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EV Background

For several years now, electric vehicles (EVs) have been gaining popularity. But did you know EVs may actually pre-date internal combustion engine (ICE) cars? It's true! Since as early as the mid-19th century people have been getting from A to B using nothing but battery electric power.


Fast forward to the 21st Century and there are now dozens of designs for you to choose from. EVs present such a good solution to reducing carbon emissions that many governments have made laws requiring all cars made in the future to be fully electric.

So what if you own a classic car? Perhaps you're worried that laws will make it difficult or costly to drive? Maybe you have ethical issues with the levels of pollution it emits? Maybe you are just concerned about its engine reliability or maintenance costs? Whatever your reasons, you may have thought about converting your classic car to electric.


Many small businesses will convert your classic car to electric for you or even sell you a kit to do it yourself. More recently, open source movements like the openinverter have brought experienced electrical engineers together with the DIY community using components from existing EV and hybrid cars as part of your conversions. New Electric Ireland is even offering regular EV Conversion Courses for the complete novice in Wicklow, Ireland (I was lucky enough to get a place on one of their first courses). This opensource movement has significantly opened up the range of vehicles and components that you can use.

But as modern cars became more sophisticated, several features have made them more and more difficult to convert (automatic gearboxes are a good example as the mechanical power losses can affect your car's range). From around the mid-1990's cars started using Controller Area Network (CAN) as a means of communicating between different components. This type of electronic communication has made more features available, but this can also make it harder to change components within the car itself. Thankfully, several opensource solutions now exist to solve this problem.

Whatever car you are looking to convert into an EV, there is a huge range of options to choose from and a wealth of information and support to help you on your way. Check out the Links section for more information.

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