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Converting Petrol Car to battery.

  • 22-08-2022 2:46pm
    Registered Users Posts: 607 ✭✭✭

    I have an older 3 litre jeep that is in good condition but I would love to convert it to an electric vehicle. The jeep is perfect but the mpg is just crazy. I would find it very difficult to spend close to 50k on a new car and the only second hand ones are Nissan Leafs (which are just too small for me). My mileage is pretty low - 300km a week.

    Is there anybody doing these conversions?

    I don't know where to start.



  • Registered Users Posts: 436 ✭✭Girl Geraldine

    Unless you are doing this as some sort of project of passion, then it is a waste of time and money and it will break you.

    You'd have to get a good scrapped EV and re-engineer all the parts to fit your jeep. That or have a company specialising in that do the conversion for you.

    If you think buying an EV for 50k is too expensive, wait until you see the bill for a custom conversion. Anyway, most of the cost of an EV is the battery, and whatever the advertised range of whatever car the powertrain was orignially designed for, you can cut it in half for a heavy, unaerodynamic jeep body.

    Throwing enough money into it, it could be done. But even at that you have a vehicle that is a custom build - it is largely unservicable and unwarrantyable since it will be a made up concoction of different parts from different manufacturers. It'll be worth next to nothing because there would be lettle or no market for it.

    All the engineering aside, you'd really struggle to get insurance for it. I don't know if its even possible. They are very strict nowadays.

    Even getting NCT might not be feasible.

  • Registered Users Posts: 436 ✭✭Girl Geraldine

    Actually, what you would happen is, rather than transplanting an EV powertrain into your jeep, you would be transplanting the jeep body and chassis onto an existing EV platform.

    An EV is a fully integrated software driven vehicle. Unless all parts are assembled and programmed up as part of the one entity, it just won't work. It'll be a brick. You can't just do a frankenstein job on it like with older ICE vehilces.

    For example, even something like an EV hacing a charge port with a lid. Unless the sensors and actuators on the charge port lid aren't present, the car won't take charge. Without any part of the vast and extremely complicated network of electronic devices, the car would just cease to function.

    Hell, even some EVs, if an electronic component is simply disconnected and then reconnected, the EV will cease to function until a dealership with the right service equipment resets and reconfigures the EV.

    It think it is a complete non runner.

    It would be cheaper and less hassle to simply just bit the bullet and go buy an EV

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,865 ✭✭✭DoctorEdgeWild

    An LPG conversion might be an option for you? Not sure if the infrastructure is there to cope but there’s two garages near me (UK) that are doing really good business converting diesels over.

  • Registered Users Posts: 64,355 ✭✭✭✭unkel

    @Girl Geraldine - you are right to give the OP a good scare, but you are being overly pessimistic at the same time. If the conversion is done in a structurally sound way, it is not hard to get it classified as an EV with €120 motor tax, nor is it difficult to pass the NCT provided the car is roadworthy. Insurance is also not a problem in Ireland but you have to obviously declare to your insurer that the car is converted

    Your key points are that it is extremely expensive to have someone convert the car for you. This is true, there is a lot of demand and only a few companies doing it and very few "bolt in" kits available. But this is improving

    And that it is extremely difficult to do. Again, true for a very modern car with CAN communication, but relatively easy on an older car with fewer electronics. The OP does say his Jeep is "older" but doesn't say what it is

  • Registered Users Posts: 607 ✭✭✭donalh087

    I hear what you are saying Geraldine. There is a company in Wicklow ( a spin off of a Dutch company) who do these conversions but they appear to be too busy to answer any emails or phone calls. The reviews are all good though. They have no issues with NCT or insurance. If there are no alternatives there is a huge opportunity (IMHO).

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  • Registered Users Posts: 436 ✭✭Girl Geraldine

    Fair enough, but i would suspect that it would work out much more expensive to do a conversion and even then you will be left with something that might have poor performance since the drivetrain components are probably designed for a lighter purpose built ESUV at best.

