Can Old Cars Be Converted to Electric

Although seeing a Tesla isn’t as rare of an occasion as it used to be, most cars still run on four-stroke combustion engines that burn fossil fuels. But the car industry is rapidly transforming, and who knows what’s in store for us by 2030. One thing is for sure, though: EVs are taking over, and you don’t want to fall behind. The question is: Can old cars be converted to electric?

Old cars can be converted to electric without too much effort or cost. The conversion involves removing the entire engine from the classic car and installing an electric motor instead. It also requires adding a great source of batteries. 

Keep reading as we explore how you can convert your old combustion engineer vehicle into an EV. We’ll cover the process as well as its costs and caveats. We’ll also give you a few maintenance tips to keep in mind after the conversion process. 

Can Old Cars Be Converted to Electric

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How to Convert Your Old Car to an Electric Vehicle

In short, the process involves removing the gas engine, installing the new electric motor, putting in a lithium-ion battery pack, and some instrumentation. 

It may cost you a few thousand dollars to do the conversion, but in return, you’ll get an emission-free car that only takes a few cents per mile to drive. Plus, an electric car requires less maintenance than classic cars.  

Here’s how you can go about the conversion. 

Remove the Gas Engine

First, you have to remove all the components that make your car a fossil fuel one, including the engine, fuel and tank gas, clutch, carburetor, and perhaps the radiator (if the controller has air-cooled transistors).

Install the Electric Engine

Attach an adapter plate to the transmission, then mount the electric engine. Depending on your car type, you need to have a plate to match these two together. Typically, it requires custom mounting brackets.

Since the torque is higher in EVs, electric motors don’t need multiple gears. So you can fix the electric motor in the first or second gear. 

Install the Battery And Charger

Make sure to configure your controller before installing the batteries. You need to wire the controller to the electrical motor. You also have to install a contactor to manage the power streaming between battery and controller. 

Finally, there’s the issue of the charge port. The proper place for installing it is the previous location of the gas cap.‍

Now that you know how the process goes, watch how this former engineer and his team resurrect end-of-life oldies and turn them into powerful EVs: 

How Much Does It Cost To Convert Your Old Car to Electric?

While acquiring a brand new electric car may cost you about thirty thousand dollars, electric car conversion will only cost 5,000 to 10,000 dollars, depending on the cost and availability of parts and batteries.

The costs apart from the cost of donor vehicle or labor may break down like this: 

  • $1000 to $2000 for the batteries 
  • $1000 to $2000 for the motor
  • $1000 to $2000 for the controller
  • $500 to $1000 for an adapter plate
  • $500 to $1000 for motors, wirings, switches, etc. 

Benefits of Converting Your Old Car to Electric (200-250 words)

No Emissions

Electric vehicles are eco-friendly since they’re based on electrically powered engines. The difference between thermal cars and electric cars is in the process of transforming stored energy into movement energy.

Combustion and electric cars both store this energy in chemical form. Conventional engines release the energy via a chemical reaction, while electric engines release it without any combustion, thanks to their lithium-based batteries. So while driving an electric car, no fuels will burn, and there’s no air pollution through CO2.

No Noise

Electric cars make low to zero noise. The only noise they’ll make is the noise generated by tires or wind resistance, which only happens at higher speeds. 

The lack of exhaust noise comes with a caveat: pedestrians may not notice EVs on the street. That’s why federal lawmakers in the US have required auto companies to install noise-making devices on their electric and hybrid vehicles. 

Less Maintenance

Unlike conventional cars, electric vehicles require no routine maintenance. They also save you maintenance costs since they don’t need oil, spark plugs, and timing belts. 

However, they’re famous for going through tires more quickly, especially Teslas. That’s why you should buy high-quality tires and take good care of them. Have a regular schedule for aligning and rotating them. You should also note that electric cars often don’t come with a spare tire to save on battery consumption. 

Performance Boost

EV technology has become so advanced that electric cars can now beat some of the fastest gas vehicles in the market. So, being as old as it is, your vintage ride will most likely get a performance boost from an electric engine.

Compared to gas-powered vehicles, electric cars waste much less of their horsepower since they have fewer moving parts, which means less friction and less weight. In general, the lighter the vehicle is, the more efficiently it will run. 

Downsides of Converting Your Old Car to Electric

The Battery May Take Long To Charge

Usually, the time for charging an EV is 30 minutes. But it depends on the size of the battery and its charging speed. Some batteries take a half-day or more to charge. The bigger your battery and the slower changing point, the longer a full charge takes. 

There Are Fewer Places To Service It Properly

Another disadvantage of converting your present car to electric is that if you do a poor job, no auto shop will be able to service it properly. 

And if you have someone else do the conversion, you’ll most likely be stuck with them because converting an old car to an electric is a custom job. There aren’t many standards and conventions to follow. 

Common Maintenance Issues With Electric Vehicles

While electric cars require little maintenance compared to classics, they still need some battery and brake system maintenance. They may also require similar maintenance requirements for tires, oil changes, and body repairs.

The battery is the heart of an EV and the most expensive part, so it’s essential to take care of the battery. Consider the following tips to avoid damage to the battery:

  • Don’t leave the vehicle in an extremely cold or hot place for too long; it may degrade the battery. Consider parking it in a shade or garage. 
  • Don’t charge the battery too much or too often; it can cause your car battery to die. Also, don’t leave the battery at a low level for too long. 
  • Keep your battery charge between 20% and 80%. When you’re going on a long trip, it’s better to charge the battery 100%.

EVs use regenerative braking, which allows the car to operate one-pedal driving, which means that when you press the accelerator pedal, the car will set in motion. If you release the regenerative braking system will be activated, which produces the electricity that feeds the battery pack. 

You need to flush the system regularly to avoid corroding because the brake fluid is hygroscopic, which tends to absorb the water moisture in the air. 

Many people believe that electric cars don’t need oil changes because they don’t have any engines. In fact, EVs often use oil in their gearbox, which means that the oil has to change during the lifespan.

Final Thoughts

Modifying your vintage car to run on electricity is easier than you may realize, and it won’t cost you a fortune. If you’re the DIY type, nothing is stopping you from getting started. It’ll be lots of fun, and you’ll learn a lot. But if you want to enjoy the benefits of an EV without getting your hands dirty, there are auto shops that specialize in doing so. 

Also, EVs have fewer moving parts. It means that they require significantly less maintenance and repair costs and have more torque than conventional cars. However, converting a classic car to an EV may cost you a few thousand. Also, it may take a half-day to charge.

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