Baker forklift + Suzuki Swift + Geo Metro = Project ForkenSwiftProject ForkenSwift - Electric car conversion on a beer budget

EV conversion parts list > batteries and battery racks ...

electric car batteries (Exide golf cart) What kind of batteries did we think would be best for the ForkenSwift? Well, "best" required qualification: For us, it meant "cheap". That meant we were probably going to end up with used batteries of the lead acid variety.

Some of the options we considered:

  • Forklift battery - We knew right away the battery from the Baker forklift wasn't an option - first, because it weighed around 3000 lbs / 1361 kg (practically twice the car's weight). And second, it wasn't included with the forklift. (Literally "batteries not included.")
  • Truck batteries - The next scheme was to see if we could get our hands on some large format, used, deep cycle 12 volt batteries that transport trucks use to power their lights and "house" loads when parked. The truck service center in town sent old batteries to the recycling depot on a regular basis. Maybe we'd be able to pick through their castoffs and find some gems...
  • Golf cart batteries - I called a golf cart service company to see if they ever had any used batteries available. They did. But they also told me that any batteries they removed from carts were well and truly dead.
Ultimately we ended up receiving a pile of used 6 volt golf cart batteries from two generous EV owners who had weeded these weaklings from their packs. We've had 3 different packs in the car since its first test drive. See the gallery below for more info and images.

Baker forklift battery ... not included

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Baker forklift battery ... not included

The forklift battery was not included in the purchase - it was a 3000+ lb / 1361 kg monster pack that occupied the entire middle section of the forklift. The company probably kept it to either re-use in another lift truck or to sell to a recycler (the lead content is valuable).

We moved the forklift by putting three 12 volt marine batteries in the compartment and jumper cabling them together in series to make a tiny 36 volt pack. It was enough to turn the machine around and back it into the garage where it was disassembled.

View all ForkenSwift galleries > Batteries and battery racks ...

Baker forklift battery ... not included
The forklift battery was not included in the purchase - it was a 3000+ lb / 1361 kg monster pack that occupied the entir...
Marine 12 volt batteries: test pack for motor/controller trial
This screen grab from one of the YouTube videos shows a 36 volt battery "pack" used for the first test of the Curtis gol...
Floor sweeper batteries - test pack for first drive
The company that sold us the forklift also sells and services commercial floor sweeper/scrubbers that run on golf cart b...
Battery mockups: planning the racks
Having lucked into a potentially predictable supply of used floor sweeper batteries from the forklift company, we starte...
Battery mockups: another view
Another view of the battery position in the engine compartment. The forward batteries sit nicely on the radiator crossm...
Front battery trays - starting construction
The battery mockups were also useful for starting to make up the front battery trays....
Battery rack: engine compartment top
Two batteries fit in this rack over the motor.

The rack is bolted in six places: four through a flange running across...
Valentines 2011 pack
Some more hand-me-down batteries from an EV owner upgrading to lithium. These were supposedly good for 20 km in winter c...

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