The electric automobile may be the thing of the future, but the cost of these vehicles put them out of reach of many American consumers. One forward-looking company is tackling this problem by adapting 21st century technology to 20th century automobiles.

The vehicle renovation is the work of EV West, a small company located in San Marcos, Calif., which is itself located near San Diego. The firm was founded by Michael Bream, who began his career in green transportation when, as a college student, he created an electric motorcycle. EV West has modified many types of gasoline-powered vehicles, from a vintage Volkswagen bus to a Ferrari, enabling them to run on electricity.

A conversion simply involves replacement of the vehicle’s conventional engine with electric batteries, although the rest of the car remains essentially the same. The cost of the modification will depend upon the type of vehicle being changed. The cost of modification is generally around $20,000, which is still considerably less than the price of a new Chevrolet Volt, which is considered a mainstream electric car. A Volkswagen Beetle that has been converted to electric power will have a range of about 100 miles. The batteries installed by EV West have been obtained from Tesla electric cars that were wrecked in crashes.

Whether they are modified or bought from the showcase, electric cars are slowly capturing a larger piece of the automobile market. Their increasing popularity is related to the declining cost of the lithium-ion batteries that make electric cars run. Improvements in technology and production could put the price of a new electric car in line with what a conventional sedan costs today. More about the future of electric cars is available at https://motherboard.vice/com/en_us/article/d3ddej/cars-classic-vintage-electric-batteries-tesla.

In the meantime, EV West is expected to continue its work, modifying about a dozen vehicles every year. A downside to to the modification program is the obvious incongruity between old and new technology. After all, has anybody ever heard an old Volkswagen that is virtually silent?