March 10, 2022

Everything About Electric Car Modifications

Electric cars are here to stay, and presently, the options for customisation may not be as easy as with combustion engines, but there’s still just as much fun to be had. Discover today.
Everything About Electric Car Modifications Header Image

With the increasing demand for electric cars, which has rapidly grown over the past decade, the demand to modify them has also increased. With the UK planning to ban all sales of petrol, diesel and some hybrid cars by 2030, it’s no surprise that people are already converting to electric vehicles. Inevitably, electric cars are part of the future of motoring, but we’re still demanding the performance that comes with combustion engines.

How are electric vehicles different to those with combustion engines?

Aside from the fact that EVs run on electric, and other vehicles require petrol or diesel, there are various other differences between the two.

EVs have a rechargeable battery alongside an electric motor, which is why they can also sometimes be known as battery electric vehicles. This differentiates them from hybrid vehicles. EVs do not need a clutch and gearbox, or exhaust pipe, which makes them much quieter and smoother to drive.  

Tesla parked in a charging spot

Electric Car Modifications

After years of tinkering with petrol and diesel cars, making modifications to increase speed and performance, car tuners all over are likely wondering how they can play with electric cars in the future. Fortunately, there are many ways to enhance EVs including:

Battery upgrades

By increasing the battery capacity, your car will start running at a higher voltage and will release more power automatically. It’s not an easy swap, but one that must be done with care and by an expert, as batteries in cars are incredibly high voltage and need looking at by an expert. Most people swap batteries out for more efficient or newer ones, as batteries age and degrade.

Electric motors

Electric motors are at the heart of EVs. Adding more motors to the wheel will give double the amount of power than the original set up. 

However, if you do want to add more electric motors, you will come into trouble, as they’re extensively wired into the car’s main system. The manufacturer may be able to upgrade the motors, but largely, this isn’t possible yet.

Car computer management

If you can gain access to the car’s computer management system, you can usually tamper with some of the settings to extract more power. As with all EVs, manufacturers will trim power output to meet various requirements. It’s not unlikely for an EV manufacturer to release a car, get the car insurance graded and then release a software update later that increases the power. Be aware, however, that such modifications may impact the car’s warranty. 

Car computers on EVs are often heavily encrypted and need accessing to make many modifications on an EV. Without access to the computer, any non-appearance related modifications will not be successful. However, the legality surrounding this is not clear, and it’s best to avoid accessing the computers at risk of voiding warranties.

Image showing highly modified Tesla Model X with orange cambered tyre rims and a lowered chassis.

Tyres and wheel size

An easy modification on any EV is to get bigger tyres and bigger alloys. While mostly an aesthetic modification, it does also add some performance factors. As the instant delivery of torque on an EV is considerably more than most combustion engines, having tyres that can handle the immediate power is key, especially if you have a tendency to have a heavy foot. Not only this, but by increasing your tyre size, you increase the traction on the road, and make for a sportier drive.

EV Tuning to Increase Speed

EVs are getting quicker by the day, and now with the increasing look at Formula E and other EV-specific racing areas, EVs can match up to traditional vehicles. As EVs require a different style of driving to traditional combustion engines, you’ll need a different approach. They’re very torque-y, and acceleration is instant. This means that electric car owners might be wondering about EV tuning, and what they can do to make their vehicle more competitive against a gas-powered car over long distances.

As long as you have the capacity, the battery, the current, and the cabling to move one to the other, you can quite literally ask for more amps to make your EV go faster or dial it down to make it more efficient. This is no simple task, however. 

The challenges of EV tuning
Image showing electric car parking spot

The challenges of EV tuning

To go about EV tuning, you need to know about coding, overclocking, electrical engineering, and computer programming. Be prepared that you’re dealing with an entirely different system, and your previous knowledge of engines will be mostly useless. For example, as Michael Wein of Audi explains it:

“In an electric vehicle, the battery, motor, cooling, chassis, transmission, and electronics, and even the suspension, are all developed as a complete package in a single, very large team. The resulting systems work much faster and in complete harmony with each other — and are in fact already engineered to maximize performance as much as possible.”

It’s difficult to deny the change coming to the automotive industry, and it’s certainly already underway. We’re intrigued to see what the future has in store when it comes to modifying electric vehicles. As put by Advance Auto Parts:

“This era is much like the transition from carburettors to electronic fuel injection (EFI) in the late ’70s and early ’80s. Enthusiasts said EFI would be the death of the performance car, the DIY mechanic, and hot rodding. Instead the highly adaptable technology lead to the modern golden age of performance we now enjoy.” 

Our Favourite EV Mods

At Keith Michaels, we’re huge modified car fans. With such a vast history arranging  modified car insurance, we’ve had the pleasure of insuring a huge variety of cars over the years. So, we’ve rounded up some of our favourite electric mods online.

@wht_tokki’s 2018 Tesla Model 3

It’s classy, yet it’s practical for someone who loves mountain biking, and it’s only getting better. Teslas really have become cars that are a joy to modify.

@casper_model3 Tesla Model 3

Another Model 3, but this one is space themed. Under the bonnet, or the ‘frunk’ as it’s known by Tesla owners, sits a huge variety of space-themed mods.

@petersonelectricvehicles Triumph TR6 EV Conversion

This EV conversion of a TR6 is a thing of beauty. Stunning colour and fantastically maintained, this TR6 is a classic that can be enjoyed for many more years.

@salvagetosavage Tesla swapped Chevrolet C10

A true American truck, powered by a Tesla battery. It’s a huge modification project, but we think it’s paid off. The work has been done to a fantastic degree, and it’s showing the future for electric truck battery swaps.

Modified EV Insurance from Keith Michaels

At Keith Michaels we understand the joy that comes out of successful car modifications, which is why we know how important it is to ensure your modified vehicle are properly insured. We provide cover for a range of different changes, so find out more about our modified car insurance.