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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all, I am new here. I have been pondering building an electric car for years, and have lately heavily considered the possibilty as I now have the means to build one. For starters, I have sufficient mechanical skills- 4 years ago my Brother and I built a Lotus 7 replica basically from scratch and learned a lot along the way.

I have done good bit of searching on this site and have noticed that it seems that a lot of the calculations show that any affordable setup will have a really short driving range. I have seen so many options with great diversity and the one thing I wanted to find was a 'typical' setup, and was hoping that you guys could lend me some advice.

I live 12 miles from work, straight down the interstate. I don't need anything fancy. I definitely want to use the lightest car possible that is practical (old civic/crx, mr2 or early miata).

It seems that with high speeds, the range is greatly reduced, and since my drive is 95% highway, will this be a problem?

I guess my 'ideal' goal would be a $3-5k build (not including the donor car), that could comfortably achieve 65mph, and have a 50 mile range.

I want to do my part in concerving energy. A few years back I had a Civic VX that got 55+ mpg on the highway so my alternative project to this would be to use that engine in an even lighter CRX with other modifications to achieve even higher mileage.

I've got plenty of technical questions too but I'll leave this post at that. Thanks in advance for your input!

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As most of us know, that have built an EV, 65 mph and 50 mile range is over the $10,000.00 mark.

Not easy or cheap to do, because of battery technology (this has always been the case).

If lith-ion batteries ever get priced for the masses, this picture will change.

If there is a chance to recharge at each end of your 12 mile run, you could get by with a very light car and a 144 volt system.

I am sure others will chime in on this also...

Welcome to this best website for EVs.

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63 Posts

Sounds like the reading you have done has already helped you figure things out. Yes, highway speeds do greatly reduce your range. 50 miles highway is much different than 50 miles at 30mph.

To answer your specs:
60-65mph? Yes, you can do that

50 mile range? Yes, but can be difficult. Can you plug the car in at work? You could get away with a shorter range if it is plugged in for 5-8 hours at work.

Typical setup? Nah. This is DIY. Nothing is standardized. Given your price range, which is on the low end of things, you are looking at the following: DC motor (9" probably), 120-144V (if you want those 65mph speeds) and lead acid batteries. Also look into the Kelly controller, it is cheaper than the others. Even if you do all the work yourself, the total cost will probably exceed $5K. Maybe not though - depends on the parts used.

The cars you mentioned are good candidates for conversion.

Good luck, and keep reading up on it!
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