Common Questions & Answers
Q: I want to be able to convert another car besides your VWs, Geo Metro, or Ford Festiva into electric with your kits. Is this possible?
A: Our kits have been designed for older VWs, Geo Metros and Ford Festivas, but we can sell a kit for any other vehicle we would send a 15 " diameter blank adaptor plate, if ordering, that you would have to cut to fit and drill the holes to match the transmission. Some local machine shops can do this for you if you can having a tracing of your transmission and the holes for mounting. You would also have to send us the clutch disc from your vehicle so that we can make a shaft coupler that will fit your vehicle for no additional cost. Only the VWs do we have them already made and wouldn't need to send the clutch disc in. You would want to have at least 17 inches from the bell housing to the side wall of the motor compartment for room to put the motor and adaptor plate in and this is if you go with Kit #1 & #2. Most every car out there this will work with. You would need to have another 3 inches or more if wanting to use Kit #3 with its motor (ES-31B) and the Advance DC 4001 motor with Kit #4 that we sell.
Q: What voltage kit should I use as far as weight is concerned of the vehicle?
A: Depending on how heavy it is would determine what kind of voltage system you would need. We say 2,000 lbs and under for a 48 volt system (Kit #1), 2,500 lbs or under if a 72 volt system (Kit #2), 3,000 lbs for a 120 volt system (Kit #3) or 3,500 lbs. for a 144 voltage system (Kit #4).
Q: What are the different kit options you offer and what is their specs as far as range and speeds are concerned?
A: We sell four different kits from our site, but it all depends on what kind of performance you want to go with. Our order forms with all the parts are on the site with pricing and mailing instructions found near the bottom of the left nav.
Kit #1 (48 volt system) has top speeds of 35 to 40 MPH and range of 20 to 35 miles all depending on driving terrain, amps used, the voltage set up of the car, cold weather, how many batteries used and what type, weight of the car, etc. This would be the same for any of the kits.
Kit #2 is our most common sold kit ( 72 volt system) with top speeds being 45 to 55 mph and has a range of 25 to 50 miles. 25 to 50 miles in range depending on your speeds. The 50 mile range would be if you were driving only 25 mph and 25 mile range if driving at 50 mph. You will get speeds over 60 mph and farther range once the car wears in. It takes 15 to 18 cycles of charging the new batteries to have them at 100% efficiency. Also the new brushes on the motor need around a hundred miles of wearing to get higher speeds and distance per charge that you want with it. The colder weather effects the batteries, losing up to 25% to 50% efficiency under 32 F. So that can give you somewhat of an idea with the other kits also. Higher voltage is much more efficient.
Kit #3 (120 volt system) top speeds will be 60 to 65 mph+ with the range of somewhere between 20 to 60 miles +. Of course many factors can change the performance as mentioned above such as how many batteries you will have in a conversion, etc.
Kit #4 (144 volt system) top speeds will be 65 to 75 mph + with the range of somewhere between 20 to 60 miles. And again, many factors can change the performance as mentioned above. Higher voltage is much more efficient. So that can give you somewhat of an idea of what you want.
Q: What kind of range can you get with your kits?
A: Range is mostly determined by how many batteries you have and what voltage they are. We say you will get 2 to 3 miles per battery in a battery pack for a charge and probably 3 to 5 miles+ per battery once the brushes and batteries wear in. It is hard to say exactly what you could get being that there are a lot of factors that effect this such as the terrain, your speeds, how many batteries used, amp hours of batteries, driving habits, cold weather, weight of vehicle with batteries, etc. If driving high speeds constantly, you will lose almost half of your range because of the amp draw being so high. Here is a site that does these kind of math conversion for your if wanting to see more specifics: http://www.evconvert.com/tools/evcalc/
Q: Can I convert my newer vehicle into electric?
A: The newer cars that have a computer in them, 1995 and newer, will work for conversions but would take our generic adaptor plate that we sell which you would have to be cut to fit the bell housing of your vehicle. Also we have found that these newer cars that have been converted have components not working in them once the gas motor is removed, like the speed odometer, etc. You can convert them but you find that some of the components might not working with different vehicles. We have had customers that have done it and said everything worked fine but might need to find someone who know more particulars of your car. Our kits have been designed for the older air cooled VWs, the Geo Metro and Ford Festiva.
Q: How do I order from your website?
