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.

{ 43 comments… read them below or add one }

1 admin October 17, 2019 at 8:36 am

Hi Tom,
It is possible to build a budget-based Electric Vehicle, but there’s usually a pretty steep learning curve, and you want to make sure you have reasonable expectations up front.
Please read my article on what it takes to get started, which also includes links to the Build Your Own Electric Car video series, and other resources to get you started.
https://300mpg.org/buildelectriccar/

2 admin October 17, 2019 at 8:38 am

Hello Andre!
What you most likely want to do is just to switch out the chargers for some more typical single-phase chargers.
I know that some of the other versions of the Smith trucks used single-phase and had J1772 inputs on them. Seth, at Muller Industries had at least two trucks like that, but some of the parts, including the single phase chargers, had already been stripped off.
There are a lot of different chargers out there, and I’m sure you could find one compatible that runs on single phase.

3 Timothy Work November 17, 2019 at 6:26 pm

Hi Ben
I just want thank you for sharing your projects and advice, I really enjoy them. I hope to build my own electric vehicle. Thanks Tim in Ohio

4 Ben Nelson November 17, 2019 at 7:13 pm

Hi Tim!
Glad you like them. Thanks for the kind words.
-Ben

5 Saket J November 24, 2019 at 9:21 am

Why can’t I see what I post here ?!

6 Saket J November 24, 2019 at 9:23 am

How can I see the comments I post here ?
Where can I ask the questions or doubts or give feedback ?!

7 admin November 24, 2019 at 1:14 pm

You can’t see it until after I approve the post. People often leave personal information here, so I make sure it isn’t publicly viewable right away.

8 admin November 24, 2019 at 1:15 pm

Right here is a fine place to ask questions.

9 Paul November 25, 2019 at 7:17 am

Hi Ben.
I can’t believe my luck that I have found your website and associated videos. As I’m gathering a list of parts needed for this project, I visited the Lovejoy shaft connector website. Other than the many shaft diameter options, they have quite a range in torque options. How did you calculate yours? Did you add a certain safety factor? What value did you end up with?
Thank you so much.

10 Frank Tucker November 26, 2019 at 10:00 am

Hello Ben,
First …. I LOVE all your videos.
Second … I need your advice.
Is this solar generator and panels a good buy?
I’m looking for something to power my natural gas fired furnace and blower in the event of a blackout this winter. I was thinking of getting the unit and 2 panels for this purpose and camping out.

https://www.snowjoe.com/products/sun-joe-sj1440sg-battery-powered-portable-indoor-and-outdoor-inverter-generator-1440-watt-wheel-kit

https://www.snowjoe.com/products/sun-joe-sj1440sp-folding-solar-panel-with-cable-for-use-with-sj1440sg-60-watt

https://snowjoeecm.blob.core.windows.net/product-manuals/SJ1440SG_MANUAL_ENG_10242018_M_FINAL.pdf

Sorry to bother you, but it seems like it might be a good deal not to pass up.
Thanks,
Frank

11 Ben N November 26, 2019 at 10:27 am

Hi Frank, with just a quick review of the product, it looks fine. It’s basically a 100AH battery, an inverter, and a wall charger.
That should be fine for powering the blower on your natural gas furnace.
One thing to keep in mind is how long it can take to recharge the battery with solar.
That folding solar panel is only rated for 3.23 peak amps of current. A dead battery could take 30 hours of direct sunlight to recharge. In the winter (because you mentioned the furnace…) that could be an issue. In my area, we have very short days and the winter is the cloudiest time of year. In that case, you need enough solar power for the WORST CASE SCENARIO.

Sounds like a great product for camping and occasional brief power outages. If you are worried about a longer power outage, and blackouts in the winter, you may want to double up the solar panels or just buy a much larger one. Just depends on how much money you want to spend vs “how prepared” you are.

-Ben

12 admin November 26, 2019 at 10:29 am

Truth be told, I didn’t calculate torque at all for the Lovejoy coupler for the Geo Metro. The parts looked sturdy, and I didn’t expect any issues.
The trouble that I did have came from the fact that one half of my couple was an off-brand foreign-make part, clearly of lesser quality metal. I also originally had a bit of a mis-alignment, which I should have corrected first, but I had already put so much work into the car and was just excited to have it on the road.

