Electric Car

 Making an electric car is a mechanical engineering challenge often used as a competition for students from 5th grade to 8th grade.

An electric car is driven by a DC electric motor, powered by one or two batteries. 

Transmission of force from the motor to the car axle is accomplished using two pulleys and one rubber band acting as a belt. A simple switch made of a paper clip is used to connect or disconnect the circuit. Wheels are made of larger pulleys with rubber rings as tires. The car chassis is mad of a plastic board, reinforced by wood blocks and eye screws that will also support the axles of the wheels. 

Some students may prefer to buy all the parts separately and cut all the woods themselves and design their own car; however, most students and teachers prefer to get all the parts in a kit and make changes as they need.

With this project students can explore:

  • A simple propulsion method
  • Basic gluing techniques and design concepts
  • Concept of stored chemical energy energy and converting it to mechanical energy
  • A simple electric circuit

Items Needed:

Electric Car Kits usually come with parts, cut to size and ready to use. The picture bellow shows the materials you usually find in an Electric Car Kit from MiniScience. Kit includes at least 4 wooden parts and one plastic board, cut to size in addition to the 4 pulley wheels, 4 tire rings, battery holder, one transmission pulley, electric motor, rubber bands, motor mount, screws, brass paper clips  and eyelets.

Materials Checklist:

Before using the kit please verify the content with the parts in this picture.

In addition to the kit parts you will need:

  • White glue or wood glue
  • Grip Pins
  • Sand Paper (Medium Grit)
  • Tape
  • Latex Paint

 Teacher Preparation:

During construction of the electric vehicle, students can experiment and comprehend methods of power transfer, using glue, measurement, making a simple electric circuit . It is up to the teacher to make sure this background information is provided to students in some manner.


Before invention of gas engines, cars were pulled by horses or other animals. Now gas burning engines are the most popular drive in cars. There are concerns about the air pollutions caused by gas engines and electric cars are entering the market in a fast pace. Electric cars rely the electrical energy stored in batteries, so they will not cause any air pollution.

Because of the limited amount of electricity stored in batteries, electric cars must be made very light so they can transfer a longer distance with a limited amount of energy.

Assembly Procedure:

Instructions or assembly procedures are available online at http://www.MiniScience.com/kits/CAR_ELEC

Electric Car project:

Construction of an electric car is an engineering/ technology project. When you try your car in a race, the one that is built with more precision and more considerations, will be the fastest. To build and use this car as a science project, you may find a research subject that is closely related to that. For example you may try to find out:

Which battery brand provides the most power to your car?

Make a slight slope (about 10%) and use your car to carry some load up the slope. Find out what is the maximum weight that can be carried by your car. You may use pennies as weight. Each penny is about 3 grams.

If you don't have this kit, you can order it now! It is available both as a single pack and class pack.

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