Born to be Wired: Page 3 of 6

Advanced

Inside this Article

Front Battery Box
Above the drive motor— six T-145 lead-acid batteries and the control box, mounted to the left of the batteries.
Electric GMC Sonoma Pickup Truck
Randy Richmond’s full-electric-powered GMC Sonoma pickup, converted using a commercial kit.
Removing the internal combustion engine
Out with the internal combustion engine.
Empty engine cavity
Lots of room in the engine compartment.
Author and electric pickup truck
Randy Richmond takes his electric truck to auto events to help spread the word on EV practicality and performance.
Inspecting the DC Motor and Transmission
The 100 hp DC motor bolted to the original transmission.
Installing the Electric Motor
Installing the new electric motor and transmission, with room to spare.
Rear Battery Box
In the bed—a custom battery box holds eighteen T-145s.
Electric GMC Sonoma Schematic Diagram
Electric Vehicle Control Box
The control box, with the logic interface mounted on its cover.
Electric Vehicle 240 VAC Plug
The original gasoline filler cap was replaced by a 240 VAC plug.
Front Battery Box
Electric GMC Sonoma Pickup Truck
Removing the internal combustion engine
Empty engine cavity
Author and electric pickup truck
Inspecting the DC Motor and Transmission
Installing the Electric Motor
Rear Battery Box
Electric GMC Sonoma Schematic Diagram
Electric Vehicle Control Box
Electric Vehicle 240 VAC Plug

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.

Giving up the Gas

“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.

Going Electric

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.”

Positioning the Power

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.

Comments (6)

jerryd's picture

I'd suggest anyone wanting to convert and EV start with the lightest one they can find as EV's cost by the lb of the donor vehicle. So if you start with a 2-3k lb vehicle and strip it down by about 1/3 the weight you need a smaller battery pack, motor, controller for the same range, performance.

Doing things like low rolling resistance tires, making aero improvements, low drag diff, transmission oils, etc can nicely increase range. So start light and aero for a cost effective EV.

Kienan Maxfield's picture

If you would like to regain your A.M. radio reception, just find the wire powering your radio and wire in a couple capacitors and a couple of good inductors. For a diagram on how to wire it, click the following link or copy and paste the following address into your browser.

https://dl.dropbox.com/u/8017159/DC... — or —

http://db.tt/lWq7JEFg

Kienan Maxfield's picture

I realized this would not work because the problem has to do with emitted RF rather than the supplied power. This would only work for pulsing load or pulsing charge related interferences such as alternator whine.

willwilkin@madeinusasolar.us's picture

I'm limping my gasoline-powered Ranger for a few more years till I can get the money for an electric pick-up that I will charge by solar PV. Hopefully EV pickups will become available soon. I am not going to build it myself, but admire those who do!

CasaDelGato's picture

More electric trucks! yeah!
http://john.casadelgato.com/Electri...

RG B's picture

Nice work

Show or Hide All Comments

Advertisement

X
You may login with either your assigned username or your e-mail address.
The password field is case sensitive.
Loading