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California May Soon Pay You To Convert Your Car To An EV And I Hope The Federal Government Follows Suit

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California Assembly Bill 2350, titled “Vehicular air pollution: Zero-Emission Aftermarket Conversion Project” is on a mission to extend government incentives normally offered to those who buy new electric cars to those who convert their vehicles from gas to electric, or who buy a vehicle that has already been converted. It’s actually totally logical; let’s dig into this proposed bill.

I visited legendary electric vehicle conversion company EV West a few weeks back (I’ll have a story on that soon), and while giving me a tour of his incredible facility, the boss, Michael Bream, told me about some bill SEMA was working on related to EV conversions. SEMA, of course, stands for Specialty Equipment Market Association. It’s a trade association of companies (including EV West) involved in the automotive aftermarket, and it’s probably best known for its annual SEMA show in Las Vegas — a show that usually features wildly modified vehicles like absurdly-lifted Jeeps and trucks and amazing restomodded old muscle cars.

Michael put me in touch with Christian Robinson, a member of SEMA’s D.C.-based lobbying team. Robinson told me that the 2021 SEMA show had featured quite a few EV conversions, and that the excitement surrounding those conversions had sent the trade association “looking at the laws that were on the books as it relates to EVs, particularly in California.” What SEMA found were plenty of government incentives, but not for EV-converted used cars. “All the programs they’ve got on the books,” Robinson told me, “are for new cars…Why don’t we do something for this segment of the hobby — people that are looking to turn a used car into an EV?”

SEMA got in touch with Tim Grayson, who represents the San Francisco-area’s 14th Assembly District, and who Robinson tells me is a car-nut (he was SEMA’s Legislator of the Year for his work related to California’s strict exhaust sound restrictions a few years back). Grayson’s got quite a big automotive presence in his district; the city of Benicia, for example, is home to Red Line Oil, a SEMA member who is partners with engine tuning company Arrington (who, incidentally, showed a hydrogen-powered 1948 Chevy Truck called “Zero” at SEMA 2021).

Anyway, after chatting with SEMA, Grayson introduced the proposed “Vehicular air pollution: Zero-Emission Aftermarket Conversion Project” bill, which you can read here. It is rather short and, per Robinson, really just represents a starting point for EV conversion incentives. Here’s the summary, which essentially describes an addition to the already-existing Clean Vehicle Rebate Project that gives Californians up to $7,000 off their plug-in hybrid, fully-electric, or fuel-cell vehicle (most rebates for the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project appear to be in the $1,000 to $4,500 range). The goal for the proposed “Zero-Emission Aftermarket Conversion project” is to provide folks with up to $2,000 to help purchase an old car that has been converted into an electric vehicle. From AB-2350:

Existing law directs the State Air Resources Board to coordinate efforts to attain and maintain ambient air quality standards. Existing law creates the Air Quality Improvement Program, administered by the state board, to fund, upon appropriation by the Legislature, air quality improvement projects relating to fuel and vehicle technologies.
[…]
The state board shall establish the Zero-Emission Aftermarket Conversion Project (ZACP) and shall allocate up to two million dollars ($2,000,000) annually from the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project, established as part of the Air Quality Improvement Program established pursuant to Article 3 (commencing with Section 44274), to provide an applicant with a rebate for an eligible vehicle that has been converted into a zero-emission vehicle.

The proposal also mentions that “The state board shall develop guidelines for the program, define qualifying conversion-types for used vehicles, define eligible replacement motors, power systems, and parts, and establish minimum eligibility criteria for an applicant to be eligible for the rebate described in subdivision.”

Here’s a look at some of those guidelines:

