Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV) are vehicles that are 100% powered by electricity obtained from batteries. There are commercially available BEVs such as the Tesla, Nissan Leaf, Mitsubishi i-miev and the new Chevrolet Spark which will only initially be available in California and Oregon. These are all great vehicles depending on what you want and need. The Tesla is a great car. It is a high performance luxury four door sedan with 250-3000 mile range on a single charge. It also has a price tag that is $70-110, 000. The other commercially available BEVs are more modest vehicles with 70-100 mile ranges and prices of $20-30,000. The advantages of these vehicles is you get a true production electric automobile with all the controls necessary to give you a truly modern, reliable car. The disadvantages of these cars is that you get what the manufacture wants to give you. If you want to use more of your battery pack, need a bigger vehicle, or just want something different, you only get the car that the manufacture built/designed and it is difficult to change.
Another option to getting a BEV is to convert an existing Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicle to electric. This sounds complex, but like most problems it is really not that difficult if you break it up in small pieces. It basically involves removing the ICE along with it’s associated systems, and replacing them with a similar system that is electrically powered. For conversion of existing Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) only vehicles, this tends to be a strictly custom operation. The basic steps involve:
- Removal of the existing engine and all associated systems.
- Mount and couple electric motor to existing transmission.
- Develop and install options for needed systems including:
- Alternator for 12V systems
- Air Conditioning if needed
- Vacuum for environmental controls and power brakes
- For newer, computer controlled, automatic transmissions, develop controller for transmission.
- Cooling for motor and controller if needed.
- Electric drive train monitoring systems.
- Locate space for batteries, develop/mount enclosures and install batteries.
- Wire main drive systems.
- Develop and install any customer desired custom systems
In the following sub-pages we will discuss various options for completing your conversion. The advantage of a conversion is you get the vehicle you want, that operates the way you want it to. You built it, so you know how everything works and can build in controls to ensure that you operate it within the limits that you designed it for. The disadvantage of a conversion is you get the vehicle you designed and if it doesn’t operate the way you want, it is your design so you only have yourself to blame. The reality is that is not that difficult. Most of the components are plug and play. Just install and wire up and they work well, but there are no system protections unless you design them in. If you completely discharge your battery pack, you could destroy it.
In the following sub-pages of this menu we will discuss the various steps necessary to convert the vehicle of your choice.