A few years ago, converting your car to electric was something reserved only for those with expert knowledge of automobiles or characters in sci-fi novels. Today, there are many companies out there that are willing and able to get you away from burning those dinosaur bones and into the new millennium. So what are the best electric car conversion kits?
Going electric isn’t always going to work for your car and could end up ruining a lovely auto. Car conversions can mean several thousand dollars spent on parts and batteries that might not be the solution to your energy and transportation problems. No worries! Read on and learn which companies have the best electric car conversion kits.
Best Electric Car Conversion Kits
The word kit is thrown around a lot in the auto industry, and you should know that not all cars are going to be a simple and straightforward conversion job. So if you are a novice mechanic or not sure about the process, you should take the time to research a local mechanic or company that will get your car converted and possibly let you do some of the work yourself.
Zelectric is on the Cutting Edge of Car Conversions
Zelectric is a company located in California that makes some of the cleanest and most efficient conversion kits around. They focus on older models Volkswagen and Porsche, emphasizing making them more quiet and powerful. Some buyers are thrilled with the increase in horsepower and the ability to add modern electric upgrades.
It is hard to define Zelectric as a company that makes electric conversion kits for cars and not as a top-tier designer that makes some of the most impressive electric cars on the road. However, they have made a mark in California by leaning into the beach, and rat-mod themed automobiles to create a niche in electric vehicles that have reached cult status.
Some Pros of choosing Zelectric as an electric conversion kit are:
- Car Finder Service – If you are in the market for conversion and don’t know where to find your car Zelectric has a service that locates the make and model you are after and converts it themselves. This fee can be bundled into your overall price and can equal significant savings.
- Different Types of Conversion Kits – Kits made at Zelectric come with an array of options. You can have the standard conversion or get an upgrade that enables all the bells and whistles of a modern electric car in your ‘68 Volkswagen Camper Van.
- Reversible Design – One of the best things about the Zelectric kit is that you can restore the car to its original engine with no issue if you don’t like it. Some people love the rumble of their old VW, and you don’t get that from electric cars.
A few cons of a Zelectric Electric Conversion Kit are:
- Specific Makes and Models – If you want to have your 88 Buick Skylark converted to electric by Zelectric, you are out of luck. They only cater to the air-cooled version of some Porsche and Volkswagens.
- Price Range – Zelectric is very expensive. You can expect to spend around $60,000 for a complete conversion kit with all the bells and whistles. There are cheaper models, but you aren’t going to get out for less than $35k.
A Green Motors Inc Conversion is Simple and Effective
Green Motors Inc. is another great company that has an excellent electric conversion kit. Based in Arizona, one of the warmest states in the country, Green Motors works towards inexpensive and effective modifications that allow options like plug-in hybrids and the standard gas to electric conversion.
Arizona gets a severe amount of sun. Not only is that hard on a car, but it also means that gas-operated vehicles could burn even more fuel because of expanding gasses during storage and transportation. Green Motors Inc uses the Arizona sun to make their models more efficient and, in some cases tripling the rated mileage per gallon.
Pros of choosing Green Motors Inc. are:
- Complete Custom Shop – Green Motors is one of those companies that love to experiment with battery-powered cars. They can make a kit for any type of car and even work with bicycles.
- Electric Parts Distributor – If you are serious about having the DIY experience, Green Motors is the place to go! They have parts and the know-how to make any electric conversion in the comfort of your home.
- Refurbished Dealer – If you have tried the DIY route and it wasn’t for you, the awesome folks at Green Motors have a lot full of converted cars and could be willing to make a deal to have your electric car dreams become a reality.
Cons of choosing Green Motors Inc are:
- Communication – Getting in touch with Green Motors Inc is a bit hard as they haven’t updated their information or website in quite some time. They have a storefront located in Arizona, and if you are a local it would be best to pop in and give them a shout in person.
An EV West Kit is a Great Addition to Your Electric Conversion
The folks at EV West are a thriving and gifted community of engineers and mechanics. They have kits for many different types of cars and have any parts you need for the job. They work by selling bundles of batteries and controllers to make your vehicle shoot the gap from petrol to electric.
Think of EV West like the Amazon of conversion gear. They deal with many different companies, some gigantic and some tiny, that can get you just the right set-up for your ride. They have great consultation online and in-person to allow you to get all the info you need before jumping into a $20,000 build.
Some pros of EV West are:
- Rabid Fanbase – The people who shop from EV West are loyal to the brand and trust the people behind the scenes. Customers who buy from EV make it a point to start there every time they need something for a new build or repairs on an old project.
- Online Portal – It should not be understated how important the webpage is to convert your car from gas to electric. Every piece of information they have is on the site and could come in at a critical point in the job. Lean on their knowledge to get you through the rough patches of the conversion.
- Prices – EV works with so many different companies that they have a deal to fit just about any type of budget. They list the prices out in the open so that there are no surprises when you get to the payment page.
The cons of using EV West are:
- Information Overload – There is so much to read about and explore on the website that you could become overwhelmed with everything. It takes a mind with lots of knowledge of mechanical and electrical know-how to comprehend some of the diagrams, and you should get all the help you need from a professional mechanic if you are lost or a first-timer.
- Limited Vehicles – The bad side about EV West is that they only have products for a few makes and models of cars. They work with many companies with many products, but they lean towards air-cooled older-model vehicles.
