Electric car conversions are becoming a much more common thing and there are increasingly more options for anyone looking to turn their dinosaur eating old project car, or their daily driver into an electric dart.
Step 1: Gut the Car
Remove all evidence that this car ever used fossil fuels. Pulling out the engine, the fuel lines the gas tank, the carburetor if there is one, radiator (unless the DC control is water cooled), whatever other auxiliaries that you feel you should remove.
Step 2: Marrying the Motor to the Transmission
As I stated before the reason you want a manual transmission is because the electric motor doesn’t need multiple gears as the torque is increased so you’ll fix the electric motor in first or second gear usually. To mate the transmission to the motor depending on the car that you’ve chosen you’ll need to buy or make a plate that matches these two together.
Step 3: Power and Batteries
You’ll need to bolt-on and configure your DC controller, and install your batteries. The ideal battery currently is Tesla Model S Battery Module. This most often goes in the trunk. The wiring will go through the controller to the motor. A contactor will also be installed to manage the power running from the battery to the controller. You’ll also have to install the charge port onto the car. A common thing to do is to install the charge port where the gas cap was previously.
Step 4: Electronics
I won’t go into too many details (because I’m no engineer) but essentially you’ll need to configure your CAN bus system to manage all of the electronics in the car. A voltmeter will need to be installed into the cabin or perhaps the dashboard to show you the batteries charge. A new ignition switch will interact with the contactor to give power to the car.
This is a really rudimentary version of the actual full process but needless to say this is not a project that I, and maybe you couldn’t handle on a weekend. I put my trust in the guys at EV West, or at least I plan to. The conversion is arguably more straightforward than other conversions, or engine swaps, it just requires knowledge of working with electrical components. Components that carry a lot more voltage than I’m used to working with.