Frequently Asked Questions

 

Q: How much does it cost to convert?

A: See our Conversion Builder page for some details on component costs and overall conversion economics. In a nutshell, you are looking at $10-25k net cash outlay for the components (not including components custom to the vehicle - mounting brackets, gauge hookups, etc.). None of the component kits you see from any other provider include any parts custom to your car, which means you have to build those yourself or contract someone to build them for you. That would normally run from $5 to 10k. Our kits are fully bolt-on and include all necessary hardware & components precisely matched to your Make & Model.

Once you have all the components (including mounts), you can contract someone to actually bolt everything together. There is a good bit of precision work involved so if you are not fully comfortable with working on high-speed drivetrain elements (such as flywheel, etc), we would recommend you get some professional help. If you decide to go with this option, it would generally cost $3-5k in labor. 

So overall cost can be as low as $10k if you do everything yourself, converting a smaller car, and don't need a huge range. They also can be as high as $25-30k if you are after below-6-sec 0-60 on a heavy modern car and you want a 100 mile range. 

 

Q: How long will it take to convert my car?

A: It depends. If you decide to purchase components (even as part of kits many companies are offering) and do the rest yourself, it will likely take 150-200 hours and very high level of skills. If you purchase a bolt-on kit from us (if available for your car model) and have access to a car shop, you may be able to cut that time by over 80% - to 30-40 hours. Finally, if you decide to have someone like us do your conversion, it will take just a couple of hours to discuss and agree on your target performance parameters & costs. The actual conversion will take a few days.

 

Q: How long does the battery last and what is the cost of replacement

A: The battery technology we are using (LiFePo4) is known for excellent cycle life (normally defined as the number of discharge / recharge cycles until battery capacity declines by 20%). Specifically, our batteries are rated for 2,000-3,000 cycles. With the high-performance EV range of 100 miles, this means 200,000-300,000 miles before your range drops to 80 miles. This probably means that your car's mechanical parts will break long before you will need battery replacement. If you still need to know, the battery cost for a 100-mile conversion is ~$12,000 but this is today and in 10 years when might need a battery replacement, same amount of money will likely buy you 5x the range!

 

Q: Where can I charge the converted car and how long will it take?

A: Anywhere there's electricity. Our charging systems can take any common input voltages you can find in the US. What will be different though is the time to charge. If you plug into a regular 110V house outlet, you will be charging at ~6 miles per hour (so a full recharge of a 100-mile pack will take full 17 hours). If you plug into a 240V dryer outlet in your house, you can charge at ~20-25 miles per hour (so a 4-5-hour full charge). This is also the charging speed you would get from a Level 2 charging station (virtually all charging stations being installed these days are Level 2 stations). If you have a separate high-current outlet wired to your electric panel (a relatively minor task for your electrician), you can be charging at up to 60 miles/hour with one of our 12kW charger we currently have available (see our charger page for full details). We are currently finishing testing of the charger capable of recharging at up to 120 miles/hour.

 

Q: What about DMV registration?

A: For all practical purposes, DMV thinks of the EV conversion as an aftermarket modification. As such, it does not require any special permits from DMV etc. You will need to register your 'change of fuel' with CARB / BAR before you go to DMV if you live in California. This is a fairly simple process and we can definitely help navigate what little red tape there is. After you register with CARB, you go to DMV to fill out a clean vehicle sticker application form. 

 

Q: What about Insurance?

A: Similar to DMV, Insurance companies do not seem to make a distinction between gasoline and electric drive at this point. They will determine your rates and insurability based on the base model of your donor car. So in a nutshell, nothing changes for the insurance purposes. 

 

Q: What about warranty?

A: This is actually two questions: (1) what about manufacturer's warranty, and (2) what about warranty on the conversion?

1. You will likely lose your manufacturer's warranty for any part of the drivetrain. You should be able to still retain the warranty for the systems that are not affected by changing the motor - such as electrical system (your radio, etc), brakes, steering, etc. 

2. You will get the usual manufacturer's warranty on major conversion components (between 1 and 5 years depending on component). In addition to that, you will get some standard term of warranty on conversion labor covered by us. The term will likely be similar to the terms you are getting from your mechanic.

 

Q: How safe is conversion?

A: Let's break down this question into a few distinct areas:

Electrical safety. This is a natural question given the amount of energy stored in a typical EV battery pack (20-40 kWhrs - enough to power an average house for about one day) and typical voltage of the pack (144-288V - at or above the typical household electric service voltages). The key to managing electrical safety in this environment is proper isolation & insulation. First, entire high-voltage circuit has to be fully isolated from the vehicle frame. This means that the traction battery ground can NOT be connected to vehicle frame as you would connect your regular 12V battery. Second, all the high-voltage wires have to have properly rated insulation and be routed in a manner preventing any possibility of mechanical stresses. In our conversions, we use thick 600V-rated insulation on all high-voltage cables. Furthermore, we use an absolute minimum of high-voltage connections. Battery packs are generally double-fused with a regular fuse and an emergency circuit breaker. Finally, inertial switch is used to cut the power if a vehicle suffers large acceleration / deceleration forces (this is similar in concept to the airbag deployment in your car). 

Mechanical safety. Again, a natural question given you are moving over 700lbs of components in/out of the vehicle. The proper conversion will use native mounting points from a donor car (motor / transmission mounts, subframe mounts, etc). It will also use high-strength materials for mounting brackets (generally angle steel). If done properly, electric conversion is as safe as its gasoline ancestor. 

Fire safety. Before we get into the details on this aspect, let's remember that today, you are rolling around with 16 gallons of highly flammable, explosive liquid sloshing just 3-4 feet from your body. Now let's talk about unique fire hazards from electric drive. There are two major types of these hazards: (1) heat from improper connections or electrical shorts may ignite flammable materials nearby, and (2) battery cells, if damaged in an accident, may ignite. On the first topic, see the 'electrical safety' discussion above. Normally, a properly fused system will prevent things like that from happening. Also note that there is no notion of a fuse in a gasoline system - if your gas lines leak and fire starts, you can't just trip the breaker to stop it... We deal with the second type of fire hazard by using the latest lithium battery technology. These LiFePo4 (or Lithium Iron Phosphate) batteries are different from your laptop or cell phone battery. As a result, they are non-volatile under stress (mechanical or electrical) - which means that they do not ever catch fire. Even if cut in half (this is actually one of the standard tests our battery supplier performs on its batteries...)! There is a small trade-off in energy density (~5-10%) relative to laptop batteries - which still makes these batteries an absolute champion in energy and power density among all battery types.

 

Q: Can you convert my Hummer?

A: First off, congratulations on coming to your senses! ;-) We would love to but can't at the moment. We are not doing fully custom conversions but rather have an expanding list of car models we specialize on. If we get a sufficient number of requests to convert Hummers, we will develop a bolt-on kit and conversion service for it. For the list of currently available kits / EVs, check out our Products pages. In the meantime, if you have access to EV conversion skills / equipment, we can provide your with the highest quality high-performance components for your conversion. Please refer to our Online Store (under Products menu).

 

Have more questions we have not answered here? Please Contact Us and we will do our best to answer.

 

 

 

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eMotorWerks Inc. is a California based company which focuses on promoting high performance electric vehicle charging technologies, such as EV charging stations (EVSE), smart grid EV charging networks, and charging systems for high-voltage and DC fast charging.