I have been a business owner for over forty years and have owned and operated several businesses during that time. For the last thirty-two years I have owned and operated a custom engraving business. We design and manufacture items for a host of different industries.
I have a degree in Electronics Technology, but I went to college in the 1970’s and never used my degree occupationally. In business I have always been focused on efficiency and out of the blue one day I got to thinking about how inefficient automobiles are. Remembering my college days I recalled that the most efficient form of rotary motion is electromagnetic. The seed was planted, that was 2007.
How and when did you get started converting electric cars and what was your first conversion/its specs?
VW Beetle Engine Bay
After about six months of research and hanging out with the EV crowd of the time, we decided to start EV4U Custom Conversions in 2008.The first vehicle was a classic VW Beetle with twelve lead acid batteries for 156 volts. Used a NetGain ImPulse 9 motor and a Curtis 1231C-8601 controller.
Tell us about the team that makes up EV4U? A little about their backgrounds? How did your team come together to build EV4U into what it is today?
We outsource much of the work. For instance we use two different companies for welding services. We use an outside powder coating company, fabrication shop, paint shop, machine shop, and mechanical engineer to name a few. I do most of the design work, some of the fabrication, and almost all of the wiring. By using outside companies we are able to perform multiple tasks all at the same time. All are within a few miles of our shop.
How many conversions have you completed since that time and do you have a favorite?
Well we are a private company and don’t disclose certain information. Our volume is one of those things we don’t make public.We have done a lot of vehicles that were my favorite at the time. So I guess I’ll go with my own daily driver. It’s a 1974 VW Karmann Ghia that I converted solely by myself in eight consecutive days, in my free time. That was June 2012. Since then I have driven Karmann over 90,000 miles. Rain, snow, and the race track.But I also personally test drive every vehicle that leaves our shop and I like them all.
Richard of EV4U Now & Karmann
How many conversions do you normally complete in a year and (on average) much time does each car take to be road ready?
The average vehicle runs about 140 man hours of labor, although we do a lot of Porsche and VW’s that we do much quicker.
Understanding that each build is unique, is there normally a certain aspect or step that takes the longest to get correct?
Not really, the greatest issue that we deal with is waiting on components. Seems that the demand is out stripping the supply.We order parts directly from the manufacturers but also through whoever might have one on the shelf.
Is there one specific project that sticks out in your mind as being the most difficult? Why was it such a challenge?
To be truthful, what we do is not difficult. What we remove is a thousand times more complex than what we put in.We are not a repair shop or customization shop, we simply do conversions with off the shelf new components.Can’t get too much easier. We have had some conversions were the clearance were very tight and required some close tolerance work.The Mercedes 230SL is one such vehicle. But you do one and others come a knocking.
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Seeing that EV technology is changing so rapidly these days, how do you choose what batteries, motors and other components to use in your builds?
Safety first, we only use components that are tried and true, reliable and that come with a warranty.
As I mentioned above, we only use new components, and components which allow for a bolt on installation. So we stay away from the salvaged components and components which would require a lot of modification to the vehicle. Most of the vehicle we convert could be returned to internal combustion and no one would be the wiser. We don’t like to cut or drill on a vehicle any more than absolutely necessary.
How many projects is your team currently working on? Any you can share details about?
Sorry, no looking behind the curtain.
What’s in the future for EV4U? What about your thoughts on the conversion business/market as a whole?
Well most of your questions have been focused on actual conversions, and that is only one part of what EV4U does. Yes we convert a lot of vehicles, we also sell components, and do consulting. But our main focus is on the educational aspect.
It has always been our objective to educated the public on the benefits of electric transportation, and efficiency is the number one aspect. In the early days we did a lot of events and spent a lot of time on the road. Since about 2011 our focus has been on our 3-Day Hands-On Conversion Workshops. We offer both public and private workshops and have taught folks from all over the world.
In 2019 we also launched an Online EV Workshop. The business/market is just starting and is growing like crazy. Due to the availability of salvaged OEM components the custom car crowd is going crazy. The first really new bling in a long time. Plus with the performance that you get from electric drive the future is truly in the fast lane.
How can people find out more about EV4U and get in-touch with you?
www.EV4Unow.com info@EV4Unow.com www.EVWorkshops.com
Karmann loves the beach
The goal of the Electric Speed Shop is to open a garage for EV conversions and customs. Any advice you would share to someone getting into conversion and the conversion space?
Do your homework and maybe take a Workshop.
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