Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do I find out if an EV is really for me?
A: See the links section for contact information to the various EV clubs in your area. Talk to the owners there and get yourself informed. The feedback and support you will get will be invaluable.
Q: Does it make sense to own an EV?
A: If you enter into ownership with the intention of doing something for the environment, desire an alternative to fossil fuel, or just an interesting hobby car then you will make the commitment and will be very satisfied with your EV. If you are doing this just to save money then you will be very disappointed. There are many ways to save money on transportation which are much cheaper than an EV. No EV conversion will ever be able to fully replace your gas car for all uses.
Q: How far can I really drive on a single battery charge?
A: Actual range will depend on your driving style. It really depends on you and the battery.
Q: How fast can I drive?
A: Electric vehicles are capable of driving the speed limit on all local highways. Most are capable of much faster speeds but this will only abuse your batteries and result in expensive repairs or traffic tickets.
Q: How much does it cost?
A: A complete conversion of a typical small car will cost in the order of $30,000. This will be a fully operational street legal conversion which has been prepared for summer and winter operation. This does not include the cost of the donor car. Larger vehicles will cost more. you can now purchace electric vehicles from manufacturers but again the cost is $30,000 and up.
Q: Can I convert any vehicle?
A: Within reason. Results will depend on the efficiency of the donor vehicle. A small efficient car will perform better than a 4wd monster truck. Each vehicle will have its pros and cons. You must also check your local transportation ministry for any regulations or requirements.
Q: What is the best vehicle to convert?
A: The one that best suits your needs. Small pick up trucks work well but will cost more due to their weight. Compact cars will have more room for the batteries where as sub-compact cars may not have to have the room for battery access. Each vehicle must be examined for suitability.
Q: What maintenance is required?
A: Looking after the batteries and general cleaning is all that is required. If flooded lead acid batteries are used you will have to check the water levels and give the batteries a quick cleaning once a month. If sealed batteries are used the cleaning and checking will be an annual event. The electrical wires and connections should be checked annually.
Q: How long does it take to recharge the batteries?
A: Normally the charger is sized to recharge the batteries completely overnight. Faster charging can be done if a larger charger is used but you must have a special electrical service to take advantage of this option.
Q: Do I have to wait until the batteries are run down before I recharge?
A: No, the batteries can be recharged at any time. If you have an electrical plug available for an hour or two it makes sense to take advantage of it and plug in. This is called opportunity charging. This will extend your daily driving range and will not hurt the batteries in anyway.
Q: How much does it cost to operate?
A: The electrical energy used is around 200 – 300 WH/km. Ontario Hydro is charging around $0.11 per KWH. This means that you can drive for about 3 cents per km. Less than a dollar a day for the typical driver. Remember you have to add the cost of the battery replacement to this.
Q: How long will the batteries last before they have to be replaced?
A: This is where the battery selection, use and charging make a big difference. It can be as little as 3 months to as long as 10 years. You get what you pay for. Better quality batteries and charger will last longer. Keeping the batteries properly charged and taking care to not over discharge the batteries will have a big impact on battery life.
Q: How much will a battery pack cost to replace?
A: Lead Acid battery pack will cost from $1,500 to $5,000 depending on type and size. Lithium batteries are 2 to 3 times the cost. A smaller EV will save you big time here.
Q: Can I still drive in the winter?
A: Sure you can! There are several options for interior heating. Yes driving range will be reduced by about 10% because the driving conditions are tougher. If you do not have the benefit of any winter preparations you will suffer from cold batteries and severe range reductions.
Q: What is the story on better batteries?
A: There is a lot of talk out there on the internet about EV’s going hundreds of km on a single charge. Most of the claims come from experimental companies or individuals trying to overstate the facts to attract attention. Yes Li-ion batteries exist that will more than double the range of an EV but the cost is very high.
Q: Can I still have AC?
A: Due to the power required to drive the normal car AC system we suggest that it be removed from an EV conversion. Most EV's sold by manufacturers will offer an AC option.
Q: What other power options do I have to do without?
A: None. 12 volt accessories such as headlights, stereo, power windows and locks really have no impact on the driving range of the EV.
Q: Can I have an automatic transmission?
A: Yes, there will be a reduction in driving range and performance just as with the original gas car. Again most production EV's will operate just like an automatic.
Q: Are the safety features of the car affected?
A: Air bags, and ABS brakes are not affected in the conversion process. Traction control may be affected. The added weight of the batteries will make the car heavier. Always keep the final conversion weight within the rated GVW of the car. This is where the selection of the donor car can make a difference.
Q: What about adding a range extender or hybrid option?
A: Many people are looking into this. There is no problem in towing the unit behind your car on a trailer but adding a range extender generator or some other power unit to the vehicle is a grey area under the law in respect to modification of emission controls. Therefore REV Consultants Ltd. is not willing to offer this as a normal option.
Q: Can I purchase a kit to convert my car myself?
A: REV Consultants Ltd. does not sell do it yourself kits. We offer consulting services and technical assistance.