Electric Car Instructional DVDs

 
EDIT: As of June 2018, we are NO LONGER offering this as a physical product.
This video is now available as a digital download at: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/electriccar
We have been working on instructional videos to help ANYONE convert a car to electric.

The whole idea is to be able to make your own electric car, for not a lot of money, and to be able to do it yourself!

The instructional video is almost two-hours of “hands-on” style instruction, taking the viewer through all the aspects of building an electric car, using the Electro-Metro as an example. As a companion to the video disc, also included is a computer DVD-ROM disc with 50 YouTube videos and over 600 high-resolution photographs of the project.

The DVDs debuted at the 2010 MREA Energy Fair where they quickly sold out!

Instructional DVD Build Your Own ELECTRIC CAR

 

If you think an ELECTRIC MOTORCYCLE might be more up your alley, check out our MOTORCYCLE DVD!

What people are saying:
“It was “Who Killed the Electric Car” that got me interested in EV’s, but it was your instructables with the Geo that got me thinking, hey, this is a real thing. I could *actually* do this! Thanks for what you’re doing, and keep up the awesome work!”
– Kyle W.

{ 43 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Ben May 15, 2014 at 10:21 am

Hi Marcelo! I have no idea how smooth a conversion of a Nissan Altima would go, as I’ve never converted one. Most conversions in general go about the same unless there is something really unusual about the particular make and model you want to convert. You might want to take a look at other Nissans people have converted to get a better sense of it. Take a look at Nissans on the EV ALBUM.

Cruise control is typically NOT something supported by regular motor controllers, although I wouldn’t be surprised if it is now available on some high-end ones. My friend Tom, who built an AC Dodge Neon used an industrial AC motor controller, and I think his DOES support cruise control, although not through the little stick on the steering wheel.

Lastly, solar is a GREAT way to charge electric cars, but it’s best on the roof of your house or garage. Panels are still large and bulky for the relative amount of energy you get out of them. If it was a good/practical/affordable way to go right now, we would see Nissan Leafs COVERED with solar panels! Don’t get me wrong, you CAN charge an electric car out in the sun with on-board solar, it just doesn’t make sense to for most people right now.

2 Stefan June 29, 2014 at 8:21 am

Hi,
is it possible to send the DVD´s (car and motorcycle) to germany, too?

It will be great!!!

Thank´s
Stefan

3 Ben N June 30, 2014 at 8:47 am

Hi Stefan. Yes, we ship internationally, including to Germany.

4 carlos July 17, 2014 at 4:12 pm

¿do you have a INTERNET FILE whit contains 2 cd?

5 admin July 17, 2014 at 4:26 pm

This product is only available as a DVD. You can get some of the information from my various YouTube videos, but the DVD contains a far larger amount of data than is reasonable for anyone to download.

6 Jeff August 5, 2014 at 3:58 pm

Hi Ben,
Have you done any work on Dodge vehicles? I want an EV/Hybrid but the options available out there right now aren’t much for someone who requires space. I have a 6yr old who plays hockey and a 3yr old who is following in his footsteps.
Thanks, Jeff

7 admin August 5, 2014 at 6:01 pm

I haven’t specifically converted Dodges to electric. (My friend Tom, did convert a Neon though…) For larger vehicles, people HAVE converted vans and minivans! http://www.evalbum.com/type/VANS
Part of what’s so great about what Tesla did with the Model S is that it’s a LARGE car. It has a trunk in both front and back. Now, I’m not saying it’s in your price range (it isn’t in mine!) but it’s neat to see that extra room and cargo space ARE on the radar with at least one electric car company!

8 Yodahe September 14, 2014 at 4:41 am

Dear Ben,
I had some nube questions on how to build my EV, the answer to most of which I found in this page. My car’s engine was in the front but is a rear wheel driven car, hence, at first I thought of bypassing the gearbox and transmission and fix the electric motor right on to the back wheel. It would be weight-savvy and less energy loss in the transmission. But then again I would be faced with a lot more work with regards to speed control and what not.
Another doubt I’m having, as my area/country is very hilly, is which controller is best suited to take energy back from the elec. motor when I am going downhill (i.e. when I am not hitting the ‘gas’ and the car is still moving). I have seen that bit of technology installed on an electric scooter, i.e., the scooter’s motor acts as a generator when it is going downhill, i.e., the vehicle’s inertia is not lost…and it adds to a great mileage.
A third doubt I am having with my car is the weight issue (at 740kgs = 1600pounds) would it be too heavy?