A: If wanting to order our kits, see pricing on parts and shipping, just go to our website found at www.e-volks.com/. On the bottom left side Nav where it says "Order Page Kit #2" or the one you want, click on that link which will take you to the order form page. Print out an order form, mark the whole kit or what you want and send in a payment with the order.
Q: Is there anything else that I need to acquire to make the kit complete?
A: Besides kit components, you would need to acquire the batteries and battery box materials. Also other small parts such as small wiring, bolts and nuts.
Q: Will your kits work on automatic transmission vehicles.
A: They will work with with automatic transmission vehicles although we definitely don't recommend using an automatic setup because you will have more amps drawn and the shifting will take place at the wrong RPMs times with the electric motor. Your range will also be much less because of this. With a standard transmission you can control your amps consumption with your shifting and the right times when to shift.
Q: Does this setup still use the flywheel, throwout bearing, clutch, pressure plate etc.? If not, how would you change gears?
A: These electric vehicles use a clutchless system except for our Kit #4 even though you still can shift gears. The flywheel, throw out bearing, clutch, pressure plate are not even used with the motor that is being used (except for Kit #4). Lifting off on the throttle pedal is all is needed when shifting gears. You can shift to go to higher speeds if wanting to. It works different than your normal fuel motor setup. You could keep it in second or third gear and drive it like an automatic if wanting to, though when shifting gears, more amps will be used the higher the gear you go in. But it is not necessary to keep it in a higher gear once you have obtained the speed you want. It won't hurt if you do, but you might be using more amps. By shifting down you are able to retain your speed and could use less amps. The goal is to use less amps as possible to conserve power and giving you farther range on a charge. Once in fourth or fifth gear, depending on your EV's gears, you can shift down as low as third gear after reaching higher speeds, which will bring your amp usage down. It would pick up speed like a normal fuel car would when taking off and works great. When wanting to shift, you just let off on the throttle pedal and shift gears. Our Kit #4 uses the flywheel, throw out bearing, clutch, pressure plate components, even though you don't use the clutch pedal to shift. Just lifting up on the throttle pedal is all that is needed when shifting gears as with the other kits. Using these components in the conversion with this higher voltage kit is more efficient because of the higher torque that is with the motor that is used. This helps alleviate pressure on the motor shaft because of the higher torque.
Q: Will your kits work with the motor to a direct drive shaft with the wheels?
A: Our kits are designed to only work with the stock transmissions of the vehicles. You would have custom design your vehicle to figure out the right gear ratio so your speeds would not top out at a undesireable lower speed, which is something we haven't done. We try to focus more on simplicity and uncomplication.
Q: How long does it take to recharge these through this system ...I was kinda looking at your system 1 wondering about recharge times etc?
A: With the Kit #2, our most common sold kit, with the charger we provide with it has a ten amp and a five amp setting. On the ten amp setting, over night would do the job fine if you ran the car down for the day. If half the charge was used in the car, then maybe half the time to charge it. With Kit #3 and Kit #4, with the Quickcharger, you are looking 8 to 12 hours also to charge the car if you ran it down for the day. The Quickcharger is a smart charger, so it shuts off once it is done charging and will help the batteries last much longer being that it charges on a curve.
Q: In reference to shifting vs. not-shifting. What is the practical RPM range, and could a tachometer be useful in deciding when it is appropriate to switch gears?
A: With our ES-15A D&D Motor that is used with Kit #1 & 2 at 80 lbs torque the RPM of this motor is 1616. At the other end of the spectrum at 2 lbs. of torque the RPM is 5686. Most the time it will be running around 2700 RPM using 25 lbs of torque. At that point it is drawing around 175 amps. Shifting gears it feels pretty close to a normal standard clutch car. So it isn't hard to tell when you want to shift. With our ES-31B D&D Motor that is used with Kit #3 & at 80 lbs torque the RPM of this motor is 1386. At the other end of the spectrum at 5 lbs. of torque the RPM is 3831. Most the time it will be running around average 2287 RPM using 25 lbs of torque. This is running it at 72 volts. Volts do make a difference so at 72 volts with this motor it will do 80 lbs of torque and at 144 volts it doubles at 160 lbs of torque. With Kit #4, which uses the Advance DC Motor has 90 HP peak with a 40 HP continuously.
Q: How much will it cost in electricity to drive an EV?
A: It all Depends on how much you pay where you are at for a KWH. At .09 cents KWH, which is what we are at, and running a EV everyday 30 miles, we figured it would be around $20 a month, less than .02 cents a mile. Much more affordable.
