Reverse Trike EV

A reverse trike can be like a motorcycle with two wheels in the front or like a cross between a car and a trike.

I love the idea of converting an ATV or sand rail into a two seat side by side car like reverse trike. I saw an alunminum frame kit for $10,000 not realistic budget wise for our project though.

Originally we were going to convert a car to electric with a budget of ten to fifteen thousand dollars. The main goal is to prove we can get off gas. We intend to build electric concept vehicles that will be practical commuter vehicles.

Here are the important details about my daily commute

  • I spend about $4,800 per year on gas commuting to work.
  • My commute is 32 miles each way.
  • I will be able to charge at work.
  • My bare minimum range will be 45 miles.

A lightweight two seat EV makes more sense since it will be much easier to get the required range on a 50% lower budget over converting an electric car.

We are looking for a donor motorcycle for the rear suspension and related parts. We will also need a small car for the front end suspension and steering parts. The Xzilarator (pictured below) plans use 1984 Pontiac Fiero front suspension and steering parts.

I purchased a set of plans online and will use them as a guideline for our electric reverse trike. Here is rough sketch before reciving plans 04012012. I plan on designing around the batteries rather than trying to stuff batteries into an engine compartment. This way the weight will be in just the right place.

The electric parts are easy. Except for the batteries they are another story. The t-105 6 volt golf cart batteries are the lease expensive way to go.

Budget for reverse trike EV

Our budget for motor, controller, motor plate and sproket parts will be about $2,000.

Hopefully we can get the donor vehicle parts for under $1,500

The batteries will run six to twelve hundred depending on how many we use (6-12). We are hoping a 48 volt setup with a pancake motor will achieve our speed and performance goals which are 80 mph top speed and 45+ mile range. We will probably have to upgrade to a 72 volt system. We will get some advice from the pros on the exact setup before we purchase the electric parts.

Our max total budget for a lead acid battery electric trike will be $4800 which just happens to be a years gas budget for my commute. There will be some operating expenses like battery changes every three years until we can swing lithium-ion phosphate batteries. Those should last 3000 charge cycles which will be 10 years.

Reverse Trike EV Parts List

Here is a nice little electric motorcycle parts kit that would work well for a lighter weight reverse trike. I am following the old timers advice which is to check the weight of the motor. 50 lbs or greater is recomened for this type of project.

I think we are going with a 6″ to 9″, preferably the 9″ Advanced DC or Impulse 9. Here are some other nice motor controller kits I found.

Dream Specs for this reverse trike project

I may be able to increase the budget a little and go with a premium AC drive train kit and Lithium ion phosphate batteries, taking advantage of regenerative braking to put a little energy back into the battery pack.

The kits I am looking at will cost a total of about $6,400. This will put the budget in the $8,000 range. Leaving $1,600 to acquire and fabricate the chassis parts into a rolling trike chassis.

The motor kit is the AC-20 drive kit

This is the battery pack I am considering 48V 100ah with BMS and charger

The 48v kits are priced about 3K less than a 96V kit which is why I am looking at them instead of a 72+ volt system.

A little more research with Bob from is steering me to use 10 T-1275 golf cart batteries. The cost for them will be just over $2,000 vs $6,000 for the 24 160ah Flux Power cells. It looks like the battery choice has been made for me in order to have a reasonable build cost and get the range I need. With 10 12 volt golf cart batteries I should get and average of 50 miles per charge.

Ready to take action

I am as done as I can get with the dreaming / planning stages of this project. It’s time to take action and get to work on this.

I have arranged to borrow a welder and I will need to install a 220v line in the garage for the welder. I have an available 50A GFCI circuit for a boat lift that is no longer being used. So that should be easy.

My buddy located a Fiero front end from a friend so I should be able to pick that up pretty soon.

Next keep an eye out for a donor motorcycle and start making the individual metal pieces out of both square and round metal tubing.


There is a whole community of reverse trikers here. They have plenty of prototypes, professional quality plans, and even a few soon to be production electric reverse trikes featured.

My favorites so far.

Xzilarator Reverse Trike

Here is a trike builder that offers plans to build your own

I am considering purchasing these plans from the inventor designer. If I do I’ll put up a review on the blog. They are inexpensive and will be a good research tool aiding in the decision to convert a Classic VW Bug into an electric car or build an electric reverse trike. This design does call for a Honda Goldwing engine and possibly other rear suspension parts I believe.

sand rail reverse trike project for sale on

sand rail reverse trike project for sale on


XR-3 Plugin Hybrid Reverse Trike

XR-3 Plugin Hybrid Reverse Trike

Solar Reverse Trike

One Response to “Reverse Trike EV”

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  1. Wolfsbane says:

    ATV parts are illegal to use on a road vehicle and can cause your DMV to refuse to register it. Your options are not to use them or to not to mention to the DMV and hope they don’t ask or to lie to them about it. I suppose one could claim them are from a SunL Spyder, a scooter engine 2F1R three wheeler which is supposed to be DOT approved. Some people have had problems with their DMV in registering them though.

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