How to convert your classic car to electric in 2023

Are you the proud owner of a classic vehicle? Maybe it’s been in your family for years, or maybe you just adore its charm and character. Either way, you probably don’t want to see it go to waste just because fuel prices are high and electric vehicles are the next big trend. Well, worry no more – with our help, you can convert your car to electric power!

What is the UK law on electric car conversions?

It is legal to convert your older car to electric power, but you will need to make sure to re-register it once it has been converted. This can be done through the vehicle registration pages on the website.

Vintage cars are a huge part of our history, and we believe that they should be preserved for future generations. However, we also believe that they should be updated with the latest and greatest technology as electric vehicles are becoming more and more popular as the world moves towards a more sustainable future. While there are many electric vehicles on the market, there is also a growing trend of car conversions. Most still don’t even know that this process exists! This allows you to keep your vintage car while enjoying all the benefits of an electric vehicle. Let’s discuss the basics of classic to electric car conversions and provide tips on how to improve your car’s carbon footprint in 2023.

What is a conversion?

Conversions are exactly what they sound like- converting a traditional gasoline or diesel-powered car into a 100% electric car. This can be done by replacing the gasoline engine with an electric motor or fundamentally adding electric power systems to a car that was not originally built for electric power. It can be done on a wide variety of cars, but some cars are better suited for electric power than others. The most common types of cars that are converted to electric are vintage cars, but there is also a growing trend of converting SUVs to electric power.

There are 7 basic steps involved in every conversion:

  1. Remove the dirty, oily parts from the engine bay
  2. Fabricate battery system boxes and mounts
  3. Determine where each component will fit
  4. Secure everything in place
  5. Wire it all together
  6. Optimize the drive software for your car
  7. Run vigorous testing

A great thing about converting cars to electric is that you can personalise the conversion to fit your own needs and preferences. Conversions are modular, so you can add parts, such as additional batteries at any time, or upgrade the motor and charging capability if you wish. For most conversions, a 120 horsepower motor and a 100-mile range are perfectly adequate, however, if you want better acceleration or an extended range, this can be done too.

There are 6 things to consider before converting:

1. Cost

Electric Car Converts can tailor a conversion closely to your budget, it’s an expensive process, but the investment certainly pays itself off when there’s no fuel cost or vehicle tax to deal with! For example, a basic, 100-mile range conversion without power steering or interior heating will be much cheaper than a 300-mile range, 450 horsepower Tesla motor conversion!

2. Performance

The power of an electric conversion is usually significantly higher than its original engine. This means that suspension, brakes, and other parts of the drivetrain may need to be upgraded too. There’s never a doubt that your electric conversion will go from 0-60 faster than the original engine. You need to consider whether you are upgrading the drivetrain enough to need to upgrade other parts of the car.

3. Range

The range of an electric car depends on the size of the battery you choose and how you drive. If you are only going to use your car for short trips, then you may not need a large battery. Electric Car Converts offer a variety of battery options, so you can choose the one that best suits your needs. Also, conversions are completely modular, so if you wish to extend your range at a later date, add another battery box and you can double or triple your EV range!

4. Maintenance

Electric cars require less maintenance than gas-powered cars, but you will still need to perform some basic maintenance to parts beyond the engine. This mostly revolves around brakes, suspension, and the drivetrain. Forget about oil changes, filters, belts, and alternators – as electric motors only have one moving part (compared to roughly 500 in a combustion engine) there’s only one thing to look after!

5. Availability of Parts

Classic cars were of course not built for electric power, so various parts need to be replaced or modified to run on electrics. These are things such as brake vacuums, power steering pumps, and cabin heating systems. However, with the growing popularity of electric cars, it is now easier to source parts and accessories both new and used, so finding what’s needed isn’t difficult.

6. Amount of Work Required

Working with classic cars on its own can test your patience, couple this with high-voltage electrical systems and you’re in for a big job, not for the faint-hearted. With classic cars, never underestimate the fact that you’re always one rounded or even snapped bolt away from hours of suffering. It’s important not to rush, voltages can be deadly, so spend the extra time ensuring things are wired up correctly! Make sure you have the time, skills, and tools necessary to do the job properly or leave it to the experts before you make mistakes on your pride and joy!

How Will My Car Perform After Conversion?

One of the main concerns people have about electric cars is how they will perform compared to traditional internal combustion cars. Many people worry that an electric car will not be able to handle things like hills and long distances. However, this is not the case. Converting your car to electric won’t affect its performance in any way. In fact, with more torque and better acceleration than a petrol or diesel model, you’ll be surprised at just how quick your electric classic car can be.

Converting your car is a great way to reduce your environmental impact and save money on fuel costs. Not only is it more sustainable than driving a traditional gas car, but it also comes with lots of other benefits. Best of all, electric cars are a lot of fun to drive. They’re smooth, quiet, and quick off the mark, and with no emissions, you can enjoy a guilt-free driving experience.

How Long Does an Electric Car Conversion Take?

The amount of time it takes to convert a car to electric power will vary depending on the level of complexity of the conversion. It comes down to things such as which motor is being used, if the original drivetrain is being used, if brakes and suspension need to be upgraded or if parts are readily available. On average our conversions take between four and six weeks, although waiting lists are long, so get your slot booked in as soon as you’ve made a decision!

How Much is an Electric Car Conversion?

The cost of a conversion varies depending on a whole host of factors such as the complexity of the vehicle, if any other work needs to be done to it, the performance, range and charge time required and the custom fabricated components needed. Furthermore, it depends on the added features you require such as heating or power steering. Ultimately, it’s a question of how long is a piece of string? It depends on so much. Luckily, we are the experts and can talk through your requirements, this will allow us to let you know a guide price.

Top 5 Benefits of Electric Car Conversion

Electric car conversions are becoming a trend for good reason- they offer a ton of benefits that traditional gasoline cars just can’t compete with.

Here are the top 5 benefits of converting your car to electric:

1. Reduced Emissions

Internal combustion cars produce harmful emissions that negatively impact the environment, converting a classic car to electric power means that it will produce zero emissions and help fight climate change.

2. Running Costs

Electric cars are much cheaper to operate than petrol or diesel cars, so you will save money on fuel costs. In fact, a full charge will only cost you around £2. Also, tax and ULEZ are free.

3. Performance

Electric motors have higher performance than their petrol or diesel counterparts. Being electric they have much higher torque from a standstill than a regular engine, this means much faster acceleration. Furthermore, handling is better, due to better weight distribution when batteries are installed around the car.

4. Easier Maintenance

Electric cars require much less maintenance than gasoline or diesel cars, so you will spend less time and money on car repairs. This all comes down to the number of moving parts, as moving parts are what require servicing. Electric motors have one moving part, meaning there are no belts to change, oil to change, or filters to service, for example.

5. Increased Classic Car Value

Converting to electric power will no doubt increase your car’s value. Ultimately, electrification makes classic cars a lot more useable, and therefore people are more likely to pay more for a converted EV.

If you’re planning to change your car’s engine to electric, or are just curious about the process and have a few questions, feel free to reach out, we’re always happy to chat about all things EV!