JMU Students Successfully Convert Gasoline Truck to Electric

April 22, 2024

This 1994 Chevrolet S10 is not your traditional internal combustion engine truck. A team of 10 engineering students at James Madison University (JMU), with the help of their advisor Dr. Steve Harper, were able to convert the truck to a 120 horsepower battery electric motor. The conversion was made possible through JMU as this was the groups’ capstone project. The conversion of this truck has taken roughly two years.

The group had to be creative with this project, as the electric motor was not built for this truck. They had to specially manufacture parts, such as engine mounts and belt tensioners, as well as implement strategies to incorporate the truck’s drivetrain.

This conversion was able to practice sustainability through the team’s use of materials. The belt-driven electric motor uses the same standard transmission, which remains shift-able, and the electric motor is mounted on top of the previous engine’s block. Additionally, the group was able to implement parts from pre-existing cars. This includes the electronic gas pedal from a Toyota Prius, and battery packs sourced from a Tesla. The implementation of a DC to DC converter has allowed for the truck’s auxiliary power items to still function. These efforts were able to reduce waste, as well as keep some of the original drivetrain intact. Congratulations to this group for the successful assembly of their truck!