EV Car Conversion - Can Repackaging and Tinkering with Old Favorites Help Move the Electric Car Market?

Allison Friedman

Rate It Green Admin
Nov 03, 2016
EV Car Conversion - Can Repackaging and Tinkering with Old Favorites Help Move the Electric Car Market?

While some may wait for the next (even cooler) EV to come out, others are working to transform existing gas-fueled cars trucks, and even buses into cool, artsy, and working more environmentally friendly vehicles.  Who knew there was a super cool group of people and small businesses giving old vehicles a new “lease on life?”


EV Wildnerness (http://www.e-volks.com/) in Idaho (US) offers conversion kits for transforming your car or motorcycle from a gas guzzler to one that uses renewable fuels or to a climate change fighting EV you can charge at home.  According to EV Wilderness owner Brian Berrett, “Converting old vehicles always seemed like a good idea to us. Why let them go to waste?"


Zelectric Motors (http://www.zelectricmotors.com/) in California promises to blend iconic style and today’s future-forward technology by rebuilding Volkswagen Beetles, Porsches and more into “reborn” electric vehicles. The company shares on it’s site that driving and environmental concern need not conflict: “We believe that the act of driving should be awesome.  And we’re all for treating the earth fairly by not adding to the mot mess she’s already dealing with.” 


Roland, Schaumann, co-founder of Ian Motion (http://www.ian-motion.com/) in France, combines environmental concern and business logic, explaining, “The process of building a new car is costly, in terms of energy and greenhouse gas emissions, so we have to take advantage of all those cars that are close to the end of their life, restore and electrify them.” Ian Motion focuses on converting Austin Minis.  


Cars are not the only vehicles being reenvisioned or reborn.  Vans, trucks, and buses can be rebuilt, too.  According to EV conversion expert Jack Richard from Missouri, “We’re able to show those people what the electric car is capable of. It’s fun to watch people change how they think about it.”


One would hope these businesses can show that green business is also good business, and can inspire others and help grow an expanding market even more rapidly.  According to Brian Barrett at EV Wilderness, "Essentially it’s a recycling business because you’re taking a car from the scrapyard and giving it a longer life. If you could show auto shops all over the world how to do this work, it could produce a big change.”  Indeed, it might also help business all over the world think of a more sustainable and cradle to cradle economy if we learn to repurpose and not throw away. 


'Thinking about converting your old gas guzzler?  Check out this article by Rebbl (http://rebbl.com/) in the Netherlands on ten things to think of before you plunge in: http://gas2.org/2014/12/22/10-things-to-consider-before-you-start-an-ev-conversion/.  Or view some how to videos here: http://www.instructables.com/id/Build-your-own-Electric-Car/.  


To learn more: https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2016/oct/23/retro-electric-making-petrol-guzzling-cars-eco-friendly  This article by Adam Forrest of the Guardian inspired this piece. 



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Allison Friedman // Rate It Green Admin

I am excited to work with the Members of the Rate It Green Community to host conversations, create connections, and generally share information and help green builders everywhere. Please feel welcome to reach out to me directly with suggestions for improving Rate It Green.

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