Book Recommendation or resource

Can anyone here recommend a good book or resource for step by step information on a basic gas to electric conversion?

Any book reviews would be great!

A Conversoin Experience byGary Powers.
I Just got this book from Electric Viehicles of America
i am going to convert a Saturn to a EV

Build Your Own Electric Vehicle by Bob Brant. $10 from It is a little outdated but it gives great comparisons between ice’s and ev’s. It is however too technical and put me to sleep.

I just got a book that tells you how to wire your motor for regenerative braking. The name of it is,

   Regenerative Braking with DC Series Motors   A Practical Guide   
   by G.L. Jackson 

I bought it from EV of America for 15 dollars

[QUOTE=new dawn;47]I just got a book that tells you how to wire your motor for regenerative braking. The name of it is,

   Regenerative Braking with DC Series Motors   A Practical Guide   
   by G.L. Jackson 

I bought it from EV of America for 15 dollars[/QUOTE]

I thought REGEN braking was an AC motor feature??? I’m not all that smart on the topic, so what’s the scoop?

The function happens when you let your foot off the “gas” or go pedal a set of contactors turns on and the motor starts generating electricity and recharging the batteries thus slowing the car down much like a gasoling engine when you let off on the pedal.

[QUOTE=new dawn;102]The function happens when you let your foot off the “gas” or go pedal a set of contactors turns on and the motor starts generating electricity and recharging the batteries thus slowing the car down much like a gasoling engine when you let off on the pedal.[/QUOTE]

Ahhh, yes. Danke. Since posting that I have done some more reading and figured it out.

Hey guys! Any FREE books out there???

I need to learn about electric conversion.
Are their any good resources for a newbie?
I don’t have the money to spend $200 on books.
I want to build an electric riding lawn mower with solar a panel charger.
I want to use hub motors to conserve space, and I hear they are more efficient (brushless).


Just use a hub motors made for bicycles. Are you planning on converting or constructing the mower? (Reply in your thread in the hub motor forum so we don’t whore this thread)


CONVERT IT!! by Michael Brown
is a very straight forward no frills book, er paperback manual. A little pricey on Amazon, but if you buy his conversion kit, you get it FREE :slight_smile:
I wonder if I can get a discount because I have it already…
I got mine for $30 w/ shipping.

I have to say. I ordered Convert It and I will be returning it to Amazon. The book is nothing more than a BIG brochure on the various parts and components involved in a conversion. I felt like I was reading a childs book about the electric cars. In fact I remember a childs book about soap box racers that was more detailed. I scanned the book twice to get to the formulas so I could start doing some planning and there weren’t any. I’m working my way through it in detail and am about 2/3 to 3/4 of the way through. NO formulas. It’s a fine guide to accompany his conversion kits, but almost useless if you are trying to design you own system.
Here’s what I’ve learned from the book:

  1. you need a motor
  2. you need a controller
  3. you need several other electrical parts mentioned on the list.
  4. you need to think about where you will put the batteries
  5. the kits that are available by the author

What I didn’t learn that I feel a good book should explain how to arrive at the proper info. (these are hypothetical. Any would be convertor should be asking):

  1. How do I know how powerful of a motor to get?
    1a) Should I run more than one and should it be wired in series or parallel?
  2. What does wiring the batts in parallel do as opposed to series? (it may be in there since I DO remember seeing a battery diagram, but other diagrams that I did pay attention to didn’t give much info.)
  3. How do I calculate gear ratio(s) needed?
  4. How do I calculate voltage needed for a particular rate of acceleration and/or top speed?
  5. How many amp controller should I get?
  6. Is ok to stack batteries?
  7. Should the batteries be isolated from passenger compartment due to toxic fumes?
    I think you get the idea…
    I’m trying Build You Own Electric Vehicle next.


I am sorry to hear that you did not agree with this book.
Unfortunately, I am new to the EV Conversion deal and it is a good starting point especially because I don’t have a lot of experience or an Engineering Degree. The only disappointment with [B]Convert It![/B] is the price tag. Oh, and I DO need an Engineering Degree to understand half of the ideas in [B]Build Your Own Electric Vehicle[/B], a book that offers grand ideas and no specifics on how to actually do the conversion. It does, however, list [B]Convert It![/B] as an excellent resource to look at. Cheers! :slight_smile:

It was just a suggestion, take it or leave it.


