Electric Santro: Gurugram Guy Converts Old Santro Into an EV In 3 Days

The new-formed EV runs for up to 90km on a full charge.

Mihir Vardhan next to his converted Santro EV. (Image: YouTube/ Making With Mihir)

In the latest effort of its kind, an old Hyundai Santro has been restored to a fully functioning electric vehicle that runs on batteries. The task has been accomplished by Gurugram-based Mihir Vardhan, who has uploaded a video to YouTube explaining in detail, how he managed to convert the petrol car to an electric one. Interestingly, Mihir was able to do all of this within three days and at a cost of less than Rs 2.5 lakh.

In his video that is racking up views on YouTube, Mihir demonstrates an old Santro car in a new avatar. As he mentions in the video, the car belonged to his grandfather, before Mihir decided to convert it into an electric vehicle through a simple EV conversion process. He highlights that the process was carried out on a tight budget of USD 3000 or about Rs 2.38 lakh.

Because of this, the resulting EV does not promise very high performance numbers. Mihir’s electric Santro is able to deliver a top speed of about 60kmph, while its maximum range is limited to about 80 to 90km. While these figures may not be too flashy, Mihir finds them perfect for his requirement, which is to run the electric Santro in the traffic of Gurugram at the lowest possible cost.

Mihir claims that the EV costs him “less than Rs 1 per km to run,” which is a mighty impressive feature based on what he wanted to achieve with the EV conversion in the first place. On an average run, this would mean his electrified Santro is able to cover 15 km at a cost of Rs 15, as opposed to the about-Rs 100 per litre price of Petrol; these days. If his Santro used to give a mileage of 15 km per litre prior to the conversion, that is a straight-up saving of Rs 85 for Mihir for every 15 km he covers in his new electric Santro.

Another interesting piece of takeaway from the video is that Mihir used “a toy model” to plan this conversion throughout. He used a technique wherein the power steering and air conditioner of the car could be run without the use of any motors other than the one powering it. He also left half of the engine within the car, so as to save on time, money, and efforts of removing the motor mounts and brackets.

Specifics of the converted EV include a single 6kW, 72V BLDC motor that is further connected to a 72V 100Ah Lithium Ferrophosphate (LFP) or lead acid battery placed in the car’s trunk. We can assume that the deviation from the mostly-used lithium-ion battery for EVs is because of its higher cost. Mihir also used a 350A Kelly Controller to guide the circuit when the EV is in use. In addition, a DC to DC converter was used to lower the 72V of output from the battery to 12V, meant to power the central locks, power windows, and the car’s lights.

Converting a petrol/ diesel car to an electric one

EV conversions are a common thing nowadays, especially when people find the cost of fossil fuels unbearable on an everyday basis. There are several aftermarket kits and services that install electric drivetrains onto IC engine vehicles, removing their engines altogether. But Mihir’s recorded attempt raises another related question – can we convert our cars to electric ones by ourselves?

A short answer is – yes. There is a series of steps that one has to follow, many of which will require both time and effort, in addition to a monetary expense. In his attempt, Mihir decided to cut down on all these by removing only the upper half of the engine of his old Hyundai Santro. In a regular EV conversion, all the parts of an IC engine are usually removed.

Such attempts highlight the need, as well as the general viewpoint of vehicle owners, of switching to an electric vehicle. Whether such EV conversions will be a significant option to the plethora of new EVs being launched in India, is yet to be seen.

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