9 Archer October 10, 2014 at 8:44 pm

I want to convert a 1979 Datsun 280Z. The engine is mounted between the front and back wheels, and I think an electric engine will allow for plenty of extra room. I believe that there is enough room up there for even the batteries.

10 Tracker November 13, 2014 at 12:25 am

I have a question related to charging the vehicle while it is going down the road. One possibility that I could think of would be to use a diesel generator making this a hybred that could run on inexpensive biofuel.

Another possibility would be to use one of the PTO driven generators like those sold from Northern Tool Company and connect it to say, the four wheel drive shaft. Instead of running in four wheel drive, it turns a generator which in turn charges the battery bank.

Have you guys done anything like this?

11 Ben N. November 13, 2014 at 10:55 am

Hi Tracker,
I did run my electric Geo Metro for a while as a hybrid. Visit http://www.instructables.com/id/DIY-Plug-In-Hybrid-Car/ for the full write-up on that. Also, plenty of guys with electric pickup trucks have thrown generators in the back for longer trips, although that usually required pulling over and just charging while parked for a while. I also know of a Hybrid Fiero, where the builder kept the gas engine on the real wheels and added an electric front-wheel drive system on the other two wheels. There’s more than one way to skin a cat, and I’d like to keep seeing more DIY Hybrids!
-Ben N

12 Antti November 14, 2014 at 8:52 am

Dose this dvd work on region 2(Europe) or only in region1 (usa/canada)

13 admin November 14, 2014 at 9:25 am

The DVDs are coded to playback in all regions.

14 John Ingram November 29, 2014 at 10:59 pm

Ben,
I’d like to purchase “Build Your Own Electric Car” over the phone with a credit card. Please let me know how to do this.
JI

15 Ben N. November 30, 2014 at 9:21 am

Hi John, I’ll send you a phone number for you to place your order at.
-Ben

16 mike January 17, 2015 at 1:32 pm

i want to convert my car but what i could find is how fast does your car go. like if i want to go from my town to another. distance 200 km , speed 100 km. is it possible. and how much did your car cost to convert . thankx alot

17 Cal M. January 18, 2015 at 11:09 am

I have a 63 Ford Ranchero, its a small truck, and I am really interested in turning it into an electric car. The problem is I tow stuff, if I turn it electric will I be able to haul anything? I dont haul much but at times I haul up to 8 bags of 80 lb concrete and a bunch of tools, maybe a total of 700 lbs. Will this work?

18 admin January 19, 2015 at 10:38 am

The heavier a car, and the bigger the load towing or hauling, the shorter the electric range will be. If you have a beefy motor, you won’t have any trouble towing or hauling, but range will be less than when you AREN’T towing or hauling.
I don’t know of too many Ranchero conversions, but there’s lots of El Camino conversions out there. Here’s one a friend of mine did – http://www.evalbum.com/2829
He put a lot of time, money, and effort into his project, but WOW does that car go!!!

19 admin January 19, 2015 at 10:44 am

I have had the Electro-Metro up to 73 miles per hour (in a 55 zone) when running 144V. My car only cost $1300 to convert, but that was with used batteries and a salvaged electric motor.
200 kilometers is a very great distance for a homebuilt electric car. That’s about 124 miles. The Nissan Leaf’s official rating is for a bit LESS than 100 miles. While it would be POSSIBLE to build an electric car with that range, it might not make sense financially to do it.
I actually just talked about a friend’s electric El Camino in another post.(http://www.evalbum.com/2829) His car can go over 100 miles per charge, but he also put in almost $30,000 into his project.
A veggie-diesel or plug-in hybrid may make more sense in your situation than a dedicated electric car. Keep in mind that for a family with two cars, having one electric for everyday local use, and a plain gas car for long distance can also make sense.

20 David Huang February 20, 2015 at 10:12 pm

I think that many EV enthusiastic fun forget about a fundamental scientific fact that restrict EV ever being main stream, which is energy density. The best battery you can get is about 1% of liquid fuel, or 2% of solid fuel. To burn fuel and release fuel energy, which then to use that thermal expansion energy to push piston to convert that into kinetic energy of car motion would be the simplest way. The stalemate of car engines is that the designs have errors in mechanical structure, which I have being working on since 2009.

I now in the edge to commercialize the engine. EV technologies and people like 300mpg.org do offer some important role in my venture. I hope to find solutions to replace ICE in old cars with my engine, and then to add electrical motors or alike as the intermediate engine to drive a car.

I am interested to know what challenge ahead to such effort? Say if various car (not the brand new) owners come to me and wish to get rid of ICE and add my components to convert their cars, what have to be done in electrical, and the control system (electronic components) before the cars are roadworthy to pass authorities scrutiny? What is the risk if something goes wrong?