(1) An eligible zero-emission vehicle shall have a range of at least 100 miles.
(2) The equivalent of any manufacturer suggested retail price limit established for the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project for a comparable vehicle category shall apply, based on total zero-emission vehicle cost, including the value of the donor vehicle at the time of conversion and the cost of conversion.
(3) Any income limits established for the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project shall apply.
(4) In establishing rebate amounts, the state board shall ensure that the rebate issued for a converted zero-emission vehicle provides cost-effective benefits to the state in reducing air pollution that are equivalent to the benefits to the state in reducing air pollution with respect to the issuance of rebates for new zero-emission vehicles.
(c) A new vehicle frame may be installed on an eligible vehicle so long as it is installed to accommodate a zero-emission vehicle conversion.
(d) A rebate issued pursuant to the Zero-Emission Aftermarket Conversion Project shall be limited to one per vehicle and have a value of up to two thousand dollars ($2,000).
(e) A minimum of 25 percent of the rebates issued pursuant to the Zero-Emission Aftermarket Conversion Project shall be issued to those eligible for the Clean Cars 4 All program, as established in Section 44124.5.
(f) The state board shall coordinate the Zero-Emission Aftermarket Conversion Project with the enhanced fleet modernization program, established pursuant to Article 11 (commencing with Section 44124) of Chapter 5, the Charge Ahead California Initiative, established pursuant to Chapter 8.5 (commencing with Section 44258), and the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project, established as part of the Air Quality Improvement Program established pursuant to Article 3 (commencing with Section 44274).

 

A few notes on the above guidelines. Clean Cars 4 All is “program that focuses on providing incentives through California Climate Investments to lower-income California drivers to scrap their older, high-polluting car and replace it with a zero- or near-zero emission replacement,” as the state of California puts it on its website. Also, note that number two relates to the $45,000 maximum MSRP for vehicles to be eligible for the Clean Vehicle Rebate Program (incidentally, Tesla’s recent price hikes mean its cars are now ineligible).

I’ve put the more interesting notes in bold. First, you can install a new frame if you like, which is great, because some of the coolest cars out there are just not quite built on the best bones for an EV conversion. More than anything, this just allows for flexibility, which I like.

The 100 mile minimum range requirement could be a bit problematic. Most people probably live well within 50 miles of work; a vehicle that offers 65 miles of range, for example, could allow someone to ditch the 1990 Ford Explorer they’ve been commuting with for years. Or, better yet, convert it. Perhaps more problematic is the testing; how will the California Air Resources Board determine whether a vehicle meets the 100-mile minimum range requirement? This seems like something that will fall off the bill at some point, and be replaced with something similar like a minimum battery size requirement.

“We see this as logical step in terms of what consumers are going to be looking for,” Robinson told me about SEMA, who is sponsoring this proposed bill. And I tend to agree. The auto industry has been around in the U.S. for well over a century. It has engrained itself into our very psyche; the idea that everyone’s going to drive around in 2012-or-newer cars in the near future is absurd. Americans love old cars — the way they look, the way they feel inside that cabin, the way they ride. As states like California push for mass EV-adoption, they’re essentially pushing for the extinction of old cars, which just doesn’t jibe with many, many Americans. So it’s time to do something about it; it’s time to incentivize EV conversions. I’d like to see something like this on the federal level — an addition to the current program that offers up to $7,500 in credits for new EV purchases,  and something more than just $2,000. Possibly even more than $7,500, as EV conversions are expensive, but they reuse a lot of components, which seems good for the environment. I can see how it’d be a tricky thing to regulate, but you can’t expect people to stop buying their 1966 Ford Mustang to drive a 2020 EV. Yes, we need to preserve the planet, but we’ve got to preserve soul, too.

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54 Responses

  1. $2k isn’t even a drop in the bucket if you’re going to build a reliable and safe conversion. It really isn’t.

    First of all: EVs are fucking heavy. The new Hummer is 9000lbs, and it ain’t in the body panels kiddos. It’s battery pack alone weighs near to or more than ANY car that would be eligible for an EV conversion here. That weight, for reference, is roughly 2,930lbs.
    And that’s just the batteries, folks. Let’s do some basic math.
    Know how much a 1982 Dodge Diplomat weighs? 3400lbs and that’s with the 318. That’s a full-size, body on frame.
    We’re gonna take out the 318cid LameBurn, that’s about 525lbs. Take out the TF727, 177lbs. So we’ve reduced our vehicle weight by 702lbs giving us a ‘svelte’ 2700lbs. Empty gas tank weight is negligible, and we’re not going to factor in regenerative brakes. Oh and we’re gonna put the TF727 back in, so nevermind. It’s -525lbs.
    Any number over 3400lbs we lose payload capacity (i.e. passengers.) We also have limited physical space which will also reduce our payload. Once we exceed 3400 + payload, the suspension and frame require reinforcement or full on redesign. This means we have about 4650lbs to work with.

