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The Grassroots Electric Vehicle Company's mission is to help people
convert from gas powered vehicles to electric. We offer information to drivers on how they can benefit by owning and commuting in an electric vehicle.

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Q: How much does it cost to drive a electric vehicle compared to gas?

A:
1.

If you are getting 20 miles per gallon at $3 per gallon and you go 30,000 miles you will spend about $4,500 dollars for gas alone. If you average 30 miles a day at 60 cents per charge going 30,000 miles it cost about $600 in electricity and then have to change your batteries for $2,000 dollars you will have spent $2,600. Figure in that electric motors are not running when you are at traffic lights or in traffic jams so you are not spending energy when standing still. You will not have to change oil or spark plugs every 30,000 miles and the electric motor can last ten times longer than a gas engine. So drive on to 150,000 miles about the life of your gas engine you will spend more than $22,500 in gas alone compared to less than $13,000 in electricity and batteries. This is enough to pay for your conversion and your electric motor is still good while your I.C.engine is junk.
Q: What's the down side to driving electric?
A:
2.
The range you get from a charge is limited by your batteries. More expensive batteries will get you farther. If you can get 50 miles on a charge you are doing good, over 100 miles and you can join our very exclusive 100 miles to a charge club. The time it takes to charge up is dependent on the outlet and your charger technology if you can plug into a 220volt outlet you can charge up in less than half the time of a 110 outlet. The up side is that it is better for everyone's health and environment. EVs can save you money if you are smart. If you have a vehicle that is unsuitable for converting and are pondering going to an EV, wondering what to do with it, you may donate that car for a tax refund to DonateCarUSA.com to help 1 of over 400 charities involved."
Q: How much does it cost to convert a gas vehicle to electric?
A:
3.
It depends on the vehicle you are converting and the performance you need. Are you going AC or DC power, using new or used parts? The basic components are: Motor 48 to 342 volts $200 to $7,000, Controller 400 to 2000 amps $500 to $5,000, Batteries Lead Acid 6 or 12 volt or exotics in a 48 to 350 volt pack $200 to $20,000. Conversion Packages This should give you an idea of just how varied this answer can be.
Q: What is the best vehicle for a conversion?
A:
4.
A manual transmission is best as an automatic requires that the motor run continuously and waists alot of power. We always have to ask what you need this vehicle to do in terms of speed and range. A rule of thumb is 500 to 1000 pounds of lead acid batteries will give you the range of a gallon of gas. Weight is a major factor, for more range and speed a light sturdy car or truck is best. You have to look at the spaces for batteries. Unless you are using one of the highly recommended Mike Brown kits for the Porsche 914 or VW Jetta it is pretty much a custom job that will require some engineering and machine work on somebody's part.
Q: What is the best transmission for a conversion?
A:
5.
A 4 or 5 speed manual is ideal. You don't have to worry about stalling an engine so it is easier to drive and it is very efficient. ICE automatics require that the engine be running all the time so it uses too much power about %10 or one gallon of gas out of every ten. EV motors stop every time you take your foot off the pedal so the automatic looses pressure making it even less efficient in an EV not good when you are fighting for range. There are automatic transmissions modified for EVs but they are a bit pricey. You could connect your motor directly to the differential but then you have to purchase a reversing contactor cost about as much as a tranny and the differential is like being in 4th gear so you require a lot of power so as not to be putting too much heat to the controller and motor also there is no neutral and this can put a strain on the linkage calling for a centrifical clutch. Also you have no speedometer or odometer.
Q: Can I run my motor without it being hooked to the car?
A:
6.
Yes, its a good idea to test out the motor. Care must be taken not to "over rev" the motor. 24 volts could be over the limit. Electric motors run quiet; you will not hear its power. Know your motors capacity. Without a load on the drive train your motor could be throttled to high RPM beyond its capacity, upon acceleration the motor could break apart, throwing dangerous metal fragments at high speed in every direction. At 18 Volts the 9" will rev to about 3,000 rpm and will pull 50 amps. If the motor has advanced timing, you can check to make sure it is timed in the direction you want it to be by running it one way and then the other (switching the A terminal wires). It will run faster in the direction that it is advanced.
Q: Where do I get an adapter for my transmission?
A:
7.
We can have the adapter plate and hub made for you for about $800 but if we don't have your same transmission in our database you would have to ship the tranny and flywheel. Send us all the information: year, make and engine size for your vehicle and the electric motor your are planning to install.
You may be able to have the adapter plate made at a machine shop close to
your home or make it yourself. For the hub some times we use a gear wheel or pulley, you can buy at your local supply house and bolt it on to the center of your fly wheel. Cut out a polygon of steal or aluminum plate to fit on your transmission, cut a hole for the electric motor shaft to fit, bolt your electric motor to it. Secure your transmission in a plumb vertical position on a rail table, clamp the electric motor, the plate and flywheel to the transmission then spin the motor with a 12 volt battery. Center the motor by adjusting the clamps and tapping the plate with a mallet until it is running smooth quietly balanced. Drill holes in the plate and bolt it to your transmission. Install it all back into the car. It's not always so easy to get every thing to line up perfectly the first time so it is good to work with an understanding machinist with an open mind :)
Q: What type of batteries should I use?
A:
8.
The type of batteries you use will depend on the performance you want: range and speed. We use Lead Acid Batteries; they are affordable and readily available.
There are many ways to configure battery packs.
You will have many questions concerning batteries so in an attempt to answer most of them here we offer these comparisons.
We offer these three 24KW 120 volt battery packs as examples.
20 * 6 volt deep cycle golf cart batteries with water levels to be maintained; this pack might weigh about 1300lbs and cost about $1,500. If you keep the water levels up and don't over charge or go below % 50 discharges too often this would be averaging 20 to 40 an occasional 50 miles a charge they should last 3 to 5years.
20 * 12 volt AGM (Absorption Glass Mat) sealed maintenance free batteries, weigh about 1160lbs but cost about $5,900. You won't have to worry about fluid levels but you still have to be careful not to over charge or discharge to much and you should be able to get about the same range and as the flooded lead batteries. 24KW 120 volt pack of Lithium-ion Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries is 38 * 3.2 volt 200ah units cost about $10,400 and wieghs about 700lbs. We only suggest you purchase Lithium batteries if you have money in your budget to risk on research and developement.
Lithium batteries if over discharged or overcharged almost immediatly are bad no-longer usable. You must have an electronic Battery Management System. We now sell Lithium batteries because these companies offer a 2 year guarentee but for most people this is still too risky for the expense.
Q: How do you calculate how many batteries you need?