    You see these conversions but they are not for daily driver vehicles. They are show pieces made with exotic or interesting classics for exhibiting and doing cannonball runs and the like and not practical or not likely to be the most reliable in day to day usage.

    I'd say the wisest and cheapest option is to just go and buy an EV of your choice.

    As for companies doing conversions, they probably cater largely to wealthy collectors/enthusiasts with deep pockets, or corporate customers with a big budget looking to make a showpeice EV.

    If you are coming to them with a clapped out jeep and complaining that you want it converted because paying €50k for a new EV is too much for you to bear, then you are not the sort of person who would make up their customer base.

  • Registered Users Posts: 64,355 ✭✭✭✭unkel

    How handy are you @donalh087 and what exactly is your Jeep ?

    Here is a guy who converted his own old car to EV in his yard. Gives a good idea of what's involved for a simple older car

    Also google "Damien Maguire", he's an Irish electronics engineer who has been converting his own cars for about 12-13 years and who reverse engineers available components like Toyota hybrid stuff and provides the info all open source and also gives courses in how to convert your own car

  • Registered Users Posts: 607 ✭✭✭donalh087

    This is the company I mentioned and they say for about 6k you can convert to an EV. Very interesting article.

  • Registered Users Posts: 436 ✭✭Girl Geraldine

    Yeah, but doing it DIY for those fellas it is almost a way of life for them. If the OP has a life to be getting on with, throwing into the very, very complex work of EV engineering is just not a realisitic proposition.

    We're not dealing with a 1985 Ford Escort here where you could read a Haynes manual of a sunday evening and dig a socket set out of the shed and have a different engine in it the following sunday.

    DIYing EVs would take literally years to learn. Look at yer man Ruch Rebuilds with his refurbishing and stuff with Teslas and bits of them. That fella is a genius, and wealthy from his social media activity on it, EVs are a way of life for him, and more often than not he is banging his head against a wall dealing with anything on a Tesla. Unservicable. Unrepairable. Even if you know what you are doing and have loads and loads of money to throw at it.

    LMAO at that lad with the cement mixer motor in the Sierra. That is just backyard tinkering with is neither going to be drivable, insuraable nor NCTable.

    For a commercial conversion which provides you with a converted EV that is drivable, has a usable range, can be insured, can be NCTed, and is reliable, you are probably going to have to pay well over the cost of the average EV purchase price.

    You have to understand that a conversion like this is almost a bespoke bumper to bumper re-engineering of the car and very very labour intensive with educated, skilled technicians which means super duper expensive. That is why the services of such companies is largely the preserve of collectors and coportate customers who want show pieces and have plenty money.

    LMAO at €6k for a conversion. You wouldn't by the average range battery pack for that money, let alone have a roadworthy car for it!!

  • Registered Users Posts: 64,355 ✭✭✭✭unkel

    That's Damien Maguire's (former) home with two of his converted BMWs. I own one of his conversions that he famously did for a €1000 budget. It's called the "Red Arrow". The car is mentioned in the article.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 436 ✭✭Girl Geraldine

    But is it practical for daily driving?



    Charge time?

    Reliability and robustness?

    Insurance & NCT?

    For €1000, if it sounds too good to be true it probably is. At the end of the day if a conversion could be done for a few thousand quid sure everyone would be doing it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 607 ✭✭✭donalh087

    Not handy at all Unkel, I would have no part in this conversion. I have a 3litre petrol Shogun Sport, 00 reg, with about 100k miles. I was building a house 4 years ago and bought it in Jersey as semi-disposable workhorse. I kinda fell in love with it but the petrol makes no sense. I would hate to ditch it to buy a second hand Leaf for 25k.

    Thanks for the Damian Maguire lead - I have dropped him an email.

