Homemade Electric Car – How to Get Started with a DIY Electric Vehicle

The Fundamentals of a Homemade Electric Car

Most car owners have a very positive impression of a pure electric car (PEC). Electric vehicles are known for their low running cost compared to a gasoline driven cars.

For the time being, a brand new electric vehicle (EV) from the manufacturer is still quite expensive. If you were to check the price tag of the sexy Tesla Roadster electric car, we are talking about the price range of over $100,000.00!.

It’s fair to say, that is damn expensive. Even a sedan electric vehicle is selling at the price range of around $40,000.

Why is this so?

Without a high demand, car manufacturers are unable to reach economies of scale, therefore the pricing is beyond the reach for the masses.

As an alternative, we can build an electric vehicle (EV) by converting a gasoline driven car to run on electricity. Many electric car enthusiasts have been using homemade electric vehicles for quite some time now.

Before you get started with a Do It Yourself (DIY) electric vehicle project, there are a few things you have to know. First, you have to identify your driving pattern.

If you need a car to drive long distances to work, an EV may not be right for you. If all you need is to go grocery shopping and run errands around town, then an electric car may suit your needs.

Why is it so? This  is because of the limited driving mileage of an EV.

A car with an internal combustion engine (ICE) converted to EV would have a mileage of approximately 50 miles before you have to recharge the batteries.

The actual mileage will depend on the weight of the car, motor power rating, charging state of the batteries and also the driving condition. Unlike a conventional automobile, an EV would need a power outlet to recharge. Imagine if you were to run out of power on a street, it will be tough for you to find a power outlet.

Even if you do locate a power outlet, how much should you pay for the power you’ve consumed. Most electric vehicle owners will usually recharge their EV overnight at home.

To determine your current driving mileage is quite simple, just look at your odometer. Keep track of your net driving mileage everyday for the next 30 days. At the end of the month, add the figures up and get the daily net average. If the number is around 50 miles, then using a homemade electric car will be perfect for you.

DIY Electric Car Conversion Plan

Now that you know your daily driving needs, the next step is to prepare for your EV conversion project. But before you do so, it is best you get the necessary parts and EV design plans.

For a good electric car conversion blueprint, check out Gavin Shoebridge’s Electric Conversion Made Easy e-book. Gavin is from New Zealand and is commonly known as the EV Guy. He became quite famous when he converted his old Mitsubishi Tredia in his garage on a shoestring budget.

Since he didn’t have much money for the EV project, Gavin had to come out with creative ways to make things work on his homemade electric car. Most of what he did during the conversion project was written in his manual. For more information on Gavin’s e-book, click on the link below.

==> Click here to visit Gavin Shoebridge’s web site now!

26 thoughts on “Homemade Electric Car – How to Get Started with a DIY Electric Vehicle

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  3. A helpfull Thought

    Car alternator,,,replace electro-magnetic armeture coil with a permenet magnet from a speaker and you have free electric. Remove the rectifying diode from in the alternator and you have 12 volts A.C. electric. Need more power? add a step up transformer in line or a few capacitors to boost start up power like turbo kicking in when needed.

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  7. Brendan

    What I’m puzzled about is there’s really no mention made about using generators (diesel or petrol) to extend range by charging. Here in NZ brand new diesel generators can be bought, 2800kw output, electric start etc for about $1200. Very compact. They use about 1.5 to 2.5 litres diesel/hr & would pack a punch into an EV’s battery bank. As for mounting, how about in a box mounted behind the rear bumper, attached to the bar that would normally support a tow bar? Range would increase greatly, making such an EV suitable for many more drivers – perhaps instead of 100miles, one might get twice that. And of course it can charge while parked in a carpark, or out in the great outdoors miles from any electrical outlet… anyone got any thoughts on this?

  8. Will Post author

    You brought up a very good point there Brendan. So far, I have not yet seen a DIY electric car using a diesel generator to charge the battery bank. In theory, it would have extended the electric car driving range.

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  13. Harvey

    As I am just a po-dunk boy from a hick vill town in Mid Michigan…..i beleave no one has thought about…rather talked about it is that people are trying to get away from petrol…..
    now if you were to use used veg/fri oil to your diesel(now called bio-fuel) to cut the need for all that petrol go right ahead……but when you do everyone down wind will get a nasty hanker’n for french fries! lol!

    Harvey Thorson
    Michigan USA

  14. Aaron

    The Chevy Volt is, of course, a range-extended electric as Brendan describes. Neil Young’s Lincvolt uses a combustion range extender (it runs on diesel, vegetable oil, grease, etc.) and is a one-off DIY job. The folks at KillaCycle use a biodiesel-powered generator to recharge the dragster between runs.

  15. fred smith

    “Without a high demand, car manufacturers are unable to reach economies of scale, therefore the pricing is beyond the reach for the masses.”

    Then there will never be a day when “EC’s” populate the roads in any real numbers. I mean, why pay $100.000. when I can get a good car for 25% of that or less if I buy used?

  16. Dave EV Advocate

    There will be a day when EV’s populate the roads. When the oil reserves begin to run out. Some expert predict that the world oil production will peak as early as 2020. Sounds like a long time right now, but is less than the life expectancy of that new puppy you got the kids for Christmas. Even at todays prices people are still buying gasoline by the millions of gallons because the infrastucture and car manufacturers have been long entrenched in that technology. It’s simple, it’s convenient and it works fairly cheaply. Electic cars are not there yet, but at least there are some coming to market. Remeber when personal computers first started out? Now the phone in your pocket has more capabilities the 100 of those old clunky devices and it was FREE with a new two year contract.

