Copy of Everything You Need to Know

Due to the overwhelming number of emails we receive, we are unable to respond to questions already answered on our website. Please have a look at What You Need to Know before contacting us. 

Q: WHAT IS THE COST TO CONVERT? 

A: Most conversion kits cost about $12,000 to $14,000 Canadian Dollars for the drive system parts including motor, controller, motor adapter, gauges, safety disconnects, power steering and brake pumps. The power and torque available through these drive systems peak at 130Hp and 175ftlb. 

The Lithium-Ion battery kits start at $13,000 CAD for a 19Kwh system which produces about 100-120Km of range in small cars or trucks. For greater range add about $1,000 for every 10km of range. Heavier vehicles like small pickups and vans will require more battery to get the same range. 

These costs are for parts and kits only, and do not include installation by CanEV. 

Q: WILL CanEV CONVERT MY VEHICLE FOR ME? 

A: Yes we can install your kit for you here at our facility in Parksville, B.C. Canada. Installation fees typically run between $10,000 to $15,000 CAD depending on the complexity of the conversion. 

Q: AM I GOING TO SAVE MONEY BY CONVERTING? 

A: If you are just looking at converting as a way to save money then you would do well to buy a new or used BEV from one of the major auto makers. A used Leaf will cost less than a conversion, have a greater range per charge and be more reliable in the long term. 

Q: HOW DO I CHARGE A CONVERTED EV? 

A: The charger port is an industry standard J1772 connector capable of charging at any Level 1 or Level 2 charging station. 

Q: DO AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSIONS WORK FOR CONVERSIONS? 

A: Older automatics can be made to work but they will consume 10-15% of the mechanical energy from the EV motor which reduces the driving range proportionately. Therefore they will require more batteries to get the same range as a car with a manual transmission. Modern cars (year 2000 and later) with transmission control modules (TCMs) are very difficult to make work because they work closely with the engine control module. Once gas engine is removed the TCM will not function. 

Q: CAN A FULL SIZE TRUCK OR VAN BE CONVERTED? 

A: In order to maintain the power of a full size truck engine we can install a high power / high torque liquid cooled drive system.  The cost of both the drive system and batteries is very high and would result in about 150km of range. 

A full size truck can be converted more economically using an air cooled EV motor resulting in an under powered vehicle compared to the original engine. The range would also be on the order of 150Km. 

Q: CAN YOU CONVERT MY RV? 

A: RVs are a step above a full size truck in terms of weight and energy requirements. Given the power and energy storage required an RV conversion would easily cost in excess of $100,000 CAD with a range of 200Km or less. 

The owner should also consider the need to charge the RV in a remote location, where adequate power might not be available. 

Q: CAN YOU CONVERT MY OLD MUSCLE CAR? 

A: Converting a muscle car is very much the same as a full size truck – see above. 

Q: CAN YOU CONVERT MY MOTORCYCLE, ATV, SIDE-BY-SIDE OR GOLF CART? 

A: CanEV does not perform or sell parts for converting these vehicles. 

Q: HOW EASY IS IT TO INSTALL A KIT? 

A: Installation guides provided with the kit give instructions on how to convert your vehicle. Depending on your mechanical experience you may need to solicit some guidance from a local mechanic. Some of our customers have involved their local high school automotive class in the project. 

Q: HOW FAR WILL THE VEHICLE BE ABLE TO TRAVEL BEFORE NEEDING TO BE RECHARGED? 

A: Small car conversions with a 19Kwh lithium-ion battery pack have a range of 100-120Km. More range can be added at a rate of about $1,000 CAD per 10Km. 

This does not however mean that any range may be had if your budget is big enough. The battery volume and weight must be considered in any EV conversion and an excessive quantity of batteries may not be installable in your vehicle due to volumetric considerations and the gross vehicle weight rating. 

Q: MY LIMITED RESEARCH SHOWS SOME ADVANTAGES TO AN AC MOTOR. DO YOU OFFER THIS AS AN OPTION? 

