As the world increasingly embraces sustainable solutions, electric vehicle (EV) conversions have gained significant attention. Electric conversions involve retrofitting existing internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles with electric drivetrains and batteries. While the idea of converting conventional cars into eco-friendly EVs is enticing, one cannot ignore the fact that electric conversions come with a hefty price tag. In this article, we will delve into the reasons behind the high costs associated with electric conversions.
1. Engineering Challenges
Converting a traditional gasoline or diesel-powered vehicle into an electric one is a complex engineering process. It requires meticulous planning, specialised knowledge, and expertise in electrical systems, batteries, motor integration, and overall vehicle integration. The process involves removing the internal combustion engine and replacing it with an electric motor, along with other necessary components such as battery packs, power electronics, and control systems. The intricate nature of this task often leads to increased labour costs as well as the need for custom fabrication to fit the new components into the existing vehicle structure.
2. Customisation and Compatibility
One of the primary reasons behind the high costs of electric conversions is the need for customization and compatibility. Each conversion project is unique, as it involves working with a wide range of vehicle models and manufacturers. The engineering team must design and adapt the electric drivetrain to suit the specific vehicle's dimensions, weight distribution, suspension, and overall mechanical requirements. This level of customization often requires additional time, resources, and specialised components, driving up the overall cost.
3. Battery Technology
The heart of any electric vehicle is its battery pack, and it constitutes a significant portion of the conversion cost. High-quality lithium-ion batteries, which are the preferred choice for EV conversions, are still relatively expensive due to factors such as production scale, raw material costs, and research and development expenses. The range and performance of an electric conversion largely depend on the capacity and quality of the battery pack, which further contributes to the overall cost of the conversion process. Some companies use second-hand batteries from crashed EVs, which is a good method of recycling, but the quality and warranty of the batteries is uncertain. Other companies, like eDub Conversions, use new batteries so their performance can be guaranteed, but this does make them more expensive.
4. Safety Considerations
Safety is of paramount importance when it comes to electric conversions. The engineering team must ensure that the converted vehicle meets stringent safety standards and regulations. This often requires implementing additional safety features, such as battery management systems, thermal management systems, and crash protection measures. The costs associated with meeting these safety requirements, including rigorous testing and certification, add to the overall expense of the conversion.
5. Limited Economies of Scale
Compared to mass-produced electric vehicles, which benefit from economies of scale, electric conversions are typically one-off or small-scale projects. The lack of standardised components and manufacturing processes limits the ability to achieve cost efficiencies. Without the advantage of large-scale production, sourcing specialised components, integrating them into the vehicle, and conducting thorough testing becomes a costly affair.
While electric conversions offer a sustainable alternative to conventional vehicles, their high costs stem from various factors. The complexity of the engineering process, customization needs, expensive battery technology, safety considerations, and lack of economies of scale all contribute to the overall expense. However, ‘expensive’ is a relative word, as many customers across the world have elected to have their classic car converted to electric. Check out eDub’s Pack Comparisons for an idea of what the total cost of a conversion looks like in today’s market. eDub also mitigates the risk that the technology will become obsolete by offering modular upgrades and discounts on new tech.
Explore eDub's options for electrifying your classic car