Ford Ranger EV

by admin on December 10, 2018

In December, 2018, I had an opportunity to get a FACTORY-BUILT electric pickup truck!

This was a 1998 Ford Ranger EV. Back at that time, GM had built the EV-1 and there were other factory-built electric vehicles on the road. Those included electric versions of the Chevy S10 and the Ford Ranger.

An owner in the Chicagoland area had one of these Ford Ranger EVs. He had ordered a Tesla Model 3, which his wife said he could, as long as he made room in the garage for it! Well, the Model 3 was supposed to arrive a day or two after I got the pickup truck out of his garage, so he was motivated to get rid of it!

The truck originally ran on Lead-Acid batteries. When I received the truck, it was in working condition, but with non-original batteries, and they were in the BED instead of properly mounted in the box under the truck.

The plan will be to upgrade the batteries. Hopefully, I can locate some appropriate lithium batteries from a salvaged electric vehicle to upgrade the truck. Depending on which BMS we install, it MIGHT also be possible to add a CHAdeMO DC Fast Charging upgrade!

The truck was designed with a Avcon charging port – an outdated interface. I’m hoping we can build an adapter to keep the truck’s original charge port, but make it compatible with the modern J1772 standard.

For more information about how this truck was originally built by Ford, please take a look at the Wikipedia entry:

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Stay Charged-Up!
-Ben Nelson

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Chris December 11, 2018 at 10:41 am

Your truck looks to be in good shape. I did find this out after reading about the EV ranger. Charging Edit
Charging is through an Avcon conductive connector, provided beneath a hinged door to the right side of the grille. A NiMH pack would take six to eight hours to charge, storing about 30 kW·h, and the charging and discharging is regulated through passive control devices.

The Avcon connector was compliant to the then-current SAE J1772-1998 conductive charging standard. It is possible to use either an adapter or to upgrade the plug on the truck to the updated J1772-2010 standard. The two connectors use an identical signaling and wiring scheme with ground, two hots, proximity and pilot. With an adapter or after an upgrade, Ranger EVs can use the newer public charging infrastructure being deployed nationwide that utilizes the new J1772-2010 standard.

2 admin December 11, 2018 at 10:48 am

That’s my understanding of things too.
I did find one (bad) YouTube video of somebody upgrading the AVCON port on the truck to a J1772.
I MIGHT want to go the opposite route and leave the charge port as original, but build an adapter that plugs into the truck, and a modern J1772 cable plug into that adapter.

3 Alex Bessinger January 28, 2019 at 5:44 pm

I think you can actually buy one of those Avcon to J1772 adapters online (, but I’m sure they cost some outrageous amount of money. I’ve got a quick question though, since the Avcon port is in the front, what is behind the “gas door” on the side of the bed? Perhaps that would make a good location to locate a J1772 port, and still retain the Avcon port as well without having to use an adapter.
There’s one of these trucks for sale near where I live that likely needs a new battery pack. I was thinking about doing a Lithium conversion with some Tesla modules, and swapping out the Avcon for J1772, as well as adding a CHAdeMO fast charging port for 30-40min charging capability.

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