How to Install an Electric Truck Conversion Kit

February 10, 2012

In response to the global need for cleaner and more efficient vehicles, trucks can now be converted with an electric truck conversion kit. Converted vehicles you find on the road today are oftentimes done at home. Car owners who decide to convert their vehicles from gasoline to electric find themselves doing this rather than spending so much money to have it done by other mechanics.  It is actually a very simple process. There are various instruction manuals available, including several websites that share detailed ways on how to do it. However, there are things you have to know prior to conversion, that will make it easy for you.

Things to Consider Before you Get an Electric Truck Conversion Kit

Electric conversion is possible only with a manual transmission.  Moreover, the truck you choose to convert must have enough space to house the batteries.  It is recommended to use light trucks for electric conversion due to their simple layout, which makes installation easy.

Consider your daily running miles each day. If you drive to 30 to 70 miles a day, then a conversion suits your driving needs. An electric conversion can only be effectively applied to a vehicle with a maximum passenger of 4. Its running capacity should be a maximum of 25 to 50 mph depending on the type of vehicle you want to convert. Your truck should also have "carry and support" batteries for a 4 or 5 speed manual transmission. With an electric conversion kit, you will be removing the entire engine, including its radiator, clutch, exhaust system, and of course, the gas tank. Think very well if you are capable of such tasks. You may also, at some point purchase the electric car conversion parts separately if you'd rather customize it to your driving.

Here is a basic guide on how to install an electric truck conversion kit:

Step One - Install the 100 hp DC Motor Adapter

Place it into the existing transmission and attach the motor. A complete electric conversion kit should be equipped with brackets for attaching the motor. If there are none, you need to have the motor bolted at a machine shop.

Step Two - Install the Reduction Gear

To get the maximum efficiency, you need to install reduction gear. It's quite easy, and does not require you to modify the existing gears. Simply pin it to the first and second gear.

Step Three -  Attach the Controller

The controller, or control box, is included in the electric truck conversion kit. It basically contains a logic interface and the electrical wiring that connects each part to the other.

Step Four - Install Batteries

Make sure that it is safely in place. You can use 6 pieces of the 6 volt, 260 AH, T-145 Lead-Acid batteries, but a smaller capacity will do. The six batteries will fit on top of the dc motor and transmission, but more will have to be placed in the back of the truck. The batteries will be heavy. Be sure they are placed in the center and will not throw off the truck's balance.

Step Five -  Weld them in Place

Using a 00 gauge welding cable, attach the batteries and motor to the controller or control box.

Step Six - Support the Power Steering

Attach an electric motor for the power steering pump if your choice of car has built-in power steering.

Step Seven - Support the Air Conditioning

Like the power steering, attach an electric motor for the A/C compressor if your choice of vehicle has air conditioning.


Step Eight - Support the Heater

Use a small electric water heater and attach it to the existing heater core.

Step Nine - Vacuum Pump for Power Brakes

If your truck has power brakes, you'll need a vacuum pump for the brake booster to function.

Step Ten - Install the Battery Charger and DC-DC Converter

In order to maintain the use of standard 12 volt car accessories such as the radio and headlights, install a 45 A DC-DC converter and charger as separate power source. The DC-DC converter's job is to power the truck's accessories with a 12 volt battery.

Step Eleven - Wire the Power Source

Connect the AC power cable or the plug to the charger. The AC plug should be able to fit into the existing gas filter cap.

Step Twelve - Wire the Safety System and Batteries

Connect the three-fold system for safety as well as the batteries. This safety system is composed of a 500 A fuse, a circuit breaker and a switch for the dashboard. When wiring the batteries, be careful not to make a tight connection, for this is crucial in preventing overheating and maintaining performance.

Related Questions and Answers

How Many Batteries Does an Electric Pickup Truck Use?

You're looking to do an electric pickup truck conversion and you're wondering how many batteries you're going to need to buy. Most conversion kits use either 120 or 144 volt motors. Since six volt heavy duty deep cycle batteries will provide better range and more output. These are the batteries you're going to want to use. For 120 volt systems, you'll need twenty of these golf cart style batteries. For the higher power 144 volt motors, you'll need 24 of them. If you want to buy everything all at one time and in a single kit to be sure everything works properly, you can go to KTA Services of Ramona, CA for a complete kit, including batteries.

What is the Typical Electric Car Conversation Cost?

You're wondering what the average electric car conversion will cost. This is a question that doesn't have a ready-made answer that will work for everyone. If you plan on doing the conversion yourself, you can save a considerable amount of money. On the average, you're looking at between $6,000 and $12,000 for a complete electric car conversion. There are a number of companies that offer kits. Some of which come with batteries and everything you'll need. While others will supply everything but the batteries. To find out more of what's involved with an electric car conversion, take a look at the EVtransPortal

How Reliable Are Electric Vehicle Conversions?

You're getting tired of paying $40 to $50 every time you hit the gas station, so you're looking at electric vehicle conversions. This technology isn't in its infancy stage anymore. The first generation rebuild kits left much to be desired, both in reliability and quality of the instructions that came with these kits. However, the companies that make these kits have learned from early mistakes and have begun to produce very reliable and high quality kits. The instructions that come with these kits are much easier to follow, and more complete than before. Also, there are sites, such as the EVtransPortal that cater to people looking into an electric vehicle conversion.

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