300MPG.org is a web page and blog dedicated to people who take positive action to improve their own transportation options. From electric vehicles charged from the sun to just making sure you have the right amount of air in your tires, we can all make a difference to create a a better future, while still gettin’ around.

The site is administered by Ben Nelson, a self-professed tinkerer, who once almost accidentally built a motorcycle that gets the equivalent of over 300 miles per gallon.

If you have a great project that shows off what the common man (or woman) can do for a cleaner, more sustainable transportation future, let us know, and help share the story.

{ 113 comments… read them below or add one }

1 anukool bhagat September 14, 2013 at 11:33 am

does the batteries get damaged if a generator is used while riding the motorcycle?

2 BenN September 14, 2013 at 11:48 am

You certainly could use a gas generator while riding. The disadvantage of it is weight, space, cost, and complexity. Instead of having a quiet and compact electric motorcycle, you have a louder and larger hybrid motorcycle. That would work fine if you used a side-car or trailer. That could also give you the advantage of making the generator system removable.

I don’t know of any motor controller with a charger built-in. Some controllers support regenerative braking, but that’s energy from the motor, NOT some other source.

3 admin September 14, 2013 at 11:49 am

No, not as long as a proper charger is used with the batteries.

4 admin September 14, 2013 at 11:51 am

For more ideas on hybrids, take a look at when I experimented with running my electric car as a hybrid.
You could do a similar system with a motorcycle.

5 anukool bhagat September 16, 2013 at 3:38 am

if i am to use a 60v motor, what would be the required motor specifications; like hp? rpm?

6 admin September 16, 2013 at 8:45 am

If you are using a series-wound DC motor, it will have plenty of torque at low speeds, so you can use a motor with a lower HP rating than a gas engine. For a simple, modest, electric car 20 HP is probably fine. (My motorcycle electric motor is 12 HP)
RPM may or may not be listed, and really isn’t important, as you can use the gearing of the vehicle to make any speed match road speed. The higher the voltage to your DC motor, the faster it will spin. That’s one of the reasons you want to go with as high of a voltage as you can – higher top speed!

7 Johnathan Hite October 13, 2013 at 10:20 pm

Could more than one forklift motor be used in a vehicle to make it run faster?

8 Donald Wright October 27, 2013 at 10:48 am

Hi Ben,

I’ve went trough the step that you published on instructables website’s. You kept the transmission! Could you not just directly connect to the differential gearbox and have the motor controller run the motor in reverse?

Do you use the transmission to shift gears while riding the car?

If you do shift gear, why not kept the clutch?

If you do not shift, at what gear speed do you ride the car?

Anyways, you did a great job on that geo-metro (2008 project) and running it around was seemed quiet as shown on your video.

Donald W.

9 Ben N. October 27, 2013 at 9:28 pm
    You kept the transmission! Could you not just directly connect to the differential gearbox and have the motor controller run the motor in reverse?

    Do you use the transmission to shift gears while riding the car?

    If you do shift gear, why not kept the clutch?

    If you do not shift, at what gear speed do you ride the car?

Yes, I kept the transmission. Not only does it allow you to use all the gears, but the transmission is also what the motor mounts to and splits the power to the two front wheels. (In a typical front-wheel drive car, the differential is built into the transmission.)

I usually just drive in 2nd gear in 25 mph zones, and 3rd in up to 45 mph zones and use either as though it is DRIVE.

I didn’t keep the clutch because it meant I would have to figure out how to bolt a flywheel onto the electric motor (for the clutch to go against) and that adds plenty of extra spinning weight. Using a simple coupler between the motor and transmission saves all that spinning weight. Yes, I can shift without a clutch. It’s easier than you think. It works fine.

10 Robert November 30, 2013 at 12:49 pm

Great info and instructions. I wondered if you think the electric motor would have enough torque to power an ATV/ sandrail for off road use?

11 Krzysztof "Chris" Kupiec December 9, 2013 at 3:38 pm

Your video (“Mother Earth News Fair, 2011, Puyallup, WA”) was GREAT motivation for me to start to build my own electric motorcycle. After almost one year of team building, calculations, collecting and managing my private funds, designing and many others I finally made “Julia RS 600″ motorcycle. Just few days ago article about me was published on the “Motormania” Web Site (one of the 3 key players in motorcycle media in Poland).


