave Spiegel    Sep 15, 2008 15:14 PM    #

    Hi, I want to make a EV motorcycle. How do I go about finding a electric motor that will run off of a car battery. What are the different sizes? I used to rebuild alternators and I have an idea as to how I can hook up one to charge the battery and run lights and still put 12.3 volts back in the battery.

  90. Mike Dieroff    Sep 18, 2008 11:46 AM    #

    Check out http://www.ddmotorsystems.com/ElectricVehicles.shtml for any motorcycle conversion needs. They also do the electric motors & controllers for all small to medium size electric vehicle conversions. They even have a video on a complete motorcycle conversion. Very Slick.

  91. — Edward    Sep 22, 2008 14:25 PM    #

    Where can I get a motor like this?

  92. — Mark Smith aka crash    Sep 23, 2008 22:01 PM    #

    I’m new to serious investigating on the subject of EVs and I’m having a bit of trouble tryin to understand how you shift when you have a manual trans and are moving.I guess what I don’t understand is that with a reg trans and you push in the clutch your disengaging the tranny from the motor and there allowed to move without torque being put on the trans and the trans can be shifted to desired gear buit with a direct link to trans w/o clutch it seem s like it would be like shifting w/o using the clutch in a regular gas driven car someone please explain .Thanks

  93. — Dan P.    Sep 25, 2008 14:06 PM    #

    “it seem s like it would be like shifting w/o using the clutch in a regular gas driven car.”


  94. — EVdude    Sep 25, 2008 19:00 PM    #

    When you push the clutch in a gas engine car or truck you are allowing the transmission to go into free spin. when you let off of the accelerator pedal in an EV the motor and transmission both go into free spin unlike a gas engine which stays moving at all times. it would be more like pushing the clutch halfway down in a gas engine car and shifting into the next gear but will work. if you wait about 2 seconds after you let off of the accelerator in an EV then it will be fine when you shift gears.

    Personally i prefer to keep the clutch because it reminds me of driving my old camaro 5 speed.

  95. — Kyle B    Sep 25, 2008 21:57 PM    #

    Mark –
    I learned to drive in a farm truck with a worn out transmission, and you HAD to use the engine to match up the gear speeds, so I know how to drive without a clutch. BUT – the syncros in these new trannys do not like to be used that way, I am not sure why. If you have a very quick tach, you can do it, with some practice.
    I just keep my E-car in second gear and leave it there. The motor has enough torque to pull easily from a stop, and is efficient at high RPMs so you don’t need to upshift.

  96. — tony cotroneo    Oct 01, 2008 18:54 PM    #

    who sells the cheapest and best EV conversion kit for a 1969 VW bug

  97. — Greg    Oct 09, 2008 21:51 PM    #

    Has anyone everheard of converting a 4wd to basically a hybrid by driving the front drive shaft from a DC motor but maintaining the gas motor for rear wheel drive. My old jeep has sufficient room for a DC motor in front of the transfer case.

  98. — DanP.    Oct 10, 2008 02:25 AM    #

    You would need to match the output torque too both drive shafts.
    I once pulled out both front drive axel shafts from a 4×4 Subaru wagon (keeping the CV joints attached to transmission/outer hubs) then drove it around in 4High as a rear wheel drive.
    Recently I’ve seen the use of an electric motor in line with the rear drive shaft on a Chevy Suburban for better city MPG. I would think you could use such a setup with better results.

  99. — DanP.    Oct 10, 2008 02:53 AM    #


  100. — Joyce    Dec 01, 2008 14:05 PM    #

    Is anyone on here from Massachusetts? I’m a reporter & I’d like to talk to someone for a story I’m writing about electric car conversions.

  101. Electric Car Conversion Kits    Dec 11, 2008 03:27 AM    #

    Your illustration was great.I am very interested in EVs and found good informaiton form you, keep up the good work. I will be following this site regulary.

  102. — GLENN    Dec 23, 2008 19:11 PM    #

    HI, new to this ,just have a few questions,what charges the batteries back up any kind of alternator or plug in. Also any use of capacitors to store electric to recharge batteries or store electric to drive motor? Thanks Glenn

  103. — Jacob    Dec 25, 2008 00:57 AM    #

    I am also new to the electric car projects. And have recently obtained a 93 Geo storm to convert. From my job I am able to obtain A/C motors for company price and am looking for 25-30hp range 15-21kw. Is there any reason why I couldn’t run my system voltage at 220V? One difference I see in the motors are the RPM at 60Hz is 3600rpm versus the AC24 offered at electroauto.com which is 12,000… Would this be an issue if I retain the manual transmission? Or would I have to step up the HP to make up for the gearing? The controller specs seem to allow for 220v same with charger.

    Thanks for the help,


  104. — Stan    Dec 26, 2008 13:08 PM    #

    Are there electric cars with gas or diesel powered generators on board instead of batteries?
    Are there electric motors for cars available that use magnetics where brushes used to be like model airplanes have? Seems like an electric motor / motors mounted at the wheels (no drive shaft) would be the best for power efficiency. Are these available? Stan

  105. — monty    Jan 18, 2009 18:07 PM    #

    Durt track racers use a direct drive on the automatics , no functional torque converter. jegs sells it.

  106. — bill brown    Jan 22, 2009 22:31 PM    #

    how would you like to see a low 400 rpm diesel engine with generator run your auto approximately at 100 miles to gallon

  107. — t khoxa    Apr 20, 2009 11:45 AM    #


    Is to design the complete electrical power and control system for a typical medium sized motor car. The is to have a range of 300km at 100km/h on one charge and is to be considered a high performance vehicle capable of travelling at sustained speeds of 160 km/h.

