About

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.

{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

1 admin November 29, 2020 at 4:58 pm

Hello Godfrey!
This is very simple. When the car is stopped, so is the electric motor.
Unlike a gas engine, the electric motor can just come to a complete stop. There’s no reason to disengage the gear or use a clutch.
When ready to pull away from a stop, I simply press the accelerator. The motor begins to spin and the car drives away.

2 Joseph Roy December 5, 2020 at 10:33 am

Hello Ben !! I own a 2012 Nissan Leaf SL . Bought about a month ago . I’ve never gotten more then 1 regen bubble on display . Do you have any idea why ? I drive a steep grade every day , and watch battery loss greatly while doing so . On way back home I’ve never gotten more then 1 bubble on way down the steep hill . I’ve put car into “R” mode . No difference !! Do you think there is something wrong with my car ? Thanks , Joseph

3 Ben December 5, 2020 at 10:47 am

Hi Joseph!
I am NOT a Nissan Leaf owner and have only driven one a few times. I really couldn’t tell you one way or another.
Try asking on a Leaf forum.
Good Luck!
-Ben

4 Ebi December 12, 2020 at 4:49 am

Hello, sorry I’m not a technical person so I’m having a hard time figuring this out

how would you harvest the energy coming from a free energy generator to power a motor?

by storing the energy in a battery pack to power the motor or can the generator directly power it without loss in power/torque?

the generator is capable of producing 220V 2KW.

5 HF December 21, 2020 at 1:02 pm

Hello, Ben and other HEV tinkerers,
An internet search led me to Ben’s article about disassembling a Ford Escape Hybrid battery pack. I enjoyed that article and found plenty of information relevant to my interests, plus links to other websites that have extensive, detailed information about this battery pack. My concern is that my 2008 FEH’s (Ford Escape Hybrid) firmware has SOC (state of charge) thresholds that cause it to use only a small fraction of the battery’s total capacity. There’s certainly a reason for this, and it might be a good reason. But if the designers were just being conservative because they didn’t know much about how well NiMH cells age, then it may be worth considering how to extend the thresholds up and down and utilize more of the capacity that is already there. Since the firmware is probably inaccessible to tinkerers, I have schemed a hardware solution. Summarily, it is to use an op-amp to raise or lower the voltage readings from the battery pack to the controller. While charging, they would be lowered. While discharging, they would be raised. This would tease the controller to allow more charge and more discharge. To decide where to put this circuit, I would need to know which wire(s) from the battery pack is used by the controller to assess SOC and what voltage the controller uses as its “zero”. I see that the controller has the ability to monitor taps in the cell stack, so I would need to know if I need to push these levels up or down as well to prevent the controller from determining that the battery pack has a fault. Do you have any information about this, or do you have a broken controller I could use to trace out part of its internal circuit?
The second question is more general. Suppose I could increase the fraction of battery capacity that’s available for the car to use. Maybe I could double or triple it. Would the car become more efficient? My initial estimate is “no” because the efficiency gained by the hybrid system is in reducing the mass and configuration of the gasoline motor by not asking it to provide high torque and power during acceleration and slow driving. But I’m not sure and would like to hear from others who understand the big picture better than I do.

6 Aaron truitt December 29, 2020 at 3:01 pm

Hello Ben! I’m converting a 1998 Ford ranger to lithium cells and I’ve run into an error code read with a regular reader (I don’t have access to a NGS Star Tester). The error code is c1755 “power limit fault”. To continue troubleshooting I need to buy/borrow a star tester and I imagine you have one.

The wiring is correct to the best of my ability. I’ve tested the 39/40 leads to the BMS and they are all properly fooled with a modified version of your resister voltage dividing trick. The thermometers are all in tact… The NGS should bring some more detailed info.

7 admin December 29, 2020 at 3:13 pm

Hi Aaron!
SORRY, I do NOT have an NGS tester anymore. I sold the Ranger to somebody who was really looking for an EV Ranger, and the NGS went with the truck.
My best advice would be to take a look through the forums and find some other Ford Ranger EV owner to borrow/rent the NGS from. The NGS will give you LOTS of info on the truck.

Good Luck!
-Ben

8 Philip Mullins January 13, 2021 at 10:22 am

Hey Ben,

I am looking to turn my gas guzzling classis land cruiser into a hybrid. I want to do hybrid instead of all electric because i like to go on multi-day overland trips and all electric just doesnt work for that.

Anyways im looking at using nissan leaf motors for the build. I watched your video on modeling a leaf motor and was wondering if you would be able to share it with me. I’ve found 3d scans, but the files are huge and make my computer very sluggish.

Cheers,
Philip

9 admin January 14, 2021 at 12:41 pm

Hi Philip.
I posted my 3D model of the Leaf motor at: https://spaces.hightail.com/space/xmSArqYFam
It’s about an 18MB file and would still need some clean-up. I had never done any 3D scanning before, so it was a steep learning curve, and I’m sure it could be a better model.

