To convert or to wait?
It’s a very good question, considering the rise – and rise – in the price of gasoline and diesel. Naturally being a conversion proponent you’d expect me to say “Don’t wait, convert today” etc, but there are sound reasons for buying a factory built electric car.
- Factory built electric cars come with long warranties.
- In some places you can buy one right off the lot.
- They all have air conditioning and power steering built in.
If you’re flush with cash, then there’s almost nothing stopping you buying an electric car off the lot today. Also, depending on where you live you might be able to get tax rebates at tax return time. This means you’ll be looking at around $32,000 USD for a Nissan Leaf initially (or closer to $45,000 USD if you live outside the USA) but you should get a chunk back when you file your taxes.
If this suits you, then go for it! I’ll be honest though, I think it’s an expensive way to save gas. Especially because those of us who are hurt the most by the outrageous price of gas are typically pretty hard up for cash.
And what about a home conversion? I’m not going to repeat myself and go on & on about how simple and easy it is because we all know that now. What I will say though is that cost-wise, a home-converted electric car is the undeniable winner.
Some of the positive points to a home conversion are:
- If you get all your parts ready, you can convert an electric car in one weekend.
- A quality conversion with a useful range can be done for under $4000 USD.
- The cost of operation can only get cheaper, whereas gas will only get more expensive.
- It’s possibly the most satisfying thing you’ll ever do.
- Bargain hunting for parts (e.g. used forklift motors) can get you a conversion for under $2000.
- You’ll stop paying for gas. Permanently.
The ultimate question is how much will a conversion cost? The answer is “How much do you want to spend?” because obviously a $12,000 USD conversion with lithium batteries and a super-powerful motor will leave that Mustang at the lights in your electric dust, but it’s not practical for many of us on a shoestring budget.
Alternatively, I don’t have the patience to spend a full year hunting down connectors and motors in wreckers’ yards to bring the conversion cost under $1000 (but good for you if you do!).
So ultimately the cost is up to you, which for most of us is what it all boils down to. $40,000 for a factory-built electric car to take the kids to school – or $4,000 in a home conversion – that the kids can help you build.
If you’re paying oil companies thousands of dollars each year in gas though, then that’s money you’re already wasting.