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.

{ 47 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!

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!

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.


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.

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:

-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.


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

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.

Good luck!

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

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!

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.

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

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/

30 Barry October 8, 2021 at 9:07 am

Hi Ben,

Love the information on the i-miev. Do you still own it? What is your overall rating on the car? Thanks!


31 Shawn October 30, 2021 at 10:12 am

Hello Ben.
I bought your dvd, “Build Your Own Electric Motorcycle” several years ago, and have been intrigued with the idea of building an electric bike for some time. I’ve always loved customizing my traditional motorcycles, and wanted to try something a little different. I’m sad to say I have started and stopped my E bike project several times over the years. However, I’m in a better space to complete the project this time. I’d love to creat a 72 volt system bike, but the cost still seems a little prohibitive, plus, I’m not totally sure I’ll be able to fit six batteries in my bike frame. Would there be problems if I assembled a bike to run a 72 volt system, but only used four batteries (48v system) as my power source? Would I simply be able to upgrade to six batteries at a later time, perhaps when it was time to replace the original four batteries? Apologies if this is a silly question.

32 stuart roberts November 5, 2021 at 2:57 am

hi ben, i have a 1971 peugeot van which weighs around 2300kg and has a 1600cc 50hp petrol engine and can only achieve 50mph. it had always been my plan to eventually convert to electric, but after seeing your videos regarding the nissan leaf motor and the thunderstruck unit has got me wanting to start this project now. my newbie questions are..
would a nissan leaf motor work with the weight of the van, how much battery would i need to cover roughly 130-150 miles with a top speed of 55mph. could i also attach the motor direct to the original van gearbox or do i have to use the nissan gearbox? many thanks, stu.

33 Ben N November 5, 2021 at 7:04 am

I’m not familiar with that particular van, but I’ve always thought a Nissan Leaf motor would be great in a classic Volkswagen van.
Weight shouldn’t be an issue, although it can effect acceleration.

The motor could be connected to an original manual transmission OR kept with the Leaf gearbox. On a rear-engine design like the Volkswagen, the gearbox could be kept with the electric motor and then you could change the shafts to the rear wheels to match the gearbox.

The biggest requirement for your situation would be relatively large battery pack. An efficient modern electric car can go as far as 4 miles per kilowatt-hour of battery storage. So, you would need a minimum of a 40 kWh battery pack. (Bigger is always better, and accounts for cold weather, bad aerodynamics, etc.)

34 Ben N November 5, 2021 at 7:09 am

You can certainly design a motorcycle with a 48V setup and PLANNING to upgrade to 72V.
What you would need is a motor which can handle up to 72V (running it at a lower voltage is fine, it just spins slower)
A motor controller which can operate in a range of 48-72V nominal. (It would likely need reprogramming or setting changes to do one, then the other.)
Most battery chargers are NOT designed for a wide range of variable voltages. You will probably need to trade out the charger when going from 48 to 72V.

Just check the specs on all the components you plan to use. Make sure they are good for both 72V and 48V nominal voltages.


35 Ben N November 5, 2021 at 7:10 am

I still have the iMiEV.
It has a very small battery pack, so it’s only a relatively short distance car. Other than that, I’ve really enjoyed it.

36 Nick C April 30, 2022 at 10:53 am

What are your thoughts on the, https://www.dcbel.energy/r16/? Costly as just an EVSE but since it is a DC charger too and much more… For someone who is adding PV and/or storage too, at some point… It seems like it could be good value?

37 Ben N April 30, 2022 at 11:26 am

I LOVE the concept of that product.

I really like the idea of being able to use higher voltage (200V-600V) DC from solar to more or less feed directly into a car over a DC Fast Charger connection.

This device acts as a Solar inverter, car charger, DC car charger, and energy monitor all in one. Sounds like a great device for somebody who is going to install solar, and already has an electric car, so they will need all those functions anyways.

If a person was to use it to REPLACE an existing solar inverter and EVSE, I don’t see that much value for the added cost.

The device might be best for people who have grid-tie solar but get a pretty poor deal on the buy-back rate from their power company. Instead of “selling” to the grid at a low rate, put that value right into your car instead.

Whenever I see interesting new products like this, I always check with the “sign-up” or “pre-sale” where you have to put in your address, what type of place you live in, etc. I always get “Not available in your area”. On this one, I typed in 90210 as my zip code, and was able to get more information. It’s $5,000 for the basic unit, but then there’s additional cost for the DC charge connector, and the blackout kit is another $1,500. What I would want was listed at about $8,500. And again, just simply isn’t available for me here in the Midwest.

38 Les Young November 4, 2022 at 6:24 am

Then I’m working On a dynasty it and need some wiring info or pictures or anything. You are about the only person that I’ve seen that might be able to help me. Thanks. Les

39 Herbert November 10, 2022 at 2:57 am

Hi Ben,
I like your simple solution for preventing the car from driving off. Do you have a easy way to close the main relais so that i can get DC Power for feeding it into my solar converter. It seems that should be pssible by connecting 12V to Chademo Pin 2. Have you experience about that?

