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Vans are great for camping, storage, and passengers, but they can be gas hogs. Nobody wants to spend hundreds of dollars on gasoline for a short road trip, nor do they want to pollute the environment with gas fumes. However, new-age EV conversion kits are making it more realistic than ever to drive an electric van.
Vans can be converted to electric if you use an EV conversion kit or find a company that is willing to do so. These kits almost always use Tesla batteries since they’re known for longevity and safety. Some vans don’t have the hardware to be converted to an electric vehicle with the current kits.
In this post, we’ll show you everything you need to know about converting a van to electric, how much it costs, and whether or not you can use your van as a hybrid vehicle. There are plenty of kits and companies to choose from, so let’s dive into it below.
Can I Convert My Van to Electric?
You can convert your van to electric with an EV conversion kit. These kits have controllers, mounts, chargers, adapters, and all of the motor parts you need. Another option is to call a company for a quote to get your van converted to electric if you want a long-lasting warranty and reliability.
Here’s what you need to know about converting a van to electric:
- Not all vehicles can convert to electric. Your van might need to be inspected before it’s converted. For example, if it’s not in good condition, many conversion shops won’t take the risk. It’s better to have a newer van converted, though old-school VW buses are excellent candidates for electric kits.
- You can choose a DIY EV kit for your van. You don’t need to hire a professional if you’re a mechanic or know your way around a vehicle. The EV West conversion kit works for VW vans, which are some of the very few DIY kits available. Most companies want to do the conversion rather than having you do it yourself.
- Some electric van conversions cost more than the price of getting another van. We’ll discuss the total cost of these EV conversions later in the post, but it’s important to remember that you might be better off getting an old-school van and converting it rather than forking out a bunch of money for a new van and a new conversion kit.
- Converting your van to electric means they’ll have to sap the motor, radiator, battery, and many other components. It’s not a matter of switching one battery for another and calling it a day. These conversions are detailed and often rewire the entire vehicle, making the gas cap and tank purposeless.
Electric conversions are becoming increasingly popular for vans and trucks. There’s no doubt that more kits will be available down the road, but that doesn’t mean there are enough charging stations for some people. If you’re thinking about converting your van to electric, but you want to use gasoline sometimes, review the next section.
Related Article: Will Campervans Eventually Go Electric?
Can You Convert a Van to Hybrid?
You can convert a van to a hybrid if it has the correct hardware. While minivans and some cargo vans can’t be converted, it’s worth asking local companies if they can do the installation. Converting a vehicle to hybrid is much more challenging than converting it to electric since there are many more components needed for the job.
According to Love to Know, you can’t convert a minivan to a hybrid, nor do most vans have what it takes for the conversion. A vehicle needs a lot of work to be able to switch between gasoline and electricity, so it’s not as popular of a modification.
The good news is that there are plenty of hybrid vans and minivans to choose from if you want to get a new one. Read on if you want to know how much an electric van conversion costs.
How Much Does It Cost to Convert a Van to an EV?
It costs between $7,000 to $30,000 to convert a van to an EV. DIY conversion kits are much cheaper than professional installations, but they often come with lesser warranties and rely on your craftsmanship. The electric van conversion cost also depends on the year, make, and model of the vehicle.
These factors influence the price of an EV van conversion:
- Peace Vans explain the vehicle’s weight and transmission directly impact the cost of the conversion. Heavier vehicles require more power, thus demanding more energy from the battery. Some companies steer clear of heavyweight vans because the battery might not be sufficient for the power requirements.
- Doing the conversion yourself will always be cheaper than hiring a company to convert your van to electric. That being said, all of the installation mistakes fall on your shoulders. If you mess something up while converting the van, nobody else is responsible (unlike hiring a professional who takes the blame).
- The conversion kit’s quality greatly impacts the price. A company will charge more money for a better battery with a more reliable setup. If you have a heavy four-wheel-drive van, you’ll likely have to spend more money than someone with a lightweight 60’s Volkswagen van.
If you’re not used to working with your hands or don’t know about converting gas-powered motors to electric, it’s best to leave it to the mechanics. There’s no reason to risk your vehicle’s motor, potentially costing thousands of dollars to repair or replace. Those who are mechanically inclined should weigh the pros and cons of DIY vs. hiring a pro for the conversion.
Now that you know whether or not your van can be converted to an EV, you can decide if it’s the right choice for you. Electric vans are capable of traveling long distances without draining the battery too low. It’s up to you to know if you want to purchase a DIY conversion kit or hire a professional company to do it for you.
Here are some of my favorite van build tools:
Thank you for reading this article. I hope you found it helpful as you build your own campervan. Here are some tools that I use daily while living on the road that made my life easier. I hope you’ll also find them as useful as me. These are affiliate links, so if you do decide to purchase any of them, I’ll earn a commission.
But in all honesty, these are the exact tools that I use and recommend to everyone, even my closest friends and family.
Electricity: When I first started my van life journey, I was using the Renogy 200W RV Kit, and I’ve recently upgraded my setup to the Renogy 400W RV Kit. I’m fully autonomous regarding power now, thanks to this upgrade. I don’t know why I didn’t choose this option from the beginning.
Quick Fixes: Whenever I need to fix something inside my van, I use my multitool from Victorinox. It’s compact and comes with a leather pouch that lets you store it wherever you want. Whenever I need more tools, I get my Cartmann toolset out.
Power tools: If you’re converting a van, you’ll need some serious tools for the building process. I can assure you, good power tools can make a huge difference. You’ll save time and avoid a lot of frustration while having some professional-looking final results. I personally went big with the full combo set from Dewalt.
To see all of my most up-to-date recommendations about van build, check out this resource that I made for you!