Around February of 2015 I somehow happened across the YouTube channel EVWest. They have an abundance of videos about a topic I had very little familiarity with; converting a gas car to an electric one. I instantly saw the appeal. What little experience I had with electric vehicles came from my family having owned a small electric car for about 6 months (which turned out to be a lemon). Even this adorable little town car was a blast to drive (or so I'm told, at the time I was too young to drive). Every ride in that car was an adventure, everything from dying in the middle of an intersection to many freezing mornings without heat, this car always had something new coming our way. We (semi) fondly nicknamed it the “tin can” reminiscent of its below par build quality. Even though we eventually came to return it under the lemon law, I always maintained fond memories of that little car.
So when I found the EVWest YouTube channel my first thought was, It can’t be too hard to make something better than the tin can! I began researching components in my spare time and priced out multiple different configurations of components, calculating estimates of range and acceleration. Finally I had settled on a configuration I liked that wasn’t too expensive, but I had left out one very important component; the car. This brought on a craigslist shopping spree as I desperately searched for a cheap car that wasn’t completely rusted out. Long story short I had no luck, everything I found was either ruined or too expensive, so I put the project on hold.
It wasn’t until around April of 2015 that the project became a reality, when my Aunt Diana generously volunteered her beloved 1984 Mazda RX-7 GSL to go through the conversion. I was ecstatic and couldn’t wait to see the car. Obviously I Googled it as soon as I knew we would be converting it and instantly fell in love with the car. On Saturday, May 2, 2015 we went to go see the car and that’s where I started posting about the process.
I want to accomplish two things with this blog: record the journey of building the electric car and offer a more technical description of how we are making things work to help others who may be undertaking a similar project or are just interested in the process. Most of our posts will pertain to one of these two things, some favoring the technical side, while others may be more anecdotal (like my first few posts).
Also, many may be confused by the use of the pronoun we interchanged with I. The reason for this is that most of this project is a collaboration between my dad and I. "I" being me, Matt. And, of course, that we also encompasses my mom, who is also along documenting the project (couldn't do this blog without all the pictures!). Most posts are written by me, Matt, but my dad claims he will write some later... We'll see. Regardless of who is writing, please enjoy and if you are converting a car as well, remember, we make mistakes so you don't have to.