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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Im in high school and am planning on building an electric car for a senior project. Budget is up to 15 thousand. For car ideas I was thinking Either a Honda Civic Hatchback, Geo-metro, Dodge Neon, or anything else I can find. Any car ideas of advice would be much appreciated! Also trying to decide between A/C and D/C...
 

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Hi Im in high school and am planning on building an electric car for a senior project. Budget is up to 15 thousand. For car ideas I was thinking Either a Honda Civic Hatchback, Geo-metro, Dodge Neon, or anything else I can find. Any car ideas of advice would be much appreciated! Also trying to decide between A/C and D/C...
I'm jealous! That's a great school project!

Have any goals with the car? Or a theme for it? Are you trying to get the maximum range possible? Or maybe insane acceleration? Or just an all-around good driver? $15k budget is very good for DC (probably AC as well but I haven't priced those parts out too extensively) - you should have a very nice car in the end.
 

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Welcome!

I wish building an EV had been an option when I was in school!

The Wiki will address many of the questions you will have. I'd recommend you start with that and check out the conversions in the "garage". The three vehicles you list are very common conversions so you can tap into the wisdom of those who have gone before.

Evaluate what you need the vehicle to do. How many passengers? What range and performance you require? Answering these questions will help narrow down the choices. If maximum range is the goal, a light truck is likely best due to the capacity to carry batteries.

My best advice is to convert a vehicle that you will want to drive.

You have a pretty good budget available. $15,000 should put you into a pretty capable conversion, though not if you need a lot of LiFePO4 cells.

AC is commonly considered to be superior to DC but it is significantly more expensive. The vast majority of conversion are DC. My second conversion will likely be AC.

I'm starting my first conversion so am not an expert. There are many available here though. You should be able to get all the technical advice you need.

Good Luck.

Rob
 

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With that kind of budget, I would say a Honda Civic and a Warp9 DC motor.

You should make a list of what you want (Range, Speed, etc.) and start your research with those in mind.

If this is needs to be completed in the next 8 months (school year) I would say get a 90-95 Civic, and adapter plate kit from EV of America or ElectroAutomative, order up your motor yesterday and a decent controller, like a Zilla or a Curtis 1231C.

The lead time for components is a few months, so keep that in mind.

144 Volt systems, using 8 Volt batteries have been proven in gen 5 Civics, and a Warp9 will give you extremely good power.

I am finishing up on my 1996 Civic, but it has taken almost a year because there were no premade kits or adapters for the gen 6 and I only have a budget of $3k.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Not looking for anything too insane, decent acceleration, so its gotta have a little kick. Range is about 30 miles on a charge, give or take about 10
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for all the advice! I have some updated information...

Im pretty sure on a 1996 Geo-metro so...
know any good kits to buy, or would i be better off ordering parts seperate?
In range and speed...
40-60 miles at 65 mph
so how many volts should I be thinking? upwards of 144?

The final question which still has me split is AC or DC...


ANY thoughts would be greatly appreciated!!
 

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For 65 MPH, you want at least 120 volts, 144 would be better. A Geo makes a great EV, and there are many DC kits for it.

Now 40 to 60 miles per charge at 65 MPH can be problematic. You would need to use 6 volt traction batteries, but that means over 1500lbs of lead, and I think that is way too much for a Geo. This is of course for a DC system.

As for AC, the entire design changes. AC units are usually 288 volts and provide excellent performance and range, but comes with a high price tag. MetricMind sells AC motors and controllers (the motor and controller should be matched). Now AC should give you 40-60 miles per charge, using 12 volt batteries (sealed would be best) like the Optima Yellow Top D31T.

My college has AC Geo Metros, and they get 60+ miles per charge using sealed lead acid batteries. The cars were built by Solectria and are used for battery testing. (lithium is being installed soon)

It all comes down to price and what will actually fit in the Geo size and weight wise.

With a budget of $15K, you should be able to do an AC system and get excellent performance and the range you want. The trick is to search around for the best deals on the parts.
 

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hey! i might be in favor of the fiero because i have one, but i'd say if you can get your hands on one of those its a great conversion! not to mention if you were rollin up to school in a fiero ev you'd look pretty cool! but there are kits available for some of the cars you mentioned your interested in, from a company called canadian electric vehichles...check out www.canev.com email them for more info and let them know what your working towards...thats where i got most of my stuff for my car.
 

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I agree with E85. The fiero actually makes a great conversion.

Zemmo's Fiero is a 120v using T-125 6v floodies, and he gets about 60 miles range on the freeway.

It's a light and strong chassis, laid out well for efficient battery placement (though it does require physical modification up front and out back), and has a LOT of aftermarket support as far as parts for the car, and LOTS of people have converted them to EV, so there are likely to be a lot of parts in that regard as well. It's incredibly aerodynamic- that's one of it's strong points.

Not to mention they STILL look really cool, even 20+ years after they came out. :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
How hard is it to build my own battery boxes and motor mounts if I have all the required tools and a fairly decent knowledge of welding and metal working? I think 5-800 dollars for battery boxes is fairly rediculous...
 

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How hard is it to build my own battery boxes and motor mounts if I have all the required tools and a fairly decent knowledge of welding and metal working? I think 5-800 dollars for battery boxes is fairly rediculous...
It would probably cost about $50-$60. I already built my rear battery box and my motor mount and it cost only $40 in materials (welding was free). My front battery box will probably cost about $30 in angle steel from Home Depot.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Ok, planning still in process but hoping to have a car within the next week, 1996 metro. I will probably be putting in 12-14 12 V sealed batteries.

With that in mind will I need suspension upgrade? (assume yes) what are some good battery configurations? Cost of suspension upgrade?
 
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