How to make your car electric with a conversion kit
Cooley On Cars
Hey folks, Cooley again got another one of your emails about high tech cars and modern driving.
This one comes in from KC in Cincinnati.
He says, well, I had too much internet again, and I wound up looking at electric conversion kits, specifically by EV West.
For a factory five 818.
818 is a very hot sort of a Lotus Evora like kick car from a company called factory five.
EV conversion kits he goes on have been around for a long time.
And for the most part, they've been underwhelming.
But EV's have come a long way.
So I thought maybe these Ev's have as well.
Okay, so let's take a look at the prospects here.
I should tell you first off, I've never built a car so I don't know that process, let alone what it's like from factory five but their stuff looks good.
I have rebuilt a lot of cars from the ground up that were production cars, so I do know the pain you can run into it.
But let's break it down into what I see are five chapters.
First of all, you've gotta get your car, your chassee, your rolling stock if you will.
You've identified that already on a few Factory Five 818.
The nice thing about that car is it's already got an electric power plant from another maker that's ready for it.
We'll get to that in a minute.
About 10 grand, we'll get you into a basic 818 kit.
Now that's going to be a cabrio not a coupe, all roller bear of power train.
That's where we go now, Evie West, as you mentioned, and you pick up their kit which is made for that car.
I like the fact that those two companies.
Have a little symbiosis to what degree they've co planned to this, I don't know.
But clearly, there's something done here for you.
I like that a lot.
The motor kit that Evie West recommends for a great 18 build is actually an X Tesla Model S motor kit runs about 12 grand but that includes a lot of ancillary components you'll need for the integration.
What's not included are the batteries and for that Evie West recommends a set of five x Tesla Model S packs at a total of about $7900.
That'll give you around twenty six kilowatt hours of battery capacity.
This is how you measure essentially the size of the tank if you will, in an electric car.
Now, that's a relatively small amount of capacity by today's standards.
A modern Nissan LEAF has between 40 and 60 kilowatt hours.
However, you're looking to build a car that should come in weighing about half of what a Nissan LEAF does.
So I think 26 kilowatt hours of capacity is going to work out rather well for both range and performance.
So now we're at around 30 grand before we allocate another 3000 or so for parts like seats and wheels and tires, and yeah, I'm going cheap with that number.
We're already pushing 33 grand, and then a whole lot of work on your part.
However, I think all that work is going to go better for you today.
Than it would have a few years ago, let alone decades ago trying to convert a car from one gas engine to another, or even converting from gas to electric cars.
You're starting with a clean sheet vehicle, and I think these kids look pretty well thought out, both the car and the electric power plant.
It's nice to have a lot of that work done for you.
We've been changing engines and vehicles forever.
But when you gotta sit out there under a shade tree scratching your head, weekend after weekend, it tends to spiral into a hole of a ton of time wasted and a ton of money wasted on parts and solutions that didn't work the first time.
Once you've got it done, two more chapters of fun await you specifically in your state in Ohio.
You've gotta get approval for this thing to be on the road, you've gotta go get a safety inspection.
There won't be any emissions to pass, obviously, so that's good.
And there's no particular thing you've gotta do to get them to be okay with the fact that you've built this car.
Self-assembled cars are recognized under the Ohio BMV.
But you do have to make sure it's got all the safety parts and systems that are needed.
I believe the Factory Five is gonna have that nailed for you.
So that should be pretty straightforward.
Now, one interesting wrinkle here for those who build their own car, certainly for you in Ohio, is because the VIN of your Factory Five 818, when you're done is not going to indicate its power plant.
Because Factory Five didn't know what that's going to be, they don't build a complete car.
You're gonna have to take your completed vehicle to a registrar as I understand it, and get them to certify and enter in the database of what kinda power plant it has.
I don't expect that's gonna be a big hassle, again, because high recognizes self assembled cars and because States like the fact that you're bringing a no-emissions car to the market.
Yeah, if you were doing something, changing the emissions profile, that might be a different can of worms.
And then you're gonna have to pay some additional taxes, both the first time you register and every year after that.
Ohio's new law as you probably know, requires a $200 surcharge if you will on electric cars, pure electrics $100 on plug in electric.
Because EBS don't pay gas tax or they pay less of a gas tax.
And as a result, a lot of states are waking up to the idea that wait a minute, these cars are starting to draw out Payers from the road tax accounts, how are we gonna maintain our infrastructure?
So you're gonna get stung with that but i don't believe you're buying this to somehow get a cheap Eevee I think you want to build a really cool electric sports car, enjoy doing it yourself and get a good value in the end and I think all that is true On the downside this won't be like assembling Legos.
The headaches are yours.
There's no dealer and independent shops will view these like classic cars someone else's project, which means time consuming, often low priority work and expect rather dismal resale value.
Evie tech will be much better and cheaper in a few years.
As has always been the case, nobody else wants your resto mon, unless it has Shelby in the name.
You'll end up with something of a 21st century Bradley GT.
But in the market with 260 million passenger cars on the road, there is definitely a niche for Evie conversions.
We've been intrigued by conversion crate motors from electric GT.
They look like regular engines.
Great for the vintage electro motor, but on a large budget.
Volkswagen is offering a limited factory run of electro fitted versions of classic Beatles.
And Jaguar, as you've probably seen in some royal photos has done the same thing with the E type.
But those are coke cars where you can get some critical By several estimates, we're just a few years away from the point when new EVs will actually be cheaper to buy and operate than a comparable gas engine car, largely based on battery cost declines.
You just won't need to brew your own electric unless you really want to.
So bottom line, this whole process is quite visibly doable, and I think it sounds pretty exciting to be honest.
And I think it's gonna result in a cool car for a great price.
That said, I don't think this scales.
This isn't how we're gonna turn over the US fleet into a world of electric cars.
This isn't for most people, by far.
However, it does point the map I think to a more satisfying conversion and DIY build than we've ever had before in automotive history.
That's because electric cars are simpler.
And they generally give better results on the road than combustion cars and all the huge number of variables they have to achieve a satisfying drive.
Keep those emails coming I'm here to answer your questions about high tech cars and modern driving.
It's Cooley at the Rhode show calm
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