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Are commercial EV's killing the conversion industry?

Discussion in 'Electric Conversions' started by tga, Feb 12, 2015.

  1. tga

    tga Active Member

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    I've been thinking off and on about doing a conversion on my 2004 Mini Cooper S, but the numbers just don't seem to make sense.

    Alternative #1 - Convert the Mini:
    40 CALB CA180's (~$243 ea, 3.2V nominal, 180Ah) - $9720 for 128V nominal, 23kWh.
    Add in $7k-$8K for an AC system with regen - motor (AC-50), controller, DC-DC converter, charger, etc.

    So that puts me at around $17k-$18k total parts for the conversion. Yes, I could save a bit and go with a DC system, but lets use $17 as cost of conversion (DIY; labor is free). Plus, I'll have to use my pickup as my daily driver until I finish the project (ugh).

    Alternative #2 - Buy an eGolf:
    Assume worst case (pay MSRP), $36,265 (no options, with dest charge). Federal and state incentives drop that to $26,265. Now sell the Mini for, say, $7000 (I could probably get 8k - rust free and low miles) - I'm at ~$19,000. I assume the Leaf, FFE, etc are similar.

    So the two options work out to be about equal price-wise. But #2 gives me a new car, with 10 years worth of new tech (backup cam, park sensors, etc), fast charging, more range, a back seat and cargo area (vs a battery box), and just an all around cleaner design. #1 gives me an 11 year old electric car, with the pride of DIY.

    It seems like doing a conversion isn't nearly as compelling as it once was.
     
  2. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    Conversion has never been very compelling other than one you do yourself as a hobby. My experience with VW is such that I wouldn't buy a HotWheels car made by them.
     
  3. mnx

    mnx 2013 P85

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    Haha, you never miss a chance to bash VW do you? :)

    - - - Updated - - -

    The only way you'd do a conversion with those #'s is if you can't get what from OEM's and/or you love the process.
     
  4. jerjozwik

    jerjozwik Member

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    my household has been fully converted to ev transportation. sadly both cars are leases so we need to replace them. the plan now is p85d or 85d by the end of the year and then converting the 1960's nsu prinz.

    commercial ev production will never killconversions because mostconversions are classic/interesting cars being switched over to extend their lives or because of drivetrain improvement.

    number crunching a modern car conversion vs a production ev is kinda silly. just get a new one if you want a modern car.
     
  5. tonybelding

    tonybelding Active Member

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    I can remember ten or more years ago, there was much hype about conversions. That was during the post-EV1 time when there were no plug-in cars in showrooms, and we were all wringing our hands over Peak Oil, thinking that the world need an emergency crash program to convert to electric cars before it was Too Late, and the only way it would ever be possible was for some sort of grassroots uprising to have people in small shops in every little town converting ICE cars to BEVs.

    That dream seems pretty funny in today's light. Are commercial EVs killing the conversion industry? What industry? It never got off the ground. I think a major reason is that converters never had access to the best battery technology, and the best batteries (and other components!) that they were able to get have remained stubbornly expensive because there's no economy of scale.
     
  6. TexasEV

    TexasEV Active Member

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    You don't hear much about people building their own computers any more, either.
     
  7. Zextraterrestrial

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    I was doing the conversion cost exercise in 2010...coincidentally when I joined this forum and put down an S deposit. After pricing out everything I'd want and seeing the cost was well over $50K for something 'basic' and over $100k for something I'd be happy with, ow. and It'd surely be ducktaped somewhere

    Recently started to price out an autocross electric miata or something small and cheap and now it is still crazy expensive but some things are better now + more variations and companies making parts.
     
  8. Danal

    Danal electricmotorglider.com

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    Commercial EVs certainly killed any conversion ideas that I had. I was considering a couple of cars that I owned that were paid for... at least doing some of the research.

    They I bought a Leaf. And now a Model S.


    So, yeah, taken literally the title of this thread absolutely applies to me.
     
  9. DuncanWatson

    DuncanWatson Member

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    Same here. I considered it and was looking at options but I leased a Ford Focus EV instead. I am a likely model 3 customer when it is released.
     
