EV switch: Where is the conversion marketplace?
Vehicles are not investments. They are expensive to own and maintain. So why would consumers trade-in to invest in an expensive electric vehicle or hybrid? Yes, they're doing good for the environment but at the expense of over extending family budgets and taking on more debt.
With the costs to purchase a hybrid or all electric vehicle today, the savings in fuel on the short term is not enough to shift the consumer market from keeping their gas powered vehicle till it's no longer working. So with this mass market of owned and pre-owned vehicles in the US, is there opportunity for the EV conversion business? When will we see a spike in this business model.
Last year I moved from New York to San Francisco. In a visit before the move, I quickly learned that the public transportation here is not efficient. The BART is great. But if you're in the city and relying on MUNI, expect a commuter's travel time. What may take 10 minutes by car, will take 45 minutes to an hour by bus. That's why people here walk, bike, have a car or use a car share system like Zipcar or City CarShare.
As my used 2004 Mini depreciates in market value, I've been thinking more about the EV conversion option. What would it take to convert my Mini and when the time's right? In my brief research of the market, there have been few custom conversion providers in the market.
Aside from home conversion kits, here are the few options consumers have today:
Wheego (base $32,995)
Tesla Roadster (base $101,500)
Zero Motorcycles (Zero S $9,995)
A few coming soon:
Green Go Tek (cozmo base $17,995)
Better Place Electric Vehicle Network
Feature on Wayne Alexander (2008): NBC News
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