Even as more major automakers announce plans to mass-produce electric cars, more companies have cropped up to convert old cars to electric power—even on a mass scale.
A company in Montreal is working to convert old Ford F-150s to electric power for fleets. Several British luxury automakers, including Jaguar and Aston Martin, now offer old models with electric motors. And another British company is converting old Mini Coopers to electric power.
The electric-car movement started out in the 1970s and 1980s with tinkerers converting their gas whips to run on electric juice, often with lead-acid batteries and very short ranges that could sometimes give EVs a bad rap.
With news of all these new conversion companies springing up and new production cars becoming available, we wondered if the electric car movement has—or should have—outgrown such conversions.
For last week's Twitter poll, we asked if, EV conversions are still relevant today.
Are EV conversions relevant today?— Green Car Reports (@GreenCarReports) July 30, 2019
With only three possible answers to the poll, an overwhelming majority of readers, 65 percent, agreed. Putting new electric motors in old cars can be more environmentally beneficial than buying a new EV because it doesn't increase the demand for new energy and materials to produce a new car.
Quite a few respondents, 30 percent, said they'd prefer that others buy a new EV. That perhaps agrees with the idea that EV conversions have had their day and it's time to move on to more capable production machines with faster charging and longer ranges.
Very few, only 5 percent, chose "Yes, perhaps in fleets." Fleet managers are much more apt to be convinced by the lower operating costs of EVs and the low acquisition cost of an older vehicle or extending the life of one that they may already own. Many fleet vehicles, such as those F-150s at the Montreal airport, only drive short distances anyway.
Our results in no way imply that automakers should give up on developing new EVs in favor of converting older ones. Our Twitter polls are unscientific, because those who find them and choose to answer are self-selected, and not numerous enough to constitute a scientific sample.