You might be one of those machine lovers who spend quality time watching car races, either on the roads or on television. But, every time you look at your car parked outside, you are frustrated, not only for its oldest model but also high fuel consumption and low speed. All you imagine is owning the fastest car like those used in the Fast and Furious episodes, but your pocket does not allow that. Therefore, you are wondering if you can convert your gasoline-powered car to an electric car.
The shortest answer is, yes you can convert your car into an EV. However, the longest answer lies in how can you do it? What do you need? Will it come with additional benefits? Let’s find out.
Purchasing Electric Vehicles
Most people perhaps own this inefficient petrol or diesel-powered vehicles that are associated with pollution, high fuel costs, and demanding maintenance costs. Although the technological revolution demands us to be driving electric vehicles, there are no electric vehicles that are currently close to conventional cars or trucks. Models like Phoenix Motorcars, Tesla Motors, Commuter Cars, and ZAP are trying to manufacture vehicles that can be used by families, but their prices remain a dream for many.
The only available types of electric vehicles one can buy, therefore, are Neighbor Electric Vehicles (NEVs) that have the highest speed of about 25mpH. So, if you are looking for an electric car with a higher speed than that, you have two options remaining. The first alternative is to search for used electric vehicles on sites like Craig’s List and eBay. These cars have been converted to EVs by their owners and listed for sale.
If you are not comfortable with buying an already converted vehicle, then the second option fits you, which is;
Converting Your Car to an EV
First, we hope you saw the classic 1968 E-type Jaguar roadster drove by England’s Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at their wedding. That was a conventional vehicle converted to an electric-powered Jaguar by the automaker. What does this mean?
You can also easily convert your car to an electric vehicle. However, you should have the required mechanical skills or have a connection with the top-notch mechanic in town, and equal financial resources to facilitate the conversion. With the advancement in the cottage industry, it is believed that any internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle can be converted to an electric vehicle.
You don’t have to buy a new electric car and scrape your current ICE car. Even though the idea sounds prolific on paper, getting it done the right way comes with additional costs like searching for a professional who knows what they are doing. Therefore, before settling for turning your fuel-powered vehicle into an electric vehicle, remember these two main factors;
Which Types of Cars to Convert
The fact that any car can be converted to an electric vehicle is a bit decisive. The best cars to convert are the lightest ones (between 2000 and 3000lbs) with a manual transmission. This is because heavier vehicles tend to restrict the range of the electric engine.
Automatic transmissions consume too much power since their engines require to be on a constant idling. Since the electric motor delivers almost 100% of its power instantly and continuously, there is no need for multiple gears to accelerate the vehicle. The manual transmission is usually fixed in first or second gear for a steady power range while the reverse gear remains as usual. However, when converted to an AC motor, the reverse gear is set to function in reverse and back up the car at the flick of a switch.
The body style is also vital in choosing a donor car. A good car to convert should allow enough space that can hold all the batteries you need to install. Although smaller cars are the best to convert because they can easily accommodate smaller motors, sometimes they leave less space for the batteries.
Generally, the best donor car should be in good structural condition. Even if the engine is not functional, other features like brakes, steering, and suspension should be on point. Some of the models suitable for conversion include Chevrolet Aveo, Geo Metro, Honda Civic, and the Volkswagen Type 3 Beetle.
The Conversion Process
The first step in converting a conventional vehicle into an EV is dissembling the entire ICE hardware, including the fuel tank, engine, muffler, exhauster, starter, and radiator. The system will be replaced by the most significant electric motor. DC unit is the most used option, though AC unit is considered the best choice. Moreover, the vehicle’s size and weight, and the owner’s preferences determine the size of an electric motor installed.
A battery pack is installed to drive the electric motor. Lead-acid batteries are mostly used because they are cheaper but deliver a low operating range when fully charged. On the other hand, Lithium cells are more expensive though they are smaller and lighter with longer ranges. The available space determines how many batteries to be fitted.
After converting the car to an EV, you will be required to register your converted car, depending on the state regulations on car conversion. However, most states such as California do not demand the certification of car conversion since the process is aimed at producing zero emissions. Moreover, California and Montana also offer financial incentives to ICE car electrification.
Do you find it worth electrifying your car?
Apart from running away from the high fuel price, converting your car to an electric vehicle has some benefits, including reduced emissions, lowering maintenance costs, improving on its performance, and increasing its traveling range. However, the conversion idea attracts more unexpected costs like employing a professional mechanic, buying new electric components, and registering with the federal conversion agency if any.
Before choosing the conversion option, therefore, you should be prepared both financially and acquire some mechanic knowledge to avoid running to unexpected costs. Finally, car electrification is worth it because, besides promoting environmental conservation, it reduces the car owners the costs of buying fuel and lasting only a few miles before filling up again.
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