ICE to EV Conversions Are Growing, But Waitlists Are Long

Interest in electric cars has significantly risen these last few months as concerns about pollution and climate change increase and the price of gasoline continues to soar. However, the hiccups affecting the electric car supply chain have led to shortages of new electric cars. This has in turn led to an increase in prices for used EVs.

Specialty Equipment Market Association head Mike Spagnola stated that these shortages would make the conversion of internal combustion engine cars to electric cars become more popular, particularly for classic vehicle owners, noting that this market would grow considerably this year.

Spagnola explained that most individuals who had converted their cars and would like to continue to drive them were primarily motivated by prolonging their vehicle’s longevity and refraining from worrying about the scarcity of some parts of their cars and having an impact on the environment.

The appeal of electrification is also strong for owners of commercial cars that run on diesel, whose price is slightly higher than the average price of one gallon of gasoline. The price of a gallon of gasoline averages at $5.70 while that of diesel fuel is about $6.37 per gallon.

Restoration shops such as Titan Car Restoration, which is owned by Ralph Biase, have a two-year backlog. The company primarily does electric vehicle conversions for commercial cars, with clients such as Nike and Adidas.

While car lovers are feeding an electric vehicle conversion boom, there aren’t many companies to meet the demand, which has made waitlists years long. Companies such as lEV West, which is a popular international combustion and electric vehicle makeover shop, has a list longer than two years long.

Michael Bream, the company’s CEO, revealed that the shop had a five-year wait list. Bream started the company more than a decade ago, inspired partly by an earlier increase in the price of fuel. Typically, he explained, conversion started at about $18,000, noting that cars with expensive builds would go beyond $30,000. For example, converting a Toyota Prius starts at about $24,000 while a Tesla Model S begins at almost $42,000.

Once a vehicle is converted, maintenance becomes mainly about keeping vintage parts in good condition. It should be noted that converting an internal combustion engine car into an electric car is both time consuming and complicated, as every type of van, truck or vehicle needs its own solution.

As shortages continue to affect almost every aspect of the supply chain, a competition among conversion companies for Tesla’s batteries may soon arise as other battery makers such as QuantumScape Corp. fine-tune their solid-state battery tech for use in electric vehicles.

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