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How Australian drivers can convert their cars to electric and avoid massive petrol cost hike

How drivers can convert their cars to electric and avoid a huge increase in petrol costs – but that comes with a hefty price tag

  • Increases in petrol prices are driving very high demand for electric vehicles
  • However, demand exceeds supply – there aren’t enough EVs for sale
  • But an enterprising Aussie is helping convert gas guzzlers into electric cars

While huge increases in petrol prices are driving huge demand for electric vehicles in Australia, there are not enough EVs available.

But an enterprising mechanic is helping to meet demand by converting gas-guzzlers into electric cars — but at a high cost.

“There is no car that cannot be converted,” said Graeme Manietta of DIY Electric Vehicles.

And he should know. Mr Manietta built his first electric car 15 years ago at his workshop in Logan, Queensland.

Electric cars are becoming increasingly popular in Australia.  Pictured is a young woman attaching an electric charger to her car

Electric cars are becoming increasingly popular in Australia. Pictured is a young woman attaching an electric charger to her car

Word quickly spread about his work and over time it grew into a stable company.

The process involves removing the exhaust and radiator systems and adding batteries to power the vehicle.

The batteries should last 10 to 18 years, depending on how often the car is used.

The starting price for a conversion is $16,000 and goes up from there depending on the vehicle.

But the savings kick in once the job is done, with the converted car giving the driver a range of around 100km.

“In 10 years I think it will be so cheap to build in a battery with a 1000 km range because the technology is improving exponentially,” Manietta said. A current matter

He said that powering an EV to cover longer range means more batteries and higher costs, and that older cars are often cheaper to build than newer models.

Mr Manietta said that in ten years’ time people would look at someone driving a diesel car ‘as we look at a smoker today, with a bit of disdain’.

Graeme Manietta (pictured) of DIY Electric Vehicles has launched a successful business converting gas-guzzlers into electric cars

Graeme Manietta (pictured) of DIY Electric Vehicles has launched a successful business converting gas-guzzlers into electric cars

“No matter what the naysayers and the coal-huggers are doing, we need clean air, we need a clean environment.”

Brisbane’s Brendan Poole rescued a Nissan Tiida from the scrap yard by converting it into an electric car.

The rising fuel price no longer bothers him. “It was a petrol car that was blowing smoke and now it’s not, so it still has a second life,” he said.

Across Australia, fully electric vehicles have a minuscule market share of 0.6 percent.  Pictured is a woman charging an EV

Across Australia, fully electric vehicles have a minuscule market share of 0.6 percent. Pictured is a woman charging an EV

Mr Manietta refers to the “EV grin” – the smile electric vehicle owners get when they drive past a gas station and see the prices.

The trained mechanic now also recycles vehicle batteries into powerwalls that can be attached to solar units at home.

“And we’re not rocket scientists, this is just common sense,” he said.

NSW treasurer Matt Kean – known for his campaigns against climate change – announced last Tuesday that the state government would spend an additional $38 million on its electric car strategy, bringing the total investment to more than half a billion dollars.

Graeme Manietta (pictured right) refers to the 'EV grin' - the smile electric vehicle owners get when they drive past a gas station and see the listed prices

Graeme Manietta (pictured right) refers to the ‘EV grin’ – the smile electric vehicle owners get when they drive past a gas station and see the listed prices

The money will be spent on installing more charging stations in streets, apartment buildings and designated stations.

Across Australia, fully electric vehicles have a minuscule market share of 0.6 percent.

But the NSW government wants to increase that figure to more than 50 percent by 2030-31.

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