Thank you Ben! :)

I’d more than happy to share my story!

12 Zelda December 11, 2013 at 5:39 pm

I don’t say this to many people, but you are a genius! I was reading your Instructable about a DIY electric car and I was wondering, what kind of battery setup would you suggest to get around 200 miles per trip? I’ll be purchasing your in-depth DVDs on building an electric car whenever I have a few thousand dollars saved up to do so. Also, what is your opinion on electromagnetic power generators? If you can figure out how to make an effective one, that is a DVD set that I would buy!

13 Dustin McWethy July 29, 2014 at 1:09 pm

I want to know how build electric cars and also have a career doing it. I am considering electronics technology or mechanical engineering. Obviously mechanical engineering is a lot of math. I am pretty worried about there being no jobs with electronics technology or that I would feel like it wasn’t enough…… any advice is greatly appreciated as I have been struggling to make a move.

14 MarcAnthony August 17, 2014 at 7:12 pm

GREAT INFO! THX a million!

15 Fred Mohns October 27, 2014 at 8:13 pm

Am working on electric jet boat. Could use info on motor locator and size. If you can spare a few minutes, I would like to talk, am outside of madison wi. Thankyou

16 Davi April 6, 2015 at 2:25 am

Can I use this same principle to convert my 36v golf cart into LiOn batteries and charge using my existing J1772? I have been driving my Nissan Leaf less than 4 years and 51K miles.

How would I go about doing this? LEAF batteries would last longer and are lighter. Golf cart uses 6 6v lead acid batteries currently.

17 Klaus Heddergott April 6, 2015 at 11:14 pm

Ben, I’m considering building an electric car. I watched your U-tube videos and found them very interesting. I want the project I have in mind to be very light, which pretty much rules out lead acid batteries. Also, since I live in the mountains, I need a powerful motor.
What I like to know is, have you ever calculated the amount of power used up from the battery over a given distance on average, which has to be replaced by charging? Another way to state it would be, how many miles can you drive for each KWH of electricity that you put into the battery by charging? Can you say: I’ve driven x number of miles this month and it took x number of KWH of electricity? That would be a very important consideration for me, as here in California our electric rates are comparatively high, especially if it would bump you into the higher tier rates.
Thanks, Klaus

18 Ben N. April 8, 2015 at 8:53 am

I haven’t heard of anyone doing that, but it sounds like it would be a fun project. I’m currently using Nissan LEAF cell modules to upgrade an electric super-scooter. (http://300mpg.org/2015/03/18/removing-the-nissan-leaf-cells/) I also already built a J1772 adapter for it. This will let me charge that cycle from public EV charging stations without having to rewire the plug on the existing battery charger cord. Many chargers support charging from either 120 OR 240V. If yours supports 240V, you could do something similar for charging from a J1772 connection. http://300mpg.org/2015/03/31/the-diy-j1772-charging-adapter/

19 Ben N April 8, 2015 at 9:08 am

Many electric cars get 3 to 4 miles per kilowatt-hour. You can use that as a rough rule of thumb for calculating what you need for a battery pack. And, if you know how many miles you drive per much, how much it will add to the cost of your electric bill (and subtract considerably more from your gasoline bill!)

For example, the Nissan LEAF official EPA average range is 84 miles. It has a 24Kwh battery pack, so it uses 280 watt-hours per mile on average, or goes about 3.5 miles per kilwatt-hour.

I’ve only calculated actual energy use on the Electro-Metro a few times. It always came in around 130 MPGe, which is about the same efficiency as a Nissan LEAF in city use.

Also, if you are in a mountainous area, you will want regenerative braking. Every commercial electric car I can think of has that as a feature. For home electric conversions, parts are now becoming available for AC systems that support regen. It can also be done on DC systems with permanent magnet or separately-excited motors.

