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Old 01-07-2013, 03:27 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Are OEM electric cars reducing interest in DIY EV conversions?

I've been wondering about this lately.

I'd be curious about traffic stats for DIYelectriccar forum and the EVDL list to see if they're seeing a drop-off in interest/activity.

Also, used OEM EV's (besides the originals like Solectria) like the Leaf / iMiEV etc. will be coming on the market in the next few years. Every year that passes makes a stronger economic argument against DIY projects.

I also wonder what's happened to the used prices of the "first wave" of EV's now that the OEM's are in the game again. Are 15 year old Solectria's still selling for over $10k? I'm sure we'll never see another 1st gen RAV4 EV go for spectacular prices on eBay the way they used to.

I have to admit that the ForkenSwift feels slightly less "special"* now that I'm seeing Leafs, Smart ED's, Volts & Fiskers running down Main Street.

(* Though it will always be "special" in the sense its approach/implementation makes it the perpetual runt of the litter.)

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Old 01-07-2013, 03:36 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Personally, I'd have to say for the most part no, at least not quite yet. DIY is the way to go. I can build exactly what I want with a DIY conversion. I select the chassis I like and then adding and electric drivetrain is pretty easy (vs ICE). Its also WAY cheaper. I can build the car I need (with ~20 miles of range or so worst case), not just what an OEM wants to sell me. It will cost me under $10k. It'll also be more fun than the OEM version. Even the Mitsubishi I-MIEV, which is closest to my wants is still about three times that price. Of course a warranty would be nice, but with how often EVs break its almost a non-issue I think.

However, I am really looking forward to the days of used MIEVs and Leafs in years to come. Ask me again in 2-3 years and my answer will probably change.
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Old 01-07-2013, 03:39 PM   #3 (permalink)
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The activity at the few Ottawa EVCO meetings I went to in 2012 seemed increased -- there were a lot of Leafs in the parking lot at some meetings. The novelty of OEM EV's may wear off faster than DIY ones though.

I think you're right: the used market isn't here yet (Solectria notwithstanding), so the question may be a bit premature.
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Old 01-07-2013, 07:37 PM   #4 (permalink)
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As one who works in the banking industry its way easier to get a loan for a car that can be repoed vs a loan for a bunch of damn batteries and fixing someone else project.
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Old 01-07-2013, 11:47 PM   #5 (permalink)
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At the local EV club someone often tells the new people at the meeting that most of us are gear heads who happen to like electric vehicles and for the home built EV I think that will stay the case.
Just because you can buy an electric bicycle at the store doesn't mean people stop building their own, same with electric motorcycles and from what I see the same is true for electric cars.
You can go out and buy a gasoline car with 500hp but people still build hot rods.

My parents bought their used converted EV from someone who bought a brand new Leaf and there are other used EV's on the market that are there for the same reasons!
My EV is 31 years old and I bought it at the peek of it's value from what I can tell, $3,500 and I see them selling for about that now, but they are also selling for slightly less and no one is advertising them as the only option for a factory built EV any more, now they are pushing for collectors to buy them... not a big collector market, so their selling price is dropping.
Toyota Rav-4-EV's have sold for $45,000 a few years back, now the same condition of vehicle is selling for less then half that.
Conversions that are for sale that need a lot of work are also either not selling or selling at nice low prices, the people who want to buy a conversion want to buy something that works! but if you look at EValbums.com people are still listing new conversions all the time, but almost half of them now have lithium batteries and are more then just a toy.
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Old 01-07-2013, 11:49 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
You can go out and buy a gasoline car with 500hp but people still build hot rods.
That's a good argument.
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Old 01-07-2013, 11:52 PM   #7 (permalink)
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What it is going to really hurt is the EV conversion shops that are taking regular cars and converting them because no more will someone be willing to pay $30,000 for an EV that someone else built from a used car.
Of course there are still shops I'm sure that make a few custom vehicles, replica roadsters and so on.
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Old 01-08-2013, 03:25 AM   #8 (permalink)
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OEM electrics are still quite compromised, mainly mileage-wise. So, there's still a wide interest about DIY conversions and it will remain for a while, at least until the departments of marketing realize that not every EV customer wants something that looks like a spaceship.
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Old 01-08-2013, 10:12 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cRiPpLe_rOoStEr View Post
OEM electrics are still quite compromised, mainly mileage-wise.
Really? it's around 7% of the population drives more then 70 miles per day, so nearly all of the mass marketed EV's work just fine for over 90% of the US population, it's attitudes that are compromised.

Quote:

So, there's still a wide interest about DIY conversions and it will remain for a while, at least until the departments of marketing realize that not every EV customer wants something that looks like a spaceship.
Have you seen new cars on the dealer lot? they look like space ships, when I point out a new EV to someone when I see it on the street or in a parking lot I often have to tell them what color the car is so they realize what car I am talking about.
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Old 01-08-2013, 11:30 AM   #10 (permalink)
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That's funny - exact thing happened to me last weekend: a Fisker Karma went by and I said to my friends, "that's a new electric car." (OK, I know ... it's a range extended series hybrid with a big battery).

"What car??" They were very surprised when I pointed at the sexy Karma.

(Unlike my "spaceship" looking U.F.O. (Insight), which people regularly ask if it's electric.)

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