• Should You Buy or Build an Electric Car?

    Believe it or not, if you are even somewhat handy with tools and have access to at least the help of a mechanical shop, this is a very easy question to answer, as it is always best to build an electric car. The least expensive way to get into an electric car is by building it yourself, according to experts on the subject.

    Available Pieces

    The ‘why’ of it is simple, if you base your thinking on some basic logic. Let’s say you have a 1999 Ford Windstar who’s engine and transmission can’t see another lunar cycle, but the body is in great shape. This is a real find because all you have to do is remove:

    • the engine
    • transaxle (another possible money-maker here)
    • radiator and fan assembly
    • exhaust
    • catalytic converter
    • gas tank

    You can likely sell each of these parts at a local junkyard for far more than you would expect. Indeed, they will help cushion the cost of the electric motor, transmission, controller, batteries and gear to beef up the suspensions. All you need now is a good set of instructions, which you can find by using one of the major search engines, and you are off and running.

    Many on Road

    There are many homemade electric cars on the road today, which makes sense as gasoline heads again toward the stratosphere with summer coming. Most of them were made for less than $1,000. After all, if you have most of the vehicle parts you need already and simply have to add a few items, then you will probably be able to save a bundle instead of running after hybrid car sales.

    If you aren’t comfortable with tools and plans and doing-it-yourself from scratch, there are any number of electric car conversion kits available that have all of the parts and plans. The cost, though, is still in the $1,000 range and then there’s the time and cost of putting it together.

    Still, boiling it down to the basics, an electric car conversion makes a lot of sense. You can set your own mileage ceiling by the number of batteries you install. Most of today’s electrics: Chevy Volt, for example, have ranges in the 40-mile area, so if you can install batteries that will give you 150 miles, you’re way ahead of the game.

    Are you a Candidate?

    Are you a candidate for an electric? It depends on your driving patterns. If you do lots of over-the-road driving, then a standard gasoline vehicle is the way to go. If, however, you do lots of around-town, short stop-and-start driving, and drop the kids off at various areas, then the electric is definitely something to consider.

    The conversion is also something to consider when you think that the 2010 Chevrolet Volt carries a price tag in the upper-$20s for a factory vehicle. The conversion vehicle makes a lot of sense, whether you do it yourself or have someone do it for you. It’s the way to go.