The transition of cars from being driven by fossil fuels to being powered by electricity is inevitable. It is predicted that 50 percent of new cars sold in 2025 will be electric.

Electric vehicles are becoming more popular due to various factors – for instance, the increasing need for sustainability, the decreasing cost of batteries, and the rise in awareness about air pollution.

European and American startups are turning the classics of the fossil fuels industry into electric cars through environmentally-friendly methods. For example, Britains Lunaz sold a remanufactured Aston Martin DB6 for 1 million pounds.

Holland’s Voitures Extravert has released a re-engineered 1960s Porsche 911 for 300,000 euros

Low-end start-ups like France’s Transition-One have created no-frills kits that will electrify mass-market models like the Fiat 500 and Renault Clio in a few hours for about $8000. The goal is to provide drivers with a more affordable and eco-friendly road to Zero Emissions than just scrapping their cars and buying new ones.

Even though the market for electric vehicles is still very small, there has been a growth spurt recently especially with all the advancements in battery technology and electric motors that have helped keep the momentum going.

As per Mark Roberts, a 30-year old McLaren veteran, now a chief creative officer at British startup Charge Cars it is pretty revolutionary at the moment as there are new companies popping up almost every month and one can just not be certain who will fade away after a year and who will endure.

In the pipeline for Charge Cars is the launch production of 499 electric versions of the 1960’s Mustang.

These will be built from the ground up using car bodies produced under a license from Ford. Initially, Charge Cars set out to convert classic cars, however in the last 5 years they invested time in developing replica models instead. Starting price for these models will be at 300 000 pounds apiece. The reason for the build from the ground is that start-up companies have little to no room for errors. Unlike the traditional manufacturers like Porche.

They also have to attract traditional suppliers in order to get technical input as they transition from fossil fuel to electric.

For instance, Michelin has partnered with Charge Cars to test new technology.

Unfortunately, with the new regulations, there will be a lot of smaller players who will be wiped out as they will not be able to meet the standards says Chris Hazell, founder of Britain Zero EV.

So a lot of scaling has to take place to find a middle ground. There are various proposed routes and the classic Aston Martin DB6 seems to be a good start.

The aim of these conversions is to capitalise on the large population of these classic vehicles.

The process involves stripping these vehicles down to the bare metal, rebuild it, give it a fresh paint job, and of course an electric drive system and software.

Even though classic cars sparked the idea, to make a real impact it has to be scaled says David Lorenz.

From Trash to Treasure

In France by comparison mass-market converters are spying opportunities in the country’s anti-road pollution plans.

All diesel models older than 2011 will be banned in large cities from the start of 2025. This will affect millions of car owners. Paris wants to implement this as soon as 2024 already.

Additionally, the new vehicle retrofitting laws introduced last year have intensified the need for scale.

Transition-One, the Orleans-based converter plans to sell conversion kits for 6 models including the popular Fiat 500 and Renault Clio. The kits consist of a battery, electric motor, power electronics, and new instrument cluster, with a range of about 140km. Customers are looking at a cost of about 5 000 euros.

The big question hanging in the air is this. Do we throw the old cars away or do we convert them?

Mass Production

Looking from an environmental point of view only mass-market options could make a difference in the environment.

Chris Patement-Jones, CEO of Connected Kerb says: “ The cost of producing a new car is huge, so if you can reuse what’s there it’s a fantastic idea. However, the challenge is to sufficiently scale it to have a meaningful impact.

Baring in mind all the variables the biggest challenge for all these start-ups will be to push out production of at least 10 000 a year to make an impact.

Fuel Zone