|The Electric Vehicle Project was started
with the donation of an MG Midget from Will Doolittle with the stipulation
that the MG be converted to run on electric power. An outline of the
project was written up and interested members of BAA met to work on
turning a noisy, smelly gas-burning car into a quiet, clean, smooth-riding
But that was actually a long time ago in a galaxy far far way (1993).
Today the MG is still running and all that was true then about EVs is even more
relevant today. Most of the info and links have been updated. Enjoy!
|Why go Electric?
Electric Vehicles, or EVs, are
97% cleaner than gas-powered cars. This includes the emissions from
the electric power plant.
EVs fill a perfect niche in the urban commute car market,
where the range is short and the need for non-polluting cars is the
EVs require less maintenance than gas powered cars.
EVs are quiet, minimizing sound pollution.
EVs will help reduce our dependence on foreign oil.
The California Air Resource Board has passed a mandate
that says that 10% of all cars sold in the state in 2003 must be zero-emission
|About the EV Project
original goal of the Electric Vehicle Project was to convert a
car to electric and show the viability of electric vehicles (EVs)
as a clean, quite commute alternative. After the successful conversion
of our first car, an important new goal came to the forefront: to
make available the information we learned about converting a car to
electric and to be a resource for other interested parties wishing
to convert a car. The donation of the a MG Midget by Will Doolittle,
with the stipulation that the MG be converted to run on Electric power,
got the project rolling in 1992.
Since then the MG has been to many EVents
(as EV people call them). The first such EVent was Earth Day 1994
at Stanford University. After that we showed the car at the Palo Alto
Concours d'Elegance, and then the "All Right Now" Parade
to celebrate homecoming at Stanford and the Palo Alto Centennial.
At each event we hand out general EV information
and answer questions about our project specifically.
Our first resource customer was Acterra's High
Schools Group, to whom a VW Rabbit had been donated. After unsuccessfully
trying to give the Rabbit to a high school auto shop class, Schools
Group members decided to convert it to electric.
We also developed "The MG Users
Manual" for the electric MG, complete with a Suppliers
Reference for EV parts and a Reference Books listing.
A good source of information during our conversions has been the local
EV community here in Palo Alto. Otmar
Ebenhoech of EVCL and Bob Schneeveis have been invaluable in their
help and expertise. Local to the Bay Area but e-mail in scope is Bruce
Parmeter, an EV advocate willing to disseminate EV information.
The Electric Auto Association,
with chapters nationwide, and the EV
Discussion Group List have also been good resources for our project.
The last reference comes from the EAA's
EV Information page. This has other good EV references
that are all over the Web.
|General EV Information
Contrary to popular beliefs, EVs are 97%
cleaner then the internal combustion engine (ICE) car. This includes
the pollution that is generated at the electrical power plant. It
is much easier to clean up one central power plant than to keep all
the individual ICE cars tuned up and running cleanly. It is also easier
to retrofit power plants and update them to run cleaner still, than
retrofitting all the ICE cars (old and new) out on the road. And in
the future, as we switch over to renewable sources of energy (solar,
wind, geothermal, etc.), the EV will get even cleaner, unlike the
ICE car. Even clean alternate fuel (natural gas, propane, methanol)
cars produce oxides of nitrogen, a major component of smog. Over 90%
of the daily trips made in the U.S. are under 50 miles. This is within
the range (40 to 60 miles) of most EVs. An EV is the perfect car
in urban areas where smog is the worst and daily commutes are
short. Many families have two cars: one larger one for longer trips
and a smaller commute car for the ride to work. EVs can be the perfect
second car in this common situation.
Maintenance of an EV is much less difficult than on an ICE
car. Most of what you have to do is check and add water to the batteries
once every month or so. If your car has sealed batteries, then you
don't even have to do this. You will have to check the brakes and
suspension a little more often if you have an EV that does not have
regenerative braking, where the force of slowing down the car is used
to charge the batteries. The main battery pack will have to be changed
every 3 to 4 years depending on your driving and on the kind of batteries.
What about all these batteries? Lead acid batteries are 98% recyclable.
The lead is melted down and reused, the plastic case is shredded and
recycled and even the acid is naturalized and made into fertilizer.
California's revised mandate says that 10% of all cars sold
in the state in 2003 must be zero emission vehicles. This did not happen,
but we did see hybrids leaping into the picture based on EV technology.
California is still leading the way with New York, Massachusetts and ten other eastern
states also considering California's curren CAFE standards to help reduce
green house gas emissions. So what are the big auto manufacturers
doing about this? They are fighting it as usual; as they have
fought against any regulation on the cars they make: seat belts, catalytic
converters, air bags, etc. Now, finally with gas over $4.00 per
gallon the Big Three are realizing that the ICE (internal combustion engine)
age is over.
So where does this leave us? Converting a gas car to electric can
cost between $5,000 to $7,000 to do it yourself or $10,000 to 20,000
to have a conversion shop do it for you. If you compare this to the
price of a new car today, EVs can be cost-competitive. Is there
an EV in your future?
|About the MG
(the technical stuff)
Our car is a 1978 MG Midget. All of
the Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) parts have been removed: engine,
gas tank, exhaust system, etc. In its place we have installed a 20
hp (60 hp max.) Prestolite series DC motor connected to the standard
transmission by an adapter plate. The motor is controlled by an Auburn
C600 motor controller powered by twelve 12 volt 30XHS Trojan deep
cycle lead acid batteries. The car is charged by a simple diode bridge
type of charger that has an adjustable auto shutoff. The 12 volt system
is run off of two small 6 volt gel cells that are charged from the
main battery pack using a DC-to-DC converter from Power Cube. The
heater is a small ceramic space heater that has had the AC fan changed
for a 12 vdc fan and the main heater core element switched by a 120
vdc, 20 amp relay.
Range: 25 to 30 miles
Top speed: 65 mph+
Recharge time: 6 to 8 hours
Weight: 2300 lbs.
Additional technical information
MG Users Manual Large document, but lots of good information
Acid Batteries How to choose the right battery for your
EV Photo Gallery Photos of the MG conversion
on the Web A listing of EV parts suppliers
For more information about the Electric Vehicle Project's MG, or if
you have specific questions, email David Coale. We are still getting around and promoting the use of EVs
as a clean, quiet commute alternative. Our MG has been featured in
several articles on electric cars in the local papers.
|The EV Project
Please send questions and comments about the MG or EVs in general to David Coale
, Electric Vehicle Project Leader.
Project website is proud to have
been recognized by...