Jet Electrica

NOTE:  I sold this Jet, but harbor grand plans to build another EV from the ground-up!

[Some useful EV-related website links]

This Jet Electrica was originally manufactured by Jet Industries of Austin, TX, which produced about 3,000 EV conversions while they were in business. Most Jets were based on Ford Escort and Mercury Lynx chassis purchased new as from FoMoCo as "gliders" (body and chassis without engines). To convert the Escort to electric, Jet mated a Prestolite 96v traction motor to the original Ford transaxle, fabricated battery boxes front and rear, and added a speed controller and an on-board battery charger.

I restored this Elecrica with the following improvements:

(Painted in my driveway with Imron Fire Engine Red.)

The original configuration of the Jet was 16 batteries of 6v each, for 96v total, distributed 5 in the front:

(the center battery is to power the 12v accessories)

... and 11 in the rear:


I added 4 more 6v batteries to the traction pack, in a box fabricated under the back seat:

... for a total of 20 batteries, and 120 DC volts, nominal.


The original 96v Jet speed controller used to be installed in the left rear quarter, and was huge.


In its place there is now a modern and compact Russco SC 18-120 110v AC automatic traction battery pack charger.


The speed controller location was moved to the front, where the old huge and heavy 96v battery charger used to be.  In this location the controller is close to the motor where it belongs.  It is a modern and efficient Curtis 1231C.  (The picture here is of a previously installed 1221C, which was recently replaced with a higher-capacity 1231C.)  The 1231C is capable of delivering up to 500 amps to the motor.  A heatsink and cooling fan allows it to handle long periods of high current:


An electric car has about the technology of a flashlight. Under this ominous looking cover:


There is a cluster of various simple switches and control components:

The square box is a 5K pot activated by the throttle pedal, for input to the Curtis speed controller.  To the right of the pot box, in the rear, is a 12v "contactor" solenoid.  When the keyswitch is turned "On", the contactor is activated, and the 120v main traction circuit is closed.  This is the "+" side of the circuit.  It then goes through a 400 amp fuse (white tube to the right of the pot box.)  Finally, before the 120v positive lead exits the switchbox, it goes through an "emergency" disconnect mechanical switch, which can be tripped by the driver by pulling on a red knob in the cockpit.  To the bottom right is the ammeter shunt, it is in the circuit to the motor field, so the ammeter displays the amps being drawn at any given time by the motor.  Cruise draw is typically 75 amps.  Normal acceleration is 200-250 amps.  Up to 500 amps can be drawn during hill climbs, etc.


The instrumentation is simple:  On top of the dash are a voltmeter (0-150) and ammeter (0-500) to monitor the state of the main traction battery pack.  To the right of the steering column is a 12v meter for the standard automobile accessories: lights, horn, radio, etc.  The 12v battery is augmented by a 30 amp DC-DC converter of my own home brew that converts the 120v DC of the traction pack to a standard, automotive "float charge" level of 13.8v DC.  There is an onboard gasoline-fired heater (similar to the gas heaters used on old VW vans) which, in the spirit of having a true EV, is no longer in use, and the gas tank has been removed.  Heat is now provided by an ordinary hair dryer which is ducted into the OEM heating system plenum.  It is plenty of heat for the mild winter weather here in the Pacific Northwest.   When it gets to be sub-freezing outside, another handheld hairdryer is plugged in.



[my other vehicle]