Wondering where the best place to get electric car conversion kits to fit your VW Beetle or Porsche 911 (or literally any other gas-guzzler you can think of) that you've been dreaming of converting to electric? Or maybe you would like to do some of the work yourself, but you'd like a little help on the trickier parts? Perhaps you're not ready to do a conversion right away but you'd like to take a weekend workshop? We've got you covered.
An EV conversion kit, you may have already discovered, means different things to different people. You can buy "electric car conversion kits" that are made up of nothing more than the electric motor and the controller, and they would seem cheap compared to conversion kits that include all the other stuff that makes an electric car run, like...
⦁ the motor and the controller;
⦁ the (transmission) adapter plate;
⦁ the mounts and coupler;
⦁ throttle control and instrumentation;
⦁ DC/DC converter;
⦁ wiring and gauges.
Electric car conversion kits will almost never include the batteries and battery management system (but you'll probably be able to buy them from the same shop).
Some cars have become so familiar to the conversion shops (VW Beetle, Porsche 911, Karmann Ghia, for example) that the shops have devised their own "complete kits" that work perfectly for those cars. They have figured out the best place for the motor to go, for the battery placement, they have devised motor mounts and battery boxes that fit well in the available space, they have a transmission adapter plate that fits perfectly, they know exactly how much high voltage wiring you'll need...
...so they often sell a "complete kit" for those cars.
It's not necessary, though. You really don't need a specific kit for your car. For a heavy car, you'll need a beefier (more expensive) electric drive system to match. For a light car, a lighter weight conversion kit. The fit can be customized to your specific car using your local machine shop.
It also doesn't mean that if you don't happen to want a VW Beetle, you can't convert your car to electric. Of course you can. Now that Tesla and LEAF (and other EVs) parts and battery packs are coming available through the salvage market, many classic car conversions that were somewhat impractical in the past (with golf cart batteries) are now well within reach.
The place where you purchase your conversion parts will be happy to help you with all the details, and most offer consultation services for a reasonable price along with their electric car conversion kits. They love electric cars, and they want you to succeed!
We'll go through a few of my favorite shops for kits around the US (and one in CA, too) and I'll tell you a little about each one.
This is a full-service conversion shop in Crystal River, FL owned by Steve Clunn, who has 25 years of conversion experience. This shop can do...
⦁ Complete conversion services - bring (or ship) your own donor vehicle and Steve does the rest;
⦁ Partial conversion services - you bring your own donor vehicle with the engine removed, Steve will help with the motor and battery installation (the tricky bits), and you can finish up the conversion yourself;
⦁ Assisted conversion services (my favorite!) - you bring your own donor vehicle, spend your own time working on the conversion, and Steve will help you every step of the way. It is designed to be fun, but in the process you also get a thorough education about what goes into building your own electric vehicle.
⦁ DIY conversion services - you can order your parts from Steve, get a build consultation at a reasonable rate, and do all the work yourself.
⦁ Conversion consultation at reasonable rates.
⦁ Classic or "memory" car conversions with Tesla or LEAF batteries.
⦁ Electric racing vehicles - if you've got that need for speed, Steve can help you build a winning car or bike.
This shop, owned by Richard VanWyhe, is located in Northern California near Shasta Lake. They are a full service conversion shop, they run 3-day conversion workshops on the weekends, and they also sell all the electric car parts and kits you'll need for your own EV conversion. At EV4U you can get...
⦁ Complete conversion kits for VW Beetle 56-77, including LiFePO4 batteries.
⦁ Electric car conversion kits for any Karmann Ghia or Porsche 911/912.
⦁ Free instructional YouTube Videos. There's a series on EV basics, a series about EV conversion, a series covering questions and answers about the conversion process, and four complete conversion series - a Karmann Ghia, a Porsche 912, a '64 Mercedes, and a 280 Z.
⦁ 3-day (in-person) conversion workshops. These EV conversion workshops are 24 hours of instruction and cover the entire conversion process. All tools, instruction materials, and
⦁ Complete online conversion workshop. EV4U has created over 25 hours of video to show you the art of converting a gas-guzzler to electric in depth. They show several different conversions in the workshop, and cover both AC and DC conversions.
⦁ Assistance and consulting for your EV conversion project is available at a reasonable cost "whether you buy your components here or not".
EV West, located in San Marcos, CA (near San Diego), this shop has all the components you'll need to build your own electric car, including lithium batteries (both LiFePO4 cells and Tesla packs), AC and DC motors and controllers, and even charging stations for your garage.
Here are the electric car conversion kits EV West offers:
⦁ Electric drive kits for Factory Five (kit car) project 818 and the Porsche 356 Speedster (also a kit car);
⦁ Conversion kits for the Karmann Ghia ('55-'74);
⦁ Conversion kits for the Porsche 911 ('65-'86), 912 ('65-'69, '76), and 914 ('69-'76);
⦁ Conversion kits for the Toyota MR2;
⦁ Conversion kits for the VW Beetle ('56-'77), the VW Super Beetle ('71-'79), the VW Bus ('50-'79), the VW Notchback ('61-'73), and the VW Thing ('68-'80);
⦁ Complete turn-key conversion kits for VW Beetle ('56-'77) or VW Super Beetle ('71-'79).
Canadian Electric Vehicles has a large EV parts inventory and sells electric car conversion kits for several types of cars:
⦁ Chevy S-10;
⦁ Geo Metro;
⦁ Suzuki Swift;
⦁ Dodge Neon;
⦁ Toyota Echo;
⦁ Scion; and
⦁ Universal conversion kits that can be made to fit many other types of cars and light trucks (giant gas hogs not recommended).
More about Canadian Electric Vehicles here...
...and about their starter conversion kit for the VW beetle here. (I think Canadian Electric Vehicles was the first to offer a "starter" conversion kit for beginners, a few years ago. Now (2019), several companies, including the ones listed above, are doing the same.)
This company, located in Wolfeboro NH, offers all the parts needed to convert several types of vehicle to electric, including...
⦁ Cars and trucks;
⦁ Airport tug vehicles;
⦁ Electric boats and sailboats; and
⦁ Free calculations for your specific project, whatever it is you are thinking of converting;
⦁ Free system design consultation and a quote for costs and time required; and
⦁ Free assistance by phone as you build.
Any other electric car conversion kits suppliers in the US and Canada that you think should also be on the list? Contact me and I'll be sure to add them to the page.