Cost Breakdown: How Much Does It Really Cost To Convert Your Car To Electric?

Converting your car to electric is a smart move. But it’s not a simple or cheap one. It requires planning, budgeting, and some knowledge, especially if you’re planning on building it yourself. In this article, we’ll cover the basic costs of electric vehicle conversion so you can better understand the process of converting your car. So, let’s get to it.


What’s the Damage? How Much Does it Cost to Convert a Car to Electric?

Unfortunately, there’s not one answer that applies to everyone. The cost of turning your specific ICE car into an EV depends on a bunch of factors, like:

- What kind of car you’re planning to convert

- What battery you want

- What kind of motor you need

- What controller you’ll use

- What charger you’ll get

- What kind of kit you buy

- How much you pay for labor and installation

- How much you save on taxes and incentives

These costs can vary significantly depending on where you’re based, what you like, and how much you’re looking to spend. While we can’t give you an exact number, we can give you some ballpark figures based on average prices in the US.

How to Break Down The Cost to Convert a Car to Electric

According to EV West, one of the titans of the EV conversion world, the average cost of a complete conversion kit is between $7,000 and $15,000, minus the donor car and battery you choose. These types of kits include the motor, controller, charger, battery management system, wiring, and accessories. But this doesn’t include the battery itself, which is usually the most expensive part.

The cost of the battery depends on the type and size of the cells, and how they’re packed. The most common types of cells are lead-acid, nickel-metal hydride, lithium-ion, and lithium iron phosphate. Each type of battery serves a different purpose. Some are more budget friendly, some are more safe, and some are high-performance all around. Those would be the lithium-ion and the lithium iron phosphate batteries. However, they’re also the most pricey.

A gearhead rule of thumb is as follows: the bigger the battery, the farther you can travel. A bigger battery gives you more range and higher power at the cost of being heavier and more expensive. The size of the battery is measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh). The higher the kWh, the more energy the battery can store and deliver to the rest of the vehicle. The average size of an EV battery is around 30 kWh, which can give you a range of about 100 miles. But some EVs have much bigger batteries, like the Tesla Model S, with a 100 kWh battery and a range of over 300 miles.

The cost of the battery can vary from $100 to $500 per kWh, depending on the type and quality of the cells, and the supply and demand. So, the cost of a 30 kWh battery can be between $3,000 and $15,000, while the cost of a 100 kWh battery can be between $10,000 and $50,000. To answer your question, yes, there is a huge price range. With the constant flow of new EV innovation driven by companies like Rivian, Tesla, Bollinger, BYOD, or others, the market constantly shifts. Plus, Laissez-Faire and all that.

When you're talking about the EV game, companies like Ampere EV, Fellten, and Hypercraft are leading the charge with their pre-configured systems. Ampere EV’s Atom Drive System is a standout, offering a fully integrated electric vehicle drivetrain that packs a punch with either a 42 kWh or 84kWh battery pack, various motor choices, and configurations for inline or transaxle arrangements. This system is designed to be flexible, with features such as sub-ambient battery cooling, CCS fast charging, HVAC, cabin heat, and a high-quality touchscreen user interface, all ready to install. The price tags for systems like these start at $45,000 and cap out at around $85,000, reflecting the advanced technology, convenience, and ease of installation of the system. Plus, that's the cost of cruising in style.

Furthermore, the labor and installation fees depend on how challenging your conversion is and the skill level of the installer. Some conversions can be done yourself. Others will need professional help. If this is a project you’re planning on pursuing, you should try and get a consultation to gauge the work required for you. If you’re planning on getting it done professionally, a mechanic will install your kit in 100-200 hours on average, charging ~$65-$130 per hour. Naturally, this depends on the mechanic. These costs also don’t reflect any restoration work, which comes at a premium.

Now we’re on to taxes, incentives, and rebates. These are a nice little cherry on top of your conversion. The federal government offers a credit of up to $7,500 for qualified EVs, which may apply to your conversion. Some states offer more credits, rebates, or exemptions for EV conversions, while others may levy an extra tax on EVs. There are tons of EVs that may qualify in your state, and you can check the official IRS page here.

How to Sum It Up

Based on what we’ve discussed here, we can ballpark the total cost of an EV conversion as follows:

Option 1: Kits


Cost Range

Conversion Kit

$7,000.00 - $15,000.00


$3,000.00 - $50,000.00

Labor (Optional for DIYers)

$6,500.00 - $26,000.00

Taxes and Incentives



$10,000.00 - $91,000.00

Option 2: Pre-Configured Systems


Cost Range

Pre-Configured Systems

$45,000.00 - $85,000.00

Labor (Optional for DIYers)

$6,500.00 - $26,000.00

Taxes and Incentives



$45,000.00 - $111,000.00

The total cost can set you back between $16,500 and over $100,000, depending on your donor car and the battery you roll with. Now, anyone can drive a factory model. You? You’re not just anyone. You’re about to roll in a one-of-a-kind machine that’s got far more personality than those cookie-cutter electrics.

How to Devour Your Money Wisely

Here are some tips that might help when converting your car to electric:

1. Choose a good car for conversion: You want a light car, that’s aerodynamic, and has enough pace for the battery. You want it to be in good shape with low mileage, so you can reduce the need for repairs and replacements down the line. You probably also want to choose a car that fits your style like a glove.

2. Choose the right battery for your needs: You don’t need to buy the biggest, most expensive battery to have a functioning EV. Some builds won’t even be able to support the weight of such big batteries. You only need to select a battery that can give you enough range and power for your driving habits and preferences.

3. Shop around: Compare the prices of different kits, batteries, and installers. There is a huge range (as you saw earlier) of available labor and parts.

4. Maintain your EV: Once your build is complete, you can extend its life and performance by following the best maintenance and charging practices. You can also optimize your EV by adding extra features or accessories, like MCU, VCU, or smart charging.

Apply for those incentives and rebates. Check the state and federal websites for the current status of EV incentives. These can go a long way. For example, California offers the Clean Vehicle Rebate Program (CVRP), which offers credits ranging from $1,000 to $7,000 to buy a brand new EV, or rebate one you already have. There’s also a federal credit up to $7,500.

So, there you have it. Making your car electric is a hell of a project, especially if you’re doing it on your own. But it can have amazing benefits for you and the planet. But there’s more to it than that. When you’re done, this car will be your masterpiece. Unique to you, and faster, smoother, and quieter than any other on the road. And if you’re looking for a liaison to the electric world, we’re here to guide you. Get in touch with us about your project and we’ll shape your expectations, set a budget, and put you in touch with someone from our amazing network of EV conversion shops.

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