INNER GEEK: ELECTRO JEEP

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 http://volt914.com – 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 http://electrojeep.com – 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!