How to Convert Conventional Cars to Solar-Powered Electric Cars

Electric cars are gradually replacing conventional cars that use petrol and diesel, and in the nearest future, conventional cars will no longer be valued. Although electric cars are much more expensive than fuel-powered cars. With electric cars whose batteries can be recharged with solar PV system, you no longer need to go to a patrol station to buy petrol or diesel for your car. All you need is to recharge your car batteries when it runs down with a solar PV system. What if you don’t have enough money to buy a solar-powered car or an electric car, what do you do? The good news is that you can convert your conventional car to an electric-powered car, whose batteries can be recharged with solar PV system in your garage by following the step by step guide in this article. You will also learn how to build a solar garage for recharging your electric car batteries.

how to convert conventional car to solar-powered electric car

The concept of converting a conventional car (petrol-powered or gasoline-powered) to electric car involves removing the entire internal combustion engine, replacing it with an electric motor. Then you also install a large battery bank to power the electric motor. You can go further to build a solar bank for charging the huge battery bank of the electric car. All these will cost you about $10,000 to $12,000 (converting to electric car will cost around $4,000 to $5,000, while building a solar garage will cost you around $6,000 to $7,000). But it worths the investment because you will never need to buy petrol or gasoline for your car again.

Step by Step Guide on How to Convert a Gasoline Car to Electric Car

An old gasoline car was used for this tutorial. But you can convert any conventional car model or brand to an electric car using the guide below.

Old gasoline car converted to an electric car
Old gasoline car converted to an electric car

Dismantling the Car Parts

  • Disassemble the following car components: hood (car bonnet), spare tyre and ignition system, expansion tank, radiator, air filter for access to carburettor, fuel supply, clutch cable, alternator, engine and gear box.
  • Drain the gear box and engine oil.
  • Unscrew the shock absorber and remove the sub-frame with the engine and gearbox.
  • Disconnect the engine and gearbox.
  • Remove the exhaust.

Installing the Car Engine and Gear Box

Connect the electric motor and the gear box. You will need an adapter plate, which has the same holes as the gear box. You will also need a spacer. The fly wheel needs to fit perfectly on the gear box. You might also need to buy a new set of clutch.

Assemble the engine and adaptive plate.

Assembling the engine and adapter plate
Assembling the engine and adapter plate

Install the clutch.

Connect the engine and gearbox.

Connecting the engine and gear box
Connecting the engine and gear box

Install the car engine.

Connecting the car engine
Connecting the car engine

Installing the Electrical Components on the Work Plate

Install a work plate, where you will install all the electric components such as the DC motor, electric controller, electric liquid pump (to pump the liquid coolant), main contactor, relays, throttle body, etc.

Installing all the electrical components on the work plate helps to make troubleshooting a lot easier.

Installing the work plate
Installing the work plate

Install the engine controller. Here we used a small but powerful controller, with a rating of 80V and 400A. You need to add an additional liquid coolant, so that the car can attain a very good torque speed. The controller is attached to a cooling plate. So the liquid coolant will cool the plate, while the plate cools the controller, to avoid overheating.

Installing the engine controller on the work plate
Installing the engine controller on the work plate

Next, install the liquid pump.

Installing the liquid pump for the coolant
Installing the liquid pump for the coolant

Assemble the cooling system and test it.

Assembling the cooling system
Assembling the cooling system

Install the throttle and test it.

Installing the throttle
Installing the throttle

Next, connect the wires.

Connecting the wires
Connecting the wires

Connect the RPM sensor android auto body wires.

Connecting the rpm sensor android auto body wires
Connecting the RPM sensor android auto body wires

Fit in the relays for the liquid pump and main contactor.

Fitting the relays for the liquid pump and main contactor
Fitting the relays for the liquid pump and main contactor

Connect the relays to a 12V on-board battery or batteries set.

Connecting the relays to a 12V on-board battery
Connecting the relays to a 12V on-board battery

Check:

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Installing the Electric Car Battery Bank

The battery is the most important aspect of the electric car assembling. So you need to pay keen attention in this section.

You will need 72V nominal battery bank. Note that the Lithium-ion battery cells have a nominal voltage of 3.2V, approximately 3V. So to achieve a nominal voltage of 72V, we will need to connect 24 (that is 72/3) cells in series.

Connect twenty-four 80Ah Lithium-ion deep cycle battery cell in series. You need to balance all the batteries before connecting them. You can use the top balancing method, discharging to 10% (around 2.7V) and then recharging them again to at least 90% capacity, so that they have equal voltage after discharging.

You will need to use balancers, which will help to control the current going into the cells, and also prevent overcharging of the batteries.

Lithium-ion deep cycle battery with a balancer on top
Lithium-ion deep cycle battery with a balancer on top

First, connect the batteries in set of four (4 batteries in each set, 12V for each set) and then combine them via the balancers to make up the first 48V battery set. Add additional resistance for current control when charging the batteries.

Balancing the first 48V battery set
Balancing the first 48V battery set

When all the balancers display a green light, it means they have charged up to 100%. Red light means over charging, which must be avoided. Use the additional resistance to control the charging current.

Using additional resistance to control the charging current
Using additional resistance to control the charging current

Now assemble the 72V (nominal) battery set for final balancing.

