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USA: New electric car conversion kit will charge your car (and wallet)

It may take a while for automakers to build enough EVs to matter, which is why conversion companies are looking to electrify our current fleet. The drawback is that it’s still pretty expensive. Fleets are likely to be the early adopters.

PITTSBURGH — That old Honda in your driveway — maybe it’s in need of a valve job? Transform it with an electric conversion. A team at Carnegie Mellon University here in Pittsburgh has come up with an all-included kit to make your 2001-2005 Civic a zero-emission battery car. Converting an existing car instead of buying a new one is good for the planet, and the old beater will have a new lease on life.

Your mechanic can probably install the kit in two and a half days. It’s not a difficult job, and you can sell the used engine and transmission on Craigslist. That’s the good part. Now here’s the bad part. The conversion kit costs $24,000, plus the cost of the Civic (if you don’t already have one). Your total bill is likely to come in at $30,000. And you’re not eligible for the $7,500 tax credit that new EV buyers get. In fact, buying a new Nissan Leaf is actually cheaper than converting a 7-year-old used Civic.

Conversions are likely to catch on first in the fleet market, where what matters most is the long-term cost of keeping vehicles on the road. I wish the economics of personal EV conversion worked out better because it makes sense on many levels.
More mnn.com

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