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Thread: Converting a car to electric - any experience?

  1. #1

    Converting a car to electric - any experience?

    Morning sports-fans,

    I am just toying with the idea of an EV conversion to a semi-classic car I have sat doing nothing at the mo.

    I have read some articles and referenced a few companies who do this in the UK and Ireland - and seems completely achievable.
    It also seems to range from £6k to £60k upward, so have no real idea on what the costs might be.

    Has anyone here done this, and would be able to share thoughts?

    I looked at electricclassiccars in the UK, and New Electric over in Ireland. Prices seem all over the place.

    (I could not do the work myself, although they do sell kits for this.)

    Cheers!


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  2. #2
    I have never understood why anyone would want to,

  3. #3
    Grand Master Dave+63's Avatar
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    Converting a car to electric - any experience?

    Quote Originally Posted by adrianw View Post
    I have never understood why anyone would want to,
    Why not?

    I quite like the idea of an electric Rover P5.

    There’s an electric 1970s BMW3.0Csi coming up for auction which is a Tesla model S, 85 underneath. 250+ Mike range, 0-60 in under 3 seconds and an absolute stunner to look at. The only downside is the guide price of £150,000 plus.

    The upside for petrolheads is that another engine/gearbox etc becomes available to keep the gas guzzlers going. A win win situation for everyone.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Dave+63 View Post
    Why not?

    I quite like the idea of an electric Rover P5.

    There’s an electric 1970s BMW3.0Csi coming up for auction which is a Tesla model S, 85 underneath. 250+ Mike range, 0-60 in under 3 seconds and an absolute stunner to look at. The only downside is the guide price of £150,000 plus.

    The upside for petrolheads is that another engine/gearbox etc becomes available to keep the gas guzzlers going. A win win situation for everyone.
    When originality seems to be the priority, a conversion must devalue the car, it may be the case that conveniently the rules change

  5. #5
    Someone wants the original looks, maybe similar or better performance w/o the cost and hassle of ICE - so why not?

  6. #6
    Master zelig's Avatar
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    Converting a car to electric - any experience?

    I visited EV West when I was in CA just before Covid ( Jan - Feb 2020 )

    They had done some really impressive conversions (VW Camper Pickup, 911, E36 BMW )





    At the time these were mainly based on crashed Tesla model underpinnings.

    It looks like they now supply conversion kits - see the above link.

    z
    Last edited by zelig; 25th June 2022 at 15:07.

  7. #7
    Master Man of Kent's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by adrianw View Post
    I have never understood why anyone would want to,
    Because its a classic car but without the nasty bits. Rather a good idea really.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Man of Kent View Post
    Because its a classic car but without the nasty bits. Rather a good idea really.
    You don’t think increasing the weight dramatically a bad idea

  9. #9
    Master Man of Kent's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by adrianw View Post
    You don’t think increasing the weight dramatically a bad idea
    Is that important? Btw, I'm not a car aficionado; I wouldn't know if my car weighs 1 tonne or two, nor do I care. All I care for on my car is if the air con works. And the colour.

  10. #10
    Kent,

    Drive it to a metal merchants weighbridge most big towns have one.

  11. #11
    Grand Master Dave+63's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by adrianw View Post
    You don’t think increasing the weight dramatically a bad idea
    In many instances, the weight of the batteries and motor is less than the weight of the engine and gearbox etc that are removed as they’re redundant.

  12. #12
    Grand Master oldoakknives's Avatar
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    Can't see why anyone would bother. Bit like having an antique piece of furniture and sticking an Ikea piece inside.
    Started out with nothing. Still have most of it left.

  13. #13
    Craftsman
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    You definitely need to check out Zero EV (uk based) https://zero-ev.co.uk.

    Amazing group of people, Chris' youtube videos are also excellent.

    As an example, their 911 kit uses all the original fixings, so you just crate the old engine and ancillaries and keep them safe, in case you ever want to downgrade in the future back to ICE 😉 I know they're working on loads of other conversion kits (and make vehicles for film and TV), and god knows how, but they had the time to create a City and Guilds qualification in hybrid and electric drivetrains.