20 HJ April 16, 2015 at 11:37 am

Hey I’ve been watching all your videos on youtube and reading your “blog’ or website and its got me super interested in converting a car into electric. Right now before implementation I am in the planning stage and determining if its affordable and if I have the skills (I’m a university student).

My first of many questions is why do you not use an alternator to extend the range, I know it may not add much but anything helps right? Am I missing something thats really obvious?

My second question is can I use multiple regular car batteries similar to the one already in the donor car? If so what is the lifespan of these batteries? Can I expect them to last a few years, one season?

Finally how much did the range of your EV suffer when you had 1 passenger .. or even a “full car”.

Thanks in advance!

21 NOWELL June 1, 2015 at 10:52 pm


22 admin June 2, 2015 at 8:07 am

Sorry, no. All LEAF cell modules were used in building 3 different electric motorcycles. I have one left, which I use at educational events to teach people about battery technology.

23 Greg June 25, 2015 at 3:41 pm

Hi Ben, I saw your creation up at the Energy Fair.

You showed your conversion of the Vectrix cycle. I know that you mentioned it in passing, but could you say again (approximately) what the portion of the Leaf batteries cost to upgrade the Vectrix? thanks so much.

24 Ben N. June 25, 2015 at 5:40 pm

I got a real deal on converting the Vectrix to LEAF cell modules. I didn’t pay a dime. But that was all a matter of luck, skill, and timing. I purchased a used Nissan Leaf Battery pack at a junk yard for $2650.(Luck.) I took the battery apart and used 18 modules for the Vectrix. (Skill) I sold 29 of the 30 remaining cell modules for an income of $2850. Meaning I came out AHEAD $200 on buying the battery pack. (But this was also the only LEAF pack in the entire United States I could find at a junk yard….)
There are a few places that sell LEAF modules, the main one being Hybrid Auto Center, near Las Vegas. (http://hybridautocenter.com/HAC4/) When they have them in stock, they sell a stack of Leaf cells appropriate for a Vectrix for $2,300.
Thanks for coming out to the Energy Fair, it’s always a blast!

25 Jim Suren June 26, 2015 at 2:00 pm

Ben: Just wish to thank you for “putting yourself out there” last Sunday at the MREA fair…
Your presentation still moves me & your willingness to be a tall man who truly owns “His Full Mature Masculine Personality”….
If you were my neighbor or lived within 50 miles of me I would feel blessed… I will be exploring your website at length… Another sign for me of a “Truly Gifted Man” is the man who does not “hoard” his fresh, creative, good ideas — ( I learned that in psychotherapy in the early 70s)… Thank you for having such a “Large Giving Mind, Spirit & Heart”…
like your suggestions for beating depression… have you also tried the vitamin Sam-E…. they are individually wrapped because the air degrades them if not…
Hope to see you next year at the fair… You inspire me….. Jim Suren

26 admin June 27, 2015 at 10:52 am

Thanks Jim!
I really had no idea how “The Psychology of Ecology” would be received. I’ve already gotten some pretty positive feedback from a number of people, and I’m pleased with how it went.
Thank you for your kind words. Be well.

27 Fredrick G. Ramsden June 28, 2015 at 6:11 pm

I have a 2007 vectrix. I like the Leaf battery conversion. Where can I obtain the charger software change. My bike only has 7500 miles on it.

28 jcwert August 8, 2015 at 2:35 am

FYI Just started reading your page and the answer to your question (who keeps putting mud in electric plugs) is not a who but the wasps and hornets you see. They plug the holes with mud and I think food for later or maybe larvae. They do the same to all my air tool inlets if I leave them outside or don’t put them deep in the garage.

29 admin August 10, 2015 at 9:18 am

For real? I know that animals are capable of amazing behaviors. I’m familiar with mud wasps, but I’ve never seen any in the areas of these outlets. It would be interesting to catch them in the act!

30 salvatore giambrone August 20, 2015 at 12:32 pm

I need help on my vectrix the battery went completely dead ive watched the videos but notjing is happening what am i doing wrong

31 admin August 21, 2015 at 7:38 pm

Post a message in the Vectrix section of the VisforVoltage forum. We should be able to have somebody help you.

