Front or rear wheel drive which makes a better EV

I am looking for a donor car. It will most likely be something small. Like paseo, CRX, escort, MR2 or miata. Just need so advice as to weather front or rear wheel drive has an advantage over the other. An info is helpful thanks,

I imagine FWD will be more economic on the power as theres less rotational mass in the driveline and the drive from the gearbox to the front wheels is pretty much in a straight line, further lowering power lost through the drivetrain.

FWD and RWD virtually have the same efficiency.

Since you are building and EV you will need space for batteries; RWD take more space than FWD.

If you are building your car strictly on efficiency and space requirement, then go with FWD.
If you want a sporty feeling, go with RWD.


Something to consider is, where will the batteries go in a small car? On a FWD the motor and transmission are under the hood, taking up battery room. Not a problem if you are comfortable with batteries in the passenger compartment.

A RWD of sufficient size (I intend to do an extended cab minitruck) will let you put the entire motor inside the transmission tunnel, leaving the entire underhood area for batteries or what have you. What I really like about doing a truck is I can mount batteries under the hood, and along the framerails of the truck where the fuel tank is. Just gotta work up them bucks to make it happen. Kind of a catch 22 there, can’t afford to convert to an electric car because all my money goes to the gas man, if all my money wasn’t going to the gas man I could afford to build an electric car.

Thanks for all the info! If anyone else would like to chime in please do.

Hello 95Corolla,

Since you are in the market for a donor car I would recommend looking at every car that excites you. You will want your final outcome to be something you are proud to show off, so look for cars with minimal cosmetic damage. Cars with manual steering are cheaper and easier to convert. FWD and RWD both have advantages, do you have a preference when looking for internal combustion cars?

If you want to get a real good feel for what you will be in for watch the videos of Gav’s conversion in New Zealand, here;

One of his comments after his con was, “If I had it all to over again, I would have started with a better car.”

For some reason I have a soft spot for utilitarian vehicles such as the Geo Tracker and Suzuki Samurai and Sidekick. They aren’t very aerodynamic, but heavy duty springs and other parts are readily available.