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Can You Convert A Petrol Vehicle Into An Electric Vehicle?

Can You Convert Your Petrol Car into an Electric Vehicle?

Electric vehicles are growing in popularity as governments offer motorists incentives to make the switch away from petrol and diesel cars. Around one in 10 new cars sold in the UK in 2020 was a battery electric vehicle (BEV). That accounts for 6.6% of the market compared to 1.6 in the previous year.

But can you convert your current petrol or diesel to run on emission-free electric power? Well, yes you can. There is already an established network of companies that offer bespoke conversions of classic cars. A number of firms also offer so-called “restomod” cars such as the MGB Roadster by RBW Electric Classic Cars. These are reimagined classics with 21st-century technology.

The value of a desirable classic car can make the cost of converting it into a BEV worthwhile. That may not be the case for the family hatchback. However, for a confident mechanic with a car to convert, it can be done. You could have a BEV with a 10-mile range for less than £2,000.

How Feasible Is a Conversion?

The hardest part may be sourcing the batteries and charging hardware, but there are online communities such as that you could start with. The site offers a network of EV enthusiasts who have done conversions themselves and who will provide plenty of advice.

To re-register a car as a zero-emissions vehicle in the UK, you have to follow the government’s protocol for registering a “radically altered” vehicle. The forms are all available online, and you’ll need to keep the vehicle’s original registration documents and relevant receipts. Taking photos of the work carried out throughout the conversion process can help with getting the car approved.

A word of warning if you have a personalised number plate. If the alterations go too far, the car might be required to display a ‘Q’ prefix registration number, which indicates a kit or converted vehicle. But, if you keep enough of the car’s original parts intact, particularly the chassis, body and suspension, you may still be permitted to display your personalised registration number.

Of course, if you don’t want to do it yourself, especially dealing with high-voltage electrics, a number of garages are branching out into EV servicing and repairs. But having the conversion done by qualified experts is not cheap. Changing your car to an EV with a range of up to 200 miles could cost you between £20,000 and £25,000.

The bottom line is, you’re probably better off buying a used electric vehicle. They’ve been around for a while now and there are many coming onto the second-hand market. With battery technology and range improving all the time, the cost of new and used EVs is likely to fall.

Transfer Your Personalised Plate to Your EV

If you do decide to invest in a new or used electric car, transferring your personalised number plate from your old car is a straightforward process. If you haven’t yet got your private registration number, find it today on our database.

(pic courtesy of