  14. #14
    Master
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    Surely the issue with converting a classic car is the EV technology is pioneering and it will be out of date in a decade.

    I bit like Victorians who turned expensive ceramics into table lights

  15. #15
    Craftsman
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rodder View Post
    Surely the issue with converting a classic car is the EV technology is pioneering and it will be out of date in a decade.

    I bit like Victorians who turned expensive ceramics into table lights
    An alternative train of thought might be putting modern electrics in a Victorian house.

    You could always buy a new build home if that's your thing, or make your old build a bit more modern and retain some of the character.

    Do it sympathetically and I don't see the issue personally.

  16. #16
    Master sweets's Avatar
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    It is one of the ideas I toyed with for me Landy series 1.
    With a 4x4, it would make an interesting conversion to have an electric motor powering each diff, with one motor switchable to provide 4wd equivalent when wanted, but both could be used for regenerative braking all the time.
    In the end, I bought a series 1 with a complete original engine, so it seemed silly to junk it, but the idea certainly remains.
    The upgrade in functionality by losing the engine, gearbox and transfer box in favour of a second motor is quite attractive. It would go quite a way to compensating for the extra weight of the battery.

  17. #17
    Master
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    I find the design and aesthetics of electric cars far too dull. They are generally just jelly moulds which is fine for what they are, family, daily transport, but if you like styling then they leave a lot to be desired until you get to very high numbers cost wise. I can see Porsche DNA in a Taycan but most other cars seem to be Tron crossed with said jelly mould.
    Only exceptions are maybe the Audi etron gt or the mustang maybe. So the idea of having the whole back catalogue of car design to use as a base holds some interest but the conversion costs tend to be huge.
    I suppose you could see this as very retrospective which maybe as an older demographic we prefer. A group of millennials may choose differently.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by DavidL View Post
    I find the design and aesthetics of electric cars far too dull. They are generally just jelly moulds which is fine for what they are, family, daily transport, but if you like styling then they leave a lot to be desired until you get to very high numbers cost wise. I can see Porsche DNA in a Taycan but most other cars seem to be Tron crossed with said jelly mould.
    Only exceptions are maybe the Audi etron gt or the mustang maybe. So the idea of having the whole back catalogue of car design to use as a base holds some interest but the conversion costs tend to be huge.
    I suppose you could see this as very retrospective which maybe as an older demographic we prefer. A group of millennials may choose differently.
    You’d get more range converting your Range to electric than you do currently!

  19. #19
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidL View Post
    I find the design and aesthetics of electric cars far too dull. They are generally just jelly moulds which is fine for what they are, family, daily transport, but if you like styling then they leave a lot to be desired until you get to very high numbers cost wise. I can see Porsche DNA in a Taycan but most other cars seem to be Tron crossed with said jelly mould.
    Only exceptions are maybe the Audi etron gt or the mustang maybe. So the idea of having the whole back catalogue of car design to use as a base holds some interest but the conversion costs tend to be huge.
    I suppose you could see this as very retrospective which maybe as an older demographic we prefer. A group of millennials may choose differently.

    Nothing about this design screams “I’m electric”
    That was part of the appeal to me.

  20. #20
    Grand Master Foxy100's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sweets View Post
    It is one of the ideas I toyed with for me Landy series 1.
    With a 4x4, it would make an interesting conversion to have an electric motor powering each diff, with one motor switchable to provide 4wd equivalent when wanted, but both could be used for regenerative braking all the time.
    In the end, I bought a series 1 with a complete original engine, so it seemed silly to junk it, but the idea certainly remains.
    The upgrade in functionality by losing the engine, gearbox and transfer box in favour of a second motor is quite attractive. It would go quite a way to compensating for the extra weight of the battery.
    I always thought the fun of an old Land-Rover would be to stick a motor in each wheel so you can junk absolutely every part of the drivetrain made by any part of BMC and especially British Leyland. The weight you'd save in scrap metal would more than make up for the batteries and motors you'd have to stick in and you'd never again have to clean up a large abstract pattern of oil from your garage floor. The trick is to still limit it to 45mph so you'd have amazing range from not too much in the way of batteries.
    "A man of little significance"

  21. #21
    Seems like a good idea on the surface , but ultimately I don’t fancy having an accident in an old fashioned bodyshell which has been heavily adapted with the centre of gravity, power delivery etc shifted?!?Seems like another way for rich people to virtue signal with a bit of exclusivity as they waft around in something more interesting and exclusive than the plebs. Nothing new there but the safety issue would bother me.


