Attention Electric Car Conversion Enthusiasts:
Discover The 7 Reasons Why You Should Do An Electric Car Conversion
In this post, I’m going to discuss why you should do an Electric Car Conversion. Deciding whether you want to do an Electric Car Conversion is not an easy decision. There are many things to consider and many hurdles to overcome. As I write this article in 2011, I’ve just converted my racing go-kart to electric and although not a road car, there are many parallels between a racing go-kart and a street legal car. Whilst working on my go-kart, I discovered 7 reasons why everyone, including myself should do an Electric Car Conversion. Also, having an electric scooter, I am very aware of the benefits, advantages and disadvantages of electric vehicles.
Here are 7 reasons why you should do an Electric Car Conversion:
Reason 1: Reduce CO2 emissions which is good for the environment.
It is no secret that Gasoline and Diesel burning engines emit CO2 gases. There is also debate whether CO2 is harmful for the environment or not. I know there are a lot of environmentalists or greenies who say that CO2 is bad for the environment and contributes to climate change. Personally, with so much contradictory information being preached by politicians, scientists etc, I’m not sure whether CO2 emissions contribute to climate change or not, but I’m of the opinion that I would rather take steps to reduce my CO2 emissions now, rather than do nothing and find out later that I should have done something.
Reason 2: Reduce your car maintenance, servicing and repair bills.
Gasoline, Diesel and Internal Combustion Engines require regular maintenance and servicing for them to stay operational. Below is a brief list of parts that typically require regular replacement:
- oil filter;
- spark plugs, distributor cap, rotor button and spark leads (gasoline motors);
- timing belt / timing chain;
- v-belts / serpentine belts;
- fuel filter;
- air filter;
Other items that may need replacing, but not part of a routine service are:
- exhaust system;
- oxygen sensor;
- catalytic converter;
- coil packs (gasoline motors);
- cylinder head gasket;
Other things that may need to be done during a service or repair are:
- valve clearance adjustment;
- injector cleaning or carburetor cleaning and adjustment ;
- replacing fuel lines;
- plugging up intake leaks (a source of power loss and rough idling);
And with modern engines, diagnosing problems got more complex with the requirement of electronic tools such as a Scan tool (to read computer error codes) and Oscilloscope being required to diagnose many problems. I am not aware of every mechanic’s workshop being equipped with a Scan tool or Oscilloscope so many mechanics are guessing when they try to diagnose issues with engines which in turn costs you, the end consumer as some mechanics try to guess diagnose faults with your car.
Now, to change those parts takes time and money. If you do your own repairs, service and maintenance, you will have to go out and buy replacement parts. Then, there is labor and time required to work on the gas or diesel engine. This all takes time and money. Ask yourself, what could you be doing with your time and money that you would rather do instead of repetitive maintenance?
If you pay someone to work on your car to do repairs, maintenance and service, ask yourself, how much is it costing you? Add that you your fuel bill and you may be shocked (and possibly angry) at how much money and time a gasoline / diesel engine is costing you.
Electric cars require less maintenance than a gasoline or diesel engine, as an electric motor is less complex with fewer moving parts than a gasoline or diesel engine. With electric cars, you may have to factor in battery replacement costs every couple of years, but you won’t be replacing oil, oil filters, fuel filters, air filters etc every couple of months and there are no engine oil leaks.
With less maintenance required on electric motors, do you think this is in the interest of car makers and their dealer network which service cars? Do you think this is a disincentive to car makers to make electric cars? What will the service centers do? Change batteries once every few years, change brake fluid and brake pads?
Give me a good logical reason why a car maker would want to focus on making electric cars?
Sure, there are some cars like the Nissan Leaf and Toyota have a few pure electric cars, but so did GM with their EV1, which they eventually took back and crushed. Think about it. If you are in business that spent millions of dollars in Research and Development into your gasoline or diesel engine, would you be in a hurry to scrap it for electric technology? What would your shareholders say? You would be expected to deliver a return on investment on the Research and Development done on the engines. That is why I believe car makers are in a difficult situation with electric cars and why many don’t commit to building them in mass production.
In my opinion, many established car makers will wait for some small company to build electric cars and if they get popular, they might buy the company. From an executive’s point of view, that is a less risky choice, hence, why I won’t wait for the established car makers to sell me an electric car. I’d rather take action and do my own Electric Car Conversion.
Reason 3: The potential to drive your dream car.
When doing your Electric Car Conversion, you have the opportunity to select a donor car that could be the car of your dreams. For example, people have done Electric Car Conversions on Porsches, Volkswagens, BMWs, Datsuns, etc.
When a Porsche of Ferrari requires an engine replacement, the cost of replacing, rebuilding or reconditioning the gasoline engine can be extremely expensive. A Ferrari 308 engine rebuild could cost $24,000. For that price, you could do an Electric Car Conversion on the Ferrari and still get decent torque.
Here is a Porsche that had an electric car conversion done and does really good burnouts.
Reason 4: There is no guarantee of oil supply to run a gas car.
