The ForkenSwiftBeauty and the BeastThe Baker lootFor layout purposes onlyMovies!Showing off the EV bits
OwnerDarin, Ivan
LocationBrockville, Ontario Canada map
Web/EmailWebPage email image
Vehicle1992 Geo Metro
Before conversion, this car was destined for the jaws of the junkyard crusher. But combined with parts from a 1993 Swift, it passed its safety inspection (in ICE form) with a grand total of $79 CAD invested.
MotorBaker Series Wound DC
This 8 inch motor (with female splined shaft) originally drove one of 3 hydraulic pumps in the forklift from whence it was salvaged.

It's actually made by Otis, according to Mr Husted. But it's from a Baker forklift.
DrivetrainFront wheel drive, manual transmission
ControllerCurtis 1204-412
400 amp 36/48 volt controller from a Club Car golf cart - great eBay find (cheap!). Much better than the 225A 1204-410 we started out with.
Batteries8 Exide GC-5, 6.00 Volt, Lead-Acid, Flooded
Bigger news: Hallowe'en 2008 - got another set of "new to us" used batteries, approx 1-2 years old. Range & performance increases.

Big news: upgraded to a used set of Exides from another EV owner (EV album entry # 600). These 3-5 year-old hand-me-downs are in good enough shape to meet our minimum range target!

Originally had some VERY used Powr-Surge T-105 equivalents from the company that sold us the forklift: half-dead (and worse) mis-matched batteries. Good enough for testing, but not much more.
System Voltage48 Volts
ChargerDelta-Q Technologies QuiQ
Now using a proper 48v 3-stage smart charger from Delta-Q. Plug it in & forget it - it's wonderful! Typical recharge time: 5.5 hours @ 110vac.

Previously was using a Vulcan EA 24/10 (24v/10A) charger meant for an industrial floor sweeper. We were splitting the pack to charge in parallel 24v strings each time. Bit of a hassle. And 24v/10A was too slow - sometimes more than 12-14 hours depending on depth of discharge.
DC/DC ConverterVicor
Not yet installed - picked up a 48/12v module off eBay for about $25. Currently using a surplus 12 Volt gel battery from an alarm system. Charging with a 12 Volt charger.
Instrumentation600 Amp ammeter, and a cheap digital multimeter monitoring voltage on the weakest batt in the pack. And, as of May, 2008 a custom made (not by me) 8-battery LED pack monitor.
Top Speed45 MPH (72 KPH)
Took about 0.5 km to reach this speed (and there may have been a slight downhill grade). Actual top speed in typical sub/urban use is more like 45 - 55 km/h / 27 - 32 mph.
AccelerationAbout the same as a 12 year-old boy on a bicycle. And he was trying too! Standing up on the pedals!

In reality: 0-50 km/h (30 mph) in 21 seconds with the 400A controller. With the 225A unit, it was 36 seconds.
Range20 Miles (32 Kilometers)
Our absolute *minimum* range target was 15 km.

Using the hand-me-down Exides from Sparky the electric pickup (first used) Exide pack, I was able to feather-foot the car 22.5 km [max speed 40 km/h (around 25 mph)] down to about 50% depth of discharge. Thanks Sparky!

Update, Oct 22/07: Have gone as far as 30 km (18.5 mi.), though performance is pretty weak in the last 5 km. Typically, 20 km is doable without difficulty (gentle, sub/urban driving).

In the depths of winter, range is approximately halved: 10-12 km (7 mi.) was more common. Uninsulated/unheated batteries.

Update fall '08: Our "new to us" Hallowe'en pack is much better. Have gone as far as 43 km / 27 mi on one charge, but a solid 32 km / 20 mi is now achievable in warm weather.
Watt Hours/Mile311 Wh/Mile
Calculated at the wall, over a full year of use, winter & summer. Conservative sub/urban driving, probably averaging 20-25 mph. Typical winter average is around 370 Wh/mi; summer average is 277 Wh/mi.
EV Miles
Start:116,086 Miles (186,782 Kilometers)
Current:118,060 Miles (189,958 Kilometers)
Total:1,974 Miles (3,176 Kilometers)
Seating CapacityUpdate (Oct 11/07): "4"!

Previously: "1" (batteries were on the floor boards of the rest of the seating positions for testing)
Curb Weight2,077 Pounds (944 Kilograms)
According to the weigh scale at the city's waste transfer station. (Updated Oct. 15/07)
TiresMy ICE car's snow tires, pumped up to 50 psi.
Conversion TimeStarted in March 2006 - road legal in October 2007. But it's never really finished, is it? The major features are obviousy in place, but still tinkering & refining.
Conversion CostWas on the road for $672 CAD.

Current cost: $955 CAD, after buying some better used batteries and upgrading to a more powerful rebuilt golf cart controller.

And we still have a few left-over ICE and forklift parts, plus the provincial sales tax refund for the conversion parts.
Additional FeaturesMay, 2009: added a cable actuated bicycle bell under the hood as a friendly pedestrian proximity warning device.
Update (Nov 3/09): Approaching 3500 EV kilometers driven. Didn't use the car as much this summer as last (was away for much of it).

Update (May 29/09): now 3000 km of electric drive since the conversion. Pedestrian-friendly bicycle bell added (video coming!). Have finally begun updating the web site with actual useful information: WebPage .

Update (April 16/08): Over 1000 km on the car since the conversion, so far. Recent upgrade from the 225A to 400A controller - nice to have the extra oomph on tap when needed.

Update (Oct 11/07): it's legal! The ForkenSwift has passed inspection and is insured & plated. Another EV on the road!

Note that the goal here was to create an NEV/LSV comparable vehicle suitable for short trips in a small city. High speed isn't important (60 km/h would be awesome); A minimum range of just 15 km was the goal.

When we realized how potentally inexpensively this could be done (with patience, resourcefulness and pure, blind luck), keeping costs down became a main goal.

All of the EV parts (except the golf cart controller & ammeter) came from a surplus early/mid-1980's Baker 36/48V forklift which we bought and stripped of its electric / electronic bits.

(I no longer look at forklifts simply as machines for picking up heavy stuff. Now I see them as cheap "EV kits in a box". Really heavy boxes.)

I told myself I wouldn't enter an "under construction" car in the EV Album until the car had at least moved it under its own (electric) power. We passed that milestone a couple of weeks back (April/07).

Six YouTube videos available - click through to for the links.

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