40 Kyle November 26, 2022 at 9:32 pm

Hi Ben,

I just wanted to stop by and say thank you for the DIY solar garage Instuctible from a few years ago. I just completed an install on our home in NC and although some components have changed a bit, your guide was my go-to source for information. The thorough documentation including specific sources and photos of everything was clutch in making my install possible and successful.

Thanks so much!


41 Ben N November 28, 2022 at 10:03 am

Hi Kyle!
So glad it was helpful to you!
Solar is great, and the more folks we have going solar, the better!

42 Ben N November 29, 2022 at 11:54 am

For a CHAdeMO connection, the main battery pack contactors are closed by use of a combination of simple analog signals AND CAN bus signals.
In the Mitsubishi iMiEV, the one relay internal to the car (which is activated through the use of the CAN bus signals) is in a known location and easily accessible. By manually turning that on, and using the analog signals through a few pins on the CHAdeMO connector, I am able to activate the car’s main contactors out to the DC Fast Charge Port.

This requires power and ground on pins 2 and 10 of the CHAdeMO inlet, along with the manual forced on of the Contactor Control Relay.
Please see image at: https://i0.wp.com/300mpg.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/49ZFR_diagram-connector-pins.jpg?w=960&ssl=1

The full write-up on the project is at: https://300mpg.org/v2g/

43 Ben N November 29, 2022 at 11:57 am

Sorry, I never owned the Dynasty IT or worked on it. It was simply in my hands for a day or two, so I shot a quick video about it.

44 Melvin December 17, 2022 at 3:45 pm

Hi Ben
Just want to say thank you for all the information and videos you have posted about the Nissan leaf motor. I am looking for your opinion on a project that I have started gathering parts and pieces for. I have purchased and plan on doing a EV conversion on a 2000 Chevy S10 reg. cab truck, stock 4 cyl 5 speed S10’s weigh in at just a little over 3000 LB. I have also purchased a used Warp 11 dc motor for this conversion and I also have purchased 3 complete Chevy volt batteries . I have 20 – 48 volt sections and 6 – 24 volt sections I have tested several of the 48 volt modules and they have all tested around 35 ah each. If I configure them to have 151 volts fully charged that would put me at about 245 ah and if I configure them 176 volts that would put me at about 210 ah . I am planning on coupling the warp 11 motor straight to the input shaft of the stock 5 speed manual trans that is in the truck now.
What do you think would work the best as far as performance and distance that I can travel on a single charge, go ahead with the build using the Warp 11 motor or sale the Warp 11 motor and use a Nissan Leaf EM51 motor with the thunder struck VCU Thanks for your help and all you do for the DIY community .

45 Ben N December 21, 2022 at 8:43 am

Hi Melvin!
A Chevy S10 with a Warp 11 in it would be a monster! It would be similar to a V-8 swap.
The Warp 11 will be most efficient between 3500 and 4000 RPM.

A Nissan Leaf motor would be great in terms of being more efficient, and offering regenerative braking. It does require a higher voltage to operate. I think that Thunderstruck actually added that to their instruction manual because of testing I did. It’s at least 200V, but probably something like 250VDC full charged. A stock Chevy Volt Battery pack in its original configuration would be just fine for that.
You can usually get the inverter with the Leaf motor.

If you wanted to use the Warp 11, you also need to get yourself a DC motor controller to match it. A 500A/144V controller costs over $1,000.

I always thought that a Four-Wheel-Drive truck would be neat for a conversion. Then a person could just put in a Nissan Leaf motor and gearbox under the hood and use custom drive-shafts to connect it to the front wheels. You would then have a front-wheel-drive pickup truck (Which is also was the EV1-based Chevy S10 was!) You could completely remove the driveshaft to the back. It would gain efficiency and space for the batteries.

A good factory-built EV, driven reasonably, can typically go 4 miles per kWh of battery capacity. Conversions tend to be less efficient, and even more so with a brushed DC setup. It sounds like you will have a little less than 37 kWh of battery. IF you could hit 4mi/kWh, (unlikely) then you would have a max range of 140 miles. But that is not realistic for a home conversion, especially DC. If your vehicle could travel 2 miles per kWh, then you would have a range of about 75 miles. That sounds more realistic.

You will also want to take a look at the EV Album. There are plenty of S10s and Rangers on there. Look to see what people have used for batteries, motors, etc. and what their range and budgets have been.

Although rear-wheel drive is less efficient than front-wheel drive, it does give you the option of changing the gearing in the differential.

If you just want to go for torque, the Warp 11 is the way to go. If you want efficiency and regenerative braking, go with the Leaf motor.


46 Chris Simon January 20, 2023 at 4:49 pm

Hello Ben. Congrats on your new Chevy Bolt! We just put a deposit on one and were wondering if you had any info on the Uber discount you mentioned in your YouTube video. Is the discount still available?


47 Ben N January 22, 2023 at 12:25 pm

The previous Uber discount expired Jan 3, 2023.
The current discount they have is for $1,000 off a car, but you have to buy through only particular dealerships.
Details at: https://uber.truecar.com/landing/?_tc_src=unauthorized

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