Canadian Electric Vehicles:
Interview with Randy Holmquist

Canadian Electric Vehicles is a conversion shop in Errington BC owned by a really nice guy named Randy Holmquist. Randy's gotten a reputation as one of the best EV converters in the business.

Here's what you can get from Canadian Electric Vehicles:

Regular electric car conversion stuff...

  • Custom conversion kits for the Chevy S-10, the Geo, and the VW Beetle;
  • Universal conversion kits for heavy and light cars;
  • Electric car conversion accessories like heaters and power steering pumps;
  • The latest AC motor/controller kits for light conversions.

Or, Canadian Electric Vehicles can send you parts and help for non-standard electric vehicles.  For example, if you're building...

  • a parade float;
  • an electric boat or motorbike;
  • an electric bobcat or lawn tractor.

For more information, you can read Canadian Electric Vehicles FAQ here.

Randy also builds the might-E-truck NEV, electric refueling trucks for airports, and when I talked to him on the phone the other day, he told me he ships electric car conversion kits from Canadian Electric Vehicles all around the world.

So I talked with Randy about his conversion shop, and what the process of getting your gas-guzzler converted to electric might entail. Most pressing question, of course, was whether or not I could get an electric car I didn't have to SHIFT. (Almost never, he says.)


Canadian Electric Vehicles on TV


Interview with Randy Holmquist

canev beetle conversion kit

Lynne: Hi, Randy. Let's say I want a conversion done at Canadian Electric Vehicles. Shall I bring you a car, or do you just have gas-gobblers laying around the shop you can convert for me?

Randy: It's strictly bring-your-own-donor around here.

If I bring you a car with a working engine to be converted, will you sell it for me and deduct the cost from the conversion?

Well, sure, I can try. Keep in mind, though, that I have still have two Neon motors, an Echo motor, and a Dodge Dakota motor sitting here.

You'd rather be doing conversions than selling used gas tanks. Check.


What kinds of cars does CanEV convert?

canev chevy s-10 conversion

Will you convert any car, or are there just certain types of cars that can be converted? Can you convert a mini-van or SUV?

Well, we prefer the S-10 truck and the Dodge Neon, although we've found we can also do the Toyota Echo and Yaris. The engineering cost to do something other than those is about $12K extra.

Is it possible to get an electric car that can run on the freeway and has a 100 mile range for under ten thousand US dollars?

No, most cars we convert have a top speed of over 60 mph but only have a 25 - 50 mile range and cost between $15K and $20K USD if we are doing the installation.

Even our S-10 kit is about $10K us and does not include the batteries.

What's your favorite conversion to do?

The S-10, probably. That kit is the most popular.

might e truck

I heard a rumor that you're doing AC conversions with the HPEVS AC-50 motor and lithium batteries. True?

You heard right. I'm using that in the light conversions now if people want that.

Actually, I've got an AC-50 in the might-E-truck now, too. That's a 3 ton truck, and the AC-50 is moving it just fine.

Just not at freeway speeds.

Not at freeway speeds, correct. It goes 25 mph.

What kinds of financing are available?

Randy: You'd have to ask your bank about that. I don't do loans, either.


Transmissions: Manual or Automatic?

I've heard everybody say I should bring in a manual transmission for conversion, but I hate them. Do I have to?

No. I'll convert an automatic for you. But think about this for a second: An S-10 with a stick gets about 40-50 miles, while the same truck (we have swapped a stick into a converted automatic to see the difference) with an automatic will only get 25 - 35 miles.

Yuck.

canev neon conversion kit

Randy: Yeah. But if you bring me a manual transmission car to convert, you can drive it in second gear around town and never use the clutch.

Never?

Randy: Well, you shift up on the freeway. Almost never. It will be practically painless.

Do you have a waiting list? How long will it take from the time I bring in my car until I can drive it home?

We usually have a 3-4 month wait in the spring and summer and then it drops off in the winter. No slowdown this year at all, though.

Further reading: Check out Randy's interview with the Vancouver Sun in which he tells the reporter that selling cars is all about power and SEX, his point being that his electric S-10 conversion is probably not a chick magnet. But ya never know; )