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A local Denver station did a news report about Salida Conversions, a shop that can convert almost any vehicle into a hybrid in just two days. The vehicle has to be rear wheel drive and have an automatic transmission for Salida to install the electric motor on the drive shaft. The conversions, which cost $7,000, use four lead acid batteries, (they don't say how they are charged) and the system talks to the car's computer.
The funny thing about the report is, the car they convert is a Chevy Tahoe which is already a hybrid. Salida says they Tahoe went from 11 to 18 miles per gallon in the city. EPA says GM's hybrid Tahoe get 21 miles per gallon in the city. Salida reminds me a little of Goodwin, another mechanic that converts cars, saying he could make a hybrid from parts at ACE Hardware. Hey, you guys are doing great things but I got some bad news for you: the car makers are stepping up. GM will release a hybrid every 3 months for the next 4 years. So, very soon, conversions shops will go the way of Dodo because there will be many more hybrid options.

[Source: Denver Channel]


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  • 16 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      I am very relieved to see some people commenting about the benefits of being able to retrofit energy efficiency devices to older cars! A lot of websites seem to be full of enviro-angilists all 'ordering' us to just 'ditch your fuel guzzling SUV/car' and buy a hybrid. But there are an AWFUL lot of cars out there and it does make sense to have the option to convert them rather than buy a hybrid car. I think $7000 is a bit steep, but if conversion kits prove popular, then the costs will come down and the technology will also improve. There are to many classic cars as well as modern cars on the road today to just tell us all to fork out "$40-50K for a hybrid!" Anyone doing work developing a cross-market system for improving efficiency on cars has my whole-hearted endorsement!
        • 6 Years Ago
        I'm trying to convert my 1969 Pontiac. Please check out the site:

        www.greenvintage.org
      • 7 Years Ago
      What about the Millions of vehicles in the existing fleet? To convert or not to convert, that is the question.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Ditto Tim.

      Dave

      • 7 Years Ago
      I am the mechanical engineer and one of the owners of Salida Conversions, LLC. I love the variety of opinion, keep them comming!! and yes, we are a dealer for the products on go-ev.com. I personally admire all GM is doing, but does this mean we have to spend $50k and throw away (recycle) all the great running cars right now? I am always available for any questions

      Pete Hansen
      pete@salidaconversions.com
      719.539.2337
        • 6 Years Ago
        how much to convert a buick rendezvouse..i can buy a 2004 pretty cheap two wheel drive that is..bwb
        • 7 Years Ago
        Are there many people really doing conversions? Why when you can buy a hybrid? I cant imagine that many people would spend that much money to convert there cars. Also, is it cost effective for other kinds of vehicles, like cabs or buses - I hate the smell of those things.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Can you give me some cold hard facts for the lay consumer about the differences in cost, power and MPG in HHO vs. electric conversion?

      Deciding on whether to buy a cheap automatic 4WD and convert rather than buy new. I don't understand why these folks are all saying buy new - if I can do this I will save thousands over a new car. Who needs a payment???

      Please email me with the information, thanks.
      netmaker2@yahoo.com
      • 7 Years Ago
      I agree with Pete Hansen. Also when I was in Salida I heard rumors that it doesn't have to be a huge SUV. I could fund 7K a lot sooner than I could fund 45K, eliminate waste and use less fuel. If any of you out there haven't seen the movie "Who killed the Electric Car?" you need to see this and pass it around. It may help you know that trusting car manufacturers may not be such a great idea.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Hi,

      Probably use these kits:
      http://www.go-ev.com/EMIS.html
      What is EMIS™?

      * EMIS™ is a patent pending technology developed by NetGain Technologies, LLC that utilizes an electric motor configured into the drive train of a conventional vehicle to assist the Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) by applying strategic amounts of electrical assist power when it is most beneficial to the fuel economy of the vehicle.

      Mitch
      • 7 Years Ago
      I have to agree with Pete Hansen- there are a lot of older vehicles that could benefit from a conversion. Why waste resources on producing a new vehicle. Remember, new vehicles still require resources and cause damage to the environment to produce, regardless if they are less polluting than an older vehicle. In my opinion, MPG should not be the only consideration when purchasing a vehicle. Many conversions significantly reduce pollution. I am planning to convert older
      myself.

      Chris
      • 7 Years Ago
      I saw this story a few months ago when it first aired and was kind of lukewarm on it.
      I certainly commend the people who are figuring out how to convert cars to get better MPGs (and just because they converted a Tahoe which is now available as a hybrid shouldn't be a reason to diss them). I also commend the few fanatics who are willing to spend 7 grand for a conversion like this, or those that will spend $10-30K for a plug-in conversion. I'm glad to hear they're throwing their money away on something potentially environmentally beneficial instead of some other way.