These are the issues I wish to find answers.

Regards

David

21 George M. February 26, 2015 at 10:41 pm

Yes I would like to know what year and from what car tranny did you use?

22 admin February 27, 2015 at 2:00 pm

The car I converted for this project was a 1996 Geo Metro. I used the Geo Metro 5-speed manual transmission that would have been with that engine.

23 maricela March 31, 2015 at 1:38 pm

Hello,
Do you ship to Mexico? if so , could you tell shipping cost.. thanks.

24 Toby June 5, 2015 at 2:14 am

I have been pondering this thought. In a RV you have a charging system that turns on when the batteries for the RV get slow. Couldn’t you put a system like that in a vehicle to charge your batteries as you were driving? In this way you could turn a full-sized pick up into an electric pick up hybrid. With the charging system for the batteries only coming on when needed and shutting off when fully charged, it would extend the life of the fuel. With no load the charging system would not be running consistently and if it took one hour to go through 1 gallon of fuel at 65 miles an hour you just got 65 miles per gallon out of the full-sized truck. Is this a valid thought?

25 Ben N June 5, 2015 at 10:40 am

Yes and no. In an RV, the size of the batteries for running the lights, a 120V inverter, and other electric items is very small compared to an electric car battery or the size of a traction battery that would be required to push the RV down the road using an electric motor. HOWEVER…. I believe it’s the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid that uses the electric motor ONLY to propel the car at freeway speed, until the battery is depleted. Then, the engine kicks on, and pushes the car down the road while charging the battery. This by itself is NOT fuel efficient – it takes lots of power to push the car AND charge the battery at the same time. (On our Prius, this is the WORST fuel-economy mode) But, in general, gasoline engines tend to be most efficient at WOT – wide open throttle. They are burning lots of fuel because of the throttle being wide open, but are creating a lot of power as well. Using a lot of energy (but somewhat efficiently) by pushing the car down the road AND charging the battery, actually ADDS some efficiency. Once the batteries are charged, the engine turns back off, and the car continues driving on just electric. By averaging out the “drive-and-charge” and running on just battery electric, the car gets overall very good fuel economy. This is sort of an automated version of the “Pulse and Glide” driving technique, which has shown to be able to provide some fantastic fuel economy.

This is also not unlike WWII class diesel submarines. Underwater, an electric motor was powered by batteries to propel the sub. When the batteries ran low, the sub would surface, run the diesel engine hard to charge the batteries as fast as possible, then turn off the engine, dive, and continue along on battery power. Hybrids have been around a long time, and there’s lots of interesting ideas for us to be using today!

26 pier-luc October 6, 2015 at 10:32 am

hi i would like you to build me a ev motor controller how mutch would it cost and when would you be able to ship thanks ? looking foward for the 144v 500 amp

27 admin October 6, 2015 at 8:00 pm

Sorry! I don’t build controllers for people, but if you want to build your own, all the resources are out there for you to do it.
Start here: http://ecomodder.com/forum/showthread.php/paul-sabrinas-cheap-diy-144v-motor-controller-6404.html

28 regreen October 25, 2015 at 3:51 pm

I want to build 48 ft. catamaran that calls for a 200 HP motor. Is this possible?

What size motor should I try to find?

29 BenN October 27, 2015 at 10:35 am

It’s certainly possible. I haven’t worked on electric boats before, but what I would recommend is looking at what other people have done.
Here’s a link to boats on the EV album. See what types of systems people have used on those boats. It should help give you a sense of what you might want to do on your project.
http://www.evalbum.com/type/BOAT

30 michael "burt" wolland January 28, 2016 at 10:57 pm

Hi, I race road racing sidecars in new zealand, running a gsxr1000 about 165 hp. I am super interested in trying to build an electric sidecar,. The sidecar we run at present weighs in at 230 kg wet so any info you can help us with would be fantastic .
Cheers burt

31 admin February 5, 2016 at 5:06 pm

The guy you want to talk to is Kevin Clemens. He has a Facebook page called Team Minne-Volt-A and is in Minnesota in the United States. His latest is an aerodynamic bright yellow electric motorcycle and sidecar. I’m sure if you contacted him, he could help point you in the right direction. https://www.facebook.com/groups/205840456141741/
He’s done some great work with electric side cars. Take a look!