Q: What is the purpose of the contactor? Can you tap 12 volts instead of using an aux battery?
A: Basically the contactor is the on and off switch for the high voltage and used for safety. It would burn out any other switch if not rated for the high amps and voltage. It can be turned on with any 12 volt battery it is just easier to hook it into your key ignition with the aux battery. The contactor has to be constantly on for it to keep the high voltage on for the car.
Q: How many batteries can be installed in the engine compartment of a VW Beetle? How many batteries can be installed in the front compartment? Can any be installed under the back seat? What is the total voltage the motor can accept? What voltage do you recommend? I've heard that 72 volts gives marginal performance.
A: For a VW Beetle you can fit two or more batteries in the engine compartment and quite a few in the front compartment. (Batteries come in different sizes depending on what you use.) Six batteries can be fit behind the back seat which they fit nicely and one or so under the back seat. More could be put there if wanting to raise up the back seat. The accessory 12 volt battery is also under the back seat. You would have to make special racks for in the engine compartment but we found it is not necessary with plenty of room else where if going with the 72 volt system (Kit #2). If you use eight volt batteries then you only need nine batteries adding up to 72 volts which is the limit of the Alltrax controller we use. For economy we buy 8 volt deep cycle Energizer batteries at Sam's Club which has a good price on them. More volts would give it higher speeds but you would have to use a different controller (Curtis Controller in Kit #3 & Kit #4) that could handle higher voltages. The motor from Kit #1 & #2 will handle up to 72 volts and from Kit #3 & #4 will handle 144 volts. With 72 volts the VW can get up to 50 -55 MPH in ideal conditions once the batteries have been cycled through a few times and the brushes on motor wear themselves in, etc.
Q: Does it matter how many batteries I put in the vehicle as long as I meet the minimum requirements?
A: We say no more than 12 batteries in a conversion unless you add air shocks or custom springs. Even some of the smaller cars you might still want to do it with less batteries. You don't want to go over the gross weight of the vehicle and with added passengers as well.
Q: Have you done any work with the lithium ion batteries with your systems yet?
A: We have built a few electric cars using Lithium batteries. You are looking at $10,000 to $15,000 in batteries alone to get over a 100 mile range on a charge. It is possible but not affordable for most of us. We have found a source for NMH batteries that are half the weight of led acid batteries and half the size, which means you can put double the amount of batteries in a conversion for more range on a charge. Lithium batteries in the long run are a better value but the upfront cost is much higher, but we can do them if you like.
Q: Do I need to protect the motor from rain?
A: Rain and water won't hurt the motor unless you submerse it totally. Though it isn't a bad idea to protect it againts rocks and dust with some type of cover underneath but you do want to make sure there is some air flow to the motor to keep it from overheating.
Q: What is the curb weight of my vehicle?
A: We had a hard time finding curb weight for any vehicles and when we did, they were all a little different. But here are some websites that might have your curb weight if you look for your vehicle.
Q: Is this installed on any vehicle currently? How complete are the instructions?
A: This kit is made specifically for VW beetle or any air cooled VW rear engine vehicles. and we have installed these kits on quite a few of them. We do sell kits for the Geo Metro and Ford Festiva and have converted some ourselves. We have converted Hondas before (Civics & CRX) and other vehicles but we only do those here in the shop and have to be custom made. The instructions we include are general instructions and can be found here on our website: http://www.e-volks.com/Assembly.html but if you are mechanically minded you could easily put this together. We also include wiring diagrams, pictures of the parts, stats on the motor, etc. We can answer any of your questions if needing help.
Q: What do you do for air conditioning, to make it cool, etc.?
A: There are a few websites that sell air conditioning units that could be used in vehicles. Here are some sites here if interested:
Q: How do you heat the cars in the winter and how do you deal with the brake system being that the motor is out?
A: There are electric heating kits that you can buy that can be installed in electric cars for around $300 or so. Economically you can get propane ceramic heaters that are made for indoors that are flameless that have 2000 BTU to 3000 BTUs of heat for around $60 or more. Also you can use electric 12 volt heaters that plug into the cigarette lighter slot but they usually don't do the job and will only defrost the windshield. There are electric vacuum air brake kits that can be installed in electric vehicles for braking. Most the small cars we convert haven't really needed additional braking but for larger vehicles they are good to use. We can get them for around $350 plus shipping if interested.