Last update: Apr 18 2017
The car was worth $10K, the conversion cost $15K. Converting a gas car to electric is not an economical proposition. It only makes sense to convert a car that is special in some way - an exotic, classic, or hobby car. For economy, a used Nissan Leaf is king of cheap. Converting a car is like buying a boat to catch a few fish and have fun with friends.
The 2.5kW charger adds 15 miles of range per hour. A full charge takes 6-7 hours. Doing a full charge requires returning home with no remaining charge. That never happens.
The acceleration from 0-60 MPH is unimpressive. This car does not have enough cells to compensate for voltage sag that occurs under long and hard acceleration, and for back electromotive force. Acceleration from 0-30 MPH and from 30-60 MPH is more brisk. If the car ever ever gets more cells, I'll measure and publish the 0-60 MPH time.
I estimate the current setup makes 160 hp and 300 ft·lb. The turbocharged engine was specified at 230 hp and 235 ft·lb. With a few more battery cells the power could be raised to about 200 hp. As a rule of thumb you need about half the horsepower with an electric car to drive comfortably because full torque is available from 0 RPM.
Maximum range is 40 miles. Electric cars need much less range than you might expect. If you have a garage for charging and a gas car for long trips, you only need enough range for one day of typical driving. Electric cars start each day with a full "tank" and the typical commute is 30 miles or less. My typical trip is 5-10 miles.
In this car, 3rd gear works well driving from 0-35 MPH, 4th gear works well from 30-55 MPH, and 5th gear is good for over 50 MPH.
OEM electric cars like the Leaf and Model S have one speed transmissions. They use motors that turn high RPMs, reverse electrically, and provide good torque at low RPMs with liquid cooling. They use different gearing (around 9:1) than the typical final reduction in a gas car (around 3:1).
With the WarP 11 motor, 79 MPH. With the WarP 9, it would be 105 MPH. These numbers are calculations. I never attempted full speed.
top speed (MPH) = 60r / gfw
|r||Motor maximum continuous RPM|
|r||Motor maximum continuous RPM|
|g||Top gear ratio||0.738|
|w||Wheel rotations per mile|
Continental ExtremeContact DW 215/45ZR17
AC induction motors that are available in the conversion market have the main benefit of regenerative braking, but they cost more and make less power than DC motors.
The table below shows the yearly savings, which varies with the cost of gasoline. This savings includes averaged 10-year maintenance cost of ownership items specific to gas engines such as oil changes, air filters, coolant flushing, timing belt.
|Gas fuel||12000mi × $3/gal ÷ 25mpg||$1440|
|Gas engine maintenance||$220|
|Electric fuel||12000mi × $0.12/kWh ÷ 2.6mi/kWh||$-554|
With AC motors capable of regenerative braking, there is additional savings in reduced need for brake service.
There is no cruise control and no air conditioning. Air conditioning is not a big issue since where I live, summers are usually mild.
Converting a car is a major undertaking with difficult and expensive problems. The amount of work is similar to swapping a gas engine from a different model.
Not if you've got a good working gas car. Keep driving that until it is kaput.