  • Registered Users Posts: 436 ✭✭Girl Geraldine

    Either way, even if you do pay the bumper bill for a full roadworthy and drivable conversion, do no be expecting the range, performance and charge time to be comparable to a that of the average commercially available EV. All facets of performance are likely to be substantially inferior than an EV bought off the forecourt. Unless you are willing to throw more money again into upgrading some of the components to a much higher spec to compete.

    It would be a very expensive project to take on. And a conversion company is not going to take on a job unless they are confident that you have the ability to pay for it. As i said before, if you are telling them that you want to convert because buying a regulat EV is unaffordable, you'll be laughed out of the office.

  • Registered Users Posts: 436 ✭✭Girl Geraldine

    You are not going to get a practical, daily driveable conversion for less than the price of a second hand Nissan Leaf. That much I can tell you for certain.

    Battery pack probably €5k for the most basic of units with limited range. I see listings of €5.5k for a 24 kwhr leaf battery. Whatever range that would give in a leaf, in a clunky jeep with a heavy chassis, you can probably cut the range in half.

    Charger unit €750 for a cheapo one + at least €1000 for electrician to install

    Power electronics & motor you are probably looking at €8000 for something of any decent type of spec that would be practical to drive.

    So there straight away you are at near €15,000 for the major components. That is before you include for any of the other myriad of smaller ancillary components, let alone all the labour and time of some highly skilled technicians. Labour cost may well be more than the cost of parts and materials.

    If you want components to allow the jeep to function as an actual jeep, ie with 4WD etc, capability to tow a trailer, you could expect the uprated and additional components to come at a very, very substantial price tag and the time and cost of the specialist engineering services required to balloon.

  • Registered Users Posts: 64,355 ✭✭✭✭unkel

    Yep, can't argue with any of that @Girl Geraldine.

    There is a company in Wales that have converted several Irish reg cars too, but even a basic low range, no fast charging conversion of a very simple car, like a FIAT 500, would likely cost GBP20-30k (they are quite shy about pricing). They do deliver top class results though. They have also started selling complete conversion kits to the trade for some suitable classic cars like the original Mini.

    There are companies in France who offer conversions for about €7-8k for a few basic old small cars, the government adds a subsidy so the cost to the end user is in the order of €4-5k. We just need a lot more companies to do this sort of stuff for the pricing to come down.

  • Registered Users Posts: 607 ✭✭✭donalh087

    Geraldine, I am not a complete cretin. I have done some research but am looking for some advice here. You are jumping to a million conclusions about what I want and the idiotic traps I will fall into. I'm only asking questions. Relax a small bit.

  • Registered Users Posts: 64,355 ✭✭✭✭unkel

    Pretty much all those questions are answered in the first episode of the series he did on them. Yes, he put the car through the NCT and it passed, yes can be driven daily. Motor tax is €120 like any other EV. It can do motorway speed and it has a practical range of about 65km (no fast charging). I have it fully comp insured as a classic car directly with one of the biggest insurers in Ireland for just over €200. It's pretty robust and reliable but the charger died on me and no, you can't just ring Damien Maguire (or pretty much anyone else in the country) to come fix it, even if you paid them 😁

    He got some parts cheaper than market value really and he left the relatively expensive charger in it, so €1000 didn't quite do it, but you get the picture. Also it was a car that was about to be scrapped 4 years ago. Now it is still driving around with zero emissions and almost exclusively charged from the sun.

  • Registered Users Posts: 436 ✭✭Girl Geraldine

    I notice that the cars you refer to has having relatively cheap conversions are all old, small and fairly light weight.

    Now I'll ad this into the mix....

    A jeep, of any sort is going to be heavy enough and need power steering. Even getting the power steering system to work effectively and reliably in a conversion would, in itself, be something that would require a substantial effort be-spoke engineering at a significant cost.

  • Registered Users Posts: 436 ✭✭Girl Geraldine

    I see. Not very practical for daily use. Much a curiosity and pet project.

