The Real Know How

How-Tos, Videos, Tutorials — Ramping Up for the 21st Century

Archive for the tag “transportation”

Converting Your Car to Electric – Step by Step

Tom Graulowitz, with Ben Nelson behind the camera, in Wisconsin, shows us how to convert a Dodge Neon to electric. He uses it to commute to work via the highway and demonstrates in the videos at the end how it gets up to good freeway speeds.

Electric Car Conversion in Illinois

This video looks at how Bud Wren, a mechanic in Illinois converted his pickup truck to electric for about $1,000. He gets about 25 miles on a charge for about 50 cents worth of electricity (so less than 2 cents a mile). Bud’s conversion gets a top speed of 48 mile per hour (note that other conversions get much higher speeds than this).

His components:

– DC motor
– Charge controller
– Batteries


– You can use an older, used vehicle, since it will be gutted
– Extremely low cost to run at a time when gas prices are high
– No direct emissions
– No noise (though this can also be a disadvantage since we are all so used to hearing cars that it can be a safety issue)


– You do need an initial investment in money (in Bud’s case $1,000) and time
– Batteries: They are heavy and you need several to run a car, plus when they’ve come to the end of their life, they are extremely toxic waste. If everyone in America converted their cars there would quickly be a huge problem figuring out how to safely dispose of all the spent lead batteries that would produce over time. Even the car company produced electrical cars which use more sophisticated batteries have these problem and apparently the car companies are working together to try to come up with better batteries.
– The energy has to come from somewhere. The electricity from the grid could come from dirty coal burning or nuclear plants. Though I’d imagine that it would be possible to build a car charger that is powered by solar panels.

Pedal-Powered Cellphone

This video shows you how to modify a hand crank radio with a USB port into a bike-powered charger for your cell phone. In the vid it’s just duct taped to the bicycle. There is probably someone out there who has created a nice housing for this on their bike.

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