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DIY Electric Vehicle Conversion


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I am in the planning stage of converting my 1969 Austin Healey Sprite to be an electric vehicle.  

I have had this vehicle for many years.  I believe it is an ideal candidate for this upgrade because there are very few accessories to draw power away from the purpose of turning the wheels.  These cars are a thrill to drive due to their style and simplicity.  

I have done quite a bit of research up to this point.  My resources are currently going into solar panels in our home, but over the next few years, this project will begin to move forward.  

In posting this here, I hope to collaborate with others and learn what challenges I can expect and the different approaches people took as they converted vehicles. 

My goals are:

Increase available power output - After all, this is a sports car, so reducing performance would really disappoint anyone in the Austin Healey community.  

Keep range about 150 miles - The 6 gallon tank got this vehicle about this distance, and lithium batteries should be able to do the same.  Hopefully better! 

Regeneration - using an AC, brushless motor brings with it low maintenance and regeneration.  There is no reason to consider a DC motor just because they are modestly less expensive up front.  

Modernization - Because this is an old vehicle, it lacks many of the improvements that have prevented corrosion from destroying modern vehicles.  I would like to prevent this spendy rebirth of a classic from rusting to death in a few short years.  

I look forward to having discussions with you to refine or reinforce my plans.  It should be a fun sharing the journey.  

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Thanks Richard, I have heard of Jehu.  I'll look him up.  Hopefully he shares a lot of technical data on how he does the conversions.  It looks like he may have put as much work into the radio as he did the drive train.  🤣

The AC-50 is the motor I plan to use.  It will almost double the torque from my gas engine.  Like his, my Sprite will need fortification to things like axle and suspension to control the added power. 

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34 minutes ago, Louisvdw said:

This on is my favorite. Might be closer to your Healey.

Also: Freedomwon batteries started as a convertion for a Jeep Cherokee. You might want to talk to them as they are in SA.


That is a nice machine.  Too bad it's a replica.  

I've talked to a couple of companies like EV-West, but they are definitely proud of their work.  The extensive body work this car needs will be a significant cost in itself.  Like I said before, I want to work with the body team to find ways to prevent corrosion in the future.  

My thoughts on battery placement are to remove the gas tank under the trunk (boot for the Brits) and extend the compartment down to use that space for half the batteries.  That will leave me with about the same cargo space as the original design and an original look.  The other half will be split onto 2 rails under the hood (bonnet) on either side of the motor or maybe just 1 above the motor, in front of the controller.  

30 280Ah prismatic cells will give me about 27kWh of capacity.  That is 330lbs of battery which should be close to the mass of the engine and a tank of fuel. Maybe a larger capacity cell will emerge on the scene before im ready to pull the trigger and I can boost that with minimal increase in size, cost, and expense.  

I am in the USA.  The Florida sun, rain, and humidity are tough on cars.  

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