However, it’s there if you want to use it!

-Ben Nelson

10 Martin Garnica January 16, 2021 at 2:46 am

Hey Ben, I have seen your video of salvaging Smith truck batteries as well as the one where you bring it to life. I purchased one off a lot and am not sure if I will be able to drive it back. Should I bring 2 12v car batteries like you did to see if it will turn over and drive? Have you ever shipped a vehicle this size? How would you do it? Thanks for your time.

Martin Garnica

11 admin January 16, 2021 at 7:46 am

Hi Martin,
I think we probably got lucky that we are able to power up the truck and drive it. Seth, the guy I was traveling with, and the one who was actually BUYING the truck, ended up buying a few more later. The one that we got which was in my YouTube video was in the best condition of any that he got. Also, those trucks need an industrial 3-phase setup for charging – not something you will easily find on the road. I believe that the Frito Lay versions of the trucks had J1772, but NOT the Staples trucks.

I guess I would call up a shipping company and get an estimate. Take your 2 12V batteries and jumper cables to the lot – you never know, you might get lucky!

You could also try contacting sales@mullerindustriesusa.com to ask for advice on that truck.

Good Luck!

12 Scott January 22, 2021 at 12:00 pm

Hello I saw your video and I need one of those because I live off-grid and I need to be able to charge my batteries at the EV station. How much for you to build me one I already own the plug. Thx

13 admin January 22, 2021 at 1:15 pm

“One of those”?
Can you be more specific? I have hundreds of videos, and many of them are about building things.
-Ben

14 Mat February 1, 2021 at 5:22 pm

Hey Ben,
I watched all your videos a few years back, and they’re really what gave me the confidence that I could do the same thing with my own car. I wanted to go the forklift route, but instead I found a golf cart for really cheap and had to rebuild the controller to get it working.

Love what your doing keep it up, and if you have a second, maybe check out what I did on my little youtube channel:
https://www.youtube.com/c/PilotProject

-PS I just picked up a Zero motorcycle motor and controller for cheap that I’m planning to install in the car soon to replace the golf cart motor.

If you have any suggestions I’d love to hear em.

-Mat

15 ERIC JENKINS February 7, 2021 at 4:31 pm

I am trying to find Jeff Black “jeff’s projects” I think you have some contact with him. He seems to have dissapeared.
eric in Canada

16 Ben Nelson February 7, 2021 at 4:46 pm

Hi Eric,
Yes, I chatted with Jeff once or twice a while back. Nice guy and makes some very good videos!
I just looked, and it appears that his Youtube channel is closed. His blog/web page is still up, and can be seen at: http://www.jeffsprojects.com
-Ben

17 John S Seawell February 9, 2021 at 1:58 pm

Have a 1930 model A 4 door sedan and am wanting to swap into it an electric motor as well as installing solar panels on the roof. I’m retired so there is a bunch of time I can spend on this project. The car was purchased a few years ago even though it barely ran (won’t safely go faster than 33 MPH) and had no interior in it, which means I was planning to work on it but was waiting for some inspiration. Well, inspiration came from your videos, but I have not seen another electric model A yet to get building insight from, so was hoping you could provide some. As a quick note, the stock engine (which is what’s in it) is only 40 hp and the brakes are mechanical which are scary even around town.

18 Ben N February 11, 2021 at 8:13 am

Older cars tend to be heavy, and many folks try to keep them stock for historic value, so you don’t see that many converted to electric. Using an AC motor to provide regenerative braking could help with some of the older mechanicals. Swapping in a driveline from a Nissan Leaf may be appropriate (other than the difference in front vs rear-wheel drive, that would take a little customization.)
As always, take a look at the EV Album for inspiration from similar projects. Just do a search for “Model A” at evalbum.com/

I put all my advice for folks interested in starting an electric car build into a blog post. Please read through it HERE to get you going.
https://300mpg.org/buildelectriccar/

Good luck!

19 John S Seawell February 12, 2021 at 10:29 am

Ben,
You are right about the weight of this car, since it is a 4 door sedan it is the heaviest of all the model As at 2375 lbs. Your suggestion of a Nissan leaf drive train with its AC motor sounds intriguing so I will look into it. I am checking into all this because most of the car needs rebuilding anyway, besides this car looks so good to me so I want to use it every day not just as a weekend car. Thank you for the great advice!

20 Clay March 10, 2021 at 7:50 pm

Hi Ben, I have followed your projects for a couple years, especially the conversion of the Metro Geo to an EV. This was outstanding work and so creative! It actually inspired me to pick up a 1999 Solectria that I found here in California that had been converted (after the original lead-acid development as a battery power source for this EV built in Massachusetts in 1999) to LiFePO4 (49 BPS 3.2 nominal cells in series), but rodents had done their worst and the original simple BMS and some other cabling was severed and the cells had gone to zero volts. I tried reviving them using a variable voltage power source, but the GBS cells (100AH, 320W) will not hold voltage (aargh!). I just finished watching your video DIY 48V Lithium Battery – Step by Step Build and am again amazed by your ingenuity. Do you think that 3 of these could be connected in series to power my onboard 156V AC motor for the Solectria with AC Motor Type AC21? Sure would like to build up some of these cells and a friend of mine is no stranger to scrapyard cell building and Prius module repair. Please let me know what you think. Thanks, Clay W.