13 Saket J November 27, 2019 at 10:19 am

Hello Ben !
Once again Congratulations on your Geometro project !
What I want to ask is about your transmission in Geometro.
Is it really fine to run the transmission without oil ?
Is it safe ? Is it advisable to use pre existing transmission in motorcycle ? Because there will be problems running the transmission without oil & with oil, it will spill out of the casing if not sealed properly.
Also is it safe to shift gears in an oil-less fast rotating transmission ?
Upto what speeds is it safe to shift gears like this after all ??
Also what was the power torque (& peak torque) & max rpm of the motor of that forklift ? Any idea ?
If you could answer all of these questions, it will be like a boon to me…..
Especially about the transmission…..
God bless you for what you are doing for us all !
I’m watching your YouTube series as per your suggestion.
Thanks for a prompt response !

14 Saket J December 1, 2019 at 2:49 pm

Why is my question not being answered ?
😔

15 admin December 1, 2019 at 6:04 pm

No. You want oil in your transmission.

It is not safe to run it without it, as it wasn’t designed for that, and friction will wreck the transmission.

Very few EV motorcycles have transmission. It’s easiest to simply NOT use one. Just use and electric motor with some gear reduction to the drive wheel.

I had no specs at all on the forklift motor which I used in the Geo Metro. It was a completely unmarked motor. It was a 10.5 inch diameter series wound motor pulled from a Nissan forklift. I have no specific info on that motor otherwise.

16 admin December 1, 2019 at 6:05 pm

Really long questions.
Ask specifics. Be clear.

17 Blair Fraser December 4, 2019 at 11:33 pm

Hi Ben. I’m making a plug in prius at the moment and I’ve got all of the electronics sorted and would love to show you some pictures of the progress so far. Do you have instagram?
Regards Blair Fraser
Kyneton Victoria Australia

18 BenN December 5, 2019 at 7:29 am

Hi Blair,

I don’t use instagram, but would love to see some photos. I sent you an e-mail. If you could send some photos, or a link to those photos, by that e-mail, that would be great!
-Ben

19 John December 18, 2019 at 9:17 am

Hi Tim
In that there is no BMS how do you protect the Valence batteries from low temperature cut off?

20 Jeff Sorge February 19, 2020 at 10:55 am

Thanks for all the time you spend sharing your projects. I too have deconstructed a Smith truck and for the life on me, I can’t get the logging path set in the Valence software. I have gotten all this way, built the cabling and have hit this brick wall. Any time I try to read it states denied to the path log. I have set the path as a file on my desktop via the browse icon in the Valence page just as you describe. Why am I lost??lol

21 admin February 20, 2020 at 11:29 am

Hi Jeff,
To start with, I have to say that I’m not much of a Windows person. I’ve been exclusively on Mac for years, and had to run the software through an emulator on my Mac Laptop.
That is to say – I’m NO EXPERT, and probably NOT the person to ask about PC software problems.

That said, I remember that one issue I had with the software, and I don’t remember if it was for the log path or not, that one problem was caused by PERMISSIONS settings in Windows. The software won’t tell you that’s why there’s a problem, it just errors on you.
Try looking through all your PERMISSIONS settings and see if it helps.

Best of luck,
-Ben

22 Greg Dronkert February 29, 2020 at 8:02 pm

Hey Ben! Wow what a great site and blog you have! A friend just gave me a Dynasty IT (that does not run) and I am trying to research where I might be able to find parts. I discovered your YouTube channel with your review from several years back. Any idea if there is a user group or a trove of parts anywhere or perhaps a manual out there? I live in the Seattle area and discovered these units where originally manufactured in Delta BC. Thank you for any info you can provide and nice job on all the information you’re getting out there! All the Best, Greg

23 Rex March 20, 2020 at 4:59 pm

Hi Ben
Older farmer here from New Zealand. I’m enjoying your tractor conversion videos and would definitely like to see how the battery holds up once you start cultivating with it.
I am a little concerned about using the side plates alone to support the front of the tractor given the amount of force even small tractors can generate. Those plates were intended as extra mounting points for the likes of loaders, belly mowers and mid mounted cultivators. My suggestion for what it’s worth would be to roll a sheet of steel into U shape and mount it where the side plates go or perhaps use angle iron instead.
I like alt energy and have built a water ram, a solar mirror for water heating and am in the process of making a wind turbine. There is also an old 30 hp JD crawler tractor here that I would like to make electric someday.

