Converting a Caravan to Electric

by Ed Svadlenka
(Oak Lawn , IL)

Jerry McIntire's Electric Caravan (the TEVan)

Jerry McIntire's Electric Caravan (the TEVan)

Is it possible to convert a 2000 Dodge Caravan to electric?
I want: a range of over 200 miles.
I DON'T want: to lose any of the cargo room.

...and what would be the cost?

Hi, Ed -

Well, as a matter of fact, Dodge put out an electric version of the Caravan a couple of times in the 90's.

The first was the Caravan TEVan shown in the picture above, with NiCad batteries. They claim a range of 50 miles with a DC motor.

The second was the Dodge Epic, also an OEM electric vehicle manufactured in the late 90's. This car has NiMH batteries, and claims a range of 80 miles, which sounds reasonable. It's got a 3-phase AC motor, which is notoriously better for battery range.

The short answer is that the Caravan must be a decent conversion candidate, or Dodge wouldn't have done it - not once, but twice. It's a HEAVY vehicle, though. For that reason, it wouldn't be my first choice.

As to the 200 mile range? Probably not.

You'd probably be able to get 100 miles or so out of a set of Lithium Polymer or Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries, though.

For an AC conversion kit, 10-15k. For the lithium batteries you want, another 10k.

Regards,
Lynne

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How about Solar
by: Michael J

How much more travel time do you think we can get if we used solar power on the roof. With the new 330kw panels I think we may be able to add at least 30% more travel time if not more. What are your thoughts? Mike

Hi, Mike -
I think it's a good idea in theory, but in practice not that efficient yet. For now I would rather solar charge at home, where the panels are set up at the right angle to perfectly catch the maximum amount of sunshine every day.

Regards,
Lynne

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