32 Anthony November 30, 2015 at 10:54 pm

Hi, I been looking at some of your videos using those ev car batteries for your bikes.
I would like to use Lithium-ion Battery form the chevy volt because I was told that they don’t go bad as quick as some others. I would like to use them for solar power for my home.
Did you use the BMS that came with the batteries to prevent over charging?
I am not sure if I can charge them with my Solar charge controllers.
Do you have any information on using these ev Battery to power homes?
A FElix

33 Ben N December 1, 2015 at 8:21 am

While I haven’t personally used Chevy Volt batteries, I know other hobbyists who have, and have had good luck with them.
They should work fine for solar projects, just make sure that your charge controller is set to a proper voltage for however many cells you are using.

You may want to contact Kraig at Schultz Engineering. He has built a motorcycle and a car both with Volt batteries and he has A123 cells for sale. I also saw listed on their web page some very large cells that would be appropriate for an off-grid system.
Take a look at: http://www.schultzengineering.us

34 www.chriistikatsia.com December 5, 2015 at 10:10 am

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løsninger som gjør livet enklere og tryggere for eldre og andre

35 BenN December 5, 2015 at 10:32 am

Wow, I’ve never had Norwegian Spam before!

36 Rahul December 28, 2015 at 10:50 am

Hallo all,

Im doing a project of building a e-scooter. I have an idea and im not sure about the technical feasibility of the ideas. So hence i post my doubts here
1) im thinking of building an off board charger of the li-ion batteries. The charger im thinking to build should in short take care of the battery. i.e increase the life expectancy of battery, charge it faster than the conventional ones, etc. will a li-ion battery works better by using an external smart charger?

2) About DC motors, im thinking of including a small additional motor on the front wheel so as to produce more torque and improve traction of the vehicle. Is it a good idea?

Im doing this project first time, so im basically starting from scratch. Opinions and advice would be helpful.

37 Teodor January 15, 2016 at 4:56 am

Hi Ben,
I am planning to convert soon a 2006 Dacia Logan gas car to electric or hybrid. For electric car I have all info and some parts already. In the mean time I was thinking about going easy and cheaper by make it hybrid. I don’t want propane, so how about making it hybrid like Prius or Chevy Volt? What do you think? Could be easier and cheaper or not? I just started to collect info for it and wonder if you can advise me a bit. Thanks a lot in advance and good luck with your great conversions!

38 Eric January 16, 2016 at 11:50 pm

Hi, I’m very new to EV conversion and finding your projects absolutely fascinating. To be honest I don’t have much automotive know-how. After watching some of your basic videos I’ve been scoping used vehicles to calculate costs. Just wondering if the car is sequential manual will it still convert with the same general idea? Or will this fall under more required modification?

39 admin January 17, 2016 at 6:51 pm

Converting a car to being a hybrid does NOT necessarily mean that it is easier or cheaper than an electric. In fact, typically, a hybrid will by it’s nature be MORE complicated than either a plain gas or electric car. However, take a look at one project I did as a way to build a hybrid.

40 admin January 17, 2016 at 6:52 pm

A sequential manual? Similar to the transmissions used in motorcycles? I don’t see why that would make any difference. For electrics, you can usually shift less or possibly go to direct drive. I don’t think that a slightly different transmission should make much of a difference.

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42 david March 13, 2016 at 9:40 pm

Hi Ben,
I really enjoyed your video series about installing the Espar heater in your i-MiEV. Great job! I live in Edmonton, Alberta, and like you; we experience cold winters so a parking heater is an absolute necessity.

Question for you, I’m looking at importing an i-Miev that is located not far from you. I’m relatively handy but as you already have the experience with installing LED’s and the heater, would you consider selling these mods, and the installation as a package before I pick up the car? I’d be happy to pay you for your for your expertise…it would save me a lot of time. Thanks!


43 BenN March 14, 2016 at 9:15 am

Hi Dave!
Yes, maybe, possibly. Let’s talk. I’ll e-mail you.

44 Jason J. Fedelem March 23, 2016 at 9:45 pm


I doubt you remember me but I enjoyed meeting you at the mother earth conference in Belton.