  108. — EV Dreamer    May 17, 2009 06:33 AM    #

    Hasn’t anyone thought of using a separate generator for a power source powered by another lower voltage using electric motor?

    I mean I suppose it would matter what kind of motor you’re using and the voltage required. But like the motor mechanics, why not use a motor for the drive train, then a separate motor to drive the generator underneath the hood, would be the same weight approximately. About the same as that gas guzzling v6 or 4 cyl you were using before. Would eliminate the use of a large battery bank not to mention the weight of the battery bank you was going to use on your EV. AND you could go further, A LOT further.

    Another thing, you could use an industrial factory single phase AC motor for the generator, just use a 10 inch pulley on the motor and a 1 inch pulley on the generator shaft, this will make your electric motor seem like it’s running full capacity, when in fact it’s running only about halfway (450rpm x 10 = 4500rpm’s on the generator continuous). Saves the hassle of ruining your motor(s), and it wont get hot and shut down, or cog on you. (this is provided you’re using an AC motor. If you’re using DC motor for the drive train, then you’ll have to use an AC to DC converter.) Still you’ll be ahead regardless. Not as costly as the major battery bank. Worth looking into.

    Plus this application may allow you to drive hundreds of miles if not further than those ridiculous sad excuses for a hybrid the car companies are coming out with now.

    Car companies, if you’re reading this… think locomotive. The train is the ONLY TRUE hybrid utilizing a generator to make electricity for the DC motors. Cause electric motors have more torque to begin with. Stop stringing the general public with junk, and build something that will last for a change!

  109. — DanP.    May 17, 2009 07:27 AM    #

    “Stop stringing the general public with junk, and build something that will last for a change!”

    If they did that, then no one would need to buy another one.

  110. — Chris    May 17, 2009 23:34 PM    #

    Jim; Great site, I’d read the old sit several years ago. I have a Chevy Luv Truck, about 1600lbs. stripped down. I(‘ve looked on Electro auto), I’m looking for an adaptor plate to fit the little Mitsubishi 4 sp. They don’t list it, I’d hate to pay extra. If I get one I may copy it for sale since there are a lot of Luvs and Pups out there. Have you seen anyone convert a Luv? Keep up the good work. Chris

  111. — Anthony    May 19, 2009 01:23 AM    #

    I have a question, What are the pros and cons for having an ev? what about the dmv and insurant, and is it worth it to have one?

  112. — JerryG.    Jun 17, 2009 07:52 AM    #

    Once you have converted your car to an EV, what do you do for driver/passenger heat and cooling? I don’t believe EV’s will go over big in the U.S. if there isn’t some relief from driving in 95 degree weather or 10 degree weather. Any suggestions?

  113. James May    Jun 19, 2009 06:20 AM    #

    Hi Jerry

    Since passenger compartment heating and cooling takes a lot of energy and energy is at a premium in EVs, quite a lot of people who convert leave these out. However, you can heat with an electric reistance heater matrix cut into the ventilation system. You can also heat with an electric water heater similar to the Canadian block heaters which is plumbed into the original cabin heater matrix.

    You can cool by using the existing A/C unit by either running it’s pump via a belt from the back of the motor or by supplying an extra motor dedicated to the A/C pump. If you visit EVAlbum you’ll probably come across all of these configurations.

    James May -UK

  114. — alphonse    Jun 20, 2009 19:36 PM    #

    hi my car is chinese made it called cherry Q.Q please what kind of electric engine should i install please can you help 10x

  115. — billy    Jun 24, 2009 09:55 AM    #

    I would like to put a larger motor in a GEM. Can anyone tell me who makes a larger motor that will hook up to the gem gearbox..

  116. — Bill K.    Jun 25, 2009 13:27 PM    #

    i want to do my first ev out of a 78 fiat spider(124) where could i get an adaptor plate

  117. — den    Jun 27, 2009 17:46 PM    #

    Can some one tell me how to change the axel on a GEM car???


  118. — John L    Jul 23, 2009 07:03 AM    #

    I am an American in Beijing, and I see the “wheel hub motors” every day on the ubiquitous electric bikes and scooters here in China. I was wondering what I should call them; now I know! thanks.
    I’m enjoying both your EV conversion blog/sites,
    I am planning on a project soon, a small 3 wheel cycle-car and/or a gas-to-EV conversion similar to yours…
    (you have a great sense of humor too!) Grazie!

  119. — Jeff    Jul 28, 2009 10:30 AM    #

    EV Dreamer, great point. As a kid I always wondered why I couldn’t have a elec.motor & gen. connected together to produce an infinite supply of electricity (yes, I understand the friction/loss concept) Locomotive? why not. I think I’ll set this up on a test bench and view the pro’s & con’s. THX!

  120. — shane fletcher    Aug 02, 2009 00:18 AM    #

    My grandpa passed and i got his electric car parts from him. he used a leer starter/generator 30 vlts 300 amps. he used this for a drive motor i believe and was wondering whats the biggest vehicle i want to put this in? i have a 88 s10 truck or a 85 4 door lebaron for donor. any help is appreciated.

  121. — thomas rumbach    Aug 05, 2009 12:10 PM    #

    I have a 1661 rambler wagan smll car I want to put 2 club cadet moters in it 7.5 hp but use a primary drive to trans had a low rpm noter flat 6 95hp

  122. — Joseph    Sep 03, 2009 09:24 AM    #

    Hi guys! really admire the work everyone is doing!
    iv been thinking about trying to build an EV motorbike, but im not yet sure about motor sizing, i am currently considering buying a surplus forklift motor and refurbishing it, but im not really sure of what kind of Hp id need, can anyone shed some light in the topic?