No one really knows how much oil supply is available. No one can forecast how much oil will be consumed. For all we know, there could be that much oil, but the perceived supply is low to help boost oil prices. I don’t know the full facts in relation to oil supply and I doubt that the average person does, which gives oil companies the power to push prices up.
Every time there is civil unrest in countries with large oil reserves (like in the middle east), the price of oil sky rockets. The average person like you and I can’t control this and as a result, we are at the mercy of oil prices and supply (whatever that supply is).
However, electric cars are not under the same influences or threats when it comes to energy supply. If you have a local source of electricity, you have fuel for your electric car. Electricity can be generated from a variety of methods including renewable sources such as solar, wind, hydro, tidal and geothermal. Sure power companies can inflate prices, but with oil supply being available in limited locations, oil companies have more leverage than power companies to increase prices. In my opinion, the oil companies will use any excuse to raise oil prices, even if it is a camel doing a fart at the wrong time of the day .
The average person has resources available to them to generate their own electricity to charge their electric car, especially with solar panels and wind turbines becoming available to the average person. Not everyone can dig a hole and find oil.
Sure, some people will argue that if there were more electric cars, it will put more load on the electricity supply grid. However, are people’s roof tops being utilized by having solar panels on them? Probably not. The majority of roof tops don’t have solar panels on them.
Am I saying that electric cars is the answer to everything? No, but if you live in a region where oil needs to be imported and you have access to electricity, then doing an electric car conversion is something you should do, as it utilizes your available resources. The power is put back in your hands. If you live in a region where there is lots of potential renewable energy sources, then you won’t have to worry about fueling your electric car.
You also need to consider that solar panels, wind turbines and other forms of renewable electricity generation is getting better and will yield more electricity, will get cheaper and become more readily available, unlike oil which appears to be finite.
Reason 5: Governments are getting tougher on motorists.
Governments worldwide are imposing tougher legislations on motorists like You in relation to tail pipe emissions. Car companies are responding to this with smaller engines, turbo charging, supercharging, direct injection, stop-start technology and complex engine management systems. What does this mean to car owners? This means car owners will be faced with cars that are
- more complex which means more expensive to buy (due to the technology, research and development put into trying to make the gasoline or diesel engines more efficient with less emissions);
- expensive servicing costs as there are more parts to take care of and more things to go wrong;
- repairs and diagnosis will get more complex with new diagnostic equipment being required by service technicians. This cost will be passed on to the consumer (that’s You).
This trend is set to continue.
Consider this analogy. A fly is trying to get out of a house and tries to go through a closed window. It keeps banging its head at the window. It is trying to achieve freedom, but gets exhausted and never succeeds. If the fly was a lateral thinker, the fly would fly 10 meters along the wall and find an open door or window so it could get out of the house. Likewise, car makers keep hitting their heads against the wall trying to comply with the emission standards their cars have to achieve. They put complex electronics, electrical sensors and computers when all they need to do is put a different type of motor (like an electric motor). At the rate the car makers are going, gasoline and diesel cars are getting more complex electronics and computers installed than electric cars. Perhaps, the research and development efforts could be used to develop light batteries instead of complex engine management systems for gas or diesel burning engines.
In some jurisdictions, emissions testing is done on cars as part of the renewal of registration process. As these tests are getting stricter, it is adding financial and inconvenience to owners like You. This means parts have to be bought and installed and this takes money out of your pocket. Sometimes, engine repairs exceed the market value of the car and doing an electric car conversion becomes a viable option. Electric cars pass those emission tests very easily.
Reason 6: Electric cars have better performance.
If you are into high performance and fast cars like I am, you will like this fact: Electric Motors generate maximum torque at zero to low RPMs. This means instant torque at start up and this translates to instant acceleration. This is a race car driver’s dream fulfilled. Maximum acceleration at start up. No lag. No waiting. Just instant acceleration. A gasoline or diesel engine typically generates maximum torque at above 2000RPM so if you want instant acceleration from a gasoline or diesel engine, you need to wind up the motor to 2000RPM before your car gets any kick in acceleration. The sheer acceleration makes electric cars very competitive in various forms of motorsport especially drag racing.
And here is a street legal Datsun that had an electric car conversion (known as the White Zombie) winning a drag race against a very high powered American Muscle car.
Reason 7: Reduce your tax bill.
In some countries, states, provinces and counties, governments are encouraging electric cars using tax reduction methods. Typically, you may qualify for reduced road tax, reduced registration tax and of course you don’t pay fuel tax as you won’t need to buy gasoline or diesel after you have done your Electric Car Conversion. It is best to find contact your relevant government departments to find out what taxes you can legally avoid. Remember, having the money in your pocket is better than in the governments.
With these 7 reasons on why you should do an electric car conversion, your next step is to look at what you want your electric car to do and things you need to consider. I know with my Electric Go Kart, I just want to be able to drift and do burn outs with it. As I write this article in 2011, I’ve managed to get it to drift and will post a video of me doing a drift soon. Your goals for your electric car conversion may not be of a motor sport or recreational nature, but it could be for commuting. For those who are ready to do an electric car conversion now and want to go the next step, there is a book by Gavin Shoebridge called Electric Conversion Made Easy which I found very useful.