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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello guys, EVs/Lithium have been a true revelation ever since I've watched Tony Seba's presentation (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2b3ttqYDwF0&feature=youtu.be)

After thinking for a while on how to get into the business, I taught about a business concept that could be applicable in the real world TODAY.

Converting recent(2011+) ICE with 200 000KMs to EV.

I would target the service industry trucks since they make TONS of millage fast (30k/year).

Located in Quebec, Canada I think there is a great market for this because:
A) Cheap electricity
B) High gasoline price
C) Possible subvention
D) Population is pro green

Your skill level with auto mechanics and fabrication:
I was trained & worked in HVAC ~5 years ago for around 3 years. Therefore I have decent background knowledge in electric circuits, mechanics & thermodynamics. I would hire my father since he has extensive auto mechanic experience and is a great handyman.

The range you are hoping to get (how many miles/charge):
100-200km

What level of performance you are hoping to get:
120KM/h, bear in mind that a Savana weight roughly 5000lbs

How much money you are willing to put into your project:
I would allocate roughly 250k to this venture and the swap must be less than 25k per unit (without labor)

What parts you've already considered, if any:
Power steering & A/C

I have been reading lots of content in the past couple of days but realistically I have no idea where to start from.

Any help would be tremendously appreciated!

Best regards,

Laverdure
 

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As you know, cars rust quickly in eastern Canada, so I'm not sure about the viability of spending many thousands of dollars on 7+ year old vehicles. Once they have gone far enough to wear out powertrains (engines, transmissions), they will also likely need major brake work (including replacing brake lines), electrical fixes (due most;y to corroded connectors), body repair, and possibly suspension.

While urban delivery and service operations are a relatively good target for electric vehicles (much better than highway use), trying to serve this market has been the downfall of companies before. Azure Dynamics went broke trying to sell hybrids in this market (starting with used trucks instead of new ones), and an all-electric will be even more expensive to build.

C) Possible subvention
Was this intended to be "Possible subsidy", perhaps?

Any possible chance of economic success would be dependent on qualifying for the highest level of government subsidy (such as those in Quebec); those subsidies are the only reason that there is more than a trivial level of EV sales in the few provinces which offer subsidies... the rest of us just don't have EVs. Unfortunately, a conversion of a used vehicle is unlikely to qualify. Ontario has a wildly generous program for commercial vehicles, but again it doesn't look like a conversion to EV would qualify.

D) Population is pro green
I wouldn't count on this meaning anything. Aside from whether or not Quebec is actually pro-green (it certainly doesn't look like it from here in Alberta, but I don't know what the local chatter indicates), only a token few people actually spend substantial amounts to be "green". They buy hybrids because they think they'll save money on fuel; they buy EVs because they will save on fuel, and because the purchase will be heavily subsidized. Businesses are even more economically driven, and only go "green" in vehicles if it is deemed to have sufficient publicity value. You need to make the economics work, whatever possible customers say they believe in.
 

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I would allocate roughly 250k to this venture and the swap must be less than 25k per unit (without labor)
I really don't think that unit parts cost has any chance of happening, unless you are planning to put salvaged used parts in a vehicle and then sell it for $80K+... which I don't think will succeed.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
As you know, cars rust quickly in eastern Canada, so I'm not sure about the viability of spending many thousands of dollars on 7+ year old vehicles. Once they have gone far enough to wear out powertrains (engines, transmissions), they will also likely need major brake work (including replacing brake lines), electrical fixes (due most;y to corroded connectors), body repair, and possibly suspension.
Annual anti-rust treatment will greatly mitigate this issue. Still a valid concern that shouldn't be overlooked.

Was this intended to be "Possible subsidy", perhaps?
Yes, I meant subsidy.

Aside from whether or not Quebec is actually pro-green (it certainly doesn't look like it from here in Alberta, but I don't know what the local chatter indicates), only a token few people actually spend substantial amounts to be "green". They buy hybrids because they think they'll save money on fuel; they buy EVs because they will save on fuel, and because the purchase will be heavily subsidized. Businesses are even more economically driven, and only go "green" in vehicles if it is deemed to have sufficient publicity value. You need to make the economics work, whatever possible customers say they believe in.
It is definitely a thing, not as much as the west coast but still. Remember that Quebec is left-leaning and usually these types of people are pro-green.

100% agree regarding that business are going to do it on a cost basis and are economically driven. However, having an EV fleet could be a good publicity and there is an intangible +value attached to it.

I really don't think that unit parts cost has any chance of happening, unless you are planning to put salvaged used parts in a vehicle and then sell it for $80K+... which I don't think will succeed.
I was not planning on purchasing the car myself but to offer the conversion service. There is a business with a similar model here but it is to swap it for propane. http://www.ecopropane.ca/?lang=en

I was under the impression that conversion could be done for 5 to 10k for a small car. Why the 80k price tag for a bigger vehicle?
 

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100% agree regarding that business are going to do it on a cost basis and are economically driven. However, having an EV fleet could be a good publicity and there is an intangible +value attached to it.
I suspect that companies which can afford this sort of thing for the publicity value will also prefer new products, and will need a generous subsidy program, which only a new product is likely to obtain.

I was not planning on purchasing the car myself but to offer the conversion service. There is a business with a similar model here but it is to swap it for propane. http://www.ecopropane.ca/?lang=en
Propane conversion is cheap and easy compared to electric conversion, although the same idea of converting the customer's vehicle can work. You would need to be very specific about qualifying vehicles (as you have already suggested), because packaging the battery is not likely something you would want to work out each time for different vehicles.

Propane conversions were popular here a few decades ago, but essentially no one does them any more because propane is no longer cheap, and the converted vehicle is inconvenient for most users to operate.

I was under the impression that conversion could be done for 5 to 10k for a small car.
$5K-$10K is probably typical for basic DIY conversions as reported in this forum; however, those costs don't include labour, normally include at least some used components, and are for lighter vehicles with smaller components.

Why the 80k price tag for a bigger vehicle?
The $80K estimate was a really rough guess, including the cost of the base vehicle (which is a cost to the customer, so it must be included), assuming a relatively high component cost (compared to used parts in typical DIY projects) due to the large size required for the heavy vehicle, and including some labour cost. Commercially offered conversions are often much more expensive than that: one company offers conversion of a old VW Beetles which run US$100K by the time they're complete (although the are restoring the car as well as converting it).
 

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It is definitely a thing, not as much as the west coast but still. Remember that Quebec is left-leaning and usually these types of people are pro-green.
Well, they say that they're green. In practice, their homes and vehicles are no different from any other part of the country, and they use just as much energy as the rest of us... they just feel smugly superior because they have hydroelectric power to waste. The "we love our environment" talk is nice, but when it comes to giving something up, changing the way they live, or paying more, the vast majority of people are all just talk.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Well, they say that they're green. In practice, their homes and vehicles are no different from any other part of the country, and they use just as much energy as the rest of us... they just feel smugly superior because they have hydroelectric power to waste. The "we love our environment" talk is nice, but when it comes to giving something up, changing the way they live, or paying more, the vast majority of people are all just talk.
Amen to this.

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