Most of the questions you are asking are dependent on what vehicle you are converting, so no book will be able to give you a direct answer. I will give you my best answers(for what they are worth).

  1. Depends on how heavy your vehicle is, how fast you want to go, how fast you want to accelerate.

1a… See #1. You run multiple motors for a number of reason. You could need more power than the available single motors can supply. It could be that a single motor weighs more or uses more resources than two smaller motors (hp/kg). It could also be a heat dissipation issue(should be rare these days). The series/parallel issue is top end vs acceleration (you can wire it with both, see white zombie).

  1. Wiring batteries in series give you higher voltage. Wiring batteries in parallel gives you more amps (longer range). For quick acceleration(0-50) you need the amps but for speed you need volts (50+mph). This is why you see a lot of city run arounds using 96v(or lower) controllers (low volts = low speed). I think for normal driving 144v is about the minimum acceptable voltage.

  2. Depends on the motor used. With electric motors you want to run them at the top of their rpm range for the best efficiency. If your motor is rated 6000rpm then you want to cruise at 5000 or so rpm. Gear ratios are gear ratios, it does not matter where the rpms come from. If the ice drives at 2500rpm for 70mph, you will want to shift down a couple gears with an electric to get you rpms up to 5000(probably 3rd vs 5th).

  3. Depends (see all above).

  4. Bigger is almost always better. If you want to accelerate fast you need high amp(at least 1000 amp judging from prior posts and probably 2000amp would be better).

  5. Yes, but you have to remember a couple of things. First the frames you build have to support the entire weight of the battery. The bottom battery CANNOT support any of the weight of the top battery(you also have to think about heat dissipation during rapid acceleration). Second think about center of gravity. Low is good, high means easy to roll over. There is also the issue of serviceability. You have to be able to service the batteries (weekly?) on a regular basis. How big of a PITA will it be to get to the bottom battery to service.

  6. Ideally yes, but lots of people run batteries in the passenger compartment. If the batteries are having a problem your nose will let you know about it in a hurry.

Though I don’t feel one should need an engineering degree to convert their car, I’d like to point out that a person who converts their car will be driving said car on the road with LOTS of other people. Public roads are not the place for “backyard engineering” experiments. Add a passenger and the liability of the car’s owner goes up considerably.
I believe one should be armed with enough information to make sure they know exactly what’s going on with their project. Specifics like I listed above should not be points requiring a degree, but they should be required knowledge.
Let’s fast forward a few years after someone who converted a car on supposed guesswork. They decide that the car was too slow up that grade just outside of town because they didn’t know how to calc the vehicle’s performance requirements. Basically the motor starts to overheat, the controller is delivering max amperage, and cables are starting to get HOT. In addition, they probably didn’t know about those other safety factors such as cable chaffing or insulation burning due to improper routing. They decide to sell this seeming inadequate vehicle (spelled death trap. LIABILTY at the least) and it continues to be on the road. Other people then see the car and its new owner being a traffic hazard or worse a dead obstacle and maybe even on fire in the middle of the road. The headline on the news??? “Electric car catches fire and causes a pile up on X interstate.”

If EV enthusiasts don’t act responsibly and wisely with their conversions they will not help the EV market grow. They will continue to feed the excuses of the self serving HUMMER drivers etc. of the world.

I understand your interest in the book and while it does serve as a good “this is a car and this is what goes into making it an EV” piece of writing, one could get the same info browsing the web looking at conversion blogs and / or talking to some one for about an hour. For someone wanting to actually DO their own conversion they should look into a more detailed book and actually learn something first.


I realize no book can give me the exact answers to my specific questions, but it can tell me how to obtain the info and make calculations to arrive at an educated decision. I posted earlier on an EV calculator that was created by using formulas in a book. The very formulas that would answer my hypothetical questions.

Thank you for your answers to my questions, however I was not posting to actually ASK those questions. I was listing the things a good book should be able to show me how to answer.

Here is the link to the calculator again.



Any project car electric or ICE is going to be subject to poorly thought out ideas. The 429 we put into a comet was not the brightest of ideas (in Bob’s thread). Somebody passing off their problem child project is less a matter of knowledge than it is a matter of ethics.

Almost all the equations you are looking for are available from a good basic college physics text(try Sears/Zemansky/Young). Gears are gears, drag is drag, unfortunately hp is not hp but the text should cover that. The website is a good tool. I posted a different one (link in Bob’s Thread). It might be interesting to compare the two.