DIY Electric Car Forums banner
1 - 20 of 25 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I think there are a lot of people like me, love older cars but would like to get them to run on EV.
Also, don't have the skill to do it. I don't weld, I don't actually fix cars.

I'm curious why I can't seem to find professional services to take an XYZ old car and install battery and motor into it?
I'm near San Francisco, a pretty green friendly place.
I did contact a couple of places in Los Angeles. EV West said they would be happy to do a project but they have a five year waiting list.

I wouldn't think it was hard to find. Also worried that if there are no local shops, my resulting car could not be serviced if it ever gave me trouble.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22 Posts
You just ran into a real problem with living here. The demand for EVs exceeds the supply, but only IF you don't have a loose $120k to drop on a Tesla or whatever. Even fixing an EV can be painful. This article just ran in the SF Weekly.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
164 Posts
I think there are a lot of people like me, love older cars but would like to get them to run on EV.
Also, don't have the skill to do it. I don't weld, I don't actually fix cars.

I'm curious why I can't seem to find professional services to take an XYZ old car and install battery and motor into it?
I'm near San Francisco, a pretty green friendly place.
I did contact a couple of places in Los Angeles. EV West said they would be happy to do a project but they have a five year waiting list.

I wouldn't think it was hard to find. Also worried that if there are no local shops, my resulting car could not be serviced if it ever gave me trouble.
What about Thunderstruck just up the 101 in Santa Rosa. Have you been to an EAA meeting in Santa Rosa?

Russ in Santa Rosa.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,950 Posts
The demand for EVs exceeds the supply, but only IF you don't have a loose $120k to drop on a Tesla or whatever.
Or less than half of that for a Nissan, Chevrolet, Hyundai, or Kia.

If you just want an EV, and don't want the experience of building one, it makes much more sense to buy one from an auto manufacturer who offers an EV model than to have a small business custom-build one for you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,950 Posts
I'm curious why I can't seem to find professional services to take an XYZ old car and install battery and motor into it?
A large part of the problem is that this description is very far from the reality of converting a car to be an EV. Aside from the several major components not mentioned, the term "install" suggests just unbolting some old component (such as an engine or fuel tank) and bolting a new one (motor or battery) into the same place, and it just doesn't work that way. There is substantial design and fabrication involved.

The high cost of doing the actual work required makes conversions as a business offering very expensive. There are not many people willing to pay this, and so not many shops prepared to do the work.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,950 Posts
Also worried that if there are no local shops, my resulting car could not be serviced if it ever gave me trouble.
Servicing a production EV isn't a big problem (unless you have a Tesla), because the manufacturer's dealers offer service and the manufacturer offers technical documentation and parts to any professional shop who sees enough potential business to take on that particular model. Tesla is a special case because that manufacturer intentionally blocks anyone other than their authorized service centres from being able to effectively to any significant work on them... and yet Tesla owners seem to be generally able to keep their vehicles running.

Servicing a custom vehicle is much more of a concern, especially when you have chosen an obscure combination of parts and technologies. I wouldn't want to have a custom EV conversion unless I built it, or I at least understand it well enough to fix it (and I know I can get the parts), or the shop that built it is local and responsive to service requirements. That would also be true for some oddball thing such as a motorcycle engine in a kit car, which is a combination that many people have built... but can't take to a dealership or typical general automotive shop for service.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,950 Posts
I think there are a lot of people like me, love older cars but would like to get them to run on EV.
And now we get to the core of the problem: you want an older car with a technically very different powertrain. That's similar to wanting modern engine and transmission in a old car, and it is an expensive luxury if you are not willing and able to do the work yourself. Custom car builders charge tens of thousands of dollars to swap a new engine into an old car - in addition to the cost of the parts - and an EV conversion shouldn't be expected to be much different. Since not many people are willing to pay for that, few shops offer it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22 Posts
and yet Tesla owners seem to be generally able to keep their vehicles running
They are either willing to pay stiff prices for new parts directly from Tesla (and have a mechanic who is qualified?) or are trolling thru local junkyards for Tesla parts. I understand that any time a scrap-value Tesla car shows up in the recycling channel, mobs of people descend on it. Battery packs and motor assemblies are the hottest items.

you want an older car with a technically very different powertrain
Remember that EV West sells conversion kits specific for air-cooled VWs and Porsches--and not much else. But even those "bolt in" kits require some skill and effort. I'm actually surprised to not see very many total-from-scratch builds on this forum. Either way it's a big job.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22 Posts
What about Thunderstruck just up the 101 in Santa Rosa.
He can certainly ask them. I've been there and had the impression they were badly backed up with repairs and custom installations. Thunderstruck Motors Home

If you're looking for a low-cost way to get an EV without a lot of work: supposedly the best way around the bay area is to buy a used gen-1 Nissan Leaf. They are plentiful--and once the battery pack starts to weaken they can be bought for around $5k-6k. I have considered getting one and devising some kind of add-on battery pack.

