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Building my first Electric Car Help plz

I’m looking into buying a engine-less japanese cultus or Honda CRX vehicle for lightweight purpose. I’ve been reading how it’s possible to use a DC Induction motor + Controller + Lithium Ion batteries(a lot) to get somewhere around 70-90HP. But the vehicle would have to weigh less than around 2,000lbs all together. If possible, I’d like to aim even lower than that. But the real technical problem I’m running into is making sure to setup the DC induction motor to the transmission properly so that I can manually shift gears and go in reverse when needed. I’m wondering if anyone here knows or has experience with this dead end. I’ve NEVER worked on a car before because I’m always very short on the money, so I’m learning all of this stuff for the first time as of now. I’m wondering if anyone has any good videos or sources of information to break down perhaps how to swap out a regular gasoline engine and install the DC induction motor to the transmission? Because I don’t understand how the manual stick shift ties into the changing of forward or reverse power. Thanks

No experience with this myself, but I expect the transmission and clutch just bolt onto the electric motor’s flywheel is all. It’s critical the two parts are designed to bolt together of course, otherwise you’d need some kind of adapter.

But why guess? There are dozens of books and magazines on how to build your own electric car. Suggest a visit to the local public library and do some basic research.

Here’s one book I discovered via a 30 second search

The Electric Vehicle Conversion Handbook

How to Convert Cars, Trucks, Motorcycles, and Bicycles : Includes EV Components, Kits, and Project Vehicles

Warner, Mark

You’ve never worked on a car before? And you don’t understand how a manual transmission works? And you’re always very short on money?

I mean no disrespect, honestly, but you’re plunging in way, way, way over your head. I give you an A+ for ambition and for courage, but I recommend you start smaller first. Try making an electric go cart to start. If you can manage that, it’ll be a great learning platform. If you find it’s more complicated than you’re up for, at least you won’t end up broke and trying to get rid of a huge hunk of scrap metal.

Just a hint: it took a team of very smart engineers at Tesla with a very large funding source years to develop a system just to manage the heat generated by a lithium-ion battery matrix of sufficient power to power a very light Lotus chassis (their first car was built on a Lotus chassis). Here’s a photo of one. And that chassis was a lot lighter than a Honda CRX chassis. The good news is that it didn’t need a transmission. Electric motors provide instant torque and since they don’t have any reciprocating parts, they can rev much, much, much higher than a gasoline engine.

I’m in agreement with mountainbike about using go-karts for your test beds.

No mechanical ability and no money is not going to get you very far building a passenger car even if you cobble, scrimp, and improvise till you’re cross-eyed and plagued with chronic migraines.

Trust me on this but projects of any sort can and often do become very frustrating, time consuming, and expensive.

Li-Ion = $$$$
Start with lead acid if $ are tight
But I agree, you’re in real deep here, big risk of wasting money.

I have a lot of experience in this field, none of it good. Many states used my plans to design their electric chairs. The closest I came to a functional all electric car blew up half of my doghouse. I had nowhere to sleep for a month.

I know a guy, who, many years ago, took a Subaru sports car, a bunch of 12 volt Lead-acid batteries and an electric motor and built his own electric car. But he was a mechanical engineer, had lots of spare money, and access to electrical engineers. It had a top speed of 50 MPH.

Sorry, you don’t have a chance of an ice cube in he11.

edit, actually it was a SAAB Sonett, sorry.

Thank you GeorgeSanJose, The handbook has come very helpful so far. It explains a lot!

"I’ve NEVER worked on a car before because I’m always very short on the money…"

What does this mean? This makes little sense to me. It’s counterintuitive. Many people learn to work on their own cars BECAUSE they are short on money (or want to save some and/or learn).

Many people find it challenging enough to keep a “store bought” automobile on the road whether they do their own maintenance/repairs or pay others, but making a car from components that it was not designed around is a whole different ballgame.

Why not buy a used car and see if you can keep it running and learn from that? Then if you feel qualified to build a better design then assess what the cost and potential problem areas might be and see if it still seems remotely feasible.

"Building my first Electric Car Help plz"
When I first saw this I though immediately about a classified ad that Tom & Ray featured on a show years ago. I searched, but couldn’t find it so I’ll take the liberty to paraphrase from memory…

WANTED: Somebody to travel back in time with me.
I’ve only done this once. If interested call 555-1234.


If you’re short on money, this is not the project to take on. I am not short on money, and I’ve worked on cars for years, and I still wouldn’t take this on because I don’t like the idea of bankruptcy.

I recently saw a 1991 MR2 that had been converted to electric, using the stock transmission. It was 7 grand in parts alone, plus the price of the car, plus the price of the professional install (which you will need because if you don’t have any experience working on cars, you are not going to be able to pull this off by yourself). As such, the car itself was the cheapest part of the project.

Learning to work on cars is a process, like learning to play the guitar. You don’t start with Paganini your first guitar lesson, you start with learning how to tune it and some simple scales. You need to get a foundation in car work before you take on projects like this.

I have no idea what a Japanese cultus is but I do know that the OP is delusional.

You will be money ahead by just purchasing an electric car. If you have the money to start building your own electric vehicle then you have a nice down payment already.

In the late 60s when I was a senior in HS my best friend had an older brother who was a degreed engineer. The older brother and another gentleman started up a company that was going to focu on the design and production of electric cars even way back the.

After several years of headaches, many man hours, and a lot of money they were at the point where they had a workable prototype ready for testing. It was named the Electricar.

One evening my buddy called me and told me that his brother and the other junior partner had taken the families to a park in NM for the weekend to get away from it all.
In a twist of irony a severe storm came up and while they were headed back to the RV a lightning bolt struck a nearby tree; killing my friend’s brother, his 9 year old daughter, and injuring the junior partner and his wife. That was the end of the Electricar.

Point being that it took a lot of brainpower and resources to even reach the point that he did.

YouTube seems to have videos about it. I’d head there and seeing if the folks who post videos are willing to share thru video or other means. Good luck.

OP — just curious, please explain how a DC inductive motor is configured.

In a few minutes now I’m sure to have an extra $1.5 billion around so I might spot you a few dollars.
Oops, guess not. Maybe next time.

I heard a story on the radio today about a lady who won $160 M in the lotto. She pocketed a cool $80 M in cash after deciding to take the whole thing at once, and after paying taxes. After one year she’s down to $55 M. Why? Bailing out her boyfriend from jail numerous times.

You can’t buy simple common sense. She doesn’t have any because she keeps a jailbird boyfriend and he doesn’t have any because he keeps going to jail and he has a rich girlfriend.

Building my first Electric Car Help plz

Is this a joke thread? It has to be, right?
Here is the best help I can give, Forget you ever thought of this.

By you own admission you don’t have he money, the ability, or the automotive knowledge. Given just what you say, you are way over your head before you even start. Even if you do it, what do you intend to do with this vehicle? Your best bet would be to buy a used golf car and play/experiment with that in you spare time.