ACRX "Voltmatter"September 2003. On the following pages I will describe the process of converting a gasoline car to electric one. More precisely, upgrading, because I've converted it to the electric already back in 1995, but since now just about every single component of existing EV is doing to be replaced, it's almost like starting from scratch. Empty engine compartment, new battery boxes, etc.

You will not find here a flashy Macromedia presentations or fancy Java animations, the web site is designed simple and to load quickly. What you will find is fairly detailed steps taken toward my goal and technical details actually useful to someone who wants to use my experience. Anticipating usual questions, wherever possible, I will provide information on the supplier or the hardware or the service I used, and the cost.

This EV is my long time passionate project and the test bed for different hardware, and as such - never really ending. Countless hours of the labor of love are put in, the car's floor body was cut out and re-welded a few times to accommodate improvements and upgrades. Every time this is done, I realize how I should have done it in the first place so that upgrade would not be so painful. Yet, it's hardly possible to predict all possible changes in future. How could I have known that DC motor is going to be replaced with AC one, PWM controller - with AC inverter, system will come back to water cooling, 10 LEad acid batteries will be replaced with 28 ones, later - with 96 LiIon ones (later supplemented with ultracapacitor bank)  and then - with 24 NiMH ones?? I still don't know what the future holds. As long as the body can handle modifications I will keep making them, that's the fun part. To me the conversion and creation process is just as exciting as the outcome.

Under the hood The plans are to built more advanced vehicle than an average EVer today would build. No secret that usually EV driven on the highway has to squeeze out near maximum performance to keep up with the traffic. Rarely a common EV speed can exceed 100 mph which is no problem for modern ICE cars. More importantly, at 55...65 mph further acceleration of an EV usually is not as good as that of the ICE counterpart. To merge into highway traffic from the ramp I always had to floor the accelerator pedal and wish I had 20-30 more hp available at the moment...

So my hope is that current major upgrade will make my Honda perform better than it was before conversion. To achieve it with reasonable budget careful planning should take place. To satisfy your curiosity about Siemens AC drive systems (I used one here) , they are available for purchase, please visit Metric Mind Engineering web site for details. For the energy storage NiMH batteries are there for now; once the BMS (battery management system) will be completed, LiIon or LiPoly traction pack is going to be installed.

I have read somewhere that along Hwy I-101 and I-5 in the bay area in California the brake pads dust is considered the second largest source of the environmental pollution. WEll, if true, an EV in that respect is no better than comparable ICE vehicle - you must brake just as often, don't you?. EVs might be zero emission vehicles, but not zero pollution vehicles. Well, with AC drive with regenerative braking I am able to reduce that kind of pollution as well, reducing my impact on the environment even further! In fact, once in a while I disable regen just to clean rust off the brake disks because regen allows complete stop and usually mechanical brakes are not used at all (other than keep the car still).

And lastly, if you think that EVs are not truly zero emission vehicles, and just move pollution from the tail pipe to remote electricity generation plant, I have news for you - this is BIG MISCONCEPTION and is what oil companies and auto manufacturers want you to believe in. Why would they do that? Simple money talk. They want you keep buying gasoline, and keep coming back to them for maintenance of increasingly complex modern cars, making them richer. That's why they scared to death of EVs and that's why you won't see EV ads in main stream media. But this is totally other subject and I won't discuss it here. I'll just say that aside the fact that electricity can (and being) generated from 100% renewable sources like hydro, wind, geothermal, solar (or nuclear), even if coal is used, it is by far the cleanest source of energy compare to any modern car. Not convinced? Download some reading (PDF format), and think about it.

In a perfect world everyone would drive an EV.
Until then, be among those who brings that future a little closer.
I sincerely wish you luck with your adventure and hope to see you on the road soon!

Be smart - Save the energy