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It would be ideal to have this finished by July.
It's doable. But when you're on a limited budget, you need time to shop for deals. You need time to wait for shipping. You can't do it all at once like someone sitting down and deciding "I'm order X, Y and Z".

If the Malibu isn't possible because of the transmission, and a lot of energy is lost in the transmission, why not just take it out and connect the motor(s) directly to the front wheels?
Good thinking, bad idea. Brian explained.

Transmission is bad because it's auto which won't work, fwd makes it complicated. It's not an efficiency issue, you're taking single digit efficiency hit by having the transmission, and gaining gears. Fair trade.

I am concerned about the availability of getting it safetied. I have been informed that it is difficult to get a car without OEM parts safetied, how would I go about that?
Ontario is a real bitch about things. There's a user here who dug into it in the past, and, if you take the rules at face value, you basically can't do anything to anything. You have to have flexible honesty to get by.

This is a good reason to start with a Prius and modify it internally.

however, I like the idea of being able to take a forklift motor and putting it in a car,
If it's fun, go ahead.

If you're attracted by the value, it won't make as much difference as you hope, because you still have to buy batteries. If you didn't have to buy batteries you could almost complete an EV conversion for free if you went to extreme lengths.

That being said I would like to put forklift motors directly into the wheels, which I think would be more efficient
Good thinking, bad idea.

It's technically possible, but you're trying to solve one problem by replacing it with several more larger ones.

Is this a feasible idea with the current budget, or do you recommend buying a gas car and saving up for an EV conversion?
I think you should buy a hybrid with an eye on converting it to fully electric. It fits your goals and your likelihood of succeeding.

1 - You can drive it immediately, day 1.

2 - No range issues. You can go visit your aunt in Montreal or go on a coke-fueled gambling and hooker binge in Atlantic City over the weekend without having to plan and pause, and still make it back to class on Monday.

3 - No storage issues, you won't have to park it somewhere, and fill a garage with the pieces while you tinker.

4 - If's fuel efficient out of the factory. Saves you on gas, money you can put towards your conversion, or, let's be real, beer.

5 - You can take your time, if this becomes a next year project, that's okay, you've still got a car.

6 - You can upgrade it to a larger battery without changing anything to the car except adding the battery in parallel.

7 - It already has everything you need, motor, gearbox, inverter, VCU, contactors, wiring.

8 - You're not getting laid in a Prius either, so you'll have lots of evenings and weekends undistracted to continue working on your conversion plan.

9 - If you want, you can yoink everything out of the Prius one weekend and shove it into a cooler donor car. Take the whole running gear and swap it directly over. Then push what's left of it over a cliff into a ravine.
 

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I agree with the above
There are thousands of Gen III Prius with blown head gaskets that can be purchased for a couple hundred.



there are plans/controls to make a Prius into a Bev just need that and a larger battery

or simply repair the car and use as-is and maybe add a PHEV kit down the road.

What if I were to mount two motors under the hood, but use belts to connect to the wheels so I can harness the power of two motors? Would this overcome the torque issue?
Yes belts have been used in the past, it is a very crude method usually used to attach an electric motor to an ICE crank to avoid the vibration issues of a lovejoy

understand that belts have an effiency loss and if not done correctly can be a real pain to keep running
 

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What if I were to mount two motors under the hood, but use belts to connect to the wheels so I can harness the power of two motors? Would this overcome the torque issue?
What won't work is mounting the motors at the wheels. If you are mounting them to the structure of the car, and using the same sort of axle shafts to connect to the wheels, then we're on to a different subject.

If you are connecting motors to the axle shafts with a belt drive, then you can use a belt drive (or chain drive, or gearbox) which reduces the speed from the motor(s) to the axles so you get more torque, and then you don't need to use an excessively large motor (or two motors).
 

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What if I were to [...]
You need to do more reading, kid. Hunt for projects that did what you want to do, and see what was learned from past experience. Its good to dream up ideas, but there is a reason why most conversions follow more or less the same trajectory.
 
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