How to Build an Electric Car

Learning how to build an electric car is enlightening, because you begin to see how electric-powered cars could be mass-produced. Creating a vehicle that runs on batteries is more fuel-efficient, though building your own personal battery-powered car is going to be involved. Building an electric car takes a lot of time and money during the initial stages, but it saves you gas money in the long run.

It’s also a fun project for car enthusiasts, if they have any kind of talent for engineering. Building a car from scratch is a way to really get to know the unabridged details of car-building.

The Electric Vehicle Photo Album ( gives you a good idea of the variety of cars you can turn into an electric vehicle. From the squish-worthy Global Electric Motorcars to futuristic Electricycles to electrically converted Corvettes, there’s an array of options you can mull over, if you decide to build an electric car. It is beneficial for you to consult a local mechanic or technician for more guidance on the fine details of electric car construction and operation.

Converting a Car

The main two considerations when choosing a car to convert into an electric car are carrying capacity and weight. Don’t consider transforming a junk car, just because it’s cheap. Cars over ten years old are difficult to convert, not only because they could still retain many of their operational problems after conversion, but also because unique parts for those cars may not be available anymore.

There is really no best car to work with converting, because each car has its own strengths and weaknesses. Building an electric car is solely reliant on the driver’s own preferences, though there are some factors you’ll need to consider. While there may not be one perfect car model to use, there are a number of cars that you should never convert into a electric-powered car, based on a bad ratio of carrying capacity and weight.

Motors and Batteries for Your Electric Car

Motor selection for building your electric car is the most significant choice you make during the building process. Many electric car enthusiasts swear by the serious wound DC motors, while more conservative builders still use General Electric, Baldor and Prestolite motors. Many car parts supplies in the modern day sell Warp and Advanced DC lines of motors.

Some people consider using forklift or golf cart motors. These motors are often either too heavy or too small to work electric cars. The type of motor you choose for your electric car depends on the size and weight of your car and how much power you need to run it, so a motor fit for a golf cart isn’t going to work for a standard size automobile.

Electric Car Battery Types

There are four types of batteries usually installed in electric cars: flooded lead acid batteries, Vale Regulated Lead Acid batteries, gell cell batters, nickel-cadmium batteries and lithium-based batteries. These four types of batteries have limitations and need more development, at present. However, since they are the only options out there, people wanting electric power have found ways to make them work.

Flooded Lead Acid Batteries

How to Build an Electric Car

How to Build an Electric Car

Flooded lead acid batteries are the same ones used on golf carts. This battery type saves you money in the long run, but you have to make sure you keep up with the batteries’ water levels and cleaning maintenance. A slight disadvantage of the flooded lead acid batteries is they can’t power cars that carry too much weight.

In addition, if your electric vehicle exceeds 600 amps in current loads, the flooded lead acid batteries losing significant service life. You’ll end up replacing them too often to make them optimal.

Valve Regulated Lead Acid Batteries

Valve Regulated Lead Acid batteries are the same kind of battery that powering your laptop computer backup power systems. Although they don’t require the water level and cleaning maintenance of the Flooded lead acid batteries, they cost more and have less service life to begin with. Also, valve-regulated batteries need a complex charging system.

More Electric Car Batteries

Gell cell batteries, nickel-cadmium batteries and lithium batteries tend to be on the pricier side, but they afford you much longer service lives than either the Valve Regulated Lead Acid or flooded acid batteries.

Nickel-cadmium batteries last for a long period of time and are worth the money you invest. Lithium batteries have yet to develop to their full potential but they seem to deliver a higher service life than many other types of batteries. Nickel-metal and zinc-air batteries both have promising potential for the future of powering electric vehicles but they are currently not available for sale to the general public.

Resources for Building Electric Cars

EV Web Links is a comprehensive web page detailing quality parts suppliers, electric vehicle photo albums, electric vehicle testing sites, newsletters and other electric vehicle resources.

C & D Technologies and Everspring Global Limited are good sites to start shopping for a battery for your electric car. Various regional electric vehicle councils and associations, such as the Australian Electric Vehicle Association, the Electric Auto Association, and the Honda EV + Electric Vehicle Drivers are resources for your questions on electric car building specifics. You can also find deals on electric parts at any of these websites.

However you choose to build an electric car, read about the process and have the basic concepts down, before you begin to collect the parts needed for an electric car. Look at your project as an journey of discovery. Building electric cars may seem like a daunting project for a novice, but plenty of resources are available online to help you get on your way.

Electric cars are not only useful for short distance driving, but are also a safe option for the environment. Learning how to build an electric car yourself should make you more informed about the science of electric car engineering, while your electric car shows your friends, family and neighbors that electric cars aren’t just some happy dream of the idealists and visionaries of the world.

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