While purchasing a brand-new electric car might not be feasible for everyone due to its higher upfront costs, people are looking for alternatives. converting existing internal combustion engine (ICE) cars into electric vehicles using conversion kits.
Let us weigh the costs, benefits, and considerations associated with emerging trends.
The Appeal of Conversion Kits
Conversion kits offer a promising solution for individuals who wish to contribute to environmental conservation without breaking the bank (Now you don’t have to break the bank to buy an EV). By repurposing their existing vehicles, owners can potentially extend the lifespan of their cars while embracing the efficiency and reduced emissions of electric propulsion, not to mention the comfort of a smooth drive.
For several reasons, people are deciding to switch their normal cars to electric cars. Here are a few major reasons
Since electric vehicles produce no exhaust, they help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution. By switching to an electric vehicle, you might contribute to a better and cleaner environment.
Lower Fuel Expenses
Electric cars often incur reduced fuel costs since electricity is usually less expensive than petrol or diesel. By switching to an electric vehicle, you may be able to significantly reduce your fuel expenses.
Long-term Financial Benefits
Compared to ICE cars, EVs require less maintenance. In the long run, you may save money on repairs and maintenance by driving an electric car because they have fewer moving parts and easier drivetrains.
Thanks to their quick and smooth acceleration, electric cars provide a distinctive driving experience. You may make use of electric power without buying a new automobile by converting your current vehicle to an electric one.
But before jumping to a conclusion we have to thoroughly understand the nuts and bolts of the conversion process and other related issues.
#1. Conversion Kit Cost
Conversion kits include components like electric motors, batteries, controllers, and charging systems. The cost varies widely depending on factors such as the vehicle type, desired range, and performance specifications. On average, conversion kits can range from a few thousand to tens of thousands of dollars.
Conversion kits are categorised as either AC (alternating current) or DC (direct current) depending on the type of motor they employ.
The cost of AC kits is often higher, but they offer better efficiency and regenerative braking. Although DC kits are less priced, they might not be as effective. An AC conversion kit might cost anywhere between ₹4,00,000 and ₹1,000,000 or more and DC conversion kits can cost between ₹2,00,000 and ₹5,00,000.
#2. Battery Costs
Batteries constitute a major chunk of the expenses. High-quality batteries are crucial for a satisfactory driving experience and longevity. The costs of lithium-ion batteries, which are commonly used in EVs, have been decreasing but remain a substantial investment.
For a medium-sized electric vehicle conversion, a lithium-ion battery pack with a range of 100–150 km can cost between 2,00,000 and 8,00,000 or more.
Calculating the necessary capacity takes your normal driving demands and desired range into account. Make sure the battery capacity can readily accommodate the daily average distance you plan to go without needing to be overcharged. Although larger capacities result in a greater range, keep in mind that they may also increase the price of the battery pack.
Challenges and Considerations
#1. Range and Performance
The range of a converted EV depends on the battery capacity and efficiency of the conversion. It might not match that of purpose-built EVs, which are designed for optimal efficiency.
#2. Warranty and Support
Converting a vehicle voids its original warranty, and finding support for a custom EV might be challenging. This could result in higher repair costs in case of issues.
#3. Resale Value
While EVs are gaining popularity, the resale market for converted EVs is still uncertain. Potential buyers might be hesitant due to concerns about the conversion’s quality and impact on the vehicle’s value.
#4. Labour and Expertise
Converting a car to electric propulsion isn’t a simple DIY project for most individuals. Skilled labour and specialised knowledge are required to successfully integrate the kit into the vehicle. Labour costs can add a significant amount to the overall expense.
#5. Legal Implications of Conversion
In India, you must first obtain approval from your RTO to alter a car’s engine. Only once the RTO authorises can you make the adjustments. Any additional self-instigated effort to modify a car’s engine will be regarded as illegal.
The government of India has revised the Central Motor Vehicles Rules 1989 to facilitate the smooth conversion of ICE vehicles to more environment-friendly EVs.
Should we go for Electric Vehicle Conversion or a new electric vehicle?
If you are ready to endure the above-mentioned challenges of EV conversion, you may go for it. It will make you happy if you drive your old car with a brand-new Electric Drive train.
But the vehicle will not be as smooth as a new electric vehicle from the factory since the body of the vehicle is not tailored for all electric vehicles.
So, we prefer brand new electric vehicle than a retrofitted electric vehicle.
Conversion Kits for Individuals and Companies
Now let us look at some of the electric car conversion kits available in India. Some of them are not available for individuals to buy.
eAxle By Bosch
Bosch is the most revered name in the automotive electronics sector. They offer an electric car kit called eAxle. Due to the usage of silicon carbide semiconductors, it offers an efficiency of over 96%. by this converter kit. The motor is around 90 kg in weight and can generate up to 300 kW of power and 5,000 Nm of torque.
The conversion kit from Loop Moto is up next. It is compatible with the majority of models available in India and is ARAI-certified. The compatible models include the Maruti Swift, Dzire, WagonR, Hyundai Accent, Verna, Honda Amaze, and Honda City. An electric car conversion kit costs between 3 lakh and 5 lakh rupees. Its top speed is 80 miles per hour, and its range is 180 km. The battery has a 17.8 kWh capacity.
The E-Trio electric conversion kit may be used to electrify vehicles including the Maruti Alto, WagonR, and Dzire and it is also ARAI-certified. Its range varies according to the model, however, it may go up to 180 km. The aforementioned cars may be converted to EVs with this kit, which is also easy to install, in less than 48 hours. E-Trio cost around 4 lakh.
The company is now mainly focusing on electric vehicle manufacturing.
Converting an ICE car to an electric vehicle using a conversion kit can be an appealing option for environmentally conscious individuals who are willing to invest in both upfront costs and long-term benefits. While the economics of such a conversion depend on various factors, including the cost of the kit, labour, and ongoing operating savings, it’s crucial to carefully weigh the pros and cons.
As the EV industry continues to evolve and more affordable, purpose-built EVs enter the market, the decision to convert or invest in a new electric car requires thorough consideration of one’s budget, driving needs, and commitment to sustainability.
We prefer to buy new electric vehicle rather than converting an old ICE car into electric using a convertor kit.