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Electric vehicle conversion: for cars

Updated on August 23, 2015

What is an electric car?

An electric car is a car that uses one or more electric motors for propulsion. The energy stored in a rechargeable battery or in another energy storage device is used to power the motor(s). They are assumed to be highway-capable.

Unlike cars with internal combustion engines, they have different components. They have a controller that powers the motor(s).

Types of electric cars

There are two main types:

  • Battery powered electric cars: These cars run solely on electricity stored in batteries and have to be charged on a regular basis.
  • Hybrid electric cars: These cars can run both on electricity and petroleum based fuels. They too have to be recharged.

Nissan Leaf electric version
Nissan Leaf electric version | Source

A Nissan Leaf Review

Electric cars pros and cons


  • Current battery powered electric cars are much nicer to drive and are smoother when they are in motion. They are quieter and vibration-free.
  • Hybrid electric cars would give benefits of both types of propulsion. The energy is not wasted during idle/low output of the internal combustion engine. The size of the internal combustion can be reduced as the electric motor can compensate for the lower power output of the engine.
  • While cars with internal combustion engines consume fuel while idling, electric cars do not consume energy. Idling is when the car is not in motion but the engine is still running.
  • They are Eco-friendly and reduce greenhouse gas emissions which are highly discussed topics worldwide. Many countries are looking forward to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.


  • Electric cars would require larger batteries to traverse longer distances. They should also have increased capacity.
  • They are good only for short distance commuter journeys. They do not have much speed, i.e. it is limited.
  • The sources of electricity for the batteries should also be ones that do not lead to greenhouse emissions. For example: If the source of electricity running an electric vehicle is coal fueled thermal plant, there is no benefit as the plant still contributes to the green house gas emissions.
  • Widespread charging infrastructures are required if electric cars should not run out of charge and leave one stranded as it might happen on a long journey.
  • Long charging times are required for the battery powered electric cars, while a petroleum fuel powered car would require few minutes for a refuel.
  • Electric cars are very silent which would make it difficult for people to notice the car. This could lead to more accidents.

Many people are opting for the conversion of their cars into electrics.

Under the hood of a converted Datsun pickup.
Under the hood of a converted Datsun pickup. | Source

People can either convert their cars themselves with do-it-yourself kits or buy electric cars that were converted from petroleum fuel powered cars.

There are companies that specialize in converting cars. There are also companies that sell conversion kits.

What is electric vehicle conversion?

Electric vehicle conversion is when a vehicle running on an internal combustion engine is modified so that it runs on one or more electric motors, i.e. when it is propelled by the electric motor(s) rather than the engine. The converted car can be completely electric or a hybrid one.

The elements involved in an electric vehicle conversion would be:

  • The battery pack which is a source of electrical energy.
  • The charger which restores the energy to the battery.
  • The controller which regulates the energy between the battery and the motor(s).
  • The electric motor(s) that would propel the car.
  • The power conductors that would connect the battery, the controller and the motor(s).
  • Auxiliary equipment that would be powered by accessory equipment.
  • Circuits and related equipments that would control the working of various components.
  • Operation and maintenance of the converted car and related equipment.

In North America

In North America, hobbyists perform most of the conversion. The industry includes garages, aftermarkets and vehicle components.

The aftermarket would be concerned with manufacture, re-manufacture, distribution, retail, installation of vehicle related paraphernalia after the original equipment manufacturer has sold the vehicle to a consumer.

Electric car conversion

For conversion the person would require an electric car EV conversion kit. EV stands for electric vehicle.

Some of the companies in North America that provide these kits would include:

  • Left Coast Electric that is based in Los Angeles.
  • Ampmobile Conversions in South Carolina.
  • Make Mine Electric in Sebastopol, California.
  • Amp Electric Vehicles in Loveland, Ohio.

These companies would have their own terms and conditions. It would be well to do more research before deciding to buy an electric car conversion kit..

Light cars are good choices.

  • Motor(s) needed would also have to be small which are cheaper than large motors.
  • They would reduce power consumption.
  • They would also increase the distances that can be traveled.

Issues with electric car conversion include cost, availability of suitable cars, choice of batteries and electric systems, battery weight, etc.

Expert advice on the matter is important.

Experts say that not all kits provided by companies would contain every essential component. There would still be a number of small components that one would have to acquire on his/her own. Do-it-yourself people recommend one to acquire all components on his/her own since it would be more cost-effective. The cars would also have to meet safety standards.

Here is an insight to a car converted into an electric car


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    Post Comment

    • tajoo profile image

      Syeda Akhtar 

      3 years ago from Shenynag, China

      I would prefer hybrid cars, they seem more efficient

    • adevwriting profile imageAUTHOR

      Arun Dev 

      3 years ago from United Countries of the World

      @ colorfulone Thanks for the visit

      @ AliciaC Thanks for the visit

      Electric cars could be one of the ways to go green if the technology is utilized in the proper manner.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I didn't realize that a car with an internal combustion engine could be converted into an electric car. Thank you once again for sharing the information, adevwriting.

    • colorfulone profile image

      Susie Lehto 

      3 years ago from Minnesota

      I would not mind having an electric car at all. Matter of fact it just might be fun to drive one of these little cars. I may have to try one out someday just to experience it.


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