“Reduce, reuse, recycle” is one of the core concepts for greening your life—and with the right motivations along the way, reducing your carbon footprint.
It’s part of what makes the idea of electric-car conversions so compelling. You take a tired, polluting old vehicle with a tailpipe, remove everything having to do with combustion, and substitute in the battery, energy management, and power/propulsion systems.
At its best, what you end up with is head-turning, better-performing, and greener. At its worst, it ends up only serving to demonstrate some of the lingering outdated preconceptions people might already have about EVs—like driving range that’s too short, or packaging compromised by batteries shoehorned into what was meant to be cargo or passenger space.
Today we reported about a company, Ecotuned, that wants to form and expand its business around the idea of converting trucks that have already seen quite a bit of fleet use. With a kit (as evidenced by some professional-looking results so far) it could essentially give them a just-the-basics conversion that turns Ford F-150s or other body-on-frame trucks into EVs and sends them back out to their fleets for hundreds of thousands more miles.
Especially in the absence of a real electric F-150 you can walk into Ford dealerships and buy, that seems like a decent stopgap solution for fleets.
Of course, electric conversions are nothing new. We’ve covered a wide range of them over the years, from the predictable number of VW Bug and Microbus conversions to a one-off vintage Mercedes-Benz SL to kits for creating a fully electric Mazda MX-5 Miata. And then there are the conversions (like this conversion run of classic Minis) that are essentially restorations, keeping the old vehicles' bones but giving it all the presentation of a new car.
Voitures Extravert Quintessenza electric Porsche 911 conversion
According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, in their 2015 report, “Cleaner Cars from Cradle to Grave,” manufacturing electric vehicles may take 15 to 68 percent more energy/emissions to make versus a gasoline vehicle. But the lifecycle emissions savings associated with using that vehicle are the strong majority of lifetime energy use and far outweigh that difference.
Starting with an already manufactured vehicle possibly otherwise near the end of its service life—such as what Ecotuned is doing—should be an added bonus for saving carbon emissions.
On the other hand, some electric-vehicle enthusiasts might see EV conversions today as geeky, finicky, kit-car distractions from the reality that long-range EVs never conceived for gasoline, like the Tesla Model 3, help prove: that EVs can beat their gasoline counterparts in many respects.
So we’re asking you this:
Are EV conversions relevant today?— Green Car Reports (@GreenCarReports) July 30, 2019
Opting for the first selection means that you can see nothing but upside—or an abundance of upside—to the idea of taking internal combustion engines off the road and replacing them with motors and batteries. The middle selection means that you see the environmental and cost-savings point to fleet conversions but aren’t sure if they make sense for personal use. And our last selection indicates that you think buying a production electric vehicle—with modern tech, driving range, and occupant safety—is that way to endorse electric-car technology as we head into the 2020s.
Keep in mind our Twitter polls are unscientific, because of low sample size and because those who respond and vote are self-selected.