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  22. #22
    Frankly there are two things that would put me off.

    1/ The cost. It just isn't economically viable. Not even close. At a recent car show I attended a company was touting their electric conversions of classics. They wanted £60K for an 80 mile range.
    More range is possible, but the problem was that the chassis weren't designed to accomodate the batteries. What you were effectively getting was a one size fits all battery box in the boot. And of course that means you lose the boot.
    Most classics are driven fro pleasure at weekends. You could drive for years with a smokey old ICE before the electric conversion became environmentally better.

    2/ I know enough about Li-ion batteries to understand just how carefully they have to be managed in order to keep their capacity. No third party electric retro-fitting outfit will care about this, and if they do, they aren't going to have the engineering resource to properly manage the packs. The best you can hope for is a battery management system straight out of a Tesla - with no tweaks.

  23. #23
    Master Xantiagib's Avatar
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    6K would be very small conversion and assuming you got everything second hand and from bits lying around
    60k-90k would be my guess for something high end:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KAZFlsfFiaU

    though as times move on there are many drop-in kits out there for popular models (911, VW beetle, mini etc.) These bound to come down in price

    these guy's channel is pretty good to watch they do all sorts and currently converting two testarossa's into teslarossa's (sacriledge I know, but as long as its reversible i dont see why not - keep the engine in an art museum where it belongs)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BMdwDUfTXlU

  24. #24
    Grand Master Dave+63's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rodder View Post
    Surely the issue with converting a classic car is the EV technology is pioneering and it will be out of date in a decade.

    I bit like Victorians who turned expensive ceramics into table lights
    As opposed to the ICE technology which, in a fifty year old car, is fifty years out of date!

  25. #25
    Master
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    I'm surprised that no one has mentioned

    https://www.vintagevoltage.tv/#:~:text=Vintage%20Voltage%20follows%20Richard%20% E2%80%9CMoggy,from%20Porsches%20to%20Land%2DRovers
    .

    Personally I wouldn't touch one with a barge pole until battery technology dramatically improves. I get hacked off when my batteries give up the ghost on a 3 year old cordless drill :-). And surely much of the joy of owning a classic is hearing the engine (assuming its a v6/8/12/ flat 4 etc on a wide open throttle)

    Why is the OP considering going electric ?
    Last edited by catflem; 29th June 2022 at 17:08.

  26. #26
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Franky Four Fingers View Post
    You’d get more range converting your Range to electric than you do currently!
    I would, especially at the moment as for some reason it's really poor.
    But the conversion costs would also buy a lot of petrol, even at today's prices.

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  29. #29
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikeveal View Post

    2/ I know enough about Li-ion batteries to understand just how carefully they have to be managed in order to keep their capacity. No third party electric retro-fitting outfit will care about this, and if they do, they aren't going to have the engineering resource to properly manage the packs. The best you can hope for is a battery management system straight out of a Tesla - with no tweaks.
    They don’t have to be managed all that carefully really, just not be overcharged and not allow the cell voltages to drop too low.

    Battery Management Systems (BMS) have been doing this competently for years, and there are off the shelf ones that don’t give a fig what they’re connected to as all they see is voltage and amps.

    The skill in an electric car conversion is recreating the original power and also the weight and balance, and ensuring that the battery can deliver the power thats requested of it by the motor and power electronics, and managing the resultant heat.

    Companies like Vintage Voltage certainly do have the engineering knowledge and resource to do this properly, one of the reasons their conversions are not the cheapest, but they’re certainly excellent.

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