Cost is a major factor, according to Mike Moore, who runs South Carolina-based Ampmobile Conversions, with his wife Paula.
There are reports of electric car conversion as high as $25,000, but anything above $20,000 is price gouging.
It’s hard to get more specific about costs, because there’s a broad range of issues to consider: the specific vehicle being converted, the quantity and technology of the batteries, the drive system, and the quality of the work and rates charged by the conversion company.
In this way, your electric wheels won’t need to re-invented.
Moore recommends using an affordable compact car, like a Chevy Aveo, Geo Metro, or Honda Civic, if economics and efficiency are your top concern.
In fact, Lough—who has been active in promoting electric cars for almost 30 years—is anguishing over the decision to convert now or wait it out.
Fellow Seattle EV association members are encouraging Lough to convert his first-generation Honda Insight into an all-electric car, but he’s got his heart set on the new Nissan EV scheduled for release in 2011. Do I spend ,000 on a used converted Honda or ,000 on a new Nissan? As the previous owner of five electric vehicles, Lough is well aware of the tradeoffs when it comes to driving range, warranties, battery replacements, and safety issues. Conversions can work and be less expensive than a new car, but it’s not a new car.” Mark Hazen, of Florida-based EVHelp.com, also has his eyes wide open regarding the pros and cons of electric car conversions.The only “gotcha” is the cost of replacing the car’s battery pack.Today’s electric car conversions, almost without exception, use lead acid batteries, which will last approximately two to five years.If you are trying to maximize driving range, go with a small pickup that has room for all the batteries. If you have your heart set on your exotic electric dream car, nearly any car can work.But each level of complexity and uniqueness requires more time and consideration—and therefore probably adds cost.“The Chevy Volt is going to cost about ,000, but a conversion costs about ,000,” said Moore.