SwitchMotive is intended to be the first stop to learn more about the world of electric vehicle conversions. Perhaps, we hope, it is a site that you visit again and again. Our purpose is to give you the resources to go with confidence in building your own electric car or truck or finding a conversion shop to do it, because we want to demystify the process and lower the barrier to entry.
Unlike vehicles powered by fossil fuels, the difficulty in building your own EV lies in the newness of it all. There simply is not the number or quality of resources out there for gearheads to understand the process of converting their vehicles to an electric powertrain compared to ICE engines. There has been a century of active development of the gasoline engine, and many decades of an active and growing car culture that centers around the need to get more horsepower out of engines with pistons that suck, squeeze, bang, and blow. That makes sense, but things are about to change.
Car culture is about to make a sea change toward electric conversions. To date, turning a gasoline vehicle into an electric car has involved reading information from across many different sources, using trial and error, and forging forward with a “make do” mentality.
What was once very difficult is growing ever easier. Now we are at a tipping point. Electric vehicle conversions are becoming more straightforward, and very soon it will be easier and cheaper to swap en EV drivetrain than to retrofit a crate engine.
Several companies are selling fully completed EV converted vehicles, some are providing kits, and many are selling the individual components and letting you decide how they fit together. The cost of new batteries from the likes of Panasonic and Samsung are falling. The second-hand market for batteries from vehicles like the Nissan Leaf, Mitsubishi i-MiEV, and Tesla Model S is maturing. New motors, whether AC or DC, are being manufactured at ever higher rates, with more power and efficiency than ever before. Manufacturers are creating controllers and inverters specifically for those converting their vehicle from dinosaur juice to electric power.
The original reasons to convert a vehicle to EV were varied, but it took a very special kind of person to complete a project. Some wanted that instant torque, some smooth power delivery, others wanted to improve the environment from potential of using clean and efficient electric power. All of them had to be dedicated to paying a lot of money for a decrease in power and range.
And now the tide is turning. As of 2020, when this site has launched, it’s likely still a little bit cheaper to drop a 350 Chevy crate engine into an old Camaro when it comes to power per dollar than to convert it to electric power. But if you have an itch for something different, something new, something with silky smooth power delivery, instantaneous and seemingly unending torque, all delivered with less environmental guilt and nearly silently, you’ve found the right place.