Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Motor

From my point of view there are five main parts needed.
  1. Electric motor
  2. Motor controller
  3. Adapter plate
  4. Batteries
  5. Battery charger

Before I continue I will say up front I am going with DC power. There are advantages to AC; regenerative breaking, higher efficiency, but the complexity and cost go up as well. Plus I live in South Florida, no hills so regen will not give much back. Maybe my next conversion. :)

These items require some planning up front because the selections you make drive the design of your conversion. From my reading most people said the longest part of converting a car to electric is waiting for your parts. So far I must agree. Once the glider was here I started researching motors and it really came down to two; Advanced DC 203-06-4001 and the Netgain Warp9. Either one would have worked fine but the members of the evdl talked very highly of the Warp9 motor. So that was my choice. I went through a local ev converter up in Ft. Pierce, Grassroots EV, owned by Steve Clunn. Ordering parts locally keeps the money in the community and Steve can provide help, and I'm going to need help!

8 weeks later and ta-da! Here's the UPS freight delivery truck.

Here is the crate in my garage. It was packed very well by Netgain.

And there it is.
Close up view. Notice the masking tape with the words 'Clock Wise'. Honda motors rotate cw instead of ccw as most other cars. I had Netgain advanced the time to make it rotate opposite.

Next up, the adapter plate.

Friday, October 10, 2008


Well I finally did it. I started my electric vehicle conversion project. It's been a long time coming. I read Mike Brown's 'Convert it' book and 'Build your own electric vehicle' by Bob Brant. Both are very good books and worth reading before starting out. I also spent way too much time reading the electric vehicle discussion list ( So much information and so many helpful people that I'm sure I will be using their expertise very soon. Probably the thing that got me to finally pull the trigger was reading Tim Kutscha web blog of his Porche and now his Open Source Honda Civic conversion, Thanks Tim for that extra last push to get started. I initially was open to any glider. I was kicking around using a buddies 1997 Saab convertible. He claimed one more large repair bill and he was donating it. But it's a heavy car, I could find only one other Saab on the evalbum ( and the convertible top makes the trunk very small. Plus it was running fine and I didn't want to wait too long. After casually mentioning it at lunch at my office, in reality I talk about it all the time, another friend said his family owns a huge salvage yard in Miami. Any car I want they could get it. Well that changes everything. Instead of looking through Craig's list or want ads I had to pick a car right away. I chose a 5th generation Honda Civic for my glider. They are plentiful, lot's of spare parts and they have been converted many times. I plan on using Tim's open source conversion project as my guide. Two weeks later I get the call and my buddy sends these pictures. Here she is at the salvage yard. Aint she a beauty.
So I pulled the trigger. Since the gas motor was useless I got $300 off the price, it was a running car. I paid $598 dollars, minus $2 in change I found under the seats. Here they bring her out. I also want to say thanks to my friend Alex and to his family who owns MOP Auto Parts in Miami. Super nice family! I can't tell you how invaluable it will be to have a salvage yard at my disposal for spare parts. There's Alex checking out the car.
Remember I had them pull the engine out for me? Here's a shot under the hood. What's missing? There's no transmission!
We found it. It was in the trunk along with the axles, two extra jacks and a bottle of orange juice.

Here's one of the MOP guys removing the steering column to remove the steering locking mechanism. The key got lost. No sense waiting around, we wanted to bring it home. I had a key made the following week. Here she is sitting in my driveway. I'm waiting for the HOA to send a letter stating no junk cars in your driveway. Little do they know...muhahahhahahaaa (insert evil laugh). Notice on the window the Spanish words 'No Tocar'. For now that is her name, means 'hands off' or 'do not take'. It will do for now.