The Right Electric Motor for a Land Cruiser

by Ian

I have a 1969 Toyota FJ40 that just recently seized up, so I'm going to convert it to electric. I live in Colorado, so its a little bit hilly, so I want to know what kind and size of motor I should get for my vehicle.

Hi, Ian -
Oh, the Land Cruiser. I love it!

I guess the motor that's appropriate depends on what you're going to be doing with your conversion.

In Build Your Own Electric Vehicle, Seth Leitman suggests that "before you buy, build, or convert, decide what the main mission of your EV will be."

Possible configurations:

Fast drag racer. For this you want a big series wound DC motor. You'll have to charge it more frequently because that quick acceleration will eat up the amp hours in your battery pack, but it will be a blast to drive.

Longish-range freeway flyer. Get a 3-phase AC motor and controller with high voltage (300v) for this; it will cost you more initially but you'll use batteries most efficiently and regen braking is possible.

Mid range commuter. Don't need to lay rubber but don't want a slug. Here's the gray area most of us live in...and most of us use a mid-sized series wound DC motor for this, too, because they don't cost as much as the AC drive systems.

If you're going to be using your land cruiser in the mud, you'll probably want to go with the DC series wound motor, too. Either a 9" or an 11", depending on how much room you've got in the engine compartment relative to the other components and how much weight you can spare.

Best of luck with your project!


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ideal compact EV motor
by: Anonymous

If you can cover the substantial extra cost, I would suggest an axial flux AC motor, Extreme power in a very small package. Check out YASA axial flux motors. There may be others, dunno. But be forewarned, they are ungodly expensive.

Considering same build
by: VictorF

Ian, I am considering doing an FJ40 EV project as well. I don't have a vehicle yet, so I am looking for a carcass.... Preferably a 67. My year of birth and I have a beautiful 67 boat and want to paint the Land Cruiser to match. Closest I have found is a 68 with lots of rust. However if I do this the way I want, the body will get either stripped down or replaced with Aluminum. Anyway, I would love to chat with more details if you are interested, I can be reached via email at No spam please. My goal is for a daily commuter (35 miles each way) and occasional trails/rocks. I have several ideas in mind on the build, but having someone else to bounce ideas off is always helpful.

Yasa motors do all
by: Anonymous

Hi Mate
I am an electrician and have been looking at electric conversions for a while now. Have a look at yasa motors. They have develop some amazing power for size. They are a 3 phase inverted motor. You have to contact them directly and they will give you a price for the motor and controller

your 69's an auto , kinda rare...
by: Anonymous

I've been fantasizing about doing the same to my 80' after i put an aluminum tub and equally gas guzzling 350 to my original 6... and after 6-7 years the warp 13 and zilla controller are still the best on the market (& most expensive) that I have seen/found but the atlas/2 transfer case is probably the only way to guarantee reliability with handling that kind of torque....

by: MC.hase

I partly disagree with the previous comment , here's why.
You cannot profile the torque with a DC motor and controller, with AC you set it up to match your needs. I can see why DC was suggested because if you're stuck in the mud you want full torque to get you out but with an ac drive you can utilize hi torque mode when necessary then for regualar driving go to a more gradual torque profile giving you more driving range

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