I’m starting my first ev roject, an electric 4 wheeler to use around my homestead. I got the quad frame cheap. Golf cart motors seem to be expensive around here, running minimum $200. I found the motor linked at the botto of this comment on ebay from a forklift but it looks like it’s a motor that controls up/down, not driveshaft. How do I figure out if a given motor will work?

Also, if it doesn’t have a drive shaft sticking out of it, how do you go about finding the right shaft?


45 Ben N March 24, 2016 at 9:06 am

Hi Jason,
The motor that you linked to looks a bit small for a quad. Motors like that are used to run hydraulic pumps. They typically do NOT have a driveshaft, but rather sort of a female slotted connection. The driveshaft is on the pump itself. You CAN modify that style of motor to work. For example, on the “ForkenSwift” project, the guys used one of these pumps (although a larger one) and modified it to have a shaft and bearing and used that for the drive motor on their car. http://forkenswift.com
A pump motor from a forklift, instead of a powered-pallet mover, might work fine for you. A motor with a real drive-shaft on it will make the project easier though!

One easy way to get ideas for a project is simply to look at what other people have done. I always let people know about the EV Album. It’s a great listing of DIY electric vehicle projects, and it’s searchable. Take a look on there for quads and cycles, and see what motors people have used.

For general thoughts on reusing forklift motors, there’s a good thread on the subject at:
The guy who writes the first section of the thread has built all sorts of hot-rod and racing motors from forklift motors – he knows what he’s talking about. That is specific to cars, and you can certainly use a smaller and less powerful motor on a 4-wheeler, but there’s some GREAT information there!

If you go with 48V on your 4-wheeler, there are a lot of used golf-cart parts (controller, charger, etc.) that could be used on the project. Also, 48V works pretty nice with solar panels, so you could do off-grid charging is you are in a remote location.

Good luck with your project!

46 Timothy Adamson May 22, 2016 at 12:58 pm

Hey Ben,
I am about ready to grab a DIY Flux model. Any updated thoughts on the batteries/configuration? I’m fairly new to this technology but am excited about getting into it. Ready to dive into your videos above as well.
Thanks for any advice you have.

47 admin May 22, 2016 at 7:12 pm

Hey Tim,
I’d seriously try to cram a few Nissan Leaf cell modules in there. Those batteries are great. Take a look at some of my videos taking apart the Nissan Leaf battery and upgrading the Vectrix with them. The Leaf cells are easy to work with and minimize the number of cells you have to balance or monitor.
The fit inside the Flux would be tight, but I think it will work if you trim away a bit of the plastic inside the battery compartment.

48 Timothy Adamson May 22, 2016 at 10:36 pm

Thanks, Ben. What I am finding is 4-cell Leaf packs for $120-130. I would need four packs to reach 60v. That’s $500+.

I also find something like:

or this


for $8-12. 16 of those = $130-160. There are several other sites with similar prices.

This is a huge difference in price, but am I paying for the leaf battery quality and the module already encased? Still learning…

49 dae July 3, 2016 at 1:44 am

absolutely love what you are doing!
keep up the great work.

i am in the middle of parting out a 1999 740i sport package that i have had since 2002. (14yrs, yikes!) i got a 2001 740i sport package to replace her (i know, not eco friendly, i’m sorry. for now i am addicted to the performance and ridiculous over engineering of it all).
and now i am taking all the best parts from betsy (may she rest in peace) and using them in b2 (betsy2).

i was thinking of doing an extremely long term project of converting the remains of betsy into an electric car to drive around the neighborhood like a golf cart. i don’t think it’s easily feasible/wise, but it’s fun to day dream about it :)

do you have a twitter account?
again, i absolutely love the work you’re doing. i can’t wait to see the finished star trek door project!

50 Philip Lynch October 19, 2016 at 4:13 pm

Greetings. ? Love your videos. You used Paul and Sabrinas dc controller. Any comment on that, ie how well it works, how well it works now, power output. Anything would be a help. I have built a number of ev’s. Built my own lithium packs from pouch cells. A little bit of dc and ac propulsions.

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