Electric Jeep

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This is a fun project a 100% electric Jeep!  I have about 220 hours on the project and it is complete.  This was a collaboration with Leslie Grossman the president of the Knoxville EV association.   For some more details see the EVALBUM or you can see a video taken by AV at Eastman Chemical Co. 

Update Sept 15 2011 - the Jeep came back home for a few weeks to get an upgraded battery pack.  The Thundersky 90 amphr cells were replaced with 200 amphr Calb cells.  Now the Jeep can drive 75 miles between charges.

Update October 2015 - the Jeep passed 24,000 gasoline free miles :)

We started with a nice 1997 Wrangler with a blown engine.  The body and frame were in great shape.  I would have never picked a Jeep up-front for a conversion but I have to admit it is way cool to drive.  There is also a lot of room on a Jeep and it is easy to work on.

And NO-ONE suspects it is electric until you pop the hood and then it is TOTAL surprise.

It is also a LOT of fun to drive.


I thank Richard Siggins a friend and amateur photographer for the nice photographs.

Electricity at $.077/KWH is about 23% the cost of gasoline.  The other day I drove 20.4 miles and it took 8.4 KWH or $.64 to charge it.  I definitely could not go nearly that far on $.64 worth of gasoline.

We decided to go with a 120V charging system so we can charge at virtually any plug.  If the pack is fully depleted it should take about 9 hours to fully charge.  The plan is to plug it up every night and you are ready to go for the day in the morning.

The range is about 30 miles.  Leslie said she only needed 25 miles so we saved and purchased smaller 90 amp-hr batteries.  They make much larger sizes for greater range.

The weight of the battery pack is about 400 lbs.

Here is a shot of the engine compartment.  You can see half of the battery pack, 6 ThunderSky 90 amp-hr batteries.  Total battery weight is 350 lbs with half the batteries up front and half in the rear.

You can see the 12V battery for the 12V systems in the upper left and the safety quick disconnect (in orange) between the two batteries.

The NetGain Warp 9" is barely visible mounted to the transmission.

I am just testing and we are currently one battery short but the Jeep will easily do 60MPH and I have driven 35 miles with the batteries still with some charge.

Here is a shot of the rear battery pack.  I cut a hole in the floor to hold the rear 6 batteries and the Zivan 144V charger.  This area held the fuel tank and muffler.  So you still have 100% of the space in the Jeep.

The battery boxes were made in town by Johnson Hilliard who does great work.  They also made the front motor mount.

As you can see we were short one battery.  One was bad and we had to wait for a replacement.

The Blue View monitoring system is WAY cool!  It was easy to install and shows voltage, current, RPMs and capacity.  Again I just got it installed and am working on getting it calibrated.

The system uses the rear camera input on a DVD in-dash stereo to project the image.  A very simple and elegant solution. 

Here is a shot of the NetGain WarP 9 motor.  It does a very good job with off the line acceleration in 2ng gear and will even allow starts in 3rd gear. 

We ended up going way overboard on the adaptor plate as it is 1.5" of aluminum which is way too expensive but VERY solid.  Whites Performance did a great job as it slipped perfectly together.

In the lower left you can see the Curtis 1231C controller rated at 144V and 500 amps.


We also added the Mini-BMS to ensure the cells stay between 2.6v and 3.5V.  The early testing indicates they work quite well.  I would definitely use them in my next project.  We ended up with 16 cells in the rear and 32 up front for 48 cells overall.