DIY Electric Car Forums banner
1 - 20 of 39 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All,
I'm interested in starting a shop that will do combustible engine conversions to EV. I'd love to create a round table to see who may be interested in getting involved in the orange county, LA area in So Cal. Any interest in getting involved? I need experts in the field.
Thanks,
RS
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,970 Posts
I think that if a vehicle has a combustible engine, it should certainly be scrapped or converted. ;)

If you don't know the difference between "internal combustion" and "combustible", then my suggestion would be to learn a lot more before trying to build a business converting vehicles.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I think that if a vehicle has a combustible engine, it should certainly be scrapped or converted. ;)

If you don't know the difference between "internal combustion" and "combustible", then my suggestion would be to learn a lot more before trying to build a business converting vehicles.
Understood, and point taken. This is why I am here collecting information and learning from those who presumably know more than me. So my question is, can cars be converted at a low enough price to have it make sense for people to convert?
Thanks
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,970 Posts
So my question is, can cars be converted at a low enough price to have it make sense for people to convert?
The answer is "no". Conversions are generally done as hobby activities; they never make economic sense if the people doing the conversion are getting paid. The most economically feasible way to make an ICE vehicle into an EV is to sell the ICE vehicle and buy an EV; if the ICE vehicle isn't worth anything, then recycle the materials to partially compensate for the materials which will be used to build the EV. If a new vehicle isn't required, buy a used EV.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The answer is "no". Conversions are generally done as hobby activities; they never make economic sense if the people doing the conversion are getting paid. The most economically feasible way to make an ICE vehicle into an EV is to sell the ICE vehicle and buy an EV; if the ICE vehicle isn't worth anything, then recycle the materials to partially compensate for the materials which will be used to build the EV. If a new vehicle isn't required, buy a used EV.
If I were to convert an ICE vehicle to EV what would I expect to spend money wise? Say something small like I saw one of the other threads talking about converting a mini cooper.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,080 Posts
Now you're going from a business to one car, which is strange considering you seem to not know much about it other than a PowerPoint slide with a concept - that means you'll be hiring someone or a shop to do one car. There are established businesses that do it for $80,000 to north of $200,000...you supply the car. Get a quote...

Or are you talking about materials, labor, tooling, engineering, overhead, SG&A, etc...in other words...you want us to hand you a business plan?

The easy business plan is to look at existing shops. The clientele has bags o' money and a special car to them. A job shop. Job shops suck because people suck. An EV reveals every squeak and rattle. A diesel tuner can't even order a burger in the lane at McDonalds

Most of the conversions here are done as a hobby, as Brian stated. That means moneypit, wife divorced/ing you kind of spend, and insane amounts of time and buying many boxes of bandages.

If I was to bill my engineering time on my planned conversions (all for me), I could buy a Gulfstream jet. But I didn't build the jet.

Meanwhile, I pop in a fair bit to take a break, help the guys with skinned knuckles, and be an asshole.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Now you're going from a business to one car, which is strange considering you seem to not know much about it other than a PowerPoint slide with a concept - that means you'll be hiring someone or a shop to do one car. There are established businesses that do it for $80,000 to north of $200,000...you supply the car. Get a quote...

Or are you talking about materials, labor, tooling, engineering, overhead, SG&A, etc...in other words...you want us to hand you a business plan?

The easy business plan is to look at existing shops. The clientele has bags o' money and a special car to them. A job shop. Job shops suck because people suck. An EV reveals every squeak and rattle. A diesel tuner can't even order a burger in the lane at McDonalds

Most of the conversions here are done as a hobby, as Brian stated. That means moneypit, wife divorced/ing you kind of spend, and insane amounts of time and buying many boxes of bandages.

If I was to bill my engineering time on my planned conversions (all for me), I could buy a Gulfstream jet. But I didn't build the jet.

Meanwhile, I pop in a fair bit to take a break, help the guys with skinned knuckles, and be an asshole.
Thanks Remy, All good insight...even the jabs.
So think of it this way...I'm more of a bank. I don't get my hands dirty but I get the budgets together to get the job done. So what I hear is every car is an individual job. there is NO WAY to create 'assembly line' mass conversions at a cost effective price. 80k for a conversion to me seems steep when you can buy an engine for 8k (and that is a higher end smaller motor). I obviously don't know what goes into the design as you can tell by my posts. I had a client come to be with this proposal and I am fact checking. Sorry about all the divorces and stuff guys, sometimes it's easier to talk to a car than a wife, even if she does cost you more. In the end it's always cheaper though...
I appreciate the input you all have. I'm still going to try to convert my own, but maybe we'll sideline it as a hobby for now and let these guys go build electric bikes instead.
Thanks!
Roy
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,970 Posts
... So what I hear is every car is an individual job. there is NO WAY to create 'assembly line' mass conversions at a cost effective price. 80k for a conversion to me seems steep when you can buy an engine for 8k (and that is a higher end smaller motor). I obviously don't know what goes into the design as you can tell by my posts.
That's essentially it. If you're more familiar with cars with engines, I would compare this to swapping out the original four-cylinder engine in a Mazda Miata for a GM small-block V8. The engine is several thousand dollars, but the conversion is several times that even though it has been done many times and everything that needs to be known is well understood... due to the need to buy and tediously change many components and to fabricate parts that don't justify mass production. The result is a car which has a small (but enthusiastic) market of people willing to pay twice as much as the car is objectively worth.