  • Registered Users Posts: 64,355 ✭✭✭✭unkel

    You really should watch or at least skip through the series. Yes power steering in an ICE car comes from the engine. So yes, you will need a separate power steering system. My car does have it, Maguire used electronic power steering from a scrapped Opel Zafira B. It works very well, I think it cost him about €50 in parts and the setup is very straight forward. There is an episode dedicated to it.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 436 ✭✭Girl Geraldine

    I am just being realistic with you. You are not going to get a quality conversion suitable for day-in day-out driving with performance comparable with a regular EV for less than the price of a second hand leaf.

    I am not trying to be insulting. I am just trying to show you that you are massively underestimating the complexity, specialist engineering and cost of what you are hoping to do.

    I mean, if it was a genuine classic car of some note that you were doing up as a showpiece project, fair enough, but a 00 reg jeep just because you think it is too good to leave blocking a gap in the ditch, honestly, it just doesn't make sense.

  • Registered Users Posts: 64,355 ✭✭✭✭unkel

    Yes very practical for daily use, why not? The average car in Ireland does about 40-50km per day. Obviously it has limitations and it wouldn't be for everybody. And it most certainly wouldn't be suitable as the only family car for a family with kids. But it is fine for someone like me who only occasionally needs to use a second car.

  • Registered Users, Subscribers Posts: 5,787 ✭✭✭hometruths

    Go for it OP. I’m researching exactly same idea currently on a 1989 Range Rover, and am planning on going ahead.

    Kind of surprised just how anti the idea some posters are, but I’d say a lot of people who will tell people now how crazy they are to even contemplate it, will be thankful in a few years that a small number of crazies went ahead and did it, demonstrating demand and a market, ensuring it becomes affordable for others in the future.

    best of luck with it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 436 ✭✭Girl Geraldine

    That is interesting and he did some good inventive work. But a jeep is a much heavier duty vehicle. Steering would always be hydraulic in those. It could be reconficured with an electrically driven hydraulic pump, but the re-engineering of a system to do that would be costly.

    Out of interest, was he able to retain functionality of the ABS/VSP and airbag systems? How did he manage the car's body control systems when divorced from the original power train?

  • Registered Users Posts: 64,355 ✭✭✭✭unkel

    I don't know the details, I obviously didn't do the conversion myself and I don't think those systems were addressed in particular in the series. The car did however pass the NCT, so I presume that everything that is supposed to be working, was working.

  • Registered Users Posts: 129 ✭✭Bovakinn

    I know a Humvee is in a different league than a Jeep but this is an interesting playlist showing the conversion process from start to finish.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,439 ✭✭✭zg3409

    That article is from 2020. I believe they are not in Ireland any more. They never offered a service to the public. They will offer courses in Netherlands for mechanics and DIY. The price quoted was theoretical not real. There is no company offering turn key options in Ireland.

    In practical terms unless you want a pet project it may only make financial sense for rare or classic cars. Prices seem to be 20k to 50k excluding donor car. For other cars it probably makes more sense to buy a real EV than try get a non EV to become EV.

    If done right you can get NCT, cheap tax, but there may be insurance premium.

  • Registered Users, Subscribers Posts: 5,787 ✭✭✭hometruths

    I am hoping to get it done to a Range Rover for sub 10k, using a Nissan Leaf motor and battery pack. Budgeting max 5k for the bits and max 5k for labour. Time will tell if I'm crazy I guess!

  • Registered Users Posts: 436 ✭✭Girl Geraldine

    What range and charge time are you aiming to get?

    Bear in mind that a Range Rover is far bigger, heavier and less aerodynamic than a Leaf, so the driving range will be significantly reduced.

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  • Registered Users, Subscribers Posts: 5,787 ✭✭✭hometruths

    What range and charge time are you aiming to get?

    Range about 60 miles. Charge time currently unimportant. I will charge overnight at home. If in future I wish to upgrade to fast charging that is a possibility.

    Bear in mind that a Range Rover is far bigger, heavier and less aerodynamic than a Leaf, so the driving range will be significantly reduced.

    I'll be sure to bear that in mind.