Do It Yourself: How To Build An Electric Car

A frame containing an electric motor connected to a battery through a switch and to wheels, with steering, wheels and a seat is adequate.

The technology behind an electric car is relatively simple. An electric motor, powered by a battery, drives wheels. Gears can be added to improve the efficiency of the motor. A solar panel can be included to recharge the battery, though this is a slow process. It is best to build your first electric car to a very basic design. The result would represent a kind of go-cart more than a regular automobile, but the experience of building a simple model will give you the confidence to move on to more sophisticated and feature-rich types of electric cars later.

Start with a wooden or a steel frame and wheels, to build the simplest kind of electric car. Add an electric motor, a battery and a switch that can turn the electric power on and off. The switch will act as an accelerator does in a conventional car. The capacity of the motor should be adequate to drive the load of the components, the frame and at least one person. The person from whom you buy the motor would be able to calculate the power you need. A pulley and belt is the simplest way to transfer power from the motor to the wheels. You can add a body made of Styrofoam or fiberglass, though this is not essential. You could just drive around in an open set up. It is normal to have seats for 1-2 people. Some people also include a windshield, preferably made of unbreakable plastic. Wiring is needed to connect the various parts. A steering mechanism will complete all the things that you need to build an electric car.

Protect your eyes and ears when constructing the electric car. Wear protective clothing and choose an open space with adequate lighting and ventilation. Start by comparing the size of the wooden or steel frame that you have chosen. You may need to cut it so that it can pass through a structure such as a doorway or an arch through which you plan to drive. Assemble the motor, battery, drive train, seats and steering mechanism on the frame and connect the switch to the battery and the battery to the motor. Attach the wheels to the frame and the body and windshield. You are ready to go.

Local laws govern the use of electric cars in public areas including roads. The vehicle will need registration. Keep these laws in mind before you drive beyond your private property. Keep the limited battery capacity in mind and plan drive lengths and routes that enable you to recharge the battery in time.

Electric cars have a number of limitations that prevent them from becoming alternatives to conventional automobiles. The most important drawback if the limited battery capacity and the time and effort needed to recharge it. Electric cars are mainly used today as a novelty or a hobby. A hybrid car that uses both electric as well as fuel power has more widespread use. Railroads and military tanks already use such mixed power.

© High Speed Ventures 2011