All the best
Rex

24 Ben N March 20, 2020 at 5:40 pm

Hi Rex, Thanks for the input.
On the tractor, as it was built, the engine – through a quarter-inch steel plate – mounts with multiple heavy bolts to the cast-iron transmission bell-housing.
On the other end of the engine, the front end – radiator, axle, etc – mounts to it.
There is also sort of a heavy pipe that goes from the front axle, under the engine, and mounts to the bottom of the transmission.
I think what I want to do is pull some frame rails from a sister tractor that used the same transmission. I will attach that at the same point on the transmission that the engine attached, and then run the other end to the front axle. The part that connects from the front axle back down under the transmission would be reconnected just as it was before.
I think that will essentially be the same strength as what was already there.

PS: Some of this gets hard to describe in just words! That’s a big reason why I shoot so many videos!

25 Ben N March 20, 2020 at 5:43 pm

Hi Greg!
Seems like there’s a user group for everything, you just have to find it!
Seattle has a GREAT electric car club. I suggest you contact them, as you would then have somebody local to talk with and help aid you on finding other Dynasty IT owners or help you fix it up. They probably have a meeting you can attend. https://www.seattleeva.org/wp/

-Ben

26 Richard H March 25, 2020 at 3:29 pm

Ben,
Keith in BC Canada has Nissan Leaf electric motor mounting adapters he’s been making would you like his contact info?

27 Ben N March 25, 2020 at 6:41 pm

Yes! That would be great!
Thank you.
-Ben

28 Kip Sweat April 9, 2020 at 9:22 am

I’m looking for some valence batteries like you got out of your delivery truck. Do you sell them, can you give me an idea of what and where to look?

29 Ben N April 9, 2020 at 12:33 pm

I Kip,
You can sometimes just find them on eBay, but I know that Muller Industries has some right now. Tell them Ben sent ya!
https://www.mullerindustriesusa.com/product/valence-u27-12xp-ucharge-lithium-battery-ion/

30 Trey April 12, 2020 at 8:40 am

Hi I just have to say I love watching your videos which have inspiring to build my own electric motorbike.

I was hoping you would be able help me out with a few questions I have but I have quite a few. Would that be ok?

Thanks in advance Trey

31 Ben N April 13, 2020 at 9:19 am

Hi Trey,
As much as I’d like to, I simply can’t personally keep up with every question about EVs coming my way. I only have so much time and energy. With almost 20 million views on my channel, that’s a lot of people who want to talk with me.

I try to help as many people as I can by creating videos and blog posts.

For people who are serious about a conversion project, I do offer consulting, which allows for personalized, one-on-one help, including answering any questions you have.
https://300mpg.org/product/ev-consultation/

32 Rex April 18, 2020 at 7:21 am

Hi Ben
Regards how to fit the hydraulic pump. I have a JD 2010 of about the same vintage as your tractor with a similar drive for the pto. On that tractor the pump is in the bell housing mounted to the front wall of the transmission and driven from a spline off the front of the pto drive shaft.
Here are some links that may help visualisation: (if they work)
https://partscatalog.deere.com/jdrc/sidebyside/equipment/82370/referrer/navigation/pgId/210969
https://partscatalog.deere.com/jdrc/sidebyside/equipment/82370/referrer/navigation/pgId/251670
I’m not suggesting you do this but how others solved similar problems may help you to find the answer your looking for.
Regards
Rex

33 admin April 18, 2020 at 11:57 am

Thanks Rex!
I was just talking to a friend this morning and we were talking about something along these lines.
-Ben

34 Perry Bennett May 7, 2020 at 5:56 pm

Ben,
Thank you for all the incredible information here. I have a 2004 Arctic Cat 650 V Twin quad that I use nearly exclusively for plowing snow in the winter. This spring, the gas engine decided it had had enough, and stopped for good. My options are to: rebuild the engine; replace the engine/transmission with a wrecker engine/transmission; or, to convert the unit to electric.
I am seriously considering the third option. My research led me to your content here and elsewhere.
This quad is perhaps not the easiest to convert, but it is the one I have. I would like to keep the original transmission for low and high range, as plowing snow requires a fair bit of torque, more than necessary for simple riding. Doing so will require a bit of ingenuity as the engine and transmission share a case, but I am determined.
I think I would like to use a brushed DC motor to keep costs reasonable. I might consider a new one if I can’t find a powerful enough used one. I’m still trying to figure out what’s available. I think I’d like to have at least a 48v or 60v system. Range is not critical as I can usually complete snow plowing in about 1 to 1-1/2 hours, then it can be recharged.
Any thoughts here would be most welcome.
Perry

