How to Build an Electric Car

by Contributor

The origins of the electric car parallel the humble innovations that led to the internal combustion engine. Engineers, car lovers and amateurs around the world build electric cars to improve driving distance and durability. A combination of the right parts and plenty of patience can help you build an electric car.

Protect yourself from harm while building an electric car with safety gear. Wear goggles, gloves, boots and old clothes to stay comfortable while avoiding electrical shocks.

Choose a traditional car body to convert into an electric car. Think about the body profile, frame weight and axle type to make your electric car conversion easier.

Select an electric motor for your car that is easy to assemble without professional assistance. The standard motor for an electric vehicle conversion is a DC motor with a diminutive body.

Compile specialty tools needed to build an electric car in your own garage. You will need a torque wrench and an engine crane to remove old car parts before installing electrical components.

Purchase a primary and backup battery before you build your electric car. Hunt down a VRLA or gel-cell battery with the help of an electric vehicle retailer like EV Parts (see Resources below).

Install passive-energy tools, such as solar panels, as you build your electric car. A series of solar panels from BatteryStuff can help recharge your batteries and power accessories in your car (see Resources below).

Place a motor controller between your motor and battery to control electrical flow. The controller acts as a middleman between the motor and battery by providing sufficient current to move the car forward.

Connect a contactor to your ignition to start your newly built electric car. The contactor activates the motor as you turn the key in the same way as an ignition switch starts a gas-powered engine.

Tip

  • check Wrap a tag around every wire under the hood of your electric car to avoid electrical problems. Use a white tag and apply a number that is connected to a description on an inventory sheet. You should verify each wire before starting your electric car.

Items you will need

About the Author

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