While plug-in electric cars are emerging in the general car market, the options are still fairly limited. If you love your current vehicle but wish it didn't run on gasoline, there are several electric car conversion companies that can help transform it into the green plug-in you have in mind.
Five Popular Electric Car Conversion Companies
When fuel prices went up and the general public became more aware of the dangers of greenhouse gasses, several companies recognized a market niche. Realizing that stock electric car options are still costly and limited, these companies began to market electric conversions for existing vehicles. Several options stand out.
Left Coast Electric
Los Angeles-based Left Coast Electric offers conversion services for just about any vehicle, from classic roadsters to modern luxury sedans. To have Left Coast Electric perform the electric car conversion for you, you can expect to spend about $25,000 to $30,000. The price varies based on the features of your vehicle with option-loaded cars, such as those with air conditioning, heated seats, and power steering, requiring a more elaborate conversion.
This AC (alternating current) conversion will give you a driving range of about 100 miles between charges. The 110- or 220-volt charger allows you to plug your car into any household outlet. Left Coast Electric maintains that the drive system in these vehicles will last about 500,000 miles, and the battery packs will function for seven to ten years.
Located in South Carolina, Ampmobile prides itself on providing high-quality, affordable conversions for the average American. They do both AC and DC (direct current) conversions and have an average electric conversion price of about $16,500. They stress that DC conversions are more affordable and perfectly adequate for the average consumer, but they do not allow for the longer diving range than AC conversions provide.
Ampmobile can convert most vehicles to run on electricity, but small, manual-transmission cars with few extra features are the best "donor" vehicles. The entire conversion process usually takes between three and four weeks, and you'll receive a DVD with you car that explains the functioning of the new system.
Make Mine Electric
Based in Sebastopol, California, Make Mine Electric offers electric vehicle conversions starting at $20,000. These AC conversions include regenerative braking and give you the ability to travel at freeway speeds. The range on these cars is about 100 miles, and you can recharge your vehicle using a standard household outlet. Recharge time from a standard outlet is about eight hours.
Mike Mine Electric can convert any car, even older and heavier classic vehicles. The time for the conversion varies, but most take about three months to complete.
Amp Electric Vehicles
Amp Electric Vehicles, based in Loveland, Ohio, converts only one model of car: the Mercedes-Benz ML350. The will do an AC electric conversion on both new and used ML350s and warranty the work and parts for 100,000 miles. They do not list a conversion price.
The range for your electric ML350 from Amp Electric is about 100 miles. The car has a maximum speed of about 100 miles per hour. You can charge your vehicle on a 110-volt or 220-volt normal household outlet.
Located in Bellevue, Washington, Pacific EV specializes in converting existing vehicles to run on electricity. Conversions start at around $25,000. You can convert most models, including all-wheel drive cars and light-duty, two-wheel-drive trucks. The range for this conversion is about 60 to 80 miles.
Pacific EV says you can charge your electric car using a standard 110-volt or 220-volt household outlet. Their charger works in both and can sense which type of outlet you are using. Conversion labor and parts come with a two-year warranty.
Use Caution with Do-It-Yourself Conversion Kits
With increased consumer attention to electric car conversions, many companies now offer do-it-yourself kits that promise to help you turn your own car into an electric vehicle. According to HybridCars.com, a site dedicated to offering unbiased information about alternative vehicle technologies, you'll be better off skipping the conversion kits. The price of the kit usually does not contain all of the items you'll need for your car to run on electricity, including batteries and chargers.
Additionally, many do-it-yourself conversion kits only offer you a top speed of about 25 to 30 miles per hour, making them impractical if you're planning to use your car to commute to work.
Do Your Homework
When it comes to choosing an electric car conversion company, be sure to ask lots of questions. The more you know about the cost of the process, the range and speed of the car, and the charging procedures, the happier you will be with the final result. By doing your homework, you'll end up with an electric vehicle that will be inexpensive to operate and much better for the environment than a standard gasoline-powered car.