    For simplicity, we’re going to ignore some elements of an EV conversion and stick to a relatively simple single motor build. We’re gonna put a cylindrical motor in, bolt it right up to the TF727, and batteries in the front and back!
    So we’d like a motor producing at least 150HP and 225ft/lbs. Because we don’t want to be slower than original. But you can’t get that in a single motor, so we’ll need a Curtis 1283e-7621 96V. “Just” $9000 for the motor and controller, with a shipping weight of 150lbs.

    Now we need batteries. We’ll buy some nice LiFePO4’s and target a modest 40kWh – a Nissan Leaf. Which weighs about 3400lbs, making it our perfect comparison! If we can match that, we can definitely do 100 miles and qualify.
    We’ll need 10% overhead for drain down, we’re going to operate at 96V, so that’s 208.33Ah @ 96V.
    Folks? We’re gonna need a whole shitload of batteries.
    We’re gonna use some 48V drop-ins from a reputable manufacturer rated at 30Ah each. Since they’re 48V, that means we need 420Ah total. Each battery is $1000, so, that’s $14,000 to get us 40kWh at 96V. Look, we exceeded the value of the car when we washed it, ignore that part for now. Each battery plus the housing we’ll need is about 35lbs, so carry the one.. shift the register.. 490lbs.
    … add the motor, that’s 640lbs, we’re gonna need a charger, 20lbs, gonna need coolant and pump, 15lbs, gonna need cabling …

    … wait.

    The 318 LameBurn was 525lbs. That’s what we deleted.
    We haven’t even added heavy copper cabling or control systems and we’ve put 675lbs in.
    We have literally added enough weight that using the middle of the back seat or a family of 4 plus their groceries will now blow out the shocks early.

    But it’s fine. It’s fine. We’ve got nearly 140ish… oh. Right. We’re heavier than the Leaf now. 100ish miles of range. (Official Leaf range is ~150mi with 40kWh.) But it’s fine!

    And it only cost us … divide by the zero… square root of negative 1… don’t forget the maintenance items… THIRTY FUCKING THOUSAND DOLLARS TO ELECTRIFY A $250 DODGE DIPLOMAT AND WE DON’T EVEN HAVE REGENERATIVE BRAKING! (Look, the paint was amazing and the interior was mint. They earned that $250.)

    Yeah. Two grand is really gonna help with that. Especially when the aerodynamics of a cinder block drop you to 98.75 miles of range.

    1. I would invite you to watch SuperFastMatt’s Youtube series where he’s electrifying a Mk. V Jag. He’s got a driving vehicle at this point and I guarantee you he hasn’t spent $30,000.

      Also, just FYI, you would not need to keep the stock transmission for the electric conversion. That would actually be a dumb idea.

      And finally, just because $2000 isn’t enough to completely the cover the cost of a conversion doesn’t mean it’s not a nice incentive.

      1. No, converting from the stock transmission would be fucking stupid. Seriously. Not just stupid, but fucking stupid. You know why? Because now you still need a transmission. Or you’re doing serious fuckery with the axle. That’s time and money.
        Or, you spend $200 for an adapter plate and the motor bolts directly to it, saving both. Which is why that route.

        And sure, you can get it under $30k if you’ve spent more than three times as much on tools and equipment, got your own in house fabrication capability, cut every corner, disregard best practices, completely ignore the engineering problems, pretend time is free, and don’t give a fuck about range. Fuck, you could EV a 1990’s Ford Ranger for the price of a golf cart then.
        That’s stupid, useless, and a complete waste of time and money.
        The $30,250 Diplomat is an actual usable car. WHICH WAS THE WHOLE POINT OF THE EXERCISE! The world does not need 50, 75, 100 mile range EVs that get driven once a month to a car show 10 miles awy. This isn’t just pointless, it’s actively counterproductive by depleting resources and parts needed for USABLE cars.
        And I’m not joking about the tool cost. Assuming his micrometer is half as good as mine (I’m a Mitutoyo guy, so half as good is probably right,) those are over $200. Each. Just the EinScan H (the 3D scanner) is over $5000 by itself.