A: The kits we sell use an AC drive system with a brushless motor. They are more efficient and offer regenerative braking which greatly improves drivability while extending the driving range and brake pad life. 

A DC motor kit may be special ordered, subject to availability. 

Q: DO YOUR KITS OFFER REGENERATIVE BRAKING? 

A: Yes, all our AC motor drive systems offer regenerative braking. The DC motor systems do not. 

Q: DO YOU HAVE A KIT FOR MY CAR? 

A: We have vehicle-specific kits for the Chevy S10/S15, Ford Ranger, Geo Metro, Dodge Neon and New VW Beetle. CanEV also has generic kits which provide basic component parts for any vehicle. Canadian Electric Vehicles can supply all the basic electric drive systems for you to convert almost any vehicle however you would have to build all the vehicle specific parts (example: motor mounts and battery boxes). You would also have to deal with the increased weight of the vehicle by finding and adding heavier springs if you are using a large quantity of batteries. We cannot help with wiring other than the basic drive system. 

SOME THINGS TO CONSIDER: 

  • A 4 wheel drive vehicle ( meaning, a Jeep or Land Rover with an “old-school” transfer case ) may be converted however the added weight and drag of the 4 wheel drive system will likely reduce the driving range. 

  • An All Wheel Drive system may possibly be converted if the AWD system is not computer controlled. 

  • It is not practical to convert a large car or full-size truck due to their weight, although it is possible and will cost much more than a smaller vehicle. The electric drive and battery systems must be larger to get similar performance as the original. 

  • You are much better off in the end to buy a vehicle that we offer a kit for. The kits come with installation guides making the conversion relatively easy. 

Q: DO YOU OFFER LEAD ACID BATTERIES FOR EV CONVERSIONS? 

A: Lead acid batteries are not normally provided with our kits but may be considered on a case by case basis. Most conversions are now using lithium batteries due to the longer life and significantly less weight. Due to the weight of lead acid you will need to improve the suspension to carry the added load. Lithium is 3-4 times lighter than lead acid so most often no suspension changes are needed. Lithium is 2-3 times the cost of the lead acid batteries but lasts 3-4 times longer so they end up costing less in the long term. 

Q: HOW DO I DESIGN AND BUILD A BATTERY BOX? 

A: A battery box consists of the structure - usually a cage-like construction of structural metal, a liner, and insulation. The only one that is absolutely required is the structure. The others are a good idea if you want to keep the batteries clean and warm. The structure is usually a cage-like construction of angles and supports. 

CanEV builds sheet metal or aluminum boxes which act as the structure and lining. The structure used to restrain the batteries must be capable of restraining them and keeping them from entering the passenger compartment in the event of an accident. It should be either welded or bolted to the structure of the car. NEDRA (National Electric Drag Racing Association) recommends designing the cage to withstand a load of 8G’s (8 times the total weight of the cage and all its contents) forwards, backwards, and to each side, as well as 4 G’s upwards and downwards. It is acceptable if the structure deforms during a crash so long as it restrains the batteries. 

CanEV recommends installing the battery boxes under the rear seat when possible. This is usually where the gas tank was originally located and considered a safe location in the case of an accident. This location is also low in the car making it more stable than a battery pack that is located above the floor. Large battery packs should not be placed behind the rear wheels as it will have a negative effect on handling. 

Sometimes a battery heating system is installed for use in cold climates. Various schemes have been used for this, but it usually consists of some sort of tape or pad heating unit, with a remote temperature probe and a thermostat. 

Q: I WANT TO CONVERT A 1972 VOLKSWAGEN VAN WITH THE PARTS YOU SUPPLY. DO YOU HAVE INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW TO CONVERT THE VEHICLE? 

A: We only have complete installation guides for the S-10/S15/Sonoma, Neon, Ranger, New Beetle and Geo. With all the many different makes, models and years of vehicles on the road it would be impossible to have detailed instructions for them all. We can supply one of existing guides which will give you the basic idea of what is involved. All conversions use the same “basic kit” of parts. The only real changes are battery boxes and motor mounts.