Article

Electric Vehicle Conversion Kits

Ben Parker

Article Highlights

There’s a growing desire to turn gas powered cars into electric cars. With a growing interest among enthusiasts manufacturers are slowly beginning to create turn key solutions for electric vehicle conversions. Most of the kits on this list are provided by an electric car garage in southern California, EV West. They’ve successfully completed countless electric vehicle conversions and now sell quite a few kits that make the process much easier. 


Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with EV West, and this is not a sponsored post. I cannot guarantee any of the prices or products listed below.

How to convert a car to electric


The difficulty of the conversion depends on the car you choose, the power you aim to have, and the range that you want. 


Theoretically with enough time and money you can convert any car to electric, however, some cars may be much easier than others. Manual cars are ideal for electric vehicle conversions. Smaller older cars enable you to have less weight, and consequently more range, and power. Cars need to have ample space for batteries as well. Some good options are: an old Volkswagen Beetle, Volkswagen Bus, Volkswagen Thing, Volkswagen Bug, Austin Mini, an old Mazda Miata, Porsche 911, Kharman Gia, a Samba. You can kind of get an idea of a lot of older german cars and or other older manual small cars. 


The process on paper is simplified as: gutting the car, mating clutch to motor, connecting battery and controls. The simplest way is to buy a premade conversion kit that will inevitably save you time engineering your own bits and pieces, as well as money figuring it out on your own. 

 

If you’d like a more in-depth explanation you can check out my other article: Converting Your Car To Electric.

Electric Vehicle Conversion Kits 


Factory Five Project 818 



The 818 is a kit car made by Factory Five that is based on Subaru WRX running gear. The great thing about an 818 kit is that they start at around $10k, so (without work) between the kit and the electric vehicle conversion kit you’re looking at around $20k for a small electric sports car. 


Conversion Kit Price: $7,598


Karmann Ghia 1955 - 1974



The Karmann Ghia is a classic Volkswagen sports car that was made from the 50’s to the 70’s. It’s continued to grow in popularity and from what I can tell from looking at the past few years of auctions on Bring a Trailer, they are appreciating. You can find some for around $10-$15k in good working shape. This is a good candidate for conversion. 


Conversion Kit Price: $7,598


Porsche 356 Speedster




The 356 is a special Porshce. Some purists may call you a heretic for considering a conversion on this car. These would be tougher to find for a reasonable price as most seem to sell for around $100k if they’re in good shape.


Conversion Kit Price: $7,598


Porsche 911 1965 - 1986



The Longhood Porsche 911 is another good candidate that you can pickup within a good range of prices. From as low as around $40k, up to around $150k. 


Conversion Kit Price: $11,594


Porsche 912 1965 - 1969, 1976



The 912 is another good candidate, and if you’re into Porsche this may be on the cheaper end of what you can get. From Bring a Trailer it looks like you could expect to find one for around $40-50k.

 

Conversion Kit Price: $11,594


Porsche 914 1969 - 1976



Potentially the cheapest Porsche candidate on this list is the 914. You can find one of these from $10-15k. 


Conversion Kit Price: $7,598


Toyota MR2 1991 - 1999



The SW20 MR2 is an awesome JDM candidate for an ev conversion. You can pick one of these up from as low as $8k. 


Conversion Kit Price: $7,598


Volkswagen Super Beetle 1971 - 1979



Between the Super Beetle and the Beetle, because of their mass production you can find one for relatively cheap. This conversion is one of the most often so a lot more resources are available. 


Conversion Kit Price: $16,893


Volkswagen Beetle/Bug Complete Kit 1956 - 1977


Conversion Kit Price: $16,893


Volkswagen Beetle/Bug 1956 - 1977


Conversion Kit Price: $7,598


Volkswagen Bus / Samba / Type 2 1950 - 1979



The price of these bad boys range from $15k to $30k. 


Conversion Kit Price: $7,598


Volkswagen Notchback 1961 - 1973

Conversion Kit Price: $7,598


Volkswagen Thing 1968-1980

Conversion Kit Price: $7,598

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Electric Crate Motors

Another type of electric vehicle conversion uses an electric crate motor. Companies like Swindon in the United Kingdom and Electric GT in the United States, are selling electric motors that (theoretically) are drop-in replacements for your internal combustion engine. Electric GT makes a product that looks actually somewhat like a V8, but electric and the price tag is a whopping $33,949. But I should mention it comes with quite a few very promising specs. The Swindon, on the other hand, goes for just about $2,506.

Benefits of Electric Vehicle Conversions


  • Power. Depending on the car that you’re converting, you certainly can gain power during the process. Especially if it’s one of the older or smaller cars mentioned on the list above. A classic Mini was stock with less than 100hp. Regardless you’ll gain more torque. 


  • Extend Car Life. A huge appeal for me is extending the life of the car. Electric motors don’t need oil. They don’t need a lot of things, this way less things break, and you encounter less issues in the long term. 


  • Sustainable. Reduce, reuse, recycle. Bringing an old car back to life through an EV conversion is actually good for the environment. You’re effectively removing one more new car off of the production line and sparing a bunch of natural materials being used. 


  • Maintenance Costs. It would be wrong of me to say there aren’t any maintenance costs. Anything that moves requires maintenance, but relatively speaking with so fewer parts in the car, and the simplicity of an electric motor setup, your costs of upkeep should decrease. 

  • Weight. This benefit depends on a lot of things, but if done right you may be able to match or improve your vehicle's current weight distribution. One reason that electric cars handle so well is their batteries sit at the bottom of the vehicle sticking the tires to the ground and giving it a low center of gravity.

Electric Vehicle Conversion Shops


EV West (CA)

Make Mine Electric 

Stealth EV 

DIYEV

Electric Vehicles of America 

EV Source 

Green Motors 

Green Shed Conversions

Zelectric Motors

EV Propulsions

EV4U

What is the best car to convert to electric?


The best car to convert to electric is a classic VW Beetle. To understand what car is best for an electric vehicle conversion we have to consider a few things: room for batteries, transmission, and popularity (or how models were produced). Millions of beetles were produced and there are so many still around. Bugs change hands a lot and you can pick up a pretty good one for not that much.