High-Performance Electric Car Conversion (Cost Breakdown)

Electric car conversions are a feat of engineering genius that has become more prevalent recently. It’s a process that gives fuel-powered cars a new lease of life, but the conversion cost is not for everyone. But how much does it cost?

There’s a significant cost associated with high-performance electric car conversions. Industry experts estimate you will spend a minimum of $6000 on parts. Additionally, expect to pay anywhere between $1000 to $3000 on required labor. The conversion of some performance cars may cost over $100,000.

The rest of this article will break down the costs of electric car conversions and the calculations behind them. The article will equip you with the knowledge to decide if an electric vehicle conversion is for you.

Electric Car Conversion: Summary Table

How much does a typical electric car conversion cost?

$6,000 – $9,000
Does it cost more to convert a higher value car?Yes, in many cases.
How long does the conversion process usually take?3 – 6 months
Can any car be converted to electric power?Yes
Will my electric conversion car be road legal? Yes, if it passes many tests and checks. 
To set the scene for the remainder of the article, I have created a table of relevant statistics and figures. I hope this will give you a better appreciation of the topic:
Electric car conversions have started to become more mainstream in recent years. It provides an excellent opportunity to rejuvenate older vehicles and reduce your carbon footprint. The overall cost of the process depends on various factors and decisions. Photo by Maxim Hopman on Unsplash

What Is the Electric Car Conversion Process?

The electric car conversion process is a form of automotive retrofitting. A car designed initially with a gas/diesel engine becomes transformed into a vehicle powered by electricity. It is an intricate process that requires expert levels of mechanical and electrical knowledge. 

Individuals who aren’t obsessed with cars may not be familiar with this process. They probably don’t even know that it is possible. As electric vehicles have only now become mainstream, electric car conversions are a fairly new phenomenon.

As the demand for this service increases, more and more electric conversion companies are popping up. As such, methods, systems, and processes will invariably become more efficient in the coming years.

How Do You Convert a Car To Run on Electricity?

You convert a car to run on electricity by replacing the internal combustion engine and gearbox with a battery pack and an electric motor. The battery pack provides the power to rotate the wheels. A mechanism for charging the batteries is also installed, a process governed by strict regulations.

Removing the engine and ancillaries is not the difficult part of the conversion. Any seasoned mechanic could efficiently perform these tasks in a couple of days. The real difficulty that starts to arise is the integration of the battery packs and charging components into the pre-existing chassis. 

All of the car’s mechanical components had been designed around the old engine configuration. More than likely, the installation of batteries will make the car substantially heavier than it was before. If this is the case, it could necessitate modifications to the car’s braking and suspension components. Naturally, this could lead to the incurrence of additional expenses as part of the conversion. 

There’s an extraordinarily comprehensive and fascinating video available on YouTube. Watching this video in its entirety will answer most of your questions:

How Much Does an Electric Car Conversion Cost?

An electric car conversion can cost anywhere between $6,000 and over $100,000. Providing a definitive figure for the cost of the electric car conversion process is almost impossible. Several factors impact the cost of the conversion process, such as the price of batteries and the body type.

We can say that the cost largely depends on the following:

  • The battery pack.
  • The charger and charging system.
  • Car body type, size, and complexity.
  • Other minor components.

On a somewhat similar note, I also wrote a related article and found the 4 Best Electric Motors for Car Conversions. Check it out and let me know what you think!

Cost Breakdown: Car Design

The first factor that will impact the conversion cost is the car’s original design. You don’t need a Ph.D. in Physics to wrap your head around the impact of the vehicle’s weight. A heavier vehicle will need more electrical energy to move it. Larger batteries will supply this extra electrical energy.

The complexity of the car design will also have cost implications. By and large, the older the car, the simpler its design. Older cars usually require less reconfiguration to work as electric vehicles, reducing the expertise needed. 