General Motors is the New Kid on the Conversion Kit Block
GM is an iconic company in the United States with a list of cars so famous it would make your head spin. Sensing the market was heading towards electric conversion, they started the ball rolling within the company and have made some impressive strides.
The fact that a company as big as General Motors has a conversion kit should make you see where the market is heading as the parts and technology become more available and affordable; their GM plans on their conversion kit to lead the way into the future.
The pros of getting a GM conversion kit are:
- Name Brand – Large companies don’t weigh in with conversion kits too often. Knowing that a company with a reputation like GM’s stands behind the product will ease the minds of even the biggest skeptic.
- Major Innovation – The brainpower put into the GM conversion kits is astounding. They used some of their best in-house engineers and freelancers from around the electric vehicle community to create a second-to-none product.
- Functional Performance – The early numbers on the GM conversion kit show that they can increase the horsepower and torque in some of their older model trucks, which means that the old gripe of low-powered EVs are fast becoming a thing of the past.
The cons of buying a GM Electric Conversion Kit are:
- Hard to Find – The worst thing about the GM conversion kit is that it is so new it is hard to find. It was released at the beginning of 2021 with a plan for full-scale production by the end of the year.
EV4U is an Innovative and Fun Kit for your Conversion
Richard Van Wyne founded EV4U with the Shadetree mechanic in mind. His designs have become some of the most sought after and trusted in the conversion game. EV4U offers classes, online and in-person, that allow you to train yourself or your crew to handle the gas to electric conversion in almost any type of vehicle.
Not only does EV4U know the conversion book backward and forward, but Mr. Van Wyne also wrote it! The classes offered are great for mechanics of any skill level, and there is even a consult option for those who live outside of the area.
The pros of choosing EV4U for your Electric Conversion Kit are:
- DIY Potential – Let’s face it, the most remarkable thing about EV4U is the potential to do the work all on your own. They provide so many different ways to learn how to do the work yourself you would be wise to check them out. Keep in mind that the programs offered will be expiring one year after you buy them.
- EV Conversion Knowledge – When it comes to conversions, you can count on Van Wyne and his team to know how to fix any problems and make an automobile that is great for the environment and easy on your wallet.
- Upfront Pricing – Most companies have a shifting price scale that depends on lack of materials and demand. EV4U is going to give you the total price of the build at the beginning of the process. Knowing a set amount of money is a great mind easier for those who could doubt converting to electric.
- Online Workshops – EV4U is the place to go if you are looking to learn how to install your conversion kit. For under $1000, you can get access to all the videos and email help that you need to get the job done.
A couple of cons of using EV4U are:
- Difficult Page – The website for EV4U is terrible. It is hard to find what you want and even harder to make any sense of where you need to look. They have made strides in their customer service, but the website continues to be a thorn in their side.
How Electric Car Conversion Works
Internal combustion is what makes older cars run. The ignition of the gasoline inside the engine drives the pieces on the inside function, and it produces the propulsion that sends you on your merry way down the highway.
The electric car works a bit differently than the internal combustion engine. Instead of the bulky metal housing at the front, you can have a streamlined series of batteries that keep the car’s integrity while providing a cleaner and more efficient engine.
The main parts of the electric conversion for gasoline cars are:
- Electric Motor – Saying that these types of engines are like those in your RC car isn’t that much of a stretch. An engine will be the primary driver for all the transmission pieces. It isn’t as large or bulky as a gas engine but will produce identical amounts of power on a much smaller scale.
- Batteries – As expected, there will be an abundance of batteries for the car. Usually, a lithium-ion battery is the choice, but some companies have trade secrets that allow them to get the same performance as their gas competitors.
- Controller – The controller is kind of like the nervous system of the car. It is the series of wires that control everything that the vehicle is capable of. It controls how much energy is spent driving and tells you when the car needs to be charged or serviced.
They concentrate on replacing the engine and making all the parts driven by combustion to new electric wires and harnesses for a car conversion. This conversion is not as straightforward as it sounds, as there could be tons of computer work and bugs to deal with in the beginning.
The Do-It-Yourself Electric Car Conversion Kit
As discussed earlier, there are only a few components that make the electric conversion kit work. While these parts are needed to make things work smoothly, there is a bit of playing around to select the type. The Do-It-Yourself kit can be put together by knowing what kind of car you have and the exact parts it needs for the upgrade.
Choosing the parts is going to be like navigating a minefield. That sounds like a complicated thing, but once you have a few rules in your pocket, it shouldn’t be too hard of a job to check off of your to-do list.
A couple of rules to follow when shopping for the DIY kit are:
- Know Your Car – Knowing what make and model you have is going to be the biggest dog in the fight. Once you have those numbers, you can begin to search for the correct battery and components for your car.
- Choose an Engine – The engine is what makes the car move, and you should be looking for a type that improves the performance of your car while making little or no impact on the environment.
- Check the Prices – Electrical parts that come from overseas are notorious for being overpriced. You should make the rounds and check all the competitor’s prices before you pick pieces that could be wrong for your ride.
Installing an electric conversion kit in your car is something that could be a hassle without the proper knowledge and equipment. Companies on the market specialize in making kits that will do most of the work for you and leave you with the minutiae of working out bugs in your auto.
Conversion is the way of the future, and when looking for a company, you should look for one that services your make and model of car and your area. Hauling vehicles to the shop is a definite way to make an already expensive process much easier and less expensive for everyone involved.