        And you know what makes it even STUPIDER?
        I can take that Diplomat, increase horsepower by 100% and torque by 37%, increase fuel mileage significantly, and reduce emissions by over 70%. And I can do all that for less than $10k while ALSO reducing hazardous waste and landfill.
        How? Oh, I’m just gonna take this wrecked Cadillac ATS 2.0, drag the bone stock motor and transmission into the Diplomat, and done. Fabricate some motor mounts, get a bit creative with the wiring, and we’re done here. Oh, and we shaved about 225lbs off it too. And nope, I did not delete a single piece of emissions equipment – all that comes with it. Catalytic converter, EGR, evap (well with some tweaks, obviously.)

        And you know what that does for global emissions? Less than jack shit. Because the $10,000 Diplomat That Can Now Do Burnouts (totally rad) is still going to get driven once a month to a car show, maybe the occasional cruise. The average ‘pleasure’ car is driven less than 1,000 miles a year average over 10 years, while the average ‘commute’ car racks up 11,000 per year or more.
        That’s not an excuse to not improve emissions on classics. But it demonstrates the ignorance (or dishonesty) of people pushing EV conversions as “affordable” and “reasonable” quite nicely. Just undoing all those idiot cat deletes by installing a modern catalytic converter (WHICH DOES NOT ROB POWER, IDIOTS) would cost your average owner maybe $500 and provides greater net benefit by nature of not competing for scarce resources. Oh, and reducing emissions significantly.

        1. Just wanted to make a small correction on your otherwise good analysis on why an EV conversion is impractical:

          The 82-89 M bodies (Diplomats, Gran Furies, Fifth Avenues) are not body on frame. They’re unibody. Chrysler stopped making body on frame platforms when they ended production on the C body cars. The original C bodies, not the stretched K-car one.

        2. Of course, my pleasure car does more like 6,000 a year, thanks to most of the car shows I go to being 100-200 miles away, but that’s a drop in the bucket compared to the 30,000+ my daily commuter sees. Long story short, I don’t see myself going electric anytime soon, at least not until fast chargers are as plentiful as gas pumps in rural areas away from major highway corridors, and until something with Lucid Air range is under $30k (or whatever the crazy future inflation equivalent of today’s $30k becomes)

          1. Exactly! My pleasure car does ~2,000ish because I like road tripping it. It’s a Porsche with a “410”HP 3.8L, does about 250g/km WLTP, 22-24MPG highway in 5th (26ish with 100 octane.)

            My daily is a Grand Cherokee with a 5.7. In addition to a whole 14MPG highway with a tailwind, it’s rated at over 350g/km WLTP. But I need to tow and haul large, expensive things which absolutely cannot get wet frequently.

            Which of these two vehicles is the real problem is rather obvious. And it’s not the supercar (the top speed is 193MPH. It’s a supercar.)

  2. An average conversion is currently around $20,000. Converting an older vehicle is better for the environment as the vehicle has already been built so there is no additional pollutants as compared to a completely new vehicle. The biggest issue is packaging of the components, especially the battery pack. I think as the battery technology gets better it will become even more feasible. I’ve got one vintage car I’d like to do. What would be cool, if the battery packs could be easily interchanged and you have a collection of say six collector cars and you could just swap the battery pack to whichever one you’d want to drive then don’t need to bother trying to keep them all charged.

  3. this sounds cool, but 2k isn’t enough, also as a personal preference I’m not looking forward to being forced into an “automatic”, I know manuals are basically dead but EV’s are the absolute death of the manual. Be cool if these aftermarket versions let you use a manual still, downshifting could be regenerative.. pipe dream!

    1. Check out the original Honda Insight hybrid. 5 speeds and a clutch pedal; regen on the downshift. Technically, a Prius has this too – bump the shifter stick to B and you’re basically regen downshifting. Someone could program an EV trans anyway they choose – it would just be adding extra “buttons” to the program.

      1. “Technically, a Prius has this too – bump the shifter stick to B and you’re basically regen downshifting.”

        This is not correct, at least not for all generations. B mode bypasses regen and uses engine braking, at least in the gen 2 cars. It’s designed for very long downhills where you’re going to fill up the battery and be unable to use regen. It rarely makes sense to shift into B mode manually since the car automatically switches to it once the battery is full.

    2. Most EV conversions actually start off as manual cars and stay that way, a lot of the time EV conversions don’t have a super strong motor so you need to start in second and shift into fourth when you go on the highway.

