Converting old car to EV could get incentivised in Delhi EV policy 2.0: How much does it cost? – Times of India

Converting old car to EV could get incentivised in Delhi EV policy 2.0: How much does it cost? - Times of India


Delhi Transport Minister, Kailash Gahlot, in a recent statement has suggested that the government is looking to incentivise those, who want to retrofit their old petrol/diesel cars with EV conversion kits in the capital city. The minister also confirmed that while the existing EV policy is being extended for six months, a new policy is in the works and that an EV conversion incentive could be a part of that. While converting an old car into an electric vehicle may sound like a better alternative than buying a brand new EV, it is not cheap and the costs can run up into lakhs of rupees. Here’s what converting an old petrol-diesel car into electric takes.

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According to a PTI report, minister Gahlot told the agency, “People want to convert their ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) cars into electric vehicles. The process is expensive. For converting a normal Gypsy, it takes almost Rs 5 to 6 lakh, which is on the higher side. We will look at how to incentivise it.” The minister is certainly not wrong, converting an ICE car into an EV takes lot of work, modifications and investment.

Representational image

Representational image

What does it take to do an EV retrofit?
Retrofitting an old petrol or diesel car with an EV kit, means that the vehicle first needs to be shed of its internal combustion engine and other related systems before an electric drivetrain can be retrofitted within the existing structural parameters of the old vehicle. Authorised workshops first have to completely disassemble the vehicle including the engine, fuel lines, fuel tank, filters, AC unit and a lot more.
In the end, the vehicle’s chassis, cabin, wheels, brakes are left and trained technicians can start retrofitting an electric conversion kit which includes the motor, a controller to run that motor, all-new and heavier wiring harness and the battery pack along with battery management system and more. The conversion process is simply not a plug-and-play affair and takes a considerable amount of labour, engineering and money.
Why is it costly?
The main cost in an electric conversion kit is for the battery that will run the retrofit EV. On an average, 1kWh of lithium-ion battery costs up to Rs 14,000. If the person getting a retrofit is looking to get 250 km to 300 km of range from the vehicle, then they need to get a battery pack of 25 kWh to 35 kWh capacity. This would set them back approximately Rs 3.5 lakh in battery cost alone. The electric motor, motor controller, BMS and other peripherals add Rs 2.5 to 3 lakh cost over the battery cost. It adds even further if you are looking to add convenience features such as an AC unit, which comes at an additional Rs 1 lakh on average and labour cost has not been accounted for up till now.

Representational image

Representational image

Does it make sense?
While a retrofitted vehicle can continue to be driven for years to come, one has to consider the big investment they will be making on a car which is already 10 year or 15 year old and nearing its end-of life in terms of components. In a statement shared with TOI Auto in 2022, India’s first ARAI certified retrofitter, ETrio, had said, “ “The important considerations before going for retrofitment (ICE to EV conversion) are the age of the vehicle, useful remaining life of the vehicle and the ability to get finance for the retrofitment. The cost varies depending on the type of kit, range etc. For a typical small car, the cost would be approximately Rs 3 to 4 lakhs for the kit. Buying a new EV car is always better from the customers’ perspective, especially in terms of warranties, reliability and the ability to get financing. On the other hand, retrofitment makes more economical sense for the commercial vehicle segment, as it plays a pivotal role in adding a new lease of life and performance to cargo vehicles used for logistics particularly.
While converting an old car into an EV is not cheap, it remains to be seen what kind of incentives the government proposes in the Delhi EV Policy 2.0, if it does. Considering the high cost of battery, motor, labour and more, would you convert your old car or buy a new EV? Let us know in the comments.


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