2009 SENIOR DESIGN PROJECTS
Electric Car Conversion
Andrew Friend, Robert Kangas, Matthew Laverman, Duy Nguyen, Joseph Slegers, and Katiegrace Youngsma
Dr. Douglas De Boer of the Dordt College Engineering Department financially sponsored and mentored this team of engineers as they dealt with various design decisions during the conversion of a 1998 Plymouth Neon from gasoline to electric power. One of the goals of the group was to maintain the operator interface of the original vehicle which led the team to use the “ignition” key and “gas” pedal to control the new electric motor. With so many of the car’s original systems directly dependent on the gasoline engine for power or energy, the group had to focus their attention on redesigning only the most essential systems: the drive train, the braking system, and the low voltage electrical system, including headlights and signals. The final design utilized a set of twelve 12-volt deep cycle batteries to power a 144 volt electric motor connected to the original manual transmission of the vehicle. At the conclusion of the project the car successfully achieved 55 mph but further testing is required to verify the projected range of 40 miles per charge. The Re-Volt is an ongoing project. Updates on its performance and any additional vehicle modifications can be found at this website.