A:
9.

You have to give your acceleration, range performance and budget requirements first. Let's start with the voltage of your system. This would be determined by the controller you use; check the nominal voltage. Higher the voltage and amperage of your controller the more power the vehicle will have. The nominal voltage is size battery you will use;3.2 volt, 6 volt, 8 volt or 12 volt times the number of batteries you will run in series. The higher the amp hours (AH) the greater the range. If you want to double AH without increasing the voltage then you would buddy up two batteries in parallel and then run the pairs in series or run half your batteries in series and then hook the two packs in parallel (you'll figure it out). You also have to consider space available and the weight that your motor, controller and suspension can handle. Your range will be determined by your batteries amp hours (AH) and speed will be determined by your batteries maximum discharge current (C rating). As rules of thumbs go roughly: 800 pounds of lead will get you about the mileage your vehicle would get on a gallon of gas or 400 pounds of lithium but lighter means farther and faster, heavier means shorter and slower. Your range and speed of course are not only determined by your batteries. If you can get over a hundred miles on a charge then you can join our very exclusive 100 miles per charge club

Q: How do I hook up the controller?
A:
10.
Very Carefully, follow the instructions that come with your controller. Be very conscious of electrical safety procedures. If you touch the wrong cables you will blow it. There are several different configurations depending on the controller, cooling system, motor, contactor, key switch and throttle set up you will be using. You should prepare with your own readable diagram.
Q: How do I hook up the air conditioner ?
A:
11.
Steve usually puts a pulley on the end shaft but if you don't have a end shaft or enough room you will need to fit a small electric motor to operate the compressor or put in an AC AC unit and hook it up to an inverter.
Q: Can Grassroots Electric Vehicle Company do a conversion for me?
A:
12.
We do help people get conversions done. See our Grassroots Electric Vehicle Conversion Shops Directory. Professionals experienced in converting gas vehicles to electric, willing to help you. Shops get $25 to $250 dollars per hour depending on the caliber of your project. Experienced technitions get a troubleshooting/consultation fee of $25 per half hour.
If you would like to schedule a tech to call you back to help with his undivided attention call Jon at:702 277-7544
Q: What voltage motor do I need?
A:
13.
I would have to ask you; what kind of load are you going to put on the motor, and at what RPM will it be running? Then I could tell you what voltage controller you should use. The controller correctly matched to the motor will give it the right voltage. The weight of the motor magnets and size of its brushes determine the power and torque.The rpm rating for the 9" and 11" motors is 5000rpm and they are happy to spin this fast; so that if you hook them up direct to your differencial and you have enough power at 5000rpm you would go over 100mph; 60kilowatts
Q: So, what voltage would you recommend for a normal car?
What controller would you use?
A:
14.
Depending on the wieght of your vehicle from 96 to 342 Volts; We recommend that you go with as high a voltage as you can. The Soliton DC controllers are the best on the market. As distance is related to weight of batteries, golf cart batteries give lots of weight at 65lbs each. You get the most for the money but it is hard to get the voltage high when you need 20 of them, just to get 120 volts. Of course 12v AGMs give you twice the voltage for the same number of batteries and they come in smaller sizes so with them your voltage can be much higher, all the way up to 336 volts as the controller is rated it will smartly give the motor as much voltage as it can take. AGM batteries are also happier delivering hi amps and can put out 5 times the hp per pound.
Q: What are the advantages and disadvantages of the AC motors?
A:
15.

