Startups drive to electrify fossil-fuel cars

Don't buy an electric car new...simply re-engineer your existing one.

That's the message from the founder of Lunaz.

The British electrification company is one of a growing cohort of startups seeking to carve out roles in the auto transition

by converting fuel-guzzling classic cars into clean electric vehicles.

“Do not just build new. You have to refrain from that. You’ve got to look at re-manufacturing what already exists.”

David Lorenz in the CEO and founder of Lunaz.

“The ethos behind the company is there are two billion vehicles that exist on this planet and it’s how do we transition from where we are today with ICE vehicles to EV vehicles and what is the best way to transition?

Across Europe and the United States, companies converting fossil-fueled dinosaurs into clean electric cars are popping up everywhere.

They are betting they can provide drivers with a cheaper and greener road to zero emissions than scrapping their car and buying a new one.

At the lower end, French company Transition-One has developed no-frills kits designed to electrify mass-market models like the Fiat 500 and Renault Clio in a few hours for about $9,000.

At the high end are companies like Lunaz, which sell a "remanufactured" Aston Martin DB6 for $1.3 million.

Lunaz typically buys a classic car on the open market or takes a customer's existing vehicle, strips it down to the bare metal, rebuilds it, gives it a fresh paint job, new interior and an electric drive system and software with a range of about 250 miles.

Jon Hilton is managing director at Lunaz.

''Very often the process of fixing all of that stuff is not so difficult and we just need to get our heads into a different place because the amount of embedded CO2 there is in the car, in the body, in the chassis and all the big heavy pieces, there is so much CO2 there and if we keep building new we are destroying the planet.”

With financial backing from investors like former England soccer captain David Beckham…..

Lunaz is building a new factory in the UK where, instead of converting classic cars, they’ll re-engineer more than 1,000 diesel garbage trucks a year into upgraded electric models.

“We carried out a study recently where we were doing a carbon comparison on these vehicles and compared to a new refuse truck or EV we’re talking about 88 percent embedded carbon carried through on one of our vehicles. You have to take that as a key fact. We can’t just expect to build new and shift the problem around the world. So what happens when you build new is that truck goes on a shipping container to another country still polluting the emissions that it was already polluting and you’re not actually solving the problem. What we do here is we take a vehicle that is a problem. We take it off the road and we put it back emissions free. And that is the key fundamental. It has real impact and real change.”

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