How to drive an Electric Car for a fraction of its cost

So you want to drive an electric vehicle but can’t pony up for a brand new car? That leaves you considering a trip to the used car lots.

It is not as simple as that though as electric vehicles hold their value better than their gas powered counterparts, which means you pay more.

There is a cheaper way to get into the EV club still, sort of through the back door. If you go the route of converting an existing gas car to an electric one, you will soon be driving electric without denting your pocket as much.

Yes, repurposing gas cars work and is less expensive. It can also be a hobby if you are the tinkering type. Plus you get the immense satisfaction of eliminating another tailpipe.

image source: autoblog

First thing first, what’s the budget like, since we are trying to save on cost? Estimates vary between $5,000 and $20,000. You can even save more if you willing to get your hands dirty and DIY.

The savings continue throughout the remaining lifetime of your ‘new’ electric car. You save on fuel and maintenance (bye to oil changes). Your car breaks down less frequently because there are less moving parts.

Of course, you will need a car to start with. The best cars to convert are the light ones (the idea is the less weight, the longer the trips you can take on your batteries) that are manual transmission. You also need a roomy vehicle so you can stack in as much battery as possible.

Next is the conversion kit. There are custom kits for particular car models and universal kits for, you guessed right, all types of car. The former basically contains all you need, including the electric motor and batteries, so you have less figuring to do.

image source: wikipedia

Then you do the actual conversion. This is the fun part. Strip out all the ICE parts. You can save here too by reselling them as spare parts. Engine, radiator, gas tank, exhaust, muffler, coolant tank, fuel lines, all have to go to make way for the electric parts. In go the electric motor, battery, coupler, the controller (the part that regulates the speed of the electric motor), etc.

If you do this daily after your day job, you can get your first test-drive in about a month. You can however speed things up by recruiting your mechanically inclined friends, although you may have to factor in the cost of a few beers after each session.

Or you let the pros handle it. They will do it faster and more professionally for a fee. There are many garages and startups promising to repurpose your current car for you.

Are you thinking of giving your gas car a new lease of life by converting it to electric? Would you DIY? Let’s know in the comments below.

Written by D.O. for