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Mini Truck (hopefully soon!)
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I love electric vehicles but I have never had one. I have often thought of building one someday. For the last 7 years, I have been on the road full time in a diesel sprinter RV - currently I've been camped in a nice spot for a few weeks to a few months. I started looking around for a vehicle I could TOW behind my Sprinter and use it to run errands, go for hikes, etc without moving the sprinter from the camp site. I also wanted to be able to carry gear in it and use it to pick up larger items etc.

I've been looking at Japanese mini trucks. There are so many cool little trucks and vans that are street legal and they are small, efficient and easy to tow. Recently I came across a mini truck for sale near where I am camped that had been converted to electric years ago. I am very interested in getting it, but I would love some help with a few things to determine the price I should pay for it along with any other costs of ownership (motor replacement, batteries, charger, solar panels, etc.). Ive added some photos to the post to show the one looking at.

822 miles
Manual transmission
Solar panel on roof with charger
110 charger with regular plug

Here are some of the questions that Im hoping I can get some of your answers on:

1. What should I check or look for on this vehicle? Is there a way to test the batteries, motors, etc? What else should I check or look at?

2. If everything checks out ok, what would be a fair price for this?

3. Are there modern batteries, chargers, and/or motors I can install to upgrade?

I want to go and test drive it soon, but I was hoping to get some info from this group before I head over there. Please let me know if there is any more info I should try and get and if you all think this would be a good vehicle that I can maintain myself.

I do have a fair bit of knowledge of my 12v system in my camper. Ive set up a victron solar controller and a solar panel, and Im currently preparing to install a new charger convertor and battery monitor along with a new investor setup as well.





Mini Truck (hopefully soon!)
3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
As a motorhome owner, I do see the logic in a "toad" (towed-behind vehicle), and in using an EV for that purpose... although it assumes that you have substantial electrical service where you are staying (not boondocking on solar and/or a generator).

My concern with an older already-converted vehicle is that you will likely need to replace batteries, and if you need to replace other major components as well you might as well start with an inexpensive vehicle with an engine and do the conversion the way you want, with modern components.

Is this the truck?
USED DONG FENG EVEREST 2009 for sale in Stuart, FL | Lookout Auto Sales LLC

I assume that truck is left-hand-drive. They drive on the right side of the road in China, so their vehicles - such as those from Dong Feng - are left hand drive. Avoiding right-hand-drive would be a major advantage to me in choosing a Kei-sized truck to use here, and in addition to the Dong Feng trucks there were some sold that way by Cushman (but manufactured in China) and perhaps others.
Brian, nice to virtually meet you and thanks for responding to my post. Yes that is the listing for the truck! I just went with a friend to look at it again and i took it for a spin around the parking lot. I tried to get some more info and this is what I found out:

Batteries - there are 3 and they are only a year old - 832+/- hours on the vehicle.
Was told this vehicle gets 300 miles on a charge and that the charge "held" for over a month that the truck was on the lot and doing test drives.
Comes with a heavy duty extension cord (regular outlet) and takes 6 hours to fully charge.
CV boots are rotted, most likely will need some work here
most of the brake lines and wires are zipped-tied in, kind of sketchy
"Stalled" on me a couple of times, gas pedal and clutch are very sensitive
burning electric smell when operating
all 4 tires are dry rotted and need replacing
power plug for land charging is burnt a bit
Passenger seat not attached firmly, latch doesn't hold
Shocks bad, super stiff
Missing antenna
Sub frame is rusted
Motor has rust and is dinged up a bit
Battery boxes are solid
Was told a "charging station convertor" could be picked up for $50
Was told that "any golf cart maintenance people could work on the vehicle"

I offered 2k and they declined. My friend said its been on the lot for four months. Maybe its to much for the work to fix everything but i am looking for something about this size, electric is a big plus, that we can load our camping gear in and tow behind us. Finding a vehicle like this (with left hand drive) isn't easy or as cheap as i thought. I found a dealer in Miami that has nice gas vehicles but they are all right hand drive and gas and $5k+.

I would want to update the solar panel and charger to keep the batteries topped off. We usually have a regular plug in at the places we stay as well.

What are your thoughts on this particular EV and how much would it cost to get it all updated?

Mini Truck (hopefully soon!)
3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
thanks for your comment, but im not sure if the electrical needs fixing or replacement or not. is there anything i can do to test/guage the electrical stuff like the battery, charger, motor? is there a source i could look at to see pricing for motors, batteries and chargers for evs? what are common things that might need replacement (with costs) on a diy ev?
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