India is transitioning to electric vehicles rather quickly. But, it is still more of a luxury than being a practical choice, at least in the four-wheeler segment. The govt is also tightening the noose around internal combustion engine (ICE) powered vehicles. Air pollution is one important aspect of why EVs are bound to get more popular. You can also factor in the increasing fuel prices and suddenly it seems like EVs make more sense. However, what if you don’t want to dish out a large amount of money for a new electric vehicle. What are your options after this?
Buy a second-hand electric car? There are hardly any old EVs in the used car market, apart from fleet cars that have lost most of their juice. Here comes your third option. Turn your existing conventional car running on petrol and diesel into an all-green electric vehicle.
What? Is it really possible to do that in this day and age?
This might have seemed like an absurd proposition a few years back, but not anymore. Small automobile companies are realizing the potential in developing electric vehicle kits to convert ICE-powered gas-guzzling vehicles into harmless EVs. The electric car market is yet to be established in India, but conversion could still become that interim option for buyers looking for some cheaper options, without sacrificing the practicality of a generic vehicle.
What is Electric Vehicle Conversion?
To put it simply, it is just the removal of a fossil-fuel-powered engine from a vehicle and swapping it with an electric powertrain. The battery pack and the electric motor can be retrofitted in a vehicle to give it all the benefits that you come to expect from an EV. Well, it may not exactly be what you would expect from an EV built ground up, but it should be able to do your daily runs in the city without a hitch.
So, how much does it cost?
Coming straight to the most important question in your mind. How much does it cost and does it really make sense? To understand the pricing we need to understand that EV conversion companies make kits that are specific to only some car models.
In order to get an estimate about the cost, BGR.in spoke with Northway Motorsport, an EV kit maker based out of Pune.
First and foremost, we need to understand that not all cars can be converted to an EV. The conversion is model-specific and the developers need to get their kits approved by the govt before they can start selling them commercially.
Saurabh Joshi from Northway Motorsport explained that they are still awaiting approval for two kits that have been built for Maruti Suzuki Dzire and Maruti Suzuki Ignis. The approvals are expected to be cleared within a period of two months. The good folks at Northway still managed to give us a rough figure for the expenses that are involved in an EV conversion.
If a buyer with a pre-owned Suzuki Dzire goes to Northway to get his/her car converted, they will have to shed anywhere around Rs 6.5 lakh to turn it into an EV. After a successful conversion, the range that this car can provide will be somewhere around 120 km. The company plans to introduce a long-range kit in the future which will be able to provide a range of 250 km.
The company currently plans to sell a single motor powertrain which is rated for 7.5kW and the peak power goes up to 25kW.
Other factors to keep in mind
The condition of the vehicle will also decide whether there will be any additional expenditure on repairs. The basic costs of tires and other minor peripherals can be managed. However, major faults in the older vehicle could cause the overall cost to inflate considerably.
The converted vehicle will continue to get the same manual box as before. The use of a gearbox will also help with enhancing the range of the vehicle.
While the idea of converting your car into an EV does not seem like an impractical choice, there are a lot of variables at play. The age of the vehicle, the overall condition, and also the limitations of the models all need to align well. The conversion can provide your car with a new life for at least half a decade and in most cases maybe more. You still can’t expect it to compete with other, brand-new, more powerful EVs in the market, both in terms of power and mileage.
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