  4. Oh my gosh oh my gosh, yes I’ve been dreaming of this day for so long. I’ve been really flipping back and forth between an EV swap or a bike engine swap for my Fiat 850. If this goes through I hope they remove the range requirement or if it’s a minimum battery capacity that it’s small or relative to vehicle weight. I can’t fit a large battery in such a small car, there’s just no room in the frunk.

  5. a little confused, can I take the shell of, oh IDK, a ’69 Volvo P1800, although a Beetle would fit better/be cheaper, and put it on top of an old Nissan Leaf structure, as long as the VIN is that of the P1800? Not that $2k would cover much.

  6. I think it’s a common-sense move in the right direction, but this kind of conversion is still going to be a novelty for people who have the money for play cars and do little to impact overall emissions. 2 grand isn’t going to get me very far into a conversion and that conversion isn’t going to take me very far. But it’s a cool way to get a vintage street legal golf cart for sunny luncheons.

    1. The article did say that this was, essentially, to support novelty businesses.
      “Why don’t we do something for this segment of the HOBBY— people that are looking to turn a used car into an EV?”
      (all caps mine, as I don’t know how to bold here)

      So, if I put on my cynical glasses, I see this as a powerful trade group trying to get more money for its members to support what they already do.
      If I slide those glasses down my nose a little bit and look knowingly over the top, I think, “Okay, step in the right direction”

  7. Hold on, only $2k? Why do they expect anyone to go through with this? This won’t even pay for part of the motor, not too mention the batteries, wiring, control units, etc etc etc.

    It’ll be ok for those companies already doing the swaps, but they’re already getting paid so why incentivize them?

      1. I don’t know how big the conversion industry is in California, but if I read the details correctly, they are capping this at $2 million. Which means only 2000 people could even get $2000. Maybe that fits the yearly conversion rate perfectly, but if it isn’t then they would be short sighted to raise the cost by 2K.

  8. No thank you, I much prefer my loud dinosaur juice gulper 62 Continental to anything electric. Not that I’m against it, but the feds don’t know anything about vehicles others than they go vroom vroom from point A to B. And no amount of money would make me convert my car to electric
    ..100 miles? Hell I can’t do shit with that, I travel all over the southeast and country with my car..

    1. I myself would rather row through some gears and listen to a straight-six purr than electrify my Jeep J10, but when it becomes prohibitive (through gas costs or regs) to daily-drive my old truck, I’d rather convert it than drive something new.

      1. Regs may try and stop the fun of driving. But I never got the point of buying a new $30,000 car because gas prices go up. Even a car getting only 10 mpg with gas increasing say $5 a gallon you still can pay for that increase of 6,000 gallons and drive 60,000 miles before it even costs you a dime. At that point buy the new vehicle.

  9. Man, I’m all for this. I’ve been saying for quite some time that if someone or some group wanted to subsidize the cost of converting my 71 Bus to electric, I’d do it.

    That said, basically giving us two grand toward the process is hardly going to buy anything. Those EVWest kits aren’t cheap (and that’s assuming you install it yourself). You’re still in tens of thousands of dollars even with the state’s help. That’s not quite incentive enough.

    Get my out-of-pocket cost to about what it’d cost to build a new ICE for it (say five grand or so) and then the decision is easy! I’ll happily have an electric bus instead of continually trying to tune a 34PICT-3 carb!

  10. Enthusiasts who do this are a drop in the bucket as far as emissions go. This won’t make a difference at all and is totally pointless really unless there is an outright ban.

    With that said. If they were to do this on a large scale. Say make conversion kits for popular used cars then it would make sense but the carbon output of some dude who rarely drives his p1800 is not worth the cost for the conversion.

  11. It’s a nice idea but just giving people a $2K voucher to people who currently use gas scooters and mopeds to either convert them or buy new electric ones would probably do a lot more to reduce emissions while benefiting mostly lower income people rather than well-off hobbyists and the shops who cater to them.

    Because realistically two grand is a drop in the bucket for an EV conversion that’s anything more than a motor, the minimum of control devices and a shitload of lead acid batteries. A slower, heavier golf cart with less room inside. If you can afford better the rebate would be nice but it’s no incentive if you weren’t planning on doing it anyway and probably just means you can get a bit bigger battery or something.

