Everyone who builds, builds different. That includes our budgets, every one is different which is another factor making home-brew EV’s so diverse. It’s not a Porsche, BMW or a Tesla, its a solid platform chosen by many who know they can build the EV for the “every man”.
The Geo Metro, born of a GM partnership with Japanese manufacturers and aimed squarely at the economy market is a popular car for gas-misers and EV convertionists alike. Introducing Dalton Fetsch’s 1991 Geo Metro:
Occupation & Age ?
Currently a senior at Freeman High School, 18
What got you interested in EVs Dalton ?
My Advanced Placement Environmental Science teacher Mr. Hays showed my class the movie “Who Killed The Electric Car?”. That was it for me, I wanted to build one.
Is this your first EV ?
How did you settle on the Geo ?
Availability, compact size, low weight, easy to work with, easy to get parts for.
Your lead acid pack weighs almost 950lbs where did you locate the batteries, did the weight affect the feel of the car ?
The majority of the batteries are in the rear of the car, I removed the back seat to accommodate 12 batteries behind the driver and passenger seats. The other three are in the front, right behind the bumper. The weight greatly affected the car, in the back it was more than the stock suspension could handle so my dad and I cut down a set of Ford Ranger coil over springs to replace the stock geo suspension. This helped greatly with the handling of the car although new shocks are probably needed.
Are the brakes fully manual or assisted ?
The brakes have a 12 volt vacuum assist pump and reservoir, with the added weight this was a must.
The cost of your EV was partially subsidised for the purchase of the batteries, could you tell us how you achieved this ?
I have a cousin that sold exide batteries at the time and he got me in contact with Exide. I told them about my senior project to convert a Geo Metro to electric and were very helpful sponsoring 15 8 volt gc-8 batteries.
How much did the battery pack cost ?
For me, nothing. Exide was very generous.
What do your friends and family think of the EV ?
My family has been extremely supportive, especially my dad, Brent. He was my right hand man through the entire project. My friends were skeptical at first, now they can hardly believe that it actually works.
Is there anyone you’d like to thank specifically ?
My dad, I have to say I became discouraged in the middle of the project (being more massive than I had imagined) and he helped encourage me to finish what I started.
Do you have a favorite story about building or driving your EV ?
The day I finished the car, everyone else had gone to bed because I couldn’t get the battery leads hooked up right from the controller to the motor and it was getting late. By the time I finally figured it out it was pitch black outside and late turned in to early. April fools day morning, 12 AM. I was so excited I woke up my parents so I could give them a ride around the sub-division we live in. I was a great feeling to finish the car.
What do you think the most critical part of the conversion process was ?
The adapter plate from the electric motor to the transmission and the adapter between the two shafts. Any miscalculations or bad machining could have resulted in ruined bearings, sever vibration, or worse. I spent a lot of time machining those pieces.
Which EV enthusiast sites do you visit ?
EV album is a favorite of mine, I love to see what others have done.
Where did you buy most of the parts ?
Some were from Cloud Electric online
Does any of your power come from renewables, either from purchased offsets, directly, or home generation ?
No unfortunately not, although my dad likes the idea of solar.
What charger do you use ?
What has your conversion experience taught you ?
Nothing is too hard to undertake.
Do you have a favourite EV conversion that you’ve seen ?
Audi has a very cool looking prototype they have created. (The E-Tron)
Do you have any plans for improving on the build ?
Definitely new shocks, that would help a lot with how the car rides. They are a little wore out and the extra weight doesn’t help.
Thank you Dalton! Its great to hear from high schoolers who are not only just interested in EVs but have built their own!