  10. Dwdnjck

    Dwdnjck Member

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    A better idea may be a kit car or a resurrection of an old classic. EV west just finished a Factory Five 818 and is working on an old Ferrari that had a motor fire...a kit 59 Vette would also be a worthwhile project.
     
  11. BerTX

    BerTX Member

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    And, if the Mini is your only vehicle, you'll have to get another car to drive during the conversion process. You might think it will only take a weekend, but it might be a little longer...
     
  12. gregincal

    gregincal Active Member

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    I wonder whether in the next 10 years or so as electric cars become more common there will be more commonly available (and less expensive) conversion kits. It will never be as slick or cheaper than a production EV, but the whole point is to drive classic car with an EV drivetrain.
     
  13. green1

    green1 Active Member

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    I have wanted an EV for a very long time, I saw my first conversion nearly 15 years ago and knew I would eventually convert a vehicle. The plan at the time had always been that we would be a 3 vehicle household, my car, my wife's car, and an EV for short city trips and some fun.

    When the T-Zero appeared, and then the Roadster, I drooled, but could never justify something that expensive as a third car. But then the Model S appeared, and suddenly it would no longer be a third car, but rather a second car, and that completely killed my EV conversion dream. I wanted a conversion, not because real EVs were impractical, but because the major manufacturers refused to build them. Tesla has built one, and I no longer need to convert one, I can buy something many times as good as anything I could possibly build.

    When the automobile was first invented, there were lots of tinkerers in their garage building their own. Very few people do that any more. EV conversions won't completely die off, but as a percentage of EVs on the road they are plummeting, and will only continue to fall over time. Then EV conversions will eventually be the same as people doing hot-rods and such today, a fun hobby, but not something you need to do.
     
  14. tonybelding

    tonybelding Active Member

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    This. I thought an old Lotus Esprit S1 might make a good candidate for conversion.

    Some while back the DeLorean Motor Company (in Houston) showed off a converted DMC-12 that looked promising, and they said they were going to make them available for sale. Well, that never happened. Maybe it'll be revisited someday when component costs have come down.
     
  15. tga

    tga Active Member

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    Depends on your definition of "building" - soldering 74xx's onto a printed circuit board? No. But I've "built" plenty of systems from off the shelf motherboards, cases, supplies, disks, video cards, etc. Often with better components and for less money.

    EV West supplied the parts for the 818 project, but I'm pretty sure the work was done by Erik Hansen @ 33 Machine:
    Factory Five Racing 818 Electric ushers in new era of EV builds [w/video]
    33 Machine electric 818e build- Photoshoot 11/30!

    The 818 is a great platform. I'm a big fan of FFR's designs. There's a guy in Maine who build a Factory Five Roadster ('65 Cobra replica) as an EV:

    Wayne's 2010 FFR Mk4

    I've also been thinking about building an electric 818, buying a Miata to convert, or building a Lotus 7 clone (aka "Locost") from scratch (see Building a locost lotus 7 replica in the USA )

    But then I start looking at used Tesla Roadsters... :love:
     
  16. jerjozwik

    jerjozwik Member

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  17. oscarmmayorga

    oscarmmayorga New Member

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    Hi,

    I'm new on this, with some thoughts regarding buying a new car or diy conversion. Conversions buying new stuff are a lot expensive but you will add features or customize your diy ev. On my opinion to lower the diy project buying a crashed ev and taking the parts to build a diy ev car. Example:

    2 spark ev1 crashed about $4k each total $8k about $10k making some mechanicall parts to fit your proyect. But you will get an diy ev car with 40kwh battery, around 300hp and about 700lb/ft.

    This thought doesn't take the fun of the diy ev project due you will do mechanical parts, electrical connections, programing and reverse engineering to start the motors.
     
  18. deonb

    deonb Active Member

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    You must live in very different circles from me! I don't know anybody who runs a vendor-assembled desktop PC.
     
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  19. jerjozwik

    jerjozwik Member

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    ah, i get to update this thread too! my recently purchased commercial ev is not stopping me from creating my own nsu prinz ev!

    just ordered the ac motor and transmission yesterday!
    [​IMG]
     
  20. S'toon

    S'toon Knows where his towel is

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    I've built every one of my computers since 1997.
     
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