  17. Matt

    that is a great idea works the same way the Chevy Volt does but for a hell of a lot less money. that would extend e.v.s’ that only go 30-50 miles to well over a 100! the oil companies can suck it!

  18. Rolly Bucago

    Are we just gonna talk about it or we gonna do something about it?
    I need people with skills and talent so we can build an army willing to help change the future and put an end to burning oil. Who had connection with an electric company, fiber glass/carbon fiber companies and metal company?

    Common people lets build EV’s!!!!!!
    This will be a new company by the way. I just need to find willing people to do it.

    San Francisco, CA

  19. David W. Wilson

    People, People, People…

    Let me say that ALL of the answers to the questions you ask EXIST !
    Problem: NO ONE HAS COME FORWARD, Yet… They will.

    Why have not the car companies offered us a solution to burning petrol?
    They Loooove us doing so…
    We should all be driving electrics or hybrids.
    Mileage? Really?!!!
    They can sent a rover to Mars, access it from Earth and we cannot beat this car stupidity…?

    Look, there are many of us who can and we will.
    It ain’t about making money, it is about solving a problem…
    Peace and all the best.
    Get busy, dang it…

  20. Joe Armstrong

    I think being new to this that I have a lot to learn. That said, what I have seen and read about so far leads me to ask a question.
    Is it possible to convert some old gas guzzler to pure electric by replacing the gas engine with an electric one, installing some batteries, and here is the BIG question,,,installing in the trunk one of these newfangled so called “Free Energy” devices to power the whole thing???

  21. Apollo

    …. people, people. i’m a level 4 chrysler certified technician, and a specialist in dodge and chrysler hybrid vehicles. i’ve figured out a way to charge the batteries on an EV without a diesel generator or by pluging it into a wall.

    ever heard of REGENERATIVE BRAKING??? well, what it does is turn the electric motor into a generator when you hit the brakes to slow the vehicle down.which in turn charges the batteries. I’ve played around with the concept and found out that it does indeed work. I used a hybrid at the dealership that came in and had an issue with the battery charging. well after i fixed the problem. i figured i’d test it out and cut the signal that causes the engine to kick over after the vehicle reached a certain speed. the engine never turned on and i drove for over 30min on just the battery. the voltage from the battery just lowered a few volts because the regen system charged the batteries. although the battery was not completely charged, it isnt a perfect system because it wasn’t designed to work continuously as i forced it to. with a little fine tuning this could replace having to plug in the vehicle and can extend the mileage driven in an EV.

  22. Jerome Minks

    been interested in electric cars myself but dont have the funds for a new volt or something similar as I am on disability..currently when I go on the trails by my home I have a modified electric 2 wheelr that goes about 15 mph.. it has an extended range battery pack on it that woill deliver about 30 miles of operation on one charge.. I am waiting for my gas engine in my 01 dodge to quit and this car will be the thing to convert..gonna use a forklift axle assembly in the rear and put the battery pack cluster up front..2 banks of 24 volts or 36 whichever the motor will use..it should move at nearly 40 mph as far as I have computed which is fine for in town..as far as charging goes.. is it possible to mount magnet/coilpacks on each wheel and get enough power from these to recharge a system?these can be implemented for use as electric brakes also.I am still in the designing stage and am gathering up some parts to modify a 4 wheeled buggy (pedal powered) into a faster electric unit.this outfit is mounted on 8 inch inflateable wheelbarrow style rims with turf tread tires on it..has a sprocket drive that I can replace with a electric unit and may do 20 mph with 24 volt battery setup. I built a cooler scooter that is 5 ft long and can handle a rider up to 8 mph .. I use this for a trip to my local store a few blocks away..trying to sell it for say 50 bucks..its home made and functional..

  23. Jerome Minks

    actually, I see the hiway system developing a slot-car style electrical setup with the vehicles’ pickup unit riding in a track made into the centerline of each lane..the pickup unit will also be atatched to the steering to keep the car/truck in its’ lane..along the side of each section of road is a transfoermer that will power each section and if accidents are detected ahead.. the power gets cut off..the main drivemotors are located infront of differentials in place of a transmission and depending on load application, one or more motors are used to move the vehicle..big trucks like semis, would have the largest motors one for the front end and two or more for the rear..the pickup unit can be made to retract up and a fuel engine to take over for maneuvering and final desination operation..or a different electrical setup could power it to the final spot..this way electrical can span across the country on the interstate system..

  24. Jason

    I have heard of hooking a car alternator up to your electric motor to recharge the batteries as you go. It would have to be an efficient alternator as that is also more drag on the motor but if it worked it would extend the range some and do so cheaply. I haven’t built an electric vehicle and am just learning about this. I want to build an electric powered reverse trike. It would need at least a 100 mile range and 70 mph capability as I drive 60 miles round trip per day for work. If any one has helpful info I would sure appreciate hearing from you. Thanks.

  25. Joseph Barbee

    I’ve been working with DC stepping motors. Reverse it, a Generator.
    Motors are expensive since have magnets. Simplicity use 10 – 12 volt batteries, use rectifier produce 120v AC. There are many options when you’re producing
    120VAC. Any thoughts to add.

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