      Still, these conversions are not even close to economical, and therefore will always remain a niche market. But we also have to remember that people who spend extra money on these kinds of novel things help to advance technology in general.

      For example, I know lots of folks here are talking about how they won't buy a hybrid until it's a plug in. That kind of thinking actually hurts the development of hybrids/EVs in general, because if car makers don't see much demand for current hybrids, they won't fork over the development cash to make better ones. If it wasn't for the million people (including me) who have already bought a regular hybrid, NO CAR COMPANY would even be talking about plug-ins. You can thanks us later.
      You might even save more money and/or do more for the environment if you buy a regular hybrid now, and then get a plug in when they finally start being mass produced in maybe 3-5 years.....(and now that I've said that, cue all the folks who'll argue that buying a new car of any type is BAD - there's lot of arguments against that theory, but I'm tired of typing.)
      • 6 Years Ago
      Why would anyone spend that kind of money for a conversion?
      The HHO conversion costs less than $!000.00, provides comparable fuel savings, and Greatly reduces emissions, far beyond any "Electric" hybrid
      You do have to be careful which system you go with. If the conversion manufacturer is charging more than $1000.00 for his system, the chances are the system will produce to much HHO causing the ECU computer to react and adjust the fuel mixture to "Overcome your economy & emissions gains.
      These conversions are good for 15% to 30% fuel economy improvement, depending on the vehicle, without involving the ECU.
      Questions?
      (561) 968-7802 Or www.cleanspot1.com
      Charley
      • 6 Years Ago
      I'm glad to see that people are piping up regarding our existing automotive stock. The old car hobby isn't going away in this country and a lot of environmentalists seem to think the best option is to legislate it out of existence. Culturally, politically, and economically I think it's a better idea to get car enthusiasts on board with green technology - especially the hot rodders. Hot rodders are traditionally very innovative in applying the latest technology to old cars, but right now many of them view the green movement as the enemy. Time and resources spent appealing to them would be well spent, I think.

      -Dave
        • 6 Years Ago
        I am an employee of salida conversions and we do much, much more than just hybrid tahoes. Btw, that tahoe shown in the news was nowhere near the same year as the new hybrid tahoe that gm just put out so any comparison to that is by all means like comparing apples to oranges. Our hybrid conversions are fantastic and do help a lot with fuel mileage, especially in V8 vehicles with the room to accomodate the motor and the battery box. But hybrids are not all we do, we also convert to full electric "plug-in" cars. The most popular are older VW bugs and Porsches, due to the easy adaptability and lightweight. the basic system on one of these is actually cheaper than the hybid conversion, about $5k for a basic setup. Of course the basic setup is nothing more than a glorified golf cart, but it does have a range of about 100 miles, a charge time of 3 hours, a top speed of 60-70 depending on gearing, and yes.... it will squeal the tires. As a matter of fact a Porsche 914 we recently converted would snap the driveshafts in any gear lower than 3rd and would also do 0-60 in 5 seconds... not too shabby for a small-town built electric car. The great thing about DC electric motors is you don't have to wait for them to hit "peaks" like with gasoline engines. There is no peak torque or peak horsepower with an electric motor, IT IS ALWAY THERE. you hit the gas pedal and boom, instant torque. The practicality of these basic systems for now is limited to only "around town" driving which would be excellent for people with short commutes to work or that do a lot of running around town, but honestly until battery technology advances the range and battery life of these vehicles is sadly limited. We have converted 62-78 VW bugs, 70's Porsche 911's, a VW bus, a 90's Ford Ranger, an 80's Mitsubishi pickup, and even a new beetle and, believe it or not, a 1st generation viper are currently in the makings. Unfortunately our full electric conversions are limited to standard transmission cars, but we like to accept a challenge and can convert just about any car. I hope this has cleared up any misconceptions and feel free to post any other questions. Keep up the discussions!!!
      • 7 Years Ago
      I understand the points made in this article whole-heartedly and I agree. However, this article is only addressing the conversion market for new vehicles, such as the Tahoe. I would much prefer a nice 69 Suburban with a brand new alternative fuel/hybrid motor with some added amenities. When you think about the retro design of new cars these days, (think Mustang, Camaro, HHR, PT Cruiser, etc...) it almost makes sense to buy an older car and convert it. Sure you might not get all the safty amenities as today, but a new suburban can cost over 50k, you can do alot with 50k...
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