If you’re one of the many people waking up to EV ownership and finding that the current vehicles on the market aren’t just cutting the mustard for you, or are two expensive or too slow then converting your vehicle from a petrol engine to an electric motor is a great option. Sadly though, taking your existing car off the road for the few weeks or even months that it takes to convert to electricity isn’t a practical solution – especially if your vehicle has marketable retail value as a gas-powered vehicle or you want to keep it as a ‘long distance runner’ for the days when you just simply can’t get your EV to drive that 400 mile round trip to see granny in a day.
You’re then left with a situation where you desperately want to convert a car (like so many other EV hopefuls) to get that EV grin, but you realize that the best way to move forward is to source a donor vehicle – one which could happily give up it’s engine for the cause of electric vehicle goodness.
Of course, taking out an gasoline engine takes a while and can be an unnecessary waste of time and effort if you can source a car that someone else has already removed the engine from. While your choice of vehicle is less you may end up surprising yourself that there’s a donor vehicle out there, just waiting for your EV project. Another advantage to looking for a car with a blown or no engine is that the market for them isn’t that large. You’re hardly likely to find a car for sale with no engine or a blown engine at a very high price, since most folks look for a car which actually moves under it’s own power when buying one. This isn’t your primary concern. You want one you can easily convert. When time is money, buying an EV conversion candidate without the engine and and ancillaries in it you’ll save at least two day’s of work and probably a few hundred off the purchase price. Ebay is an excellent starting place, as is your local scrapyard (where quite often vehicles with blown engines end up).
In the UK, category D insurance write-offs (vehicles which were deemed beyond economic repair by the insurance company following an accident) can often be repaired with some new body panels. Engine components destroyed in an accident aren’t needed anyway. As long as the structure of the car is okay (in other words, the chassis isn’t bent and all structural components are as they should be) you could get a really cheap vehicle to convert. The important thing though, is to make sure any insurance buy-offs are sound structurally. Get an engineer to check it if you’re not sure.
Onto Ebay. Today, on ebay.co.uk there’s a selection of vehicles which could make an excellent start to anyone’s DIY EV project. If you have a thing for classic cars, a 1972 Morris Marina without an engine could be an excellent start. If that doesn’t float your boat, then how about a never-driven 2002 Peugeot 406 or a classic Ford RS Cosworth for that ultra-stealth Hot Rod EV conversion. American readers can do a similar search for suitable donor cars. For some inspiration, don’t forget to check out the evalbum.