AC System Advantages:
(AC) alternating current electricity has a different character then (DC) direct current.
DC contacts have a tendence to stick and arc melting metal. AC contacts are less sticky and are cooler. This is why AC systems are safer on the out put side of the controller going into the motor. AC motors are always brushless so they are more reliable and last longer. The less intrusive nature of AC makes forward and Reverse switching and regenerative braking easier and more reliable. Also AC systems are not as susceptible to a run away condition. AC systems will out last DC.

DC System Advantages:
DC comes out of your batteries, to make it AC the AC controller needs an inverter this is an extra component. When engineering AC system motors and controllers you have to match up frequencies so your AC motor and controller are married and expensive.
DC systems technology is simpler easier to understand, troubleshoot and repair. Almost any series DC controller will work with any series DC motor and will operate over a wide range of voltages. DC systems are more powerful then AC with equal input. Brushed DC motors put power to the armiture electromagnet so they have Mega Low End Torque more powerful then the AC systems perminant magnet armiture. This is evident at the drag races. DC systems hold the best 1/4 mile times.

DC Disadvantages:
If a DC controller shorts out the motor can go full on. DC Motors can dangerously fly apart if high throttled without a load. Very important safe guards must be installed to keep this from happening. Brushes will need to be changed, every 50,000 to 100,000 miles.. This will cost you about $100.00 (AC motors save you this inconvenience).
All of the DC systems extra power will have a tendency to drain your batteries faster shortening your range so in this respect AC system can be more efficent and get farther down the road on an equal charge.

AC Disadvantages:
Less bang for the buck. For the same cost you can get three to four times the power from a DC system then you can from an AC system.

Q: What Horse Power is my electric motor?
A:
16.
Peak Horse Power is mostly a marketing gimmick used for IC Engines
it should not be used in reality since it is much higher than "true continuous HP" Inorder to get an electric vehicle's comparable HP just multiply the voltage and amperage rating of your motors controller, this gives you the wattage; 1KW equals about 1HP.
For a not necessarily more accurate HP figure use the application below.
Voltage:
Full Load Amps:
Efficiency:
 
True continuous Watts:
True continuous HP rating:
Q: Were do you plug your EV in?
A:
17.

This depends on your vehicle and charger. You want to plug in when ever possible at the nearest available outlet. At home you should have a 240 volt outlet like for the dryer or air conditioner, you can have one put in a convenient location. You want to draw as many amps as safely possible, 50 amps would be great.The PCF20, PCF30 and PCF50 are Extremely versatile battery chargers, designed to charge any battery pack from 12 volts to 360 You should be able to plug into 110 at remote locations without drawing to hot of amperage or you will trip your friends breaker. Most 110 outlets will let you draw about 10 amps, but not all. Before you plug in, you should let you friends know you might trip the breaker to find out if this would be a problem if they have to reset the breaker. When you own an electric vehicle every trip must be planned so that you will have enough time and juice to get to your next charge.

Q: What is an electric vehicle contactor? and do you think I need one?
A:
18.
The contactor is like a big relay , it disconnects the power from the batteries to the controller , and can handle all the power that comes from the batteries . If there is any problem opening this will disconnect power from controller and motor . It runs from the 12v supply battery
Q: How do I get insurance for my electric conversion?
A:
19.
Any major insurance company will offer liability coverage. If your agent says he can't do it, he either doesn't know how or doesn't want to. Find another agent. Just give them the make, model and year and tell them it has been modified. Comp & collision is difficult, because there are no blue book values. You may need to get the car appraised by an appraiser who specializes in things like hot rods or restorations. Often, the insurance company will accept your receipts for the cost of conversion, or a letter from your conversion kit provider, to establish a value. There are also various web sites that offer used conversions for sale, which can help establish a comparable value for the car for insurance purposes.
Q: Should I install solar panels to charge the vehicle all the time while in use and not?
A:
20.

Installing Solar panels on your EV is not always very practical. The associates at verengosolar.com offer free consultations that may be able to help you further.
If we do the math. Typically going 40 mph you might draw 100 amp hours.
Lets say you have 24V panels that turn out 8 amp hours each, then you would need five of them to make 120 volts to turn out 8 amp hours. To replace that 100 amp hours would take 12.5 hours of peak sun. If you only used one panel and converted it to 120 volts then it would only turn out 1.6 amp hours at 120 volts and take 62.5 hours to replace that 100 amp hours.

So it is best to install those solar panels on the roof of your house.

Solar cars are made of ultra lite parts and materials and are extremely aerodynamic so they will maybe draw 20 amp hours at 40 mph.

Q: Why won't a generator on the wheel work in an electric vehicle?
A:
21.
A generator takes more power to turn because of electromatic flux, friction and extra wieght then the power it generates; otherwise it would be perpetual motion. Regenerative braking; utilizes the motor by converting the motor into a generator and utilizing the electromatic flux for braking.

Grassroots
Electric Vehicles

Fort Pierce, Florida

Grassroots
Electric Vehicles

Las Vegas, Nevada
Ph#: 772-971-0533 Ph#: 702-277-7544