Gas car as a candidate for electric car

I would like to retrofit a gas powered car with a DC motor and lead acid batteries. I am looking for suggestions as to what the best makes and models would be. The ideal candidate is a subcompact - less than 2000 pounds of curb weight, two wheel drive - can be either front or rear, and standard transmission. Preferably this vehicle should be less that ten years old and sold in quantities in the USA - hence parts would be easy to come by. Any suggestions?

The one person I know who has done this converted a small Japanese pickup. He adapted the electric motor directly to the transmission, and had a lot of room for batteries under the bed in back. He told me he didn’t really need to shift gears, just sort of picked the best one for the top speed he expected.

I would expect a front wheel drive would be more difficult.

Geo or Chevy Metro.

Why do you want to do it? If you’re having fun, good! If you expect to save money somehow, I’m skeptical.

Prolly got his own hydro-electric plant.

I saw a Ford Escort from the 1980’s that had been converted in the way you describe. This car was done as a project in the Center for Energy Research Education and Service (CERES)in the College of Architecture at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. This was about a dozen years ago and I have no idea how this experiment worked out.

Electrics don’t need any transmission and I think a small pick-up would be the easiest to convert. Batteries in the bed and charger and control circuitry under the hood…

As a general statement yes…but to exclude a transmission when the E car has not been engineered from the ground up…requires a little luck matching motor to chassis. There in lies the rub for back yard mechanic conversion. A stout electric motor would be required to give full range performance in a car, requiring lots of battery storage. Not a problem with the series hybrid and diesel electric in locomotives…cars are a different and problematic story…

A Toyota Tercel would be about right. Good parts availability and some of the engines are burning a lot of oil.

A neighbor in NY did this to a Subaru wagon about 25 years ago. His range was about 45 miles. Said he’d not try it again.

About 1960 the engineering boys at Washington Univ. converted a Renault hatchback.

A front driver might be a little more difficult to convert but a rear driver might have a little less range due to more friction in the final drive right angle gearset. A front driver with an east-west engine has no right angle final drive gearset. For this reason, front drivers with east-west engine layout with all else equal will provide better fuel mileage than a front driver with North-south engine layout or a rear driver.