Open Source Conversion: "Electric Cars - Now!"


saehkoeautot_Electric_Cars-Now Electric Cars - Now!, a Finland-based open source EV community, is working to promote the mass conversion of ICE cars to electric drive. The first model to be converted will be a Toyota Corolla and the first shipments are expected to take place before the end of 2008.

Market research is currently under way to determine what kind of electric car people would prefer to drive. The questionnaire used also serves as a way in which respondents can sign up to buy an electric car as soon as binding agreements can be entered into.

More than 700 people in this country of just five million have now indicated they are probable purchasers of electric Corollas. Norway’s Enviro Elbilsag, a company selling electric cars, has also ordered 300 vehicles. The electric Corolla prototype is now in the planning stage. Testing will take some months and production should start before Christmas.

Electric Cars - Now! does not convert cars or transfer either money or components. In addition to producing the design for the prototype, the community will design an easy-to-use web interface that can be used by car buyers to purchase a Corolla and the required EV components, and to select a garage that will do the conversion work. The idea is to create a marketplace for EV conversion activity by combining the power of a large number of consumers and distributed manufacturing with the outsourcing of everything but the list of buyers and the interface platform.

In its standard configuration, the converted Corolla will have a range of 150 km and a top speed of around 130 km/h. In the extended configuration, it will have a range of 300 km. The target price for an electric Corolla converted from a three year old ICE vehicle is EUR 25,000 - the sales price of a new Corolla in Finland. Increasing the range to 300 km raises the price to EUR 32,500.

Electric Cars - Now! is currently inviting bids for a variety of components. BRUSA motors and Li-Ion batteries supplied by FEVT (Finnish Electric Vehicle Technologies) are strong candidates at this stage. In the standard configuration, the motor and batteries will weigh much the same as an ICE engine and occupy a similar amount of space. To reduce the time required for conversion, most of the EV components will be in an integrated module that attaches to the existing fixing points, so the inertia of the electric set will be approximately the same as the engine it replaces.

As this production principle is not centred on any particular location but distributed among different service points, the "selling" of electric Corollas is not restricted by national borders. On the other hand, as Electric Cars - Now! is not-for-profit, if you want your own electric Corolla and you live outside Finland, you should start a local group in your country to spread the word and collect likely purchasers there. The root project in Finland will be happy to help anyone interested in starting up sister projects.

(Source and Image: Sähkö

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