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 will probably move and install a large, free-standing PV array" Moving to within bicycle/walking distance of your job would be another approach to reduce your carbon footprint.
bicycling/walking to work is a win/win. It would reduce my carbon footprint and keep me healthy at the same time. I would have to change jobs/locations for that to work for me right now. If I ever do either of those, I am definitely going to try to make that happen! I live in a great community with a parallel road system for electric carts and lots of folks who want to live a sustainable lifestyle. I just wish it were more of a Live/Work community.
I'm impressed that you are planning to make a $70K commitment to build your own EV. That's going to be a very daunting project. I hope you will keep us fully informed with the process. Personally I'm waiting a year or 2 for the Nissan Leaf which lists at around $30K and minus the tax break is comparable in price to a Prius or Insight.
Thanks Guy. I will post on it as we make more progress. It took quite a while to get the motor and traction inverter module from Switzerland. The LiFePO4 batteries also took months to ship from Thundersky in China. Now that we have the components and all of the adapters engineered, I'm hoping it will move pretty quickly. I'll also tell the engineers about this post so they can jump in the discussion to help answer questions. The Nissan Leaf is very promising. From what I've heard, they're going to be building them in the US? Another interesting conversion I've been looking at is installing a PHEV kit in a Gen II Prius. Take a look at for a pretty reasonable kit. I'd be interested to hear thoughts on this conversion kit.


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