by Ross Cunniff

One of my favorite things in life is tearing things apart and putting them back together to see how they work. Over the past couple of years, I have taken that to a whole new level – by converting two automobiles from gas to electric.

It got started about 5 years ago when I acquired an ugly purple 1975 Porsche 914 – specifically because I wanted to do a conversion:

Inner Geek: Purple914

True to form, I tore it apart and put it back together (without the original engine) – I had to get at various rust-damaged areas of the body to repair them. Not to mention, silver is a much nicer color than purple:

Inner Geek: SandBlasting Inner Geek:Silver914

Using a kit – specifically designed for the Porsche 914 – I then put in the electrical components – electric motor, controller, batteries, etc.:

Inner Geek:EngineTop Inner Geek:TrunkWiring
Inner Geek:FrontBattsIn Inner Geek:Rear Batts Connect

There are many more details on my blog at – including a video that describes everything.

As fun as converting the Porsche was – it was just a warm-up for the main act. I converted a 1986 Jeep Cherokee to electric. Unlike the Porsche, I did not have the benefit of a kit – everything had to be done from scratch. Here is the donor vehicle – our family car in the ‘80s and ‘90s (you can also see it in the background of the silver Porsche picture above):

Inner Geek: JeepBefore

Without a kit, I needed to design and build every bit of the conversion. This included the high-voltage and low-voltage wiring design:

Inner Geek: NewWiring

Battery rack design and construction:

Inner Geek:LowerRearRack Inner Geek:Lower Rear Placed
Inner Geek:Seat Rack Inner Geek: Seat Welded

Motor mounts and dashboard customization:

Inner Geek:MotorIn Inner Geek:GaugeB

And 1001 other details. So, now I have two fully electric vehicles to drive around – one for me and one for my wife. And, being a complete geek, I documented this one as well at – including Google Sketchup CAD drawings of all the mechanical parts. I’ve probably invested 800 hours or more in the projects, but I’ve learned quite a lot, and had plenty of fun!

I still tinker with both cars from time-to-time. However, I have my eyes open for the next conversion vehicle. Stay tuned, I’m sure I will blog that one as well!