Cost Breakdown: The Level of Technology

Electric cars have pioneered revolutionary technology in the name of efficiency, environmentalism, and range. Significant breakthroughs have been made, and high-end electric vehicles showcase engineering excellence.

This aspect of the costs is where individuals will likely showcase the most significant differences. Those looking to create the ultimate electric conversion with maximum performance will need to spend more.

A high top speed value requires larger motors and intricate deployment controllers. For instance, if you’re converting a Citroën 2CV, such expenses would probably be overkill.

Another impressive feature you may choose to incorporate is regenerative braking.

This advanced technology originated from the KERS device pioneered by F1 motor racing back in 2009. I strongly encourage you to read up on it if you’re interested in learning more. However, I’ll offer a simple explanation for those who are less interested. 

Basically, it’s possible to convert wasted braking energy into electricity. This electricity is then used to recharge the batteries. 

Regenerative braking unquestionably represents the pinnacle of automotive technology. Nevertheless, it would be unjustifiable for any conversion not intended to rival a Tesla or Porsche

Cost Breakdown: The Frequency of Model Conversion

While this isn’t a choice you can make or something you can influence, it’s still a factor. If you’re the first individual looking to convert a certain car, then it’s a voyage of discovery. 

Some vehicles’ conversion occurs so frequently that there are pre-manufactured conversion kits for them. In some cases, it’s vastly cheaper than finding a custom solution. 

Higher value vehicles are likely to have been converted less often, which may be a guide. A valuable and exciting visualization is available online, illustrating the difference in costs between certain cars.

Cost Breakdown: The Batteries

Batteries are the primary element differentiating electric cars from those powered by fuel. 

The battery pack is the most expensive part of the electric vehicle conversion process. Lithium-ion batteries power almost every electric car, and these energy stores command quite the price tag. 

Your battery configuration is influenced by two variables – the range and power you require. To obtain a longer range, you’ll need more batteries. Acquiring these additional batteries invariably adds a substantial amount to the conversion cost. 

On that note, check out this related article that I wrote about adding and upgrading more batteries to a Tesla. I also explained how to unlock your Model S hardware to upgrade the battery.

To maximize the power sent to the wheels, people will need to acquire large kW power output batteries. Such high capacity, high-performance modules will place a large financial burden upon the purchaser. You may have heard of an Irish electric car conversion start-up called AVA Electrifi. Their classic car conversions range from €100,000 to over €2 million.

It’s worth noting that the prices of batteries fluctuate like other commodities. Recently, electric vehicle batteries have appreciated in value, so conversions will become more expensive. 

I would need to write a whole new article to discuss the factors affecting battery prices. For the sake of simplicity, let’s just say it’s a blind gamble right now.

Cost Breakdown: Charger

The type of charger you need to acquire will depend on the voltage of your vehicle’s battery pack. These voltage parameters will determine the type of charger you need to purchase. 

A charger’s voltage range needs to correspond with the battery’s voltage range. Chargers that need to tolerate a higher voltage range will cost you more money. There’s a big variation between the prices of chargers, with some costing under $600 and others costing $6,000.

Should I Convert My Car?

You should convert your car if you want to give it a new lease of life. However, the answer is heavily influenced by the car’s age, value, and state. There is a great case to be made for converting older, low-value vehicles.

To make a crude analogy, knee and hip replacements are more valuable to 80-year-olds than 20-year-olds!

Newer vehicles are going to require more money and expertise to convert successfully. However, if you have the money and desire to do it, you should go for it. 

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for high performance, coupled with a long-range, then expect to spend thousands on batteries. If you choose to incorporate the latest technology, the overall build could run into six figures.

However, the conversion of a relatively common vehicle should be possible for less than $10,000.

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Erwin Meyer
Erwin Meyer

Thanks for visiting evspeedy.com. The goal of this site is to be a helpful resource for Tesla and EV owners as this is where my passion lies. I was a TSLA shareholder before the hype and still am. I also believe in Tesla’s speedy mission to accelerate the world to a sustainable future.