One of the choices you will have to make when undertaking an electric vehicle conversion is deciding whether to install an AC or a DC motor. Both have different characteristics and challenges associated with them. So which is right for you? The following points may help you to decide.
What do the terms AC and DC mean?:
AC stands for alternating current, and DC stands for direct current. Most commercially produced electric or hybrid vehicles use an AC motor, these motors are lighter than their DC counterparts, and can have a device fitted that will provide charge to the batteries as the vehicle slows down. This is known as regenerative braking, the AC electric motor that drives the car is used to slow it down, when the motor spins it generates a current that is used to pass charge back to the battery pack.
However AC motors present many more challenges when they are installed, and are very expensive to buy. For this reason most amateur home builders opt for the DC motor.
Save even more:
There are many sources of suitable DC motors. Used ones can be picked up for very little cost, and even reconditioned ones can work out very inexpensive. Used or reconditioned is a good choice to make because these motors have a very long service life, and will last a lot longer than a traditionally fueled engine.
This is because electric motors have only one moving part, whereas a diesel or gasoline one has many hundreds. In an electric power plant there is little heat generated, therefore no cooling is required, and no parts move against each other so it needs no lubrication either. There is very little to go wrong, so your motor will give many years of trouble-free service.
The vehicle you choose to convert should be as light as possible, as the more weight you can save the more usable and practical your finished vehicle will be. When choosing the motor size you should be careful not to fit one with a lot of overcapacity, as the weight of the motor will be a factor. Plus the larger the motor the more batteries you will need in your storage bank, and batteries are heavy as well.
It is a balancing act, decide on the range you want from your vehicle and the performance you need too. Your conversion plans will help you with this calculation. Getting this right will save a lot of heartache later. Finding your project can’t go as fast as you want or has a limited range will be difficult to fix after the build, so spending time to get your motor selection right will be well worth the effort.
A do it yourself electric vehicle conversion should be a rewarding and enjoyable project. Motor selection is an important part to get right. Making your own is a lot cheaper than buying an electric car from the showroom, and your motoring costs will be greatly reduced, plus you will be helping the environment too.