EV Kapiti Project


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EV Project - Proposal Information
    Kapiti, New Zealand


The first electric cars were built around 1832, well before internal combustion powered cars appeared. For a period of time, electric cars were considered superior due to the silent nature of electric motors compared to the very loud noise of the gasoline engine.

The disadvantages of electric cars were their range due to limited battery life, and time to recharge these batteries. So they had to wait for the introduction of modern semiconductor controls and improved batteries. That time has long since come.

Lithium batteries, high capacity charges, and regenerative braking are all features available for EVs today.

At the Energy Efficiency and Conservations Authority (EECA) annual fourth Biofuels and Electric Vehicles Conference 2008 (EECA 2008) held in Te Papa, Wellington, the reality of electric vehicles was heavily praised. According to Meridian Energy, 2010 is going to be the gold year.

Electric car designs such as the Venturi Fétish (VENTURI 2008) are able to accelerate from 0-100 km/h in 4.0 seconds with a top speed around 210 km/h. Others have a range of 400 km on the motor way only requiring 3 1/2 hours to completely charge. The Tesla Roadster (TELSA 2008), currently in production, is a fully electric sports car. The car can travel 393 km on a single charge of its lithium-ion battery pack and accelerate from 0-100 km/h in 3.9 seconds. The Roadster's efficiency, as of September 2008 is reported as equivalent to 51 km per litre. That is 2 times as economical as a Toyota Prius. More close to home, Hyundai New Zealand will be selling an electric version of the Getz from November 2008. And there are thousands of successful case studies like this around the world.

The documentary “Who Killed the Electric Car” by Chris Paine (PAINE 2006) opened my eyes to the future of this planet. Our planet can no longer sustain the resources we are using and the damage we are doing.

We need to start producing electric vehicles now.


The steam engine was the only way to get around in the 1700 to 1800s. During this time steam engines ware improved by increasing the pressure and use less coal. However even at their peak of technology, they did not ever exceed being more than 5% energy efficient. All energy was lost as heat and noise. In the 1800s the internal combustion engine was invented and, due to its convenience, quickly became the standard way to travel. Like their big brother the steam engine the ICE have also had vast improvements over the years, fuel injection, turbo charges, etc. All these efficiency aids have only been able to increase energy efficiency to 15-20% in the most modern cars.

There is now 1 car per every 11 people in the world (590 million passenger cars), in New Zealand 7 cars per every 10 (M.O.T. 2007). And these cars have a cost, for every liter of fuel consumed 2.5 kilograms of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) is produced. So for a population the size of Kapiti (50,000), and based on the average annual driving distance 12,250 km (M.O.T. 2007), we put into the atmosphere 1,071,875 tonnes of CO2 every year!

Electric motors have been around for a very long time. Their power and efficiency is also well known and utilised throughout the industrial world.

The argument for not producing electric vehicles has always been the deficiencies of the batteries. “They are not powerful enough”, “They are too expensive”, and “You are only shifting the pollution from the tailpipe to the power plant”.

The truth is far from this, lithium batteries can propel a vehicle just as fast if not faster than petrol cars. The Telsa is a production example (TELSA 2008). And the X1 prototype made by Ian Wright is a great custom example; it can accelerate from 0-100 km/h in 3.07 seconds (Wrightspeed 2008)!

Yes the price of batteries is currently still expensive. But there are more and more options becoming available. Basically: To buy a complete set of Lithium Ion (Li-Ion) batteries for an average electric vehicle that can go over 100km/h and travel for 150km it will only cost about $15,000 NZD. The more common choice for EVs is Lead Acid (PbA) Deep Cycle batteries (similar to those used in golf carts and solar power systems). For an average car it will only cost about $2500 NZD. These weigh about twice as much and have about half the power as the Lithium batteries The Nickel Metal battery rang is still relatively new. They are quite expensive, about $10,000 for an average car but will last for the life of the car. These are used in the Toyota Prius. As the demand for batteries increases the price will of course decrease.

EVs do shift pollution from the tail pipe to the power plant. However electricity is a sustainable resource that can be generated in environmentally friendly ways, wind, solar, tidal, etc. But more importantly electricity is a renewable resource, it can be created now. Oil, in comparison, takes 30 million years to create!


Goals and Objectives

Goal 1 Gain sufficient information and required resources to complete a fully electric car conversion.

Objective 1.1 – Gather information about electric car conversions from many different sources. These sources will include EV conversion books, websites, and persons with experience.
Objective 1.2 – Take any required study courses to gain sufficient knowledge of electronic components, design, and safety.
Objective 1.3 – Clearly document and specify the details and options available for electric car conversion.
Objective 1.4 – Identify work required to be outsourced and gather suitable options. Objective 1.5 – Purchase and prepare a suitable vehicle to convert.
Objective 1.6 – Purchase and install EV components.

Goal 2 Inform and involve the community with EVs.

Objective 2.1 – Display the converted EV at public locations, such as Coastlands Mall or Southwards Car Museum, and local events.
Objective 2.2 – Demonstrate and allow the general public to test drive the EV.
Objective 2.3 – Share information and gains experience on electric car conversions.

Goal 3 Mentor other persons who also want to convert ICE cars to EV.

Objective 3.1 – Advertise my services in the local papers and radio stations.
Objective 3.2 – Share the experience of building EVs with other enthusiasts.
Objective 3.3 – Assist them with the building of their own electric vehicles.


This budget is based on similar projects done in New Zealand (GAVIN, 2008). and around the world (EV Album, 2008). It is currently an approximation until final decision on vehicle and the components has been performed. Time, outsourcing costs, equipment rental, import taxes, and freight not included.

Vehicle (small, light, minimal computer components) $500-5,000

Electric Motor $3,000 Controller $2,500 Batteries Inexpensive (Lead Acid) - Expensive (Lithium) $2,500-15,000 Charger $2,000 Gearbox/Motor Adapter Plate $1,000 Pot Box $100 Circuit Breaker $175 Contactor $100 High Voltage Fuses and Relays $250 DC/DC Converter $200 Main Cable (12m) $200 Voltmeter $25 Ammeter $50 Brake Vacuum Pump $100 TOTAL (approx.) $10,000 – 25,000


1. Energy Efficiency and Conservations Authority (EECA), Biofuels and Electric Vehicles Conference, http://www.eeca.govt.nz/renewable-energy/biofuels/biofuels-conference-08/index.html, 2008. 2. Biofuels and Electric Vehicles Conference (BIO AND EV), http://www.futurefuels.co.nz/Home/, 2008. 3. Venturi Fétish, http://www.venturifetish.fr/fetish.html, 2008. 4. Telsa Motors, http://www.teslamotors.com/, 2006. 5. Chris Paine, “Who Killed the Electric Car”, http://www.sonyclassics.com/whokilledtheelectriccar/electric.html, 2006. 6. Ministry of Transport (M.O.T.), The New Zealand Vehicle Fleet, 2007. 7. Wrightspeed, Ian Wright’s X1, http://www.wrightspeed.com/, 2008. 8. Gavin, Kiwi Ev, http://www.kiwiev.com/index.htm, 2008. 9. EV Album, http://www.evalbum.com/, 2008.

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