Batttery BoxTailgateFirst Test DriveWarP 9
OwnerDuane Nightingale and Dave Mellick
LocationRathdrum, Idaho United States map
Vehicle1995 GMC Sonoma
Found this truck on Craiglist. We almost got it home before the engine blew. It wasn't a good start as the towing charge was an additional $200. We decided that the best (cheapest/least headache) way to get ourselves an electric ride to work was to convert a small truck. Lots of info is available on the web for GMC S-10 and Sonomas so that was the choice. We walked away from quite a few used trucks before we found this 1995 Sonoma in fair condition.
MotorNetgain Warp 9 Series Wound DC
DrivetrainManual 5 speed - Used CANADIAN EV adapter plate to connect the transmission and electrical motor together. Nice folks up there in CA.
Controller Mellick Warp Drive 1000 DC Converter
Engineered for superior performance in this particular application. All engineering performed by Dave Mellick. Dave started with 500A version and had to re-engineer to 1000A to accommodate my heavy driving foot.
Batteries12 Trojan J150, 12.00 Volt, Lead-Acid, Flooded
Spendy, but a nice battery. Decided to place all of them in a single rear battery box. Since we're only interested in getting to and from work (no hauling), it was easiest to put them all in the bed in a nicely insulated box. Only one ventilation fan, less cabling, less welding, etc. Was able to get the box height to be just low enough to be below the bed cover. We anticipate running these batteries through about 900 cycles.
System Voltage144 Volts
ChargerZivan NG3
Decided that charging with 110 VAC was the best as we'll need to charge at work and in a few other places. Note: charger needed to be factory modified to lower the current draw for a normal 110v 15A outlet.
Heater1500 watt electric conversion. Burned up our first heater because the fan failed to come on while making heat. A real pain to pull the dash and install a new unit (but North Idaho demands that our truck have heat!)
DC/DC ConverterVicor
InstrumentationGauges for RPM, AMPS, VOLTS
Top Speed65 MPH (104 KPH)
Range40 Miles (64 Kilometers)
We commute regularly to/from work over a distance of 25 miles (one-way). Our pack fully recharges with our NG3 charger over the 8-9 hours we are at work. We stay off the main highway (65mph) and run at an average speed of about 45 mph. We cancel the electric commute during snowy/icy conditions.
EV Miles
Start:126,511 Miles (203,556 Kilometers)
Current:137,000 Miles (220,433 Kilometers)
Total:10,489 Miles (16,876 Kilometers)
    As of 12/8/2010
Seating Capacity2 adults
Curb Weight3,600 Pounds (1,636 Kilograms)
Haven't weighed it yet, but the owner's manual says that in stock condition the curb weight is 3195 lbs. The batteries we added come to 1032 lbs and the electric motor is about 160lbs. After dropping the engine, gas tank and a bunch of other stuff, I would guess the total weight is about 3600 lbs.
TiresP205-75R15 - We want better tires, but that comes later.
Conversion Time5 months: Sep 12th - Feb 16th
Conversion Cost$1,400 for the truck
$200 for the towing charge
$11,500 or there abouts for the conversion
$priceless - driving past gas stations
Additional FeaturesAdded air shocks in the back and removed two coils from the front helical springs. Placing all the batteries in the truck bed required that we undertake these mods, otherwise we'd be tail-draggin.

Added a Pak-Trakr for battery monitoring.
Dave and I commuted to work for several years and when gas hit $4.25 per gallon, Dave talked me into doing an electric conversion. Dave did all the electrical conversion, whereas I (and smarter friends) did the mechanical work and paint (Thanks Laroy!)

Of course gas dropped to $1.45 per gallon, but we kept onward. The most difficult aspect was accommodating the power steering and brakes with our electrical system. Brakes and steering systems really suck up the amps so Dave had to put in additional DC-DC converters and leave the regular 12v battery to make it work.

code by jerry