    Maybe some regulatory work as far as the rules of the road and some discussions with the manufacturers as to lights, markings and safety equipment and some of the Chinese micro EVs could get on the road here. Or even better we could make them here, somehow, and keep our government incentive money at home. Hell, let’s copy theirs. What are they gonna do, complain?

    1. California like most government agencies don’t pay anything. Maybe a tax discount which is actually we will take less money from you than usual. Or we will knock off a few grand off of a $50k vehicle. Let’s realize the only money the government has to give you is Money they took from you to begin with.

  12. There are a lot of upsides to this—and a lot of hurdles, of course. But this is why I’m holding on to my Smart ForTwo: it will be the perfect around-town electric commuter. I know battery technology is still maturing and standardization needs some time, but this could be a brilliant cottage industry.

  13. As the used/scrap EV market increases I hope conversions do become more of a thing. Leaf powertrain swaps are becoming more common, it’s a much easier conversion and again better for the environment, to do a swap from a factory built EV into another car, than the old piece it together. There’s even folks like Resolve that basically make a controller for you to re-use all the Leaf components into whatever car you want.

    $2000 does seem to be mainly for the conversion houses, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. One of the main differences between a conversion and factory built is fast charging, but for good reason.
    Hooking up 50kw of power to batteries you got from who knows where, with who knows what kind of thermal management could be very bad. Having established conversion houses is probably better for that then johnny-forklift-motor-and-alibabaterries.

  14. With the cost of a conversion, this looks to be more of a gift to the EV conversion businesses and a way that CA can say, “Look, I’ve done something.”

    CA is getting pretty good at passing legislation mandating stuff, even when there is no feasible technical or AFFORDABLE alternative*. Later when they take up legislation to remove older ICE vehicles, they can point back to this and say that they gave the people a chance to ‘convert’.

    * I’m still trying to figure out how battery generators are going to “generate” electricity and be superior to an ICE generator for blackouts that last several hours. I shouldn’t question the obviously smarter minds in the CA government, but I’m disobedient that way.

  15. I would do this…one day. But certainly not to my classic car (1972 Super Beetle). It’s only a weekend/around town car and frankly it would lose so much of its character if I pulled out the clattering aircooled engine—that I rebuilt myself.

    But one day, I’d love to do that to my daily, a Sportwagen TDI. I say one day because I’d like to wait for better battery tech, for a more usable vehicle. I’m picturing a day when there’s batteries the size of gas tanks that provide good range. I am no scientist or futurist. But, mainstream automakers have only just started going all-in on EVs. Think about where we’ll be in 10 years. The Sportwagen is everything I want in a car, right down to the color combo. It’s even a manual. I’d love to keep it on the road as long as possible.

  16. I would do this if I didn’t like the sound and feel of internal combustion. ICE engines, in my opinion, are omnivorous when it comes to fuel. We are mostly dependent on fossil fuels because it is easy to build and keeps the establishment of oil tycoons. There has always been other means of transport and electric vehicles are encouraging to me, yet I still wonder how much carbon is released from the earth when digging strip mines for rare earth elements.
    If the vehicle is to far gone mechanically, yes I would do the conversion. The reason would be to save gas for my motorcycles.

  17. So, if I’m reading this correctly – the idea has a major flaw. The credit would be for those wanting to PURCHASE a converted used car. The example of converting the 1990 Explorer, then, would not apply. Unless/until this becomes a rebate that you could utilize on a car you already own, this doesn’t seem that appealing.

    A workaround, I suppose, would be that you sell your car to the converter, then the car is converted/certified for eligibility, and then resold to the original owner. But, you end up with double transaction taxes that wipes out a chunk of the rebate.

  18. The price point will obviously be a huge detriment to EV conversion, even with a $2,000 rebate.
    The only way this might be feasible would be a startup company creating conversion kits, similar to the kit cars that used to be available for Beetle chassis. This way, when my MX-5 engine kicks the bucket, I could justify going EV for a few thousand more rather than a new gas engine.
    However, I can’t imagine what the cost of tooling would be to creat bespoke EV conversion kits for enough different vehicles to even make it viable. Much less to even break even on sales.

