How to calculate the cost of your EV conversion

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More and more gearheads are converting their favorite cars (and boats) to electric drive. However, it can be tough to estimate how much a particular project will cost. The final bill may be anywhere from $6,000 for a basic city car to $125,000 for a state-of-the-art Tesla-killer.

It all depends on the type of vehicle, and the features and performance that you want. Leaving out a few goodies that you may not really need can save a bundle. Experienced electrifier Joost ter Doest has compiled a handy list of 10 major factors that determine your EV conversion budget.

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Older, simpler vehicles are cheaper to convert than modern cars, which tend to be heavier and include complex computerized systems that control functions like air conditioning and power steering. A car that’s half the weight will need half the batteries.

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Sporty acceleration and high top speeds require bigger motors and more expensive controllers. Do you really need regenerative braking? Complex battery management? All of these things can add a lot to the bottom line. And needless to say, settling for a bit less range will keep the budget much lower.

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Doest also points out that it can be cheaper to convert a model that others have already worked with, as standard parts such as motor mounts and battery casings may be available off-the-shelf. If you live in Europe, you may be able to find an old Fiat, Peugeot, Citroen and Renault EV that you can upgrade by replacing the lead-acid or NiCad batteries with Li-ion.

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