Mazda MX5 Electric Conversion

Ian Hooper, 2007/8


Completed vehicle as of mid-2008


This was my first EV conversion, and was a great learning experience. The difficulties I encountered with doing my own conversion was a major motivating factor for me getting involved in the professional EV industry, in the hope of making things easier for future converters!

A major aim for the project was to make an electric vehicle to break the golf-cart stereotype, i.e something with sporty performance and fun to drive. After much deliberation I chose an MX5 as the donor vehicle, being one of the lightest and smallest rear wheel drive vehicles around, and with a reputation for excellent handling.

I opted for a large DC motor as the best bang-for-buck, running direct drive (i.e no gearbox, motor coupled directly to the tailshaft) since the motor has plenty of torque. Direct drive is a great option for rear wheel drive vehicles, but you do need to run a more powerful motor and controller for good performance.

The vehicle was originally completed in mid-2008, but has since had an extensive rebuild to bring it up to date with the latest revision of NCOP standards for electric vehicles including all the latest best-practices for EV safety, as well as reverse cycle air-conditioning as a more efficient option for cabin heating.

-Ian Hooper


  • Owner: Ian Hooper, Perth WA
  • Converted: 2007/8

Technical Specifications

  • Motor: NetGain Warp 11 (Series DC)
  • Controller: ZEVA MC600S
  • Batteries: 40x Thunder LFP160AHA
  • BMS: EVPower TS90
  • Charger: Zivan NG3
  • Instrumentation: ZEVA Fuel Gauge Driver+
  • DC-DC Converter: IOTA DLS-55
  • Vacuum Pump: MES-DEA 70/6E
  • Contactor(s): 2x Kilovac EV200
  • Fuse(s): 2x Bussmann FWH 600A
  • Safety Gear: Inertia switch, emergency stop, EVMS
  • Other: Reverse cycle A/C on the way


  • Top Speed: 100km/h
  • 0-100km/h: Approx 10 sec
  • Range: 130km
  • Curb weight: 1100kg

Conversion Blog

Click on the sections below for details of the conversion process..

6 July 2007: We have liftoff!

25 August 2007: Engine and gearbox removal

30 September 2007: Interior removal - what a mess!


11 October 2007: Taking out the clutch, tidying the electrics and.. my motors are here!

6 January 2008: Subframe prototyping - how to fit the motor and batteries!?

18 January 2008: Rear battery box prototyping


23 March 2008: Emergency Stop, Heater and Rear Shelf Components

3 April 2008: The Fabricated Aluminium Arrives

10 May 2008: The wiring begins! (Among other things..)


17 May 2008: Installing the motor and drivetrain

17 June 2008: Front equipment shelf

6 July 2008: Wiring it all up, reinstalling the interior.. and the first drive!




EV Enthusiast on 9th Dec 2012
Hi Ian how much did the conversion cost?


Ian Hooper on 10th Dec 2012
Hi EVE, I guess parts cost for this project was about $20K - roughly $10K for the battery pack, $5K for motor + controller, and $5K for ancillaries like BMS, charger, DC/DC, contactors, fuses, instrumentation.


Rochelle Kooperman on 8th Apr 2015
Hi Ian, I own a MX5 that I would like to get converted. Can you do this for me?


Ian Hooper on 8th Apr 2015
Hi Rochelle, I don't actually do conversions professionally (only my own cars / demo vehicles for ZEVA) due to the time commitment required, but you could get in touch with EV Works, who do undertake complete conversions for customers.


Zero Emission Vehicles Australia © 2024 :: Terms and Conditions, Privacy Policy, Payments and Delivery, Warranty and Returns