  19. Personally I don’t think the government should be handing out tax dollars to influence buying or modifying cars but that ship sailed long ago. If they are going to give incentives to buy new EVs than it only makes sense to offer the same type of incentives for people to convert old ICE vehicles to EV since it accomplishes three government environmental goals at once by bringing another EV into existence, getting an older gas guzzling ICE engine off the road and keeping the old ICE vehicle from rotting away in a junkyard.

    An EV doesn’t make sense for me as my only car at the moment given the amount of driving I do in the rural parts of the Midwest. I wish I could afford an EV as a 2nd car to use to cover most of my short range drives as well as trips to areas with decent charging infrastructure but my budget won’t allow that right now. My goal is to keep my current vehicle for as long as possible for the longer rural trips and buy an EV as my next daily driver in about 2-3 years. My long term dream is to convert a classic Cadillac luxury land yacht into an EV once there are reasonably priced batteries available that can give a decent range for such a large, heavy and not so aerodynamic vehicle to be practical.

  20. Agree with what you and others have said. $2k isn’t enough of an incentive, and 100 miles is too restrictive. But at least it could be a step in the right direction.

    Call me when they’re handing out $5k or more for me to convert a gas-burning ATV to electric power.

    EV West is super cool. What happened to their MR2 conversion kit?!? Just tried to find it on their site. Did they discontinue it? It’s all VWs and Porsches now.

    1. If anything, a 100 mile minimum is generous, given how most people actually live – Los Angeles alone is 44 miles across at it’s widest, counting wasted energy parked in traffic with the a/c on, 100 miles would barely get you from one end of the city and back. California itself is bigger than Japan, is it realistic to think that people want to just stay in the immediate vicinity of home, like preindustrial feudal serfs, and not actually go out and travel and explore around their own state?

      1. I mean “too restrictive” in the sense that it dictates the size of the battery powering the car. If you’re converting a gasser to an EV, you should have the freedom to build it to suit your needs and still qualify for the incentive.

        Most people don’t live in Los Angeles, and that scenario isn’t necessarily indicative of the average commute. A lot of people only travel 10-15 miles to get to work. If they want to save some money (and weight) by going with a smaller battery that may only get them 50 miles of range, then why shouldn’t they?

        I know everybody (myself included) is in the habit of preparing for the worst case scenario. That’s only natural. But I think when it comes to EV batteries, we may need to approach the situation differently.

        How much battery do you need for your commute 90% of the time? I think that’s a better question than “what’s the farthest distance you might need to travel in a day?”

        When charging stations become more ubiquitous and charge times decrease, I think the battery capacity wars will be kind of pointless.

  21. 2K isn’t much, but it’s a start. It’s CA, 2K will turn into 20K in a few years, and it could really help kick off this type of activity, not just CA, but other states. It’s a good thing so don’t dismiss it like it’s nothing. Things like this always starts small, just ask the lobby group who proposed it.

    And I live in CA, and would love to do this. Give the early adopters who will do conversions anyway to take advantage, and the program grows, incentive grows, more join in.

  22. I was wondering how EV conversion is handled with regards to SMOG testing, so I decided to look it up: “Once the inspection is complete, the referee will sign a DMV “statement of Facts” form so that the vehicle can be registered as an EV and removed from the periodic smog inspection program.”

    Hmm… incentivize people too much, and I imagine a select few might take advantage of this… EV Swap to get your CARB Smog exemption and then it’s a free for all for whatever engine swap you want!

  23. Not to nitpick, but you can’t have it both ways – saying most people live within 50 miles of work and advocating for a minimum range of 65 miles. My math says 50 miles x 2 = 100 miles. I realize you’re using 50 as the typical outer limit but you’re being disingenuous by espousing a 65 mile range. 65 miles/2 = 32.5, and that’s leaving you zero margin for cold weather (unless you’re thinking EV conversions are somehow going to be magically MORE efficient in bad weather than mass-produced ones are?). Imagine living every single day having to worry whether you’ll make it home…do I dare turn on the heat or AC? Even the windshield wipers? Better not even think about making a stop along the way that lengthens my commute by even a foot. Nah, the 100 mile minimum is the absolute minimum one should even consider.

    1. I’m pretty sure they are assume up to 50 miles to your location charge there and you have a full charge for the trip back.
      However given the nearest Tesla charger for me is over 150 miles away unless I also had a charger at home I would only be able to drive to the charger and back.

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