Although CanEV can pre-wire the main control box, a bonus for those who are less familiar with electrical wiring, Richmond saved money—roughly $1,000—by doing it himself and maintained the flexibility to tweak the kit’s electrical design.
“As always, deconstructing was far easier than constructing,” Richmond says. “This part of the process is straightforward because vehicles are designed to have parts removed and replaced.” Over a month of evenings, he removed the ICE components: the exhaust, fuel, engine cooling, and emission control systems. Removing the engine required extra muscle and an engine hoist, which Richmond bought used for $100.
He also removed the air conditioning and power steering systems, which can require a lot of extra energy to operate, and pulled out the transmission to make installing the EV motor easier. (He replaced the power steering with a manual steering box from a 1980s-vintage vehicle of the same make.) In total, deconstructing accounted for a quarter of the entire conversion—about 40 hours.
The most time-intensive part of the conversion was installing the EV components. This took Richmond 110-plus hours spread out over a few months. He says that installing the first component—the electric motor—offers the greatest gratification and the greatest challenge. The centerpiece of the kit—an Advanced DC, 9-inch, 100 peak hp motor—provides power comparable to the truck’s original 4-cylinder, 120 hp internal combustion engine (ICE).
It took one long evening for him to install the electric motor on the transmission with the adaptor plate. Though some might have opted to leave the transmission in place and mate the motor under the hood, Richmond had removed the transmission to make connecting the two components easier. The motor mounts on one side of the plate while the transmission mounts on the other side, creating one large, heavy unit.
Placing this cumbersome component where the gas engine used to be was no easy task and warranted an evening of its own. “It was an exercise in geometry that required two additional people,” Richmond says. “Getting it tilted at just the right angle demands some patience, but we worked it out.” Once positioned, the unit is bolted in place using the kit’s motor mount. Even with the challenge of installing the motor and transmission as a unit, he had no regrets about his decision to remove the transmission. “It was a trade-off,” he says. “Since proper mating is critical, I decided to live with the extra effort to install the combo.”
Next came the two prefabricated battery enclosures. Besides keeping the batteries securely fastened, the boxes latch to protect against accidental shock. The insulated aluminum boxes also help keep the batteries warm, since cold temperatures result in a temporary reduction in battery capacity.
The kit’s electrical design required two battery boxes: one in the bed that holds 18 batteries and one under the hood that holds six more. Because he chose batteries that were slightly taller than the boxes were designed for, he had to remove some metal from the edge of the box that could have made contact with the battery terminals and caused an electrical short. At this point, he secured the box in the bed but held off on installing the under-the-hood box because there was still some conversion work to do in the engine compartment.