East Tennessee's Premier Electric Car Conversions

East Tennessee's Premier Electric Car Conversions

Electric Car Conversions is your one stop in the East Tennessee area for electric car conversions, parts, accessories, books, manuals, and plans.

Who We Are

Meet the Team

Our conversion team, John and Richard, has more than 50 years of automotive repair, restoration, and electric car conversion experience.

What We Do

Our Services

We have a fully equipped shop ready to tackle any conversion project large or small. Conversion options start at 72 volts for small, lightweight vehicles. Our top of the line, high performance, conversion is based on a 144 volt system which includes a minimum 20 horsepower motor, controller, battery pack, charger, various safety devices, gauges, and miscellaneous parts.

Please keep in mind that depending on the condition of the donor car - resolving additional mechanical problems, to ensure safe operation, is extra.

Check out some our past conversion projects.

Reality Check

It's often claimed that any car can be converted to electric power; however, generally speaking, there are a few key points to keep in mind. Unless your budget allows you to invest in high powered Li-Ion batteries your donor vehicle (the car you want to convert) should be a compact or mid-sized. A Honda Civic or Toyota Camry, from the mid-90's and newer, make excellent conversions. Kit cars, because of their light weight fiberglass bodies, provide superior performance.

Also, while it may be technically possible to convert a car with an automatic transmission, we don't recommend it. The automatic transmission must be kept "running" at about 500 revolutions per minute (RPM) and this is very inefficient. Additionally, the shift points in an automatic transmission are not optimum for an electric motor. We can remove the automatic transmission and install a manual transmission.

"How fast and how far?", are two often asked questions. The less than satisfying answer is, "It depends." While a typical conversion (using lead-acid batteries) can be made to go as fast as 75 or 80 miles per hour (MPH) and as far as 50 to 60 miles on a charge - they can't do both at the same time! As the speed of a vehicle increases above about 45 MPH, the power demands on the motor and battery increase dramatically and the range goes down accordingly. Much greater range can be achieved if daytime charging is also used. (With every conversion, we include driving tips to improve range.)

The good news is, even a standard conversion can easily have a daily range of 80 to 100 miles and is able to satisfy over 95% of our daily commuting needs!

Conversion Kits and Parts

Declare your independence.

Kits and Parts

Interested in building your own electric car or how about converting your gas-guzzler into a 100-mile per gallon equivalent (referred to as MPGE) electric? We have the parts you need and the experience you can count on. Also, when you purchase a kit you will receive our build manual, DVD, and battery manual (if purchased separately a $75 value)!

Using our high performance 144 volt components you can build a fast and efficient electric car. Depending on the donor car, the estimated top speed is 75 to 85 MPH. The vehicle should have a range of 40 to 50 Miles per Charge and up to 100 miles per day. The lighter the car, the better the performance. Fiberglass kit cars make excellent electric cars!

Please call 423.754.6067, to discuss your specific needs. All prices subject to change without notice. Batteries are not included in the kit prices.

We offer high quality, safe state of the art, large format Li-ion batteries for electric vehicle applications. Our next generation LiFeMnPO4 cells demonstrate superior safety performance thanks to a patented safety valve and pressure cap designs. The new generation batteries exhibit higher energy density, longer cycle life, more robust electrode terminal connections and lower series resistance. We can provide a complete Battery Management System or a simplified cell ballancing system, which ever is best suited to fit you needs.

The major difference between the 72 volt conversion kit and the 144 volt conversion kit is the motor and controller. Most of the other components will cost about the same. Even with a light weight body. performance will suffer, the top speed will only be around 55 miles per hour. You can still achieve an effective range of 50 to 60 miles per charge since you can use larger golf cart batteries or even lighter and stronger Li-ion Batteries.

How To Manuals

We've published the results of our research in several informative and practical "How To" manuals. For your convenience, you may order our manuals directly from our publisher.

Books by John McMillian.

You Can Build an Electric Car!

Electric Cars: The Switch Is On

The Leader's Guide to Quality in America

Video Updates

Electric Car Motor Maintenance 101

Basic information on Direct Currwnt (DC) electric motors and a simple technique for keeping them in excellent condition over the years.

John McMillian

Electric Car Conversion Motor Installation

Watch as John and Xander install an electric motor in a dune buggy. John also explains about adapter plates and motor couplings.

The Shockwave Motors Story: Years of Electric Car Research and Development

This short video describes the origins of our other company Shockwave Motors, Inc. It highlights what we've accomplished to date, and where we are heading in the future. It also includes video clips of first protptype, the Defiant EV3 Roadster.

FAQ and Links

FAQ amd Links

Unless otherwise noted, all of these comments assume a lead-acid battery back is used in the electric car.

How fast will an electric vehicle go?

For the most part, the operating voltage of the system determines the speed of an electric car. Generally speaking, the higher the system voltage the faster the car will go. A typical electric car should have a top speed of at least 60 MPH, a high performance EV should achieve 75 to 85 MPH.

How far will the electric car go?

The range of the electric car is a function of many factors. Driving habits, cruising speed, the terrain, how big the battery pack is, the overall weight of the car, all influence the range of an electric car. A well designed electric car should average about 50 miles per charge - and up to 100 miles per day.

How long does it take to charge an electric vehicle?

It takes 6-8 hours for a full charge, and 3-4 hours for an 80% charge. Most of the time charging is done at night when electrical loads are lowest. For long distance commutes, the car can also be charged during the day while the driver is at work.

How much does it cost to run?

Normally it costs less than a dollar to charge up the batteries, so at that rate it costs about two cents a mile for fuel. Battery depreciation will add another four or five cents a mile to the operating costs. The studies also show that maintenance and repair will be less than 10% of the cost of automobile upkeep.

How often do I have to replace the batteries?

Lead-acid batteries will last about 3 years depending upon how you drive and take care of your batteries. In typical driving, this equates to about 18,000 to 20,000 miles. While Li-Ion batteries cost more upfront, they last for 6 or 7 years iin normal use.

Is insurance an issue?

No insurance is typically not a problem to obtain. The converted electric car was originally designed to meet all federal safety standards. They cost less to fix and lower speed makes these vehicles less likely to be involved in a collision.

Why drive an electric car?

Ecology, Economy, Excitement.