Last Updated 03/18/07
My Electric Honda Project
Nope, the wheels didn't come with it.
This is the basic beginnings of a webpage relating the conversion of my '88 Honda Civic into an electric car.  Like the webpage, the conversion hasn't gone quite as planned.  It has evolved continuously throughout the project, and continues to do so today. 

The original idea looked like this:

  • Motor:                    a used 9" GE series wound
  • Controller:              a used Curtis 1221B 120 volt 400 amp
  • Batteries:                10 used group 31 Johnson Controls Dynasty UPS batteries.
  • Charger:                  a K&W BC-20 charger with LB-20 line booster.  120 VAC input.
  • Voltage:                  120 volt system.
  • DC/DC Converter:  Todd PC/LV-40
What I had planned on was basically stripping my old Jet 007 back down to the original specs, and using some parts I had scrounged up.  So much for plans.  It didn't turn out anything like that.  Instead it specs out like this:
  • Motor:                    8" Advanced DC 203-06-4001 
  • Controller:              Auburn Kodiak WC-600 
  • Batteries:                13 Dynasty 12 volt AGMs
  • Chargers:                  Zivan NG5, 220 VAC input, modified "Fair Radio" 120 VAC input
  • Voltage:                   156 volt system
  • DC/DC Converter:  Todd PC-30
The car itself is a base model 1988 Honda Civic hatchback, that originally had a 1.5 liter engine and a 4 speed manual transmission.  I found in sitting on bald flat tires in the back of a used car lot.   The sign on the windshield said "bad valve? $800" , but they took $400.  That was in February of '99 and it looked pretty much as you see on the left, kind of nasty.  I did actually get it running, but it was one very sick puppy.  I was hoping the engine would be good enough to sell, but it was scrap. 

I started tearing it apart on February, 24th, 1999.  The loan of a very nice engine hoist by a fellow EV club member made pulling the engine fairly easy.  As the car came apart I found a number of things that needed fixing.  Among them, both front CV joints were ruined, the transmission had bolts broken off in it, the front motor mount was basically gone, and the brakes were toast.  Instead of just fixing everything, I decided to make upgrades where possible.  Among these were:

  • '91 Honda Civic EX front spindles. calipers, rotors, and master cylinder.  These are the largest available Honda brakes that will directly bolt onto this chassis.  This did require different axle shafts, but as I needed these anyway it wasn't a real problem.  The EX uses the same rear brakes as the other Civics, so these were not changed, just overhauled.
  • '90 Acura Integra front springs on new Civic struts.  This helped compensate for the added weight of the batteries.
  • '91 Civic Si rear lower control arms and struts.  I fitted the struts with Prelude springs to support the additional weight of the rear batteries.  I wanted the lower control arms, so I could have the rear stabilizer bar, and because the '89-91 control arms are forged, rather than the lighter stamped units used in '88.
  • '90 Civic LX front stabilizer bar, and '91 Civic Si rear stabilizer bar.  My Civic was a base model with no stabilizer bars at all, so this made a huge difference.
  • '88 Civic DX 5 speed transmission.  It was far easier and cheaper to replace the whole transmission than to try to drill out the broken bolts and re-tap them.  It also gave me an extra gear if I needed it.
  • '90 Civic LX instrument cluster.  These have a tachometer, and that was one feature I wanted on my EV.  It can be difficult to determine motor rpm when you have a virtually silent motor.



Tearing the Civic down went rather quickly.  I think I had all the ICE parts out in the first week.  The trick is to label everything as you disassemble, and cut as little as possible.  It is very annoying to realize the wiring you just cut through is one you should have kept.  I bought a Helms manual, the same one Honda uses, and never regretted it.  It makes the Chilton's and Hayes manuals look like jokes.  If you going to do a conversion, buy the real manual.
Filthy Fossil Fueled Smog Monster
Another look at the stock set-up.
Maybe too many pictures?
Plain Jane basic Honda interior.
Disassembly begins!
Man there are a lot of things on a modern motor.
Kinda nasty eh.
Is out!
So now what do I do with this junk?
More useless bits.
How to trash your garage.
Look ma, no tailpipe!
Tanks alot, but your outa here.
On to the next page: