How Do You Convert a Vehicle to Run on Electricity?


Quick Answer

Purchase an electric vehicle conversion kit and install it according to the manufacturer's guidelines to convert any gas- or diesel-powered vehicle to electric power. Kits typically include an electric motor, charger, controller, adapter and vehicle-specific materials. Some manufacturers also offer universal conversion kits, but their installation is generally more complex.

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Full Answer

One of the most important details to consider when planning to perform an electric vehicle conversion is the type of vehicle being converted. The primary factor that is affected by various vehicles is weight, as heavier vehicles require more powerful engines than smaller, lighter ones, and powerful electric engines are significantly more expensive.

Another important factor to consider when purchasing an electric motor conversion kit is whether the electric motor provides AC or DC power. AC motors are typically more efficient and offer the ability to install regenerative braking on the vehicle, which increases the vehicle's range. These motors tend to be more expensive than their DC counterparts.

Additionally, converting vehicles with automatic transmissions can be impractical due to the power requirements of the electronics that control automatic transmissions. A converted automatic transmission vehicle suffers from a significantly reduced range when compared to its manual counterpart. Also, 4-wheel drive vehicles also present problems due to the added drag and weight of the vehicle's drive train.

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