How to Convert Your Car to Electric: A DIY Guide

EVs have lower running costs, and they require almost no maintenance. However, the biggest temptation for many to convert to an EV is getting rid of the fuel costs. While it is true that electric cars present many benefits over gas-powered vehicles, they have a higher initial price.

A cheaper way of shifting to electric vehicles would be to convert your existing car to electric. It won’t be a high-quality or high-performance EV, but it will do the job. However, several considerations must be kept in mind about how to convert your car to electric.

We’ll review a general methodology or approach for the DIY conversion of a gas-powered car to an electric car using an electric car conversion kit.

Electric Car Conversion Kit DIY

Step 1: Conversion Objectives

Before starting the conversion to electric cars, it is important to define the conversion objectives. Answer these questions:

  • What type of vehicle do you want? A family car, urban, or sports vehicle?
  • What is the maximum load and expected number of passengers?
  • What are the performance benchmarks for the converted electric car?
  • What should be the range of the converted electric car?

There are several other questions that need to be answered. However, this must give you an idea.

Step 2: EV Design Considerations

This is the part where you should have a high level of expertise in electric vehicles. Because if you aren’t a professional, things can get a bit messy. This is probably the most critical and technical step in all conversion process. Here you will design your new EV. In a professional setting, a team of skilled engineers does that. But here, you will need to decide on things like motor arrangement, number of motors, drivetrain, battery capacity, and everything that has to do with EV design.

Step 3: Selection of Vehicle

In the case of existing car conversion, you don’t have much of a choice. Theoretically, any gas car can be converted to electric. However, some cars are more suited for conversion to electric than others. Make sure that you have a car that will support the conversion to electric. If you don’t have a feasible car for conversion, I’d recommend replacing your car if you want to build a reliable EV.

Step 4: Selection of Electric Car Conversion Kit

If you set your conversion objectives straight and you have a sound EV design, selecting an electric car conversion kit should not be a problem. You must select an EV conversion kit that is in line with your design power, battery capacity, and other considerations. We have already covered the best electric car conversion kits on the market. You can read that article to find some great options.

Step 5: Dismantling the Internal Combustion Engine

The first real step in the conversion to an electric car is the dismantling of the existing internal combustion engine. It is important to understand that an ICE drives three major components of your car. These include the driveshaft, compressor, and the cooling pump. Now, for a fully functional EV, you will need at least two different motors.

One to power the drivetrain and the other to power the compressor. You can skip powering the cooling pump, as there will be no need for that in the absence of an engine block. In the first phase of dismantling, you need to carry out steps such as professionally storing the dangerous air-conditioning gas and draining the coolant, engine oil, fuel, and gear oil.

In the next phase, detach the exhaust piping, oil and fuel filter, and catalytic converter. Once you have done all these things, you can finally start taking the engine out. Check that you have removed all the hoses, belts, and pipes exiting the engine block. The engine block is held in its place using engine mounts. You will need to open these mounts and lift the engine out of the engine bay.

Step 6: Installing the EV Motor

Once you have dismantled the engine, proceed to the most critical step of your EV conversion. You need to install the EV motor of your conversion kit onto the driveshaft of your engine. Mind you that the motors with some electric car conversion kits need to be installed on individual axles rather than the main driveshaft, so you will need to check that.

In addition to that, the EV motor might not fit on the same platform as the engine. You might need to fabricate your own hardware for mounting and installation. You must keep in mind that an EV motor will produce a lot of vibration and heat while in operation. So, the mounting must be stiff and coaxial to avoid any permanent damage to the drivetrain.

You can identify the types of motors used in EV.

Step 7: Mounting of Batteries and Charging System

The last step of your EV conversion is the mounting of batteries and the charging system. Most EV conversion kits come with a lithium-ion battery pack. Batteries are very heavy, and they represent more than half the weight of an EV. The placement of batteries is a critical issue. Batteries must be placed centrally, and their weight should be divided evenly.

Again you might have to fabricate supports or bracing for mounting the battery pack. As far as the charging system goes, I would recommend getting rid of the fuel tank and installing the charging port under the fuel lid. There are a bunch of sensors that are attached to the charging system. These also include over-charging, over-current, and over-temperature protection.

Final Word, How to Convert Your Car to Electric: A DIY Guide

There are many benefits of converting your conventional car to electric. However, I’d not recommend doing it yourself until you have expertise in automotive. If you’re not well-versed in electric vehicle and gas-powered vehicle design, seek professional help.

It would be wiser to get a professional mechanic onboard for a successful conversion. The methodology to convert your car to electric in this article is rather general. There are a lot of things that cannot be discussed in a short blog.

Still, I’ve tried to be as detailed as possible within the scope of this article. What are some other things I should have mentioned in this article?