Can I turn my old car into an EV? Yes, you can

Engine designer/manufacturer Swindon is offering a “crate” EV powertrain

Published: October 17, 2019, 5:30 PM
Updated: November 17, 2021, 3:45 PM

Swind E-Classic Mini

Anybody wishing to turn their current personal, commercial or recreational vehicle into an electric vehicle (EV) now has an aftermarket crate option from Swindon.

The UK designer and manufacturer of road and race engines and components has turned its attention to electrification, offering its High Power Density (HPD) EV system through its Swind electrification and alternative powertrain division.

The compact 80-kW “crate” transverse powertrain makes it easy for anybody to electrify a light-commercial or recreational vehicle, or even a classic or sports car. The company thinks low-volume OEM manufacturers looking for a quick solution to electrifying existing models may be its main buyers.

“To date, niche manufacturers have not had access to compact, high-power EV powertrains they could source in low to mid volume, leading to a vacuum of supply,” says Swindon Powertrain’s managing director Raphaël Caillé. “When you factor in development costs, specialist OEMs haven’t been able to electrify their vehicles as quickly as they would like. Our ready-to-install ‘crate’ powertrain will accelerate EV adoption in sectors poorly served by the larger tier one manufacturers and integrators.”

The project is funded by the Niche Vehicle Network, with Swindon partnering up with motor manufacturer iNetic and auto-specialist Code. The powertrain (motor, inverter, single speed transmission and cooling system) weighs just 70 kg and measures 600 mm wide, 440 mm long and 280 mm tall, making it an easy fit directly on the drive-wheel axle.

The project will develop tooling and identify manufacturing techniques that will facilitate production of the units by June 2020. It will also cover multiple mounting points to allow it to fit into a range of vehicles, from a compact delivery van to a 4wheel ATV

Swindon earlier this year took on the challenger of electrifying an original Mini, fitting all the required electric components into the diminutive car’s shell.

“Some of these classic EVs currently use second-hand parts of unknown provenance,” says Caillé. “The HPD project draws on our engineering expertise from over 48 years in motorsport to offer a reliable, compact and durable solution for this sector too.”