How to convert a standard car into an electric vehicle

 In Vehicles

When we refer to the electric conversion of a car, we are talking about the process of replacing the car’s combustion engine and related components with electric batteries and an electric motor.

Typically, to achieve this, there are three main conversion processes:

  1. DIY conversion: most popular in north America, it’s performed by hobbyists and people passionate about electric vehicles. The idea here is to purchase an inexpensive, old car with perhaps a non-functioning engine and replace its parts with electrical components. However, some people might have a bigger budget available, and they might like to go through the same conversion process with a specific and more expensive car already in mind;
  2. Two-stage process: this occurs when two different manufacturers have built a vehicle. For example, with process called “third-party (power) trainization” an independent contractor can buy new vehicle gliders (no powertrain) and then add all the electric components to them;
  3. Dealership conversion: in some countries, with a process called “pre-conversion”, customers can buy a converted vehicle of any model they like only by paying the cost of the batteries and motor, with no installation fees.

In case you are interested in starting a DIY electric conversion there are five important steps in the process you should keep in mind:

  • buy right the car to convert;
  • find a suitable power train;
  • adapt Plate and Coupler;
  • buy your batteries;
  • pick the right controller.

Now let’s take a look a bit more in details at these five steps.

Buy right the car to convert

As mentioned previously, depending on your budget you could opt for a pretty inexpensive old car or you could also decide to go for a specific model you like.

However, it’s important to bear in mind that after your purchase you will need to strip off your car of the following elements:

  • engine;
  • exhaust system;
  • starter;
  • gas tank;
  • fuel lines and filter.

Find a suitable power train

A power train is essentially an electrical machine that converts electrical energy into mechanical energy. Finding a suitable power train to install on the vehicle you intend to convert, is key for a successful conversion.

It’s possible to find a variety of power train to be purchased online but choice shall be driven by vehicle characteristics (weight, transmission, etc.).

However, if you are a bit on a budget, you could check your local garage.

Adapter Plate and Coupler

A power train will be providing power to your car instead of a petrol one. However, the power will still go through the transmission.

The adapter plate will be key to attach the motor to the transmission.

Once you have your adapter, a coupler will be essential to transfer the rotary power of your electric motor to the transmission.

Once the motor, transmission, coupler and adapter plate are all mounted and tested, they are finally ready to be installed and your new electric car drivetrain is ready!

Buy your batteries

To provide energy to your motor, you will need some good quality batteries. Again, there are many options available on the market and you could even decide to buy second hand one – although you want to make sure that there is still life in them!

Moreover batteries shall meet power train characteristics to optimize performances.

Your battery pack will be crucial for the performance of your new vehicle. It would be advisable to get new and technological advance batteries that can offer you performance, reliability and that can last over time.

Tawaki’s battery packs are capable of delivering high energy and great performances at the same time. Their design and chemistry composition give them fantastic flexibility while also minimizing their size.

Pick the right controller

To connect your batteries and your power train you will need a controller. This is an essential piece in your converting process, and that will control the power, and therefore the speed, between the two elements.

The amps and voltage of your controller will affect the performance of your car.

With a higher amperage of your controller, you will have better acceleration and better top speed while with higher voltage, you will get better efficiency of the car.

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