Electric Car Conversion FAQs
Why are your conversions much lower cost than other companies?
We use exactly the same motors, batteries and control components as the majority of electric conversion workshops across the world. Using these components we have created three main solutions which between them can go into pretty much any car. This means that we have already done all the complex wiring and systems design, and are simply applying it to another body shape. This, coupled with the fact that we don’t believe in the monopolistic characteristics of our small and new industry, means we would rather charge a fair price and get more electric classics on the road.
How much range can you put in my car?
Range is a factor of how many batteries we can fit into your car. Batteries are large, heavy and expensive, making range a factor of space and price. Our minimum range is 70 miles, and can go up to hundreds. We can fit 70 miles worth of range into any car, but to fit hundreds we need a large space, such as a Land Rover, Range Rover or Campervan, for example. In terms of price, we can always fit a smaller battery pack and then extend it at a later date if you wish!
Why do you use the original gearbox in the car? I thought EV's were automatic?
The original gearbox is the most cost effective and energy efficient way of getting from the electric motor to the wheels. Leaving the original drivetrain means that we don’t have to redesign and remanufacture propshafts, differentials, 4WD systems etc at large cost. Also, having the ability to change gear means that you can drive the car in the most efficient rev-range for the motor at all times. For example, around town you would leave it in third gear the whole time, whereas when going on an A-road or motorway for any period of time, you can change it into fourth gear (like a normal car), reducing revs and therefore increasing range and efficiency. Our conversions still drive like an automatic, you don’t have to use the clutch to set off!
How long does it take to get my car converted to electric?
Our workshop is very busy with conversions, so we usually can’t get a conversion project into an immediate build slot. Our average waiting list times are 1-3 months. But when your car gets to us, if it is a car we have converted before, we can do it within 6 weeks, if it is a bit rarer and more bespoke, it could be up to 10 weeks.
What about charging, how do I charge my converted electric classic?
Our electric conversions charge in exactly the same way that normal EV’s charge. You can plug it in at home, from a wall mounted charger or even from a regular 3-pin plug. You can plug it in at service stations, supermarkets, lamp-posts or whereever you see an EV charger too. The only place you can’t charge our cars yet is at Tesla Supercharger stations, as only Teslas are allowed to use these.
Will you carry out a restoration or respray to my car whilst it's with you?
Yes, we work with various local partners for resprays or mechanical overhauls. The way it works usually is we take out the engine, exhaust, radiators and fuel tank and then do our design work. Once our design work is complete we send the car off for whatever extra work needs doing. This can be anything from a gearbox replacement to new shock absorbers. Whilst this is being done we fabricate based on our initial designs, so when the car comes back we are ready to bolt it all in.
Do you supply electric conversion kits?
Yes, we can supply kits for any car that we have converted previously. Every car that we build, we CAD model all of the components, therefore we can replicate them without having to work on and measure off the vehicle itself. Get in touch to ask if we can do yours. Please note, that even a kit takes specialist skill and equiptment to install, although pre-wired and pre-fabricated they are not something the average DIYer can install on their driveway.
How does an electric conversion affect the performance of a classic Land Rover?
An electric conversion usually delivers significantly higher performance than an original classic car or Land Rover. This performance can be broken down into two categories, Power and Handling
Power: Electric motors are far more powerful per weight/size when compared to petrol/diesel engines. Therefore, in an electric converted vehicle, there is the ability to add significantly more power and torque than the car originally had. Defenders which used to have 60 horsepower diesels are able to produce 300 horsepower after an electric vehicle conversion.
This means there is significantly improved acceleration, top speed, towing capacity, and off-road ability in an electric converted classic car / Land Rover than an original combustion engine car.
Handling: Most people believe incorrectly that battery packs are heavier than engines, whereas in fact, our electric conversions usually leave the workshop lighter than when they came in. Once you’ve taken into consideration the original car’s fuel tank, cooling systems, engine and gearbox, there’s a lot of weight to remove.
Crucially too, the weight of battery packs can be distributed around the car, which improves weight distribution and balance and therefore handling. This is particularly true in smaller classic cars, rather than Land Rovers, or Defenders.
What components are typically involved in an electric conversion?
Beyond the EV battery pack and an electric motor, an electric conversion will also require:
- Gearbox / Reduction Gearset: This is a way to transfer mechanical energy from the motor to rotational movement in the wheels. This can be done by an original gearbox, or a new gearset.
- Power inverter: This converts DC power from the batteries to AC power which is what the electric motor runs off. This inverter takes a directional input and throttle input from the driver.