Also, while electric motors can be expensive, the motor cost isn't the important part of the budget, due to the battery, the inverter that connects the battery to the motor, and the many other smaller components.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
1,525 Posts
The salad days for EV conversion shops are 5-10 years gone.

Once upon a time there was money to be made because:

- You couldn't really buy a decent EV. If you wanted an EV, it had to be custom made.

- There were a few wealthy people who were willing to spend money to get exactly what they wanted.

- Components were expensive, so, charging even a small markup on your work made it profitable.


Those days are gone. Everyone and their dog makes EVs now. You don't need to build one to buy one. Many of the people who wanted a specific car converted, and had the highest budget, already did that. And, components are cheap now so it's harder to justify the extra profit.

You'll notice that EV conversion shops have largely gone under, and very few new ones have appeared. And those that do convert cars for pay will straight up tell you that the days of making low/mid 5 figures on a conversion are gone.

All that's left are the cheap builders (who can more affordably just go buy a $3000 old EV), who won't pay you anyways, or those that enjoy doing the conversions themselves, who also aren't going to pay you.

So, yeah, that ship has sailed.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
6,441 Posts
Matt is not completely correct!
YES doing a conversion or getting one done to save money is a non starter
I usually say that
if you can DIY and scrounge your conversion will cost twice as much as a second hand Leaf - and be half as good as a car
if you have to pay somebody your conversion will cost twice as much as a brand new Tesla - and be half as good as a second hand Leaf

But there is still a market there - its the "Hot Rod" market

People who are willing to spend a LOT to get something special

Its NOT a big market - but it is there
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,080 Posts
That's not "restomod".

Restomod is merely the unfaithful RESTOration of a classic car, but modifying it with MODern, reliable, usually performance, components.

A shop-created restomod car costs over $100,000 to have done.

It's easy to have an idea, pull a salary, and fail with other people's money. 9/10 Silicon Valley "experienced" founders do exactly that. Heavy on the bullshit, little on the substance or profitability.

Here's an idea borrowed from there. Convert cars at a loss and live on the promise to make money on the ads you paint on them 😂
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
35 Posts
Restomod is merely the unfaithful RESTOration of a classic car, but modifying it with MODern, reliable, usually performance, components.

A shop-created restomod car costs over $100,000 to have done.
Which is exactly what I'm talking about. They are a growing niche. E30 M3, Porsche, Alfa Romeo, etc... Improve drivetrain, optional Carbon and exotic material use, and keeping the driving experience. Company's are building series of Cars now. Not just client ordered

Some are already going electric (Porsche 356)

If the OP has his mind and dreams set on this, that MIGHT be worth investigating...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
35 Posts
...and you're not doing it (for the children, of course) because...
Dr. House, is that you?
Such a joybringer on this forum....

O, by the way, @sponsoredbg2020
Every shop I contacted to build my car had no openings in the coming year to add extra projects. So at least in Europe, the market seems to be open for extra businesses.

But every car is still a single unique build, not a build 1 package, cram it in several vehicles type of deal...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,080 Posts
lol...House is definitely a role model. Such finely holed sarcasm and art of curmudgeonry.

You never put an ad here to have someone do it for you. Mate Rimac allegedly started here (before my time)...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
That's essentially it. If you're more familiar with cars with engines, I would compare this to swapping out the original four-cylinder engine in a Mazda Miata for a GM small-block V8. The engine is several thousand dollars, but the conversion is several times that even though it has been done many times and everything that needs to be known is well understood... due to the need to buy and tediously change many components and to fabricate parts that don't justify mass production. The result is a car which has a small (but enthusiastic) market of people willing to pay twice as much as the car is objectively worth.

Also, while electric motors can be expensive, the motor cost isn't the important part of the budget, due to the battery, the inverter that connects the battery to the motor, and the many other smaller components.
Awesome input. Thank you Brian. Makes perfect sense, and that was what I was wondering is how much fabrication is involved with conversions.
 
1 - 20 of 39 Posts
Top