Is retrofitting vehicles to become electric more sustainable?

Retrofitting vehicles to become electric may be an option for some, however, there are many challenges to consider. Retrofitting is time-consuming, and expensive and requires qualified mechanics with niche skill sets. There are also many engineering challenges involved and the car will need to be certified as being roadworthy.

Whether retrofitting vehicles to become electric is more sustainable than buying a new electric vehicle depends on several factors, including the age and condition of the vehicle being retrofitted and the efficiency of the new electric components, amongst other things.

It is more efficient, and generally safer, to build EVs using a dedicated platform so that the maximum energy capacity can be designed into the vehicle, the batteries can be included in parts of the car’s body that are protected during accidents. This also allows for the overall vehicle to be designed to be more efficient and increase driving range.

Purpose-built EVs also take advantage of the flexibility of EV design, allowing the inclusion of extra storage, as well as larger interior cabins, since the vehicle does not have to be designed around a large internal combustion engine.

Retro-fitting vehicles to become EVs have a role to play during the transition to a zero-emission fleet, particularly in niche applications – such as mining vehicles, but is unlikely to be a significant component of the market for the average consumer.