- DC-DC converter: This acts as the alternator for the vehicle, producing a 12V power source to run original systems such as wipers, headlights or blowers, but also to keep the 12V battery topped up.
- Standard 12V battery: This supplies power to all 12V electrical systems in the car, except AC and heating systems.
- Cooling system: This maintains the correct temperature across all components. EV batteries do not get excessively hot, but it is crucial that they are kept equal to one another and at around 30 degrees. The inverter for the motor does get hot, and a separate coolant loop will keep this cool, with a radiator, high flow water pump and a fan.
- Charge port: In Europe, this is known as a Type2 socket which is the connection point to an external power supply, such as a home charger or service station charging point to charge the EV batteries up.
- Onboard charger: This converts AC power from the grid into DC power which is what the main EV battery requires to charge.
Are electric car conversions legal in the UK?
In the UK, it’s completely legal to convert your old car to electric. However, you’ll need to complete the necessary paperwork to re-register your vehicle as an electric vehicle with the DVLA, notify your insurance company and MOT your vehicle as an EV.
Depending on how much work you’ve had done, your car may be subject to the rules for “rebuilt vehicles” or “radically altered” vehicles, special care must be taken to ensure that the car will pass its inspection post EV conversion.
Can I convert my car to electric myself?
We don’t recommend that you DIY your electric car conversion unless you are well-versed in the specialist mechanical and electrical knowledge you’ll need to complete the conversion safely. EV conversions also require a huge amount of equipment to install, not to mention time and significant engineering knowledge. You can however purchase an electric vehicle conversion kit, such as those made for Land Rover Defenders and Series by Electric Car Converts.
Is running an EV cheaper than petrol?
The cost of running an EV depends on when and where you plug in. The cheapest source of electricity for your classic car conversion is at home, either via a 3-pin plug or a dedicated charger.
According to an analysis by Octopus EVs, it costs around 11p per mile to run an electric car based on home charging (1). Increasingly, we’re seeing tariffs aimed at EV drivers, where you can benefit from lower electricity costs if you charge at night.
In March 2023, unleaded petrol cost around £1.47 a litre, while diesel came in at £1.67 per litre. Based on these figures, running a traditional fossil fuel car can cost 14p-19p per mile, depending on the car’s engine size and fuel economy.
These figures are subject to change, particularly, as the UK is facing unprecedented energy cost rises. Suffice to say, for now, it remains cheaper to run an EV than a petrol car.
How long does it take to charge an electric car?
The time taken to charge an electric car depends on two factors:
- Battery size
- Charger type
Home charging can take anything between 45 minutes to 12 hours, depending on whether you’re using a standard 3-pin plug or a 7kW charger. At the other end of the scale, rapid chargers can fully charge an empty battery in around 40 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the battery size – the time it takes to complete your grocery shop or down a coffee. Fast charging is only available at places such as shopping centres or motorway services.
Which motor is the best for an electric car?
Your choice of motor will largely depend on your planned usage and how much space you have available under the hood. Electric cars tend to run from AC motors and you have a choice of two main types.
Synchronous motors are light and compact. They produce high torque at low speeds, making them ideal for stop-and-go style city driving.
Conversely, asynchronous motors are better suited to long-distance driving. They tend to be heavier but are easier to maintain.
When you bring your classic car to us, we’ll spend time understanding your range needs and lifestyle to advise you on the best motor for your conversion.
Are electric car conversion kits cost-effective?
Electric car conversion kits are prefabricated sets, containing a motor, motor mount, the electric power control unit components, and battery mounting plates. Our kits also include a battery. As everything is ready-to-go in the box, EV conversion kits make the conversion process significantly easier, as they can often be installed in a matter of days.
We can supply EV conversion kits for all our previously converted car models. Get in touch to find out if we’ve got a ready-made kit for your car.
How long does an EV motor last?
EV motors are still relatively new to the market, so their life expectancy hasn’t been put to the test yet. While there are many variables impacting how long an EV motor lasts, such as load and environmental factors, 15-20 years is the predicted lifespan. Bear in mind however that there is only one moving part, so there isn’t really very much to go wrong.
How many electric vehicles are there in the UK?
In the UK, there are around 780,000 fully electric cars as of the end of May 2023, and the number continues to grow (2).
In 2016, only 0.4% of new vehicles registered were electric. By 2022, this figure had increased to 16.6%. When you consider that 16.9% of all new car registrations were electric in May 2023 alone, it appears the trend will continue.