Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Top 3 Things You Should Know Before Converting Your Car to Run on Electricity

There are many advantages to converting your car to run on electricity - lowered emissions and lowered operating costs -- but before converting your car to electric power, there are three important factors that need to be taken into consideration beforehand.

How Much Will It Cost?

A conversion from to electric power involves removing the existing internal combustion engine from the vehicle, then installing an electric motor, along with a bank of batteries.

Depending on the amount of effort needed, the conversion may run at about an estimated $6000 in parts and anywhere from $1000 to $3000 for the requisite batteries and other labor expenses.

The relatively maintenance-free nature of an electric motor should offset any other operation costs, including possible battery replacement every three to four years. On the upside, you'll have a vehicle that only costs cents per mile to operate and is relatively inexpensive to maintain.

Which Car Is Ideal For Conversion?

A light car with a curb weight of about 2000 to 3000 lbs is ideal for conversion to electric power. Heavier vehicles can noticeably cut the traveling range of an electric motor. Light pickup trucks and compact economy cars can fit the bill for conversion, but keep in mind that you have to have enough space to store the batteries and other accessories needed.

Cars with manual transmissions are preferable to automatics, since the latter will be a much heavier burden on a electric motor and cut down traveling range.

How Far Can I go?

Most electric cars have a range of up to 80 miles, with a top speed varying from about 50 to 90 miles per hour, depending on the type of car and electric motor hardware used. While it's definitely not ideal for any long distance traveling, it is perfect for driving around town and work commutes.

Also keep in mind that hilly terrain and cold weather reduce the overall performance of an electric car. Recharging an electric car takes about 6 to 12 hours for a complete charge - this can be done overnight in your garage with an average 110 volt power outlet.

Convert Your Own Car to Electric - Myth Busted

With the emphasis on green technology that has risen because of skyrocketing petroleum costs and the drive to become less dependent on such sources of energy, more people every day are considering converting their existing vehicles to electric power.

Such a decision may make a great deal of sense if the decision is made in an informed manner. There are, however a couple of myths that surround electric conversions which need to be laid to rest.

Conversion can be done easily in a couple of hours by anyone with a few inexpensive items from the local hardware store: This myth has been forwarded mostly by those who endorse adding a hydrogen generating component to the engine.

This isn't true when dealing with the prospect of a true conversion to electric power. To convert a normal internal combustion vehicle to electric requires removal of the engine, addition of electric devices like batteries and motor (plus the associated wiring and electrical control devices needed), along with alteration of some existing systems to match a different type of power.

For the most experienced, this conversion could take weeks and a shop full of specialized equipment. For the beginner, we're looking at months of work. Don't forget, during this time the vehicle won't be usable for anything.

The other big myth of electrical conversion is that it's always cost effective. While this is generally true in the long term, the initial outlay may be well more than the equivalent cost of a new vehicle.

The effective cost of operating and maintaining an electric vehicle is far less than an internal combustion vehicle, but the initial costs of conversion may require years of operation to actually reap any financial benefit. Keep in mind, converting your own car to electric is a long term solution, not a quick fix. Anyone hoping for an immediate lessening of financial burdens from converting is heading toward disappointment.

Converting your own car to electric is a good idea. As prices of petroleum increase, it will become a great idea. Anyone planning such a conversion simply needs to do the homework to go into the situation with both eyes open.

DIY Electric Vehicle Guide - Converting Your Gasoline Driven Car to Run on Electric

If you are an electric car enthusiast, you will appreciate the benefits of owning an electric vehicle (EV). Anyone who has driven an EV for the first time will notice the smoothness and the power behind the acceleration. Unfortunately, a new electric car on the market is still quite expensive and many people would not be able to justify the investment. The next option to having an electric vehicle is to convert your existing gasoline powered car to run purely on electricity. How do we retrofit a conventional automobile to EV? You start by getting a copy of Do It Yourself (DIY) electric vehicle guide.

The concept behind an electric car conversion is to remove the internal combustion engine and replace it with an electric motor. Before you hoist up the engine, you have to disconnect all its associated components such as exhaust pipe, fuel lines, radiator, fuel pump etc. The electric motor is connected directly to the existing transmission unit. Your homemade electric car will then be fitted with 10 to 15 units of deep cycle batteries to power the motor.

If you are converting a car to EV for the first time, you will need the electric vehicle conversion guide to show you the step by step procedure. Most guides will also come with a standard electric car plan. You may have to modify the design plan to suit your donor car model.

If you do not feel like doing all the hard work, you can outsource the conversion process to a professional automobile workshop. This is a better idea especially if you are not well versed with hand tools. By doing this, you will incur some additional cost but it will be money well spent.

Hybrid Car - Indiana May Lead Auto Battery Innovation Again

Indiana may once again be at the forefront of the next generation of auto innovation. The state government has finalized plans for the Indiana Energy Systems Network. Among the directives for this coalition is action to stimulate the manufacture of batteries for hybrid cars. According to industry experts, some of the best minds for battery development are in Indiana.

It's a legacy that began with the Munson Company of LaPorte, Indiana. The company is recognized as the first to build a gasoline-electric car in America in 1896.

This electric machine automatically operated as either a generator or a motor, according to the speed of the engine. The driver started the Munson vehicle by moving a controller lever located in front of the driver. This sent current from the storage battery to the electric machine, which then acted as a motor and started the gasoline engine. When the engine came up to speed, current was reversed through the machine. The motor then became the generator, sending charging current back to the storage battery.

The Munson electrical starter was used about 16 years before other manufacturers widely employed the idea. Most of the contemporary cars were hand-cranked.

Munson touted that 10 gallons of gasoline would power the car 100 miles or more over ordinary, well-traveled roads at about five to 15 miles per hour. This was an enormous improvement over the range of standard electric automobiles of the day, which traveled about 30 to 40 miles per charge.

In a 1896 Munson brochure, the company touted its vehicles' benefits over the current modes of automotive vehicles:

• The Munson vehicles combined the good points of both the gasoline engine and electric motor.
• No manual starting apparatus was required.
• The electric motor automatically supplied the extra power required when the engine was taxed beyond its normal speed and acted as a speed controller when descending hills.
• The required storage battery was 50 percent lighter. Plus, the Munson battery would outlast batteries used in the electric autos of the time.

The brochure also showed three different vehicles for sale:

• A single-seat buggy with seven horsepower
• A two-seat passenger vehicle with 12 horsepower
• A delivery wagon with 12 to 15 horsepower.

The Munson Company, however, found that it could not compete with companies that produced cars propelled by gasoline only. Gasoline was inexpensive at the time. Electric cars were also limited in traveling distance because of the capacity of the battery to hold its charge. Plus, the battery was extremely heavy.

The battery charge and weight issues are still the problems that engineers and designers are trying to rectify. Indiana professionals may once again lead the way for efficient and economical solutions.