35 Ben N May 8, 2020 at 8:03 am

Hi Perry!
While I haven’t worked on quads before, my understanding is that they tend to have drivelines VERY similar to motorcycles, other than a differential in the back, and the fact that some of them are four-wheel drive.

You probably want to take a look a various motorcycle conversions to get some ideas for your project.

One good reason to completely get rid of the engine AND transmission on a motorcycle is that often they are a combined single unit. It’s not easy to keep the transmission but not the engine without some major mechanical surgery! On a vehicle driven by a chain, you have quite a bit of control over the gearing just by the selection of sprockets. That may be a little more complicated on a quad, simply because everything is so boxed in.

For plowing, you do NOT need high speed, but you do need power, so that means very low gearing.

The other thing to keep in mind is battery capacity and how batteries are effected by cold. Lead-acid is the worst with cold, and doesn’t hold a huge amount of total energy. At a bare minimum, you want to keep your batteries warm. Have the vehicle in a heated garage, insulate the batteries, add a battery heater, etc.

I’ve had good experience with used Nissan Leaf cell modules for DIY EV projects. They are great for cycles, and I’m sure would work well for your quad as well.

If you haven’t already, please watch my video series on when I built my 1981 Kawasaki KZ440 electric motorcycle. Lots of good general information in there that would apply to your project. EV Motorcycle Playlist Link

Another great place to start is the EV Album. It’s a listing of all sorts of DIY EV projects, and you can sort by type of project, such as MOTORCYCLE. There isn’t a dedicated catagory for quads, but you can do a text search for quad. Here’s one I thought was neat that showed up in that search. Quad Link.

A 48V or higher system should work great for you. 48V is probably fine, as there’s lots of parts (motors, motor controllers, chargers, etc.) available at that voltage at good prices. You could easily reuse forklift parts if you wanted. Otherwise a pancake permanent magnet DC motor, such as a Briggs Etek type is powerful and compact. The guy who designed that motor now runs Motenergy, and has some nice 48 and 72V motors.

Good luck with your project!
-Ben Nelson

36 robear May 10, 2020 at 2:03 am

hello ben ! so glad i found you yesterday.
your videos are very clean and clear. easy to watch. well gone.
i found you by googling ‘ge electrak conversion’.
that is what i am in the middle of right now.
3 years ago i purchased two I-5 electraks, both sort of running.
2 years ago i bought one E-20 , one E-15 , and one wheelhorse 120 [similar to the E-20 ]
all sort of running with mowers , rototillers , etc.
i am a small farmer . for one summer i had 5 electric tractors to replace 70% of my 2 big
massey fergeson deisel tractors. i was in future farmers heaven !
then the electric tractors one by one started to fail. a little here a little there in spite of my best efforts . i have the shop manuals for them but i am no electrical genius so i am half way through converting the E-20 to a simple 10hp 36 vdc motor from e-tek [manta].
i am learning a lot watching your videos. thank you.

37 Ben N May 10, 2020 at 12:04 pm

Hi Robear!
It certainly helps if you know how to use a multimeter and have some electrical experience to work on these tractors. One resource I found to be helpful is https://www.myelec-traks.com/Publications.html
It’s a great selection of manuals for the ElecTraks. There’s information in there for whatever tractor you are working on, shop manuals, service manuals, and troubleshooting information.

Good luck with your projects!
-Ben Nelson

38 Kyle May 13, 2020 at 10:02 pm

Hi Ben,
Don’t have any idea what to say about your videos. So informative. And many thanks for sharing those ideas.
I am from Australia. Here we don’t have too many forks running with the electric motors. Almost all of them running in GAS. So my DC options are very limited .
Here I need your suggestion, What type of DC motor I should look for? like in KW,RPM, AMPS or anything else?
Trying to match something up with the forklift motors,
Thanks again for all your kind efforts.

