Electric Vehicle Conversion: Is it worth it?

boxster ev
Renewable Energy is my passion.  My background is in software development but I also have experience in biofuels and solar energy.  After analyzing several ways to get myself off of petroleum, I am now undertaking converting an existing internal combustion-powered car into an electric daily driver.  By bulding this proof-of-concept vehicle, I want to demonstrate the viability of converting an existing vehicle to electric power.
The hardest part of this project is my requirement that the resulting proof-of-concept vehicle will have to be my daily driver.  I commute 70 miles a day round-trip to get to work.

Here are some of the requirements I put together for the project:
  1. The electric vehicle (EV) will need to be able to travel at highway speeds.  My route to work is mainly highway-accessible.  There are alternatives but they add significant time to my commute.

  2. The EV should have an effective range of at least 100 miles between charges.  Anything less than 100 miles won't give me enough buffer to allow for a detour or heavy traffic.

  3. The EV should be able to re-charge in less than 8 hours.  I should be able to plug it in at night and expect a full charge by morning.

  4. All accessories and safety features should work.  Since this is a daily driver with highway travel and significant exposure to traffic, I will need the comfort and the safety features of my current daily driver.  This includes air conditioning, heat, air bags, anti-lock brakes, turn signals, headlights, etc.
In order to achieve these goals, I'm working with two very talented engineers with ThormacEV in Atlanta, Georgia.  We've picked and purchased a donor vehicle and have ordered all of the components to complete the conversion. (the photo above is a hint at our choice of donor vehicles)  Stay tuned as I provide more details on progress of the project!
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I am getting the EV fever. I am looking into doing a conversion myself. The Boxter that i have as a donor car has an automatic transmission. Will this work or should I get a manual transmission Any thoughts???
Hi Tony, You'll be better off locating a donor vehicle with a 5 speed manual transmission. The six-speed triptronic will be harder to mate with the electric motor and will be harder to control/adjust shift points. Powell
I live in Denver and found this car at a local car show last month. A SWEET ride, a fully electric Mustang, zero emissions... I'm seriously considering spending the $15K it will cost to convert MY old classic 'stang into an electric vehicle. Check out the pics: Lou
That's a nice ride. What is the battery chemistry for that car? They look like they are either lead-acid or AGM.
From Petroleum to dirty coal, where does your carbon footprint end up? It would be more impressive if you powered it with natural gas directly or using a fuel cell. The electric car might actually be the reason coal usage will actually increase over the next decade. Maybe you could commit to installing enough solar to displace the kWhrs used to power this car.
Warren, you read my mind. My first goal is to test the viability of converting an existing vehicle to BEV to avoid the carbon of producing a brand new vehicle from new components and to avoid using fuels that are imported from very troubled regions of the world. The next step is to look at how to clean up the energy source. I have solar thermal on my home now but unfortunately I don't have a good roof for a large PV array. I also don't have a good spot for a free-standing array. I've been doing everything I can think of to reduce my carbon footprint on my home but if the BEV works out for me, I will probably move and install a large, free-standing PV array to offset some of the carbon from the electricity used to power my home and the ev Boxster. I'm also hoping that utilities will move to more natural gas and renewable cogeneration power plants. Time will tell.
I'm just waiting for the Tesla Sedan...reasonable price, great design, great performance 250+ mi/charge. I think it'll be worth the wait.
Hi Travis. I like the Tesla cars as well. My only concern is parts availability and after-market. Hopefully, they'll be able to get third party integrators interested in producing a parts supply as well. I picked a Porsche Boxster for the German-engineering of the components and the widely available parts and accessories. However, I have exposure on the warranty on the battery pack. It's only 2 years from the supplier and I've burned up several months already during build. I'm looking forward to seeing the Tesla product line, Nissan Leaf and all of the BEVs on the road!
I am curious about this as well. I have a 1972 Mustang Convertible and would be willing to spend a few thousand bucks to run it on electricity.
The Mustang convertible would make a very cool BEV! I thought about going vintage as well. Take a look at if you want to see some vintage conversions to renewable energy.


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