Street Legality of DIY Electric Car

Electric cars, trucks, ATVs, NEVs - things bigger than a motorcycle.
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pittman.austin   1 µW

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Street Legality of DIY Electric Car

Post by pittman.austin » Jan 06 2019 7:29pm

New to this forum, but I've been searching only for a while and I can't seem to find any information on the street legality of a DIY electric car in California.

I found this page: https://www.arb.ca.gov/html/master_faqs ... rsions.htm

It references, "safe for highways and public streets" and "or underpowered for safe use on public streets", but it does not talk about a minimum speed.

I was hoping to cheaply convert an old Honda Fit I have to use as a grocery getter, so I was thinking I'd use an electric forklift engine to begin with, and upgrade the build when I have the cash. I assume that the fastest I'll be able to get the car to go is about 30-40mph.

Will I be able to register the car as an EV at that point?

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amberwolf   100 GW

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Re: Street Legality of DIY Electric Car

Post by amberwolf » Jan 06 2019 10:04pm

Most likely, as long as it is capable of the same stuff the original was, it'd just be registered like it originally was.

But to be sure, you'd have to check the laws in your area on that sort of thing, which appears to be what you've done with that document.

Whatever it says in that document is what you'd have to do, assuming it is the entirety of the legal necessities. (if there is additional stuff, you'd have to check with the DMV or local equivalent for that).

For speeds, if it can't maintain the speed limit of a road, then whatever laws there are about such things apply at that point. Most likely it would be ticketed for obstructing traffic or something similar if you were only going 30 on a 40 or 50MPH road, but if you stuck to roads that it could always meet the speed limit for, you'd probably be ok. (unless traffic is always at a higher speed than that, in which case you're still obstructing traffic and would probably still be ticketed, even though you were going the speed limit--that sort of thing happens around here at least).

There is also a category for NEV or LS(E)V, in many places, which you might be able to fit into; you'd have to check for that in your area.

pittman.austin   1 µW

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Re: Street Legality of DIY Electric Car

Post by pittman.austin » Jan 07 2019 10:11pm

That makes sense, I'd still like to see if there's a minimum hp rating or something of the sort.

Thanks!

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amberwolf   100 GW

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Re: Street Legality of DIY Electric Car

Post by amberwolf » Jan 07 2019 10:47pm

For that, you'd have to check the local laws, and if those don't list it, the next higher applicable authorities, and so on.

I doubt there is any minimum power level specified, as beauraucracies usally use maximum power to limit vehicle classes.

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Re: Street Legality of DIY Electric Car

Post by Dauntless » Jan 08 2019 1:45am

https://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewt ... 2#p1433591

Related thread. Depending on your state yours might be an NEV. As long as it's a conversion of a 'Normal' car, you might expect normal registration. You're not talking about a car fast enough for the freeway, though. In California such a bike gets a different plate from one that does belong on the freeway.

There are little cars that can be imported from China that I assume can be registered as NEV's, but you have to be ready to endure the politics in something nonstandard.

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JoeG   10 mW

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Re: Street Legality of DIY Electric Car

Post by JoeG » Mar 22 2019 5:20pm

I converted a 1991 Geo Metro into an EV in 2012 and registered it as an EV with the CA DMV. My conversion has a Brushed forklift motor, an AMD FB1-4001, with a home built from a Paul's kit 600A controller, and 45 100ah CALB Lifepo4 cells. I've been using it as my daily driver around town for 7 years now. In 2011 when I started the project the registration process was to take the car to a special DMV referee station, and have them send the proper paperwork to Sacramento to get a registration that has the " Fuel" listed as "E" for electric instead of "G" for gas. When I was ready to register my Metro that had changed and I was told to just take it to my locale DMV and they would look at it and handle the paperwork. My conversion was the first one that my locale DMV did and the manager ended up handling the paperwork. It took Sacramento 4 months to send me my new registration. I have no idea what the current process is , but I would contact your locale DMV, since they are the ones that will either help or hinder you in the process. The DMV didn't care about anything other than you had completely removed the gas motor when they processed my conversion.

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Re: Street Legality of DIY Electric Car

Post by cheapcookie » Mar 28 2019 11:17pm

Kinda worried you drive around Cali without being familiar with the "follow flow of traffic" rule.

If you intend to go to TJ's and back without going on the e-way , max speed of 50kmh should be ample to not attract LE's attention, bonus points if you accelerate like Mad Max, since this is endless sphere.com :twisted: :twisted: :flame: :flame: :bolt: :bigthumb:

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