32 admin February 5, 2016 at 5:06 pm

The guy you want to talk to is Kevin Clemens. He has a Facebook page called Team Minne-Volt-A and is in Minnesota in the United States. His latest is an aerodynamic bright yellow electric motorcycle and sidecar. I’m sure if you contacted him, he could help point you in the right direction. https://www.facebook.com/groups/205840456141741/
He’s done some great work with electric side cars. Take a look!

33 Irfan February 29, 2016 at 5:51 am

Dear sir,

I am from Pakistan and want to buy your Electric Car Instructional DVDs, please let me know the price and send me proforma so I can send you payment may be through bank draft.

Thanks

34 admin March 3, 2016 at 9:27 am

Purchases can be made through PayPal by clicking the “Buy Now” button on either the electric car or electric motorcycle page.
Both videos are also available as digital through Vimeo. https://vimeo.com/ondemand/evcycle and https://vimeo.com/ondemand/electriccar
Both pages also list a postal address to send a check or money order in U.S. dollars.

35 vishnu June 9, 2016 at 11:17 am

I am a student from INDIA , we are planning to do electric car as a project. the car should be designed for max 11kw power, what kind of transmission we should we use to get a max speed of 60kmph

36 admin July 24, 2016 at 9:50 am

Sounds like fun! Go for it!
It’s a simple vehicle, and has plenty of space for batteries. It would be a great project.

37 Gary March 13, 2018 at 12:26 pm

Ben: I like the idea of using a Leaf battery pack for my electric cobra. Do you believe the Leaf’s bms system can be directly used – i.e. the control functions are open, available?

Also, does the Leaf battery pack include an on-board charger?

Thanks so much. Love your work. gw

38 Ben N March 13, 2018 at 1:29 pm

Hi Gary!
I have to admit that I’m not much of a BMS guy. I believe that you probably COULD use the BMS from the Leaf, but would have to know CANBUS programming, and how to read and interact with it. I’m sure there’s somebody out there who has done this, but I haven’t.

The car’s charger is NOT inside the battery. It is a separate component.

39 SAra April 23, 2018 at 6:48 pm

Dear Ben,

I have this 12 year old Dynasty IT Electirc car and it’s been in storage. I want to get it running but can’t find the company in British Columbia anymore and I priced out gel batteries, I believe it needs 5 batteries and it will cost around $2500. Is there a battery or way to build it that will be cheaper. I’m worried it may not run after I put new batteries in it and them I’m out $2500. Looking for help and suggestions

40 Ben Nelson April 26, 2018 at 5:01 pm

Hi Sara,
The cost of lithium batteries has come down so much in recent years that I wouldn’t bother replacing the batteries with lead. I’d go right to lithium.
For $2500, you could probably find an entire Nissan Leaf batter pack at a salvage yard. A Chevy Volt Battery would also be a great way to go.
Check what voltage your vehicle needs, then build a basic battery for that voltage. Take a look at my Vectrix lithium upgrade for some ideas.


Good Luck!
-Ben

41 Micah St Clair May 28, 2018 at 1:50 am

Hey Ben,
I need your help. I was able to get a Dodge Dakota EV for free, but the lead acid batteries were shot. I got some lithium, hooked them all up except for the positive terminal going into the electrical box that has the contactors and fuses. When I first touched the two ends of the positive cable together I hear things start up, the door dinged, that kind of thing. When I broke contact to get a bolt to secure them together, I had nothing. I turned the key, the volt meter in my guages reads 156v, which it should have, but no lights or door dings anymore. I don’t even know where to start to try and find out what happened. Any suggestion. BTW, I started this because I watched your videos, many times. It has been a long journey to get to this point and I am so close to my first EV trip.

42 Ben N May 28, 2018 at 3:17 pm

Hard for me to say too much without knowing a LOT more about the project, but…
As for lights, door chime, etc. Those typically run off a 12V battery, just like they would have when the vehicle ran on gas. There is usually a DC/DC converter which takes power from the high voltage battery pack and down-converts it to charge the 12V battery.
If you suddenly have no lights or door chime, I’d first check the stock fuses for those circuits.
It’s also possible (but not recommended) to build a system which no longer uses a 12V battery. In that case, if the DC/DC converter goes bad, none the the vehicle’s 12V systems will work.
Some devices can draw very high current for just a moment right when connected to power. Motor controllers are usually hooked up through a “pre-charge” resistor to prevent that surge of power. It’s possible that your DC/DC converter suffered an inrush surge, which wrecked it.
So, check all your 12V typical fuses first, and after that, take a look at your DC/DC converter.
Good luck with your project!
-Ben

43 Andrew Bergeron August 8, 2018 at 8:03 pm

gotta start e bike💐😁!!!!!!!

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