EV on the cheap? Any ideas?

So I’m getting fed up with gas prices, I was wondering if anyone had any ideas or have done some cheap EV conversions.

My idea right now (feel free to add to this or let me know if something doesn’t seem feasible, I come from the ice world so this isn’t my strong suit)

Get a ‘96 thunderbird, get a forklift motor, put in a bunch of car batteries, hopefully move.

My general area I never need to drive more than 100 miles, if I do I can charge while I’m at wherever I get to.

I know car batteries aren’t the best , but they’re cheap and don’t need to worry about cooling. The thunderbird has decent aero and the v8 weighs about the same as the batteries would. And I hear forklift motors work well.

2 questions on this for the gurus.

  1. do you think I can get 100 miles of range with filling the engine bay up with car batteries?
  2. what kind of top speed could I expect with a forklift motor? Theoretically the forklift goes 18mph without a transmission so adding a 4 speed should be 4 times the speed…?

Anyways it’s just an idea to make a point a to b. Does it sound feasible? Or have any of you guys done a small budget EV with decent range(50+ miles)?

You don’t want to use car batteries as they’re not designed for this. You will want deep cycle batteries or lithium is even better. I’d be looking for a wrecked electric car and it would have pretty much everything you would need to make the conversion.

Whenever I approach a project like this, I take a look at what others have done and where they might be today.

E-cars in the hobby world have been around for decades. All they had back then were lead batteries and forklift parts. The performance and range was horrible, they weren’t reliable, and were the base of many jokes at parties.

Even today with all the new tech, I seriously doubt “cheap” or “small budget” could be applied to even the basic LSV builds.

Take a look at what it takes to fill your needs. Check out what the pros are building to get your speed and range. They already have done the research. It is not based around a 3500 lb car, lead batteries and a forklift motor.

You would be far better off looking for a used car that is already built and tinker with that. Fuel prices and the economy have really driven up the prices tho. A couple years ago a friend pointed out a few deals on a bunch of Fiat e600 (electric version) that were just off lease that could be bought for 5k. For that you could get freeway speed, hard doors, factory AC, and 90 mi range.

Why not just drive the forklift around? It’s already all set up for electric. While it might not be fast, it got great cab ventilation and parking will never be an issue, if someone is in your spot, just pick their car up and move it out of the way.

I can link to the good forklift motor and controller best for auto EV conversion. A buddy has one.