Advantages and disadvantages of electric car conversion

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Electric car

Converting a gas-powered vehicle to an electric-powered vehicle can be done - but what are the advantages and disadvantages? Image from Flickr.

If you’re a gearhead or just someone looking for a vehicular project, you might be thinking about converting your car to electric. Electric car conversion is a project that some say could save you money and carbon footprint. There are advantages and disadvantages of electric car conversion to consider.

What is electric car conversion?

Rather than purchasing a hybrid or electric vehicle, some owners perform an electric car conversion, in which the gasoline-powered engine is replaced with an electric-powered one. Electric car conversions are popular do-it-yourself projects. There are full DIY electric car conversion instructions or pre-assembled kits available for sale. Usually, all of the non-engine parts of the car are left intact – brakes, safety features, car body, etc.

Advantages of electric car conversion

If you do decide to take on electric car conversion, there are some serious advantages to the project. Rather than filling up at the gas station, you will be able to plug in your car. Your carbon footprint will be significantly reduced. The conversion project is usually relatively easy for someone with some mechanical skill. Finally, you will be able to make use of a “donor vehicle” – a car or small truck that may not be running, but is in otherwise good shape. An average electric car conversion can run less than $2,000 and could easily save you money in the long term.

Disadvantages of electric car conversion

An electric car conversion is not necessarily the end-all-be-all of transportation solutions, however. Converted electric cars can be more difficult to repair, and if you do not have a mechanic familiar with converted electric vehicles, maintenance could be difficult. Converted electric vehicles will also require battery replacements every few years, which is an additional maintenance cost many people do not think about. Finally, converted electric vehicles cannot usually go more than about 200 miles without a charge. For commuting, this isn’t an issue, but for long trips, you might be better off renting a gas-powered car for the trip.

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