The DIY Electric Car Conversion-Should You Try It?

If you read our last post on the Pros and Cons of electric vehicles you may decided that an EV is the choice for you. So how about converting your existing vehicle to electric? It’s definitely doable, not excessively complicated, but should you do it yourself?

DIY electric car conversions aren't for the automotive faint of heart.

According to the website it can be done but only by those with the some skills:

  • Mechanical – you are accustomed to working on cars.
  • Electrical – you have an understanding of basic wiring and electricity.
  • Welding – you have basic welding skills or know someone who does.
  • Troubleshooting – you have experience troubleshooting problems in vehicles.

Not all cars are good candidates for conversion. The car you’ll use is called a “donor car” and a good one is on the lighter size. A heavy one will restrict the range of the electric engine so 2,000-3,000 lbs curb weight is ideal. As far as body style, you need something that can hold all the batteries you’ll be installing and they will add up to some serious weight.

Your donor car should have room for multiple, heavy batteries.

Converting to electric power also requires some serious toys. Aside from a large toolkit complete with an assortment of wrenches, screwdrivers, sockets, hammers and saws, you will also need an engine hoist, jack stands or a hydraulic lift.

Electric car conversion kits abound on the Internet so do your homework to find the one that’s right for you. You can also find instructional videos both for purchase and on YouTube. The conversion kits may or may not provide you with some of the special tools necessary for the installation of the electric motor, but most of the tools will need to be purchased. Some tools and even an engine hoist are available for rent so you’ll save a bit here.

Additionally, you will need a lot of space. A double garage that has plenty of free space will do, or better yet a good, roomy shop. You definitely need high ceilings to accommodate removal of the engine. This is not a small garage kind of project.

The tools and workspace are only a part of the challenge. Extensive knowledge of automotive systems and mechanical ability are essential for a successful conversion. Much of it can be learned on the go, but it helps to have some experience with automotive technology. Or at least a friend or two willing to go the distance with you.

If you're going to convert your car to electric it pays to have a friends.

Does this sound like you? There are on what to consider before you attempt your own conversion but if you can see yourself spending the time, money and effort then this could be the project for you. Or maybe you have the desire but not the automotive chops. If so, let Sallas Auto Repair step in and help. We can advise you on car choice, financial and time investment and all of your other options to help you decide if electric is the road for you.


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