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article imageSmall California garage converts vintage gas models to EVs

By Ken Hanly     Nov 5, 2017 in Technology
San Marcos - EV West is a small garage located in San Marcos California near San Diego. The garage owned by Michael Bream specializes in removing conventional combustion engines and replacing them with electric batteries.
Bream has helping him around a dozen technicians. They have transformed everything from a 1950's Volkswagen bus to a Ferrari 308 GTS into fully electric-powered vehicles.
Bream's garage is unlike a traditional one in that there is no gasoline smell or a great deal of grease.
In one corner of the wall is a Tesla Powerwall, a large battery that stores energy produced by 18 or so solar panels on the roof of the garage. Bream uses the Powerwall to charge many of his electric cars.
EV recycling
When a Tesla Model S and others crash, the parts are often sold at auction. Bream purchases the batteries and installs them inside vintage vehicles. He is also able to sell the old gas engines on the second-hand market where there is still a demand.
If you have a vintage Volkswagen Beetle fitted with an electric battery that will give you about a hundred mile range it will set you back about $18,000. That may seem high but it is just a fraction of the cost of most new EVs and you get to keep your classic car.
For other vehicles it could cost you more. However, price has not hurt Bream's business as he is already booked up for the next year. It can take a long time before your car is ready. Bream said: "We really take our time to make sure [the cars] are up to our standards."
A developing market
EV West is but a tiny shop in a small industry and modifies only about a dozen cars or so each year. Even the total EV market is small as a percentage of total cars on the road, less than one percent.
However, it looks as if by the 2020's the decade of the electric car will have already come. Even unsubsidized EVs will be as affordable as new gas-powered cars within the next six years according to an analysis by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF).
Battery prices for EVs fell 35 percent last year. Even now the starting price of the new Tesla Model 3 is just $35,000 comparable to many gas powered vehicles. There could soon be a mass market for EVs.
By 2040 long-range electric car are expected to cost less than $22,000 in today's dollars. Thirty five percent of new cars are expected to be electric
EVs in the fast lane
Within two decades EVs are expected to outsell vehicles powered by fossil fuels. This will not just turn the auto industry upside down it will cause turmoil for countries dependent on oil export and production.
By 2040 the shift to electric cars will displace an estimated eight million barrels per day of oil production. This is more than the daily export of oil by Saudi Arabia of seven million barrels per day.
Colin McKerracher an advanced transportation analyst with BNEF said: “This is economics, pure and simple economics. Lithium-ion battery prices are going to come down sooner and faster than most other people expect.”
Many countries may hasten the transition to EVs by subsidizing their production or banning the manufacture of new fossil fuel powered cars. Some car manufacturers are even now switching production over to more EVs.
China with its huge population and pressing pollution problems is leading the way in EV production. Tesla recently announced it is building a plant in Shanghai.
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