39 admin May 14, 2020 at 7:45 pm

Hi Kyle,
Some of the best information on forklift motors comes from Jim Husted. He has a great post on choosing a forklift motor. That’s at: https://www.diyelectriccar.com/forums/showthread.php/using-forklift-motor-and-choosing-good-7598.html
He says it all better than I can.

-Ben

40 Brian May 21, 2020 at 11:43 pm

Hi Ben,

Great work sharing with everyone what you do. I just received my Leaf motor/inverter/charger from the salvage yard, but they clipped off the J1772 charge port. Wondering if you could tell me which of the wires, going into the charger, are line and neutral? They have one marked with the black spot from the factory, so I imagine it matters which is which. Just watched your teardown video, good luck with the tractor!
-Brian

41 Ben N May 22, 2020 at 8:14 am

Keep in mind that a charger like this one can run on 240V. That means it’s two hots and a ground. Polarity of the hot wires shouldn’t matter (as it’s alternating current), but of course you wouldn’t want to confuse either with the ground!
I’ll try opening up the charger tonight and taking a look.
-Ben

42 Christopher Martin June 4, 2020 at 7:38 pm

Ben,
Great videos and web site. Thanks for sharing your experiences and expertise. I have a quick fundamental question for you.

If one were to ignore cost for a moment, is there a reason not to use all the Nissan Leaf drive and charge components? I realize that space may become an issue on a small tractor, but having the integrated inverter and charger, all the electronics (like BCU, BMS, wiring harnesses, etc.) as well as radiators, pumps, hoses, etc. eliminates a ton of integration problems. Essentially everythng is there, including LED lights if one so desired to use them.

I bought a salvage title Leaf (from copart) that runs fine and plan to (hopefully) dismantle and possibly integrate into a Ford 4610 or comparably sized John Deere tractor.

I am very curious to hear your thoughts.

43 Corey June 21, 2020 at 12:24 am

Hey Ben!

I wanted to thank you for putting all of those awesome videos up on Youtube and generally taking the time to be a positive influence on the general public.

I’ll admit I started with the most selfish, but reasonable, ambitions of having an electric vehicle strictly for the fuel savings. My little Accent was putting on a crapload of KM’s on it and I wanted to pay less.

Realized the range I wanted wasn’t feasible for my budget, went looking for DIY projects and found your series. Went back to batteries, jeez, still too much for the range I wanted, but seeing what you did really inspired me.

So I ended up falling down a Stirling Engine rabbit hole that ultimately led me down the Tesla turbine rabbit hole. So far I’ve been losing my mind anxiously anticipating the last of my required tools I need to make my first few turbines.

Best off, again inspired by your can-do DIY attitude and SpaceX’s process of constantly attempting to simplify things has me about to make a stunningly simple updraft (or fluidized bed – Still deciding) steam gasifier which is going to power my Open Tractor’s ‘Power Cube’ alongside an entire workshop.

Provided the two-stage turbine reaches even modest levels of efficiency and is used to power a plug-in hybrid car I’ll have a car with no range anxiety (can run on any type of fuel) that still manages to have the kind of neutral-to-zero carbon footprint as the engine specifically benefits from running on hydrogen. In fact what motivated wanting to put a simple gasifier in it was the high hydrogen content of the syngas!

It’ll have all of the perks of an electric (regenerative braking etc) PLUS it’ll have an engine with 2-3 moving parts that (aside from the tools) cost a couple hundred bucks to put together. If that isn’t the DIY green dream I don’t know what is.

If I may ramble about the perks of the turbine a bit: It should be able to freely eat up all of the particulate matter and the pulse combustion chamber is tremendously thorough about what it burns meaning you can leave the tars in the syngas plus the turbine actively benefits from the steam contained in the syngas meaning you can go directly from gasifier to engine without any pre-treatment or heat loss.

I mean I hope to use my turbines in to a waterjet CNC cutter as well. Maybe some hand tools with a modular hydraulic or compressed air setup.

The way it works out is this: Worst case scenario the turbine isn’t terribly efficient and I can cover my electricity bill by using horse shit and wood scraps. You still helped me get there. Best case scenario I’ve managed to put things together that could start a whole green energy production career/company.

I wouldn’t be doing this if you didn’t put those youtube videos up so thank you Ben. Sincerely.

Kind regards,
– Corey

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