This article first appeared in the July 2020 edition of the Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association Magazine.
As the world transitions to electric vehicles, what happens to millions of internal combustion engine cars that will be leapfrogged by EV technology?
Essentially, you’re removing everything related to the internal combustion engine – exhaust system, fuel tank and, of course, the engine itself – and replacing it with batteries, an electric motor and a charging system, plus an inverter and battery management system, as well as implementing regenerative braking so your vehicle can recover charge on the go.
The conversion process means classic cars can be transformed into unique silent drive, low maintenance vehicles that cost very little to ‘refuel’.
It also rescues great cars from landfill and gives them another few decades on the road.
Think Jag E-type or classic Porsche 911 with the instantaneous acceleration of a Tesla and which can take advantage of increasingly common public EV charging infrastructure.
It’s also expensive.
The easiest conversion is a Volkwagen Beetle, but even with supplied conversion kit you’re looking at $40,000 or more.
For anything with a Land Rover, Range Rover, Audi and Volkswagen chassis expect to pay upwards of $50,000 for parts and labour (not including bodywork).
Other types of vehicles can be converted, however research and development time – primarily, where batteries will fit – creates additional cost.
Our partner company, EVolution Australia, have just started the conversion of a 1976 Range Rover dubbed ‘Chrissy’.
A once-loved luxury vehicle, Chrissy has been a bush-bashing parts car in recent years and cost us a few thousand dollars to rescue.
We’re aiming for a 75kWh battery capacity, giving a range of around 300kms, new generation LifePo batteries and a HyPer9 electric motor, which, as well as being completely waterproof, we think is the most powerful and cost effective on the market.
She’ll have a complete interior refit, but externally will retain a great patina that really shows off her heritage.
Once finished, Chrissy will be a bespoke company car for cruising the café-lined streets of Melbourne as a statement of what can be achieved with a great team of engineering and mechanical professionals.
As cool as they are, we don’t believe classic car conversions are the only way forward.
Eventually, there’ll be a tipping point in the transition to low-emission transport; as electric vehicles become more affordable a large set of ICE cars may become unsaleable due to lack of buyer demand or tightening of vehicle emission standards.
Rather than scrap them, we believe there’s potential for affordable conversions at scale and our conversion projects today are helping us inform the remanufacturing process of tomorrow.
If you’d like more information about EV conversions go toevolutionaustralia.com.au/electric-car-conversions, or for information about charging infrastructure please give the EVUp team a call on 1300 EVUP 00 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org