Yet Another Electric Vehicle Conversion Diary!

Who am I?  I am a small business owner (I use the term micro-contractor).  I work in the industrial electrical area and have taught electrical apprenticeship and some computer classes.  I have a small engine lathe, an older CNC mill, various welders, plasma cutter, iron worker and small power tools.

This diary is not in chronological order and any page may be updated at any time as I revisit and change different parts of the project.  I started the idea in August of 2005 and plan on keeping this diary until I move on to the next conversion.  I plan on adding to the pages more than changing them so as to keep a more complete record of the things that didn't work as well as the things that did.

Why do I want to convert a vehicle to electric?  I have several battery electric pieces of equipment that I have used in my business and the electric vehicle idea is a logical progression, especially for an electrical contractor.  With two electric forklifts, an electric pallet stacker, an electric stock picker, two electric boom lifts, and three electric industrial carts, it just seems like I should have an electric truck and apply for a grant from the government for being a truly "Electrical Contractor".

I stumbled onto the Electric Vehicle Discussion List while working on an upgrade to one of the industrial carts and started listening to what was being discussed.  I obtained the recommended books and read about a 1987 Ranger conversion done in the mid-nineties.  "Hey, I just scrapped a 1987 standard transmission Ranger."  As the salvage yard that I sent it to is owned by a friend, I have a hold on it for the conversion.  BUT, as I think more and more about it, maybe I should try something a little smaller for a first project.

So, I looked around and figure the stock picker is not real healthy and I don't really have a place for it so maybe it could be a parts donor.  It has a fairly hefty drive motor since it will lift a ton or more and it weighs about that itself.  There is a whole rack of power relays in it that should be able to be used for the reversing and power interrupter.  There is a brand new 325 amp SRE solid state control unit that was purchased for an earlier forklift repair and not used.  That forklift was traded away so I won't need this control and it is rated 24-48 volts.

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Now for a glider/donor there is a 1958 Harley Davidson Servi-car basket case that has been taking up room in the shop for over fifteen years.  Should be light enough, has room for batteries in the rear box, can be converted with either a transmission or not as I determine when I get to it.

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June 06:

I was able to take the bike across town to weigh it and it is much heavier than I had estimated.  With the Lester battery charger on board it hit 1310#.  I am looking for a lighter weight charger or two to see if I can get the weight down a little.  I have a tilt bed trailer that I used to transport it and found that it has to be loaded backwards or the trailer won't tilt back down.  I did find out that the bike has plenty of power to pull itself onto the trailer.

I was able to take it to Chico for an EAA meeting to show the members there how it was coming along.  The following week I was invited down to an antique motorcycle meet in Dixon and was able to take it down there.  I was a little concerned that the antique motorcycle guys would be down on the idea of converting the old Harley, but I got nothing but positive comments from everyone who looked at it.  Both show and tells were before the drive was changed to get rid of the transmission and I was able to use the reverse gear to load it on the trailer for the trip to Dixon.

October 06:

The final assembly has been done and "The Skunk" is on the road.  The paint job is fantastic and I am indebted to my friend Jim Bradley of Jim Bradley's Graphic Traffic for the great job he did.  I have done most of the work on this entire project myself and I was torn between trying the painting and getting the help.  I am glad I got the help.

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I went driving around town the other day to find a grassy area for the pictures and only had limited success.  The graphic on the back of the bike is also on the side of the tanks even though it is just barely visible in the pictures above.

Ev295.jpg (326583 bytes) I still need to get both hubcaps for the rear wheels.  The one in the pictures is off of my 54 Servi and it needs to go back there.  They are available online and maybe Santa will bring them to me.



Glider     Motor    Drive    Brakes    Battery Rack    Wiring    Instruments    Tools    Testing    Body