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Modified cars and road legality - Teapot42
I'm considering buying myself an old banger and converting it to be purely electric powered. However, I have no idea if I would be allowed to do this and the car still be road legal, or if I would have to get it tested somehow and certified - does anyone have any idea, information or links to point me to?

Also, if anyone can suggest possible cars and good sources that would be useful. I'd be looking for something small and light where the body etc is in good condition. The ideal would be one where the engine is knackered but everything else is fine.

TIA!
Modified cars and road legality - Robin the Technician
Hi,
I have considered this for some while now and believe the best car to do such a conversion would be an Aixam. What?? I hear you say..... never heard of them. However, these are available here in the UK (I think they are made in Belgium/ holland/France I think) and are made with a reasonably light steel chassis and plastic body. They are relatively inexpensive as they have a very small (2 cylinder i think) Kubota engine. Whilst in Amsterdam a few years ago, there were thousands of them running around.
I've had a good look at one and it looks ideal for a conversion to electric power. That said, I've tried many web searches to find any decent plans on converting a car to electric power (anyone out there has a copy of such a thing would be MUCH appreciated).
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These are the views of Robin the Technician with 35 years in the trade. I fix, therefore I am...
Modified cars and road legality - Armitage Shanks {p}
Just doing the Devil's Advocate bit here! I know what an Aixam is and have seen the same sort of thing in France where there is something badged as a Ligier. I would have thought that the weight of the batteries needed for an electric conversion would be so much that the already poor performance would be even worse and that some mods might be needed to the suspension to cope with the extra weight. What would the necessary battery pack weigh?
Modified cars and road legality - glowplug
A few enthusiasts in the US are already doing this kind of thing. I would assume that it would need to be processed like a kit car.

Good luck, nice project.

Steve.
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For Sale - Xantia HDi Exclusive.
XM 2.1 VSX.
Modified cars and road legality - SaabFanatic
MY initial thoughts are that the electrified car would require Special Vehicle Approval (SVA) - a Google search for "SVA" returns many companies who specialise in this field.

Modified cars and road legality - Number_Cruncher
I don't know if this is the right way, but, I think tis is just analogous to the way that you can fit a diesel engine in a petrol car. You then tell DVLA the new engine number and new fuel type, and they re-issue an amended V5. As long as you also tell the insurance, and the car passes its MOT, all is well.

I don't know what you would put for engine number with an electric car though!

Number_Cruncher
Modified cars and road legality - Cliff Pope
It might be a bit more involved than that, because you are changing its taxation category, not just the kind of fuel.
Modified cars and road legality - bell boy
last time i sent a modified v5 back to swansea for an engine change the cc had gone down and so was in a different tax class
swansea wrote back to say they needed an engineers report,i wrote one on my headed notepaper
so its not straight forward.
just changed a body on a transit and dvla wanted a full report and photos so its the old story of tell them the minimum needed as i certainly didnt want to do an sva with the clipboard men and tape measures :-oooooooooooo(
Modified cars and road legality - Teapot42
From a technical perspective, a microcar (Aixam etc) would be best for a number of reasons - small size, light weight and they use CVT which would make it far easier to convert. However, the main disadvantage is that there don't appear to be any available for peanuts - the cheapest I've seen second hand was around 2.5k.

As for weight, there is an electric microcar out there already. It uses a 4kW motor with an 8kW battery pack. Depending on the range you require, a battery pack would weigh between 100kg and 200kg. I'm not sure how much the engine would weigh on a microcar, or how large the fuel tank is but you can probably work on saving maybe 50kg here anyway so the additional weight is only about the same as a large adult. The batteries can be spaced out around the car to even up the weight saving as well.
Modified cars and road legality - Robin the Technician
Totally agree - as for availability, whilst in Amsterdam a few years ago these were everywhere and I saw quite a few with for sale signs in them and they were very cheap (euro vs £) so it might be worth looking on websites for dutch car sales (if you don't mind LHD - which you could convert).
I would dearly love to see plans for an elictric conversion. I consider the Aixam is the ideal vehicle due to its lightweight construction. With the advent of Lithium Ion (Li-on) batteries which the Americans have tested and proved that they can get a vehicle to do 450 miles on one charge.

If I were to do such a conversion I would add solar panelling across the roof to deal with the UK's increased amount of sun.


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These are the views of Robin the Technician with 35 years in the trade. I fix, therefore I am...
Modified cars and road legality - Micky
Take care with high amperage lead acid batteries, a carelessly positioned spanner can lead to pyrotechnics. Although it's not as if there's any hydrogen around to create a spectacular explosion and some small fires ....
 

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