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Making your classic an electric vehicle

Going green is feasible with the right components


Growing concerns over limited resources of fuels and the environmental effects of burning fuel in internal combustion engines have given a huge rise to the automotive industry moving towards electric vehicles. The problem has been taken very seriously by some countries like Ireland who have imposed a ban on sales of new cars with petrol or Geisel engines effective from 2030.

Buying a new electric vehicle can be a problem for some people with limited financial resources as the new electric vehicles don’t come cheap and the used ones have their batteries worn out and need immediate replacement costing almost the cost of the car itself.

Also, some people want to support the whole environmentally friendly act of converting to green energy, but they cannot get themselves to buy one of these futuristic vehicles. They just love their classic vehicles and are not ready to give them up.

Today, we’re going to look through the process of converting your classic car working on an internal combustion engine to a completely electric one. We will discuss the process involved in this conversion and analyze how it can be significantly cheaper than buying a new electric car.

While the public barely knows about this but converting classic cars to electric has become a well-established industry that can make a huge impact on the Climate Crisis and your finances.

One way of conversion is to contact one of the companies built in recent times which have worked to train mechanics and develop special kits for different models of cars which makes the process much easier and quicker. In case you don’t have a kit for your car available, you can simply get a general conversion kit and go to a relevant mechanic or perform the conversion in your garage if you have the right set of tools and equipment required.

The basic processes involved are:

  • Remove the engine, radiator, fuel tank, exhaust system, ignition system, and a few other bits and pieces of the car which are useless once the car turns to electric power.
  • Design and manufacture a frame for the motor to hold it to the chassis and install the flywheel taken from the engine on the motor thus connecting it to the transmission.
  • Now, select the right place to install the batteries according to the size of the batteries purchased. It is recommended to get a battery pack with a cooling system to minimize the risk of malfunctioning due to overheating.
  • A-frame to hold the batteries is designed, manufactured, and installed keeping in mind to keep the center of gravity as low as possible.
  • Now, the inverter and controller of the system are installed, preferably in a place easily accessible for further changes needed.
  • The whole wiring system is inserted, and the controller is then programmed and calibrated according to the throttle system
  • Liquid cooling system is installed to keep the battery pack, motor, and controller at an optimum temperature.
  • Some other components of the car run by the engine are to be powered electrically now, for example, the hydraulic pump of the steering wheel and compressor for the air conditioning. Small motor/motors are to be provided to power these machines.
  • Finally, testing is carried out and the bugs are removed if found.

The standard procedure in converting a car to electric with an average power is discussed above but there may be some exceptions if the electric system installed has a large amount of horsepower and torque.

If there is a dramatic increase in power with the EV conversion there are some very important components of the car that should be upgraded.

Some examples of such components and the solution for such cases are as follows:

  • The chassis might be damaged due to the weight of the batteries, so the strength of the chassis should be analyzed and increased if needed.
  • The driving shafts may not bear the instant torque from the motor and break, so the shafts must be replaced with the stronger ones.
  • Powerful electric system would cause large acceleration figures, so the brakes should be able to work accordingly. The old brakes of the cars are to be replaced with better ones if needed.

The cost of the conversion mainly depends on the labor and the batteries but still, it costs much less than replacing your car with a new electric car. While a new electric car might cost you around $30000, a normal conversation would cost you $5000-$8000 (high-performance electric systems like that of Tesla are much more expensive) depending on the range you select which alters the battery size.

With the increased availability of the kits and cheaper labor in the coming years, it is expected that conversion with a range of about 150-200 miles (241-321 km) would be available for about $5000, which is a pretty good bargain. Your conversion cost is further reduced if the parts you take out of your car are working and could be sold. The engine, radiator, and catalytic converter might be sold at a good price thus further reducing your expenses.

electric vehicle, Making your classic an electric vehicle, ClassicCars.com Journal

There is no doubt that electric-powered vehicles are going to dominate the automotive market all around the world due to no carbon emissions but the feel of classic cars remains in the hearts of car enthusiasts and some would not be prepared to give up the noise and essence of an internal combustion engine. But if you are looking to preserve your classic car and care less about what drives your wheels and more about your finances, you should go for the conversion as it is much cheaper than the fuel and its maintenance cost is also very low due to far fewer moving parts than an engine.


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