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Volvo P1800 EV Conversion Oozes Cool But Fails On Range

We have seen some amazing EV conversions, especially of old classics such as the Mini or the 1970s BMW E9 Coupe. This conversion of the Volvo P1800 is just as spectacular.

Swedish design, development and prototype car manufacturer, Caresto, has created this electrically converted Volvo P1800. They stripped the the whole car back in order to do the EV conversion but were able to retain the iconic, sleek design. We see in the video the car during the process and it looks stunning.

The newly electrically converted P1800 has been given twin electric motors and a battery pack recycled from an old EV. The battery pack did have to be scaled down though, so the lithium-ion battery only has a capacity of 11.5 kWh which gives a measley range of ten miles, so don’t expect it to go for much beyond your driveway.

Owner of Caresto, Leif Tufvesson, explained why they chose the P1800 for their project:

“If you want to make an electric vehicle to try to get all the car nerds and enthusiasts, you have to do it with a car they like.”

At first glance of the restomod, it looks like an immaculate example of the original car, aside from the new 18-inch wheels which are not the same design as what the original car would have had. As soon as you come closer, you start to see the subtle differences that have been made.

Tufvesson went on to explain that it was a lot of work to get the bodywork right, saying:

“It has been a lot of work to get the body to sit as nicely as it does”

Back when the P1800 first came out in 1965, there was not the technology that we have today. They did not have CAD or even a laser measurer to make the fit of the bodywork perfect. In order for Careston to perfect this, they have had to alter the doors, bumpers and even the wheel arches have been modified to cater for the lowered suspension and larger style rims.

Aside from the huge amount of work that had to go into the body, the electrical systems needed a lot of attention. Tufvesson said that the process was ‘instructive for the future’ and went on to explain:

“[The] P1800 is a bit like a learning project also for us to understand. You may think that you understand how to build an electric car, but it is only when you have done it that you understand. We know that now.”

He continued:

“There are so many systems that must work, especially when it comes to security. It is 400 volts in the car that is life threatening and you should have it between you and the passenger. Then it must be very safe. Then it must work with cooling for all the different systems. It is much more advanced than building a car with an internal combustion engine”

The car was built in time for the 50th anniversary of the P1800 and was finished in the stunning custom paint which was RM Paint colour Caresto Northern Light.

Before the pandemic, Volvo CEO, Håkan Samuelsson, predicted that it will lead to the electrification of many cars. In this press release, he is stood in front of a P1800, which surely cannot just be a coincidence. Volvo’s sister company, Polestar, has brought us the Polestar 1,2 and 3, so we know the company is passionate about electric vehicles. Maybe they will bring out an electric version of the classic P1800.

Although, this is not the most practical EV conversion we have seen, it shows again that old classic cars can be given a new lease of life. Hopefully, there will be more examples with a more realistic range in the future.