There are rumors that a few people successfully installed a 10kW portable generator in the back of a Leaf, and rigged it to feed the charging port directly. With an electric-start it would be possible to charge the battery without stopping. But that's a seriously demented redneckish thing to do. Not recommended....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,069 Posts
EV conversion is a rich man's hobby boondoggle.

Sure can be done "reasonably" by a crazy gearhead with too much time on their hands

either way a labour of love

soon as you count the hours even at say $10 / hour makes the priciest OTS model look cheap.

Add on top of that, in a jurisdiction with good Torts law based justice systems

LIABILITY crushes any possible business model doing it for hire.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
88 Posts
Imho, John has touched all the sensible points of all those projects.

If someone asked me to sell my converted car, and even paid material and labour cost, I don't know if I would do it.

(To my surprise, however, I can see some shops (sorry Paul: here in Germany) who do conversions (incl. legalization and paperwork) for specific projects. Including corresponsing service.)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,950 Posts
If you're willing to ship, there is a shop called Moment Motors in Austin TX. They had a display at Fully Charged and their stuff looks good.
Moment Motors
That looks like a good example. On their website regarding their classic conversions (which they call their "CL Line") they include this:
How much does it cost?
The short answer is a wide range: roughly $50K - $150K to transform your classic into a Moment, depending on the type of car, its existing condition and need/desire for restoration, the power and performance you are going for, and a few dozen other factors.
This is for a car which appears to have a dual HPEVS motor and Curtis controller setup in all of their examples, but they say that they offer "single, in-line dual, and stacked dual motor configurations with motors from multiple manufacturers such as Netgain, HPEVS, and Parker." They use salvaged Tesla Model S/X battery modules.

Although they say that "as a boutique shop, Moment only works with iconic, classic cars", they'll apparently convert whatever you bring to them, although if they haven't done one before the design cost will presumably be high.

They also sell replicas of some classic cars, as EVs, which they call their "R Line". The typical cost of those is apparently $70,000 to $100,000 USD. For someone who just wants a classic style (rather than keeping their own vehicle of sentimental value on the road) this probably makes a lot of sense... assuming that you like something from Factory Five or Vintage Motorcars. I would be very careful to check and ensure that a kit car completed in a non-standard way by a second company in Texas would be insurable and legal to register and license in your jurisdiction.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,950 Posts
Remember that EV West sells conversion kits specific for air-cooled VWs and Porsches--and not much else. But even those "bolt in" kits require some skill and effort.
Those kits are essentially nothing but an incomplete set of components, with a bracket to mount the controller to the motor. The battery (including housing and mountings) isn't even included. They are very short of a conversion kit, and it seems like these "kit" suppliers do the easy part (listing the major components) and leave all the real work to the builder.

If going to a conversion shop, you're getting the kit and paying someone a lot per hour to handle all of the rest of the details.

I'm actually surprised to not see very many total-from-scratch builds on this forum. Either way it's a big job.
Really? Not many people use kits, although recently they tend to use complete salvaged drive units, with a controller modification by an aftermarket vendor. But I agree that whatever the components and their sources, it's a big job.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
786 Posts
In a legal environment like US it's virtually impossible to run a business like that. It's like the first time one's custom build/conversion burns down somebody's house (or worse), the business is done and the owner will lose everything. I am even surprised how many shops sell reclaimed battery cells setup as functional battery packs with crappy Chinese BMSes - that's surely a disaster waiting to happen.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
786 Posts
Have you had some bad experiences with a Chinese BMS? If so, what manufacturers or suppliers?
Personally I haven't had anything catastrophic, just "doesn't work as expected" with some Chargery products. Now for real fun stuff you can find a bunch posts on the endless-sphere - plenty of burned BMS there, stemming from poor design, overrated specs, and outright random parts in product assemblies. Now the other thing is you said "what manufacturers" - who really knows ? Most of that stuff is copied by several shops and not clearly identifiable or traceable to one particular place.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,095 Posts
I think there are a lot of people like me, love older cars but would like to get them to run on EV.
Also, don't have the skill to do it. I don't weld, I don't actually fix cars.

I'm curious why I can't seem to find professional services to take an XYZ old car and install battery and motor into it?
I'm near San Francisco, a pretty green friendly place.
I did contact a couple of places in Los Angeles. EV West said they would be happy to do a project but they have a five year waiting list.

I wouldn't think it was hard to find. Also worried that if there are no local shops, my resulting car could not be serviced if it ever gave me trouble.
Contact this person. He is up in Redding. He does good work but Im not sure of his work load.
 
1 - 20 of 25 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top