21 admin March 11, 2021 at 11:03 am

Hi Clay!
The Solectria was a car ahead of its time! I looked at one for sale way back when I built my own electric Geo Metro. (The seller wanted WAY too much money at the time, but it was still cool to see!)

Used lithium batteries from a commercially-built electric car are probably THE most affordable way to get your Solectria back up and running again. Besides Nissan Leaf cell modules, Chevy Volt modules have been pretty popular on DIY projects and might work fine for you as well.

Just make sure that your total final voltage is in the same range as what the inverter in the car needs to run properly. You will also need to make sure your battery charger matches your cells. Some chargers are programmable, or can be tweaked a bit. Lastly, make sure you are using some sort of appropriate BMS to prevent your cells from becoming over-charged or over-discharged.

If you did want to go with used Nissan Leaf cell modules, keep in mind that they are generally degraded, so they will have less capacity. Related to that, lets say you used 21 cell modules – You might charge up to 175V but depending on degredation, you might only have 7 kWh of capacity. If your car can go 4 miles per kWh, that’s a 28 mile range – rather on the low side. You may also be pulling relatively high current from the cells (I have no idea off-hand how many amps that car can draw) but you want to keep the current draw low, as that’s healthier for the batteries – extending their lives.

When I upgraded my Vectrix electric motorcycle, that ran on 18 Leaf Cell modules, but that’s a motorcycle – lighter weight that a car.
You would probably want to double up the modules (in parallel), that would double your capacity/range and cut the current draw from each cell in half.
Doubling would get you 42 cell modules. A Nissan Leaf uses 48, but they are all in series for a higher voltage, and half the current at the same amount of work.

Good luck!
-Ben

22 KONRAD March 15, 2021 at 1:41 pm

would an Audi A4 or Chevy Cobalt conversion be available using this method?

23 admin March 15, 2021 at 1:44 pm

You can convert pretty much any brand or type of car to electric. Just keep in mind that a lighter and more aerodynamic car will be more efficient. Avoid cars with automatic transmissions, unless you plan to otherwise completely replace the gear reduction and differential anyways (such as replacing a front wheel drive car with a Nissan Leaf motor AND gearbox.)

24 Mattias Håberg April 21, 2021 at 2:39 pm

Hi Ben!
I rediscovered you when i did a search for electric conversion of tractor or something similar. I have now watched the whole playlist and I am dying to see the rest of the farmtractor project. When do you think you will continue working on it?

Your a true inspiration!!

Mattias, northern Sweden

25 admin April 21, 2021 at 3:11 pm

Hello Mattias!
Thank you for your kind words.
The project has been slow, partly to Covid, health issues, and some other things.
Subscribe to my YouTube channel and you will see continuing videos on the project as they come out.
https://www.youtube.com/user/BenjaminNelson
Thanks!
-Ben

26 Steven Frank Mejia June 27, 2021 at 10:58 pm

Hello Ben!
Awesome and neat solar project assembly and design in the USA projects.
Upon checking my product info I own a eflex 30 watt Renogy solar panel it’s specifications are attached at this link https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.renogy.com/amp/e-flex-30-portable-solar-panel/ if you have a couple of minutes to look into this compatibility can you let me know if this option solar panel works just as great or similar with this project making?

Also I became a little confused with the extra negative wiring bundle I could observe the schematic showing of the black wires. How many blacks go in each wago I see (2) wagos but I am unsure. Hello

27 Ben N June 28, 2021 at 9:34 am

On that solar panel you have a link to – it appears that it ONLY has USB as an output, and USB is only 5V. Those types of products are just designed for directly charging a cell phone. You want a solar panels which can output 18V to charge a 12V battery.
Here’s an example of a similar product, but which DOES also have a traditional higher voltage DC output: https://amzn.to/3y1MWP3

For the Solar Ammo Can, basically, all the black wires just come together as a ground going to the negative of the battery. The single wire nut just didn’t have enough space in it for all the wires, so I jumpered it to a second one. Alternatively, you can just use a small bus bar or a more typical wire nut.

28 William Ralph Mills July 18, 2021 at 11:47 am

Ben, I was wondering where you bought your Nissan leaf cells to make the 48v pack on YouTube. im having trouble finding any a reliable source, thanks in advance , WMills

29 Ben N July 27, 2021 at 10:37 am

Hello!
I’ve built batteries from Nissan Leaf packs by buying an entire battery from a salvage yard.
For most people, buying a few, they tend to look at places like eBay, BigBattery.com, or https://batteryhookup.com/

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