Assembling the 72v battery set for final balancing
Assembling the 72v battery set for final balancing

You will need battery charger of 86V, 15A (for Lithium-ion batteries) for the battery bank. Add a fuse for safety.

Balancing the 72V battery set
Balancing the 72V battery set

The charging current must not exceed 2A, as balancers can’t consume more than this. Note that when the balancer indicator LEDs for all the battery cells display green light, it means that the batteries are fully charged.

All the balancers are displaying green light which means that the batteries are fully charged
All the balancers are displaying green light which means that the batteries are fully charged

Construct a wooden crate for the battery bank. The total volume of the wooden crate should be the total volume of the 72V (nominal) battery set.

The wooden crate for the battery set
The wooden crate for the battery set

Fix the wooden crate at the back of the car and then assemble the battery set inside the wooden crate at the car rear. Connect the batteries in series. Screw nicely and tightly for good contact.

Connecting the 72V battery set in series inside the wooden crate
Connecting the 72V battery set in series inside the wooden crate

Install the 400A main fuse.

Installing the 400A main fuse
Installing the 400A main fuse

You can also use the Lithium-ion batteries for the on-board 12V battery (4 of the Lithium-ion batteries will give you 12V – nominal).

The on-board 12v battery set was also made from the lithium-ion battery
The on-board 12v battery set was also made from the lithium-ion battery

Now connect the main power wires.

Connecting the main power wires
Connecting the main power wires

Check the main contactor.

Checking the main contactor
Checking the main contactor

Do your first test drive to check if everything works perfectly.

The first test drive for the electric car
The first test drive for the electric car

If everything works fine, then connect back the hood (bonnet).

Test the car for Km range, top speed, peak power, peak torque, battery bank charging hour, battery capacity in KW/h. Also check out for the first electric burnout of the electric car.

Total result of the test drive of the electric car, summary
Total result of the test drive of the electric car, summary

NOTE: The estimated cost for converting a conventional car to electric car is about $4,000 to $5,000 (cost of building solar garage not included).

Electric Car Conversion Kits

Another easier way to convert conventional cars to electric cars is via the use of electric car conversion kits. Two types are available: custom kits and universal kits. The custom kits are made for some specific car models, while the universal kits can be installed in any car model. The custom car conversion kits are more expensive because they include the entire drive system, battery rack and boxes, all customized to suit a particular car model. The universal electric car conversion kit contain only the essential drive system components, but the builder is required to construct some custom parts like the battery racks or boxes.

How to Build a Solar Garage for your Electric Car

You can go further to build a solar garage (off-grid or on-grid) for recharging the battery bank for the electric car. First is to setup the solar array, with about six 300W solar panels. Then finally, you setup the solar garage. For the solar garage, you will need a charge controller, power inverter, deep cycle batteries. The solar array should have an effective voltage of about 86V and should supply a charging current of about 15A, and then the total wattage of the solar array should be around 1500W. You might need to recalculate these values, depending on the rating of your engine controller.

NOTE: The cost of building a solar garage is around $6,000 to $7,000. You will cover this cost on the long run (within few years).

See:

Solar array for electric car garage
Solar array for electric car garage
Solar garage for electric cars
Solar garage for electric cars

You can learn the concept of building a solar car from scratch with this PDF.

NOTE:

You can wire your garage solar PV system in such a way that both the power from the solar array and the electric power from the utility mains can charge the battery bank.

Once the car batteries run down, you recharge them with electricity from your solar PV system in your garage. You can even install the solar array in the roof top and then fix all the solar components in the car, so that the car batteries can be recharged on the go.

Just feel free to make your own modifications. Learning is fun!

Video of How to Convert a Conventional Car to an Electric Car

Check:

Conclusion

You have learnt how to convert a conventional car to a solar-powered electric car and how to build a solar garage for recharging your electric car batteries, etc. Note that you might need to make some adjustment while carrying out these guide, depending on your car brand and model. Feel free to utilize the free YouTube videos to learn more about how to build electric cars and how to convert conventional cars to solar-powered electric cars.

Did you find any section of this article confusing? Ask your questions in the comment section below. Share this article with your social media friends by clicking a share button. Don’t forget to subscribe to this blog via email to stay up to date with our upcoming tutorial articles. Enjoy!

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About the Author: Buzzer Joseph

I am an entrepreneur who believes that anybody can achieve whatever goal he sets, so long as you follow the right path. I fully decided to take entrepreneurship as a lifestyle in 2014 and have never regretted that decision. Even though I failed many times, but my failures helped me discover my hidden potentials. Check out my Amazon Author Page at https://amazon.com/author/buzzerjoseph. I blog at Buzzing Point - https://www.buzzingpoint.com and Microsoft Tutorials - https://www.microsofttut.com where I help young entrepreneurs to discover their hidden potentials and how to turn their passions into long term income streams. Also, I am very active in Quora, especially in my spaces, Lucrative Business Ideas - https://lucrativebusinessideas.quora.com/. In fact, I can't do without the internet. I love surfing the net and making research. I love updating my fans on the latest buzzing info. Apart from surfing the internet, you can also find me playing badminton game or tennis.

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