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This UK Start-Up is Converting Antique Cars into Zero Emitting Electric Cars

by Olivia Lai Europe Sep 21st 20212 mins
This UK Start-Up is Converting Antique Cars into Zero Emitting Electric Cars

London Electric Cars is saving antique cars from landfills and making them road-worthy as the UK moves to decarbonise the transportation sector. 

As the world moves closer towards a zero-carbon future, fossil fuel-powered antique cars will eventually become obsolete. This is especially true for classic cars, most of which feature petrol-guzzling engines and emit high amounts of carbon dioxide when they hit the roads. 

However, a start-up in the UK believes that vintage cars can still exist in an increasingly electric transport world. 

London Electric Cars, first launched by Matthew Quitter in 2017, is an innovative company that converts classic and vintage cars into zero-emitting cars with electric batteries upcycled from Nissan Leaf and Tesla. 

Utilising lithium-ion cells and 3D printers, Quitter and his team of 10 engineers are able to transform polluting cars like Land Rovers and Morris Minor to run on cleaner power. Since vintage cars lack modern features like power steering and satellite navigation, the conversion of these cars requires less labour and is more affordable.

These conversions also allow vintage cars to avoid their fate of going into landfills (thereby reducing waste) and being deconstructed into scraps – UK motorists are compensated up to $2,000 for giving up their polluting cars for scraps. 

“One of the things we try to do is maintain the cars as much as possible for historical integrity,” said Quitter to Euronews. “Things like the indicators are a little less consistent than say a modern car. But for most classic car owners that’s the quirkiness that they enjoy”.

antique cars, london electric cars Source: London Electric Cars

You might also like: UK to be First Country to Require New Homes to Have Built-In EV Chargers

While the conversion process requires up to six months and a starting price of £25,000 (USD$34,000), car owners would only need to pay for electricity here on then, averaging at about £1 (USD$1.37) a week in London, as electric cars are exempt from congestion fees or road tax in the UK. Owners would essentially be saving money and polluting less at the same time. 

The start-up certainly has the potential to expand at a much larger scale following the UK government’s announcement to ban all new fossil fuels cars by 2030. The government has also set a goal for 46% of all cars in the UK to be electric within the same timeline to reduce greenhouse emissions, as well as to reach net zero emissions by 2050 in line with the Paris Agreement. 

At the moment, London Electric Cars aims to make electric car conversions at a much faster pace – halving the period from six months down to three – and to make it more accessible. This includes sending conversion kits to car owners by mail.

Featured image by: London Electric Cars


About the Author

Olivia Lai

Olivia is a journalist and editor based in Hong Kong with previous experience covering politics, art and culture. She is passionate about wildlife and ocean conservation, with a keen interest in climate diplomacy. She’s also a graduate of University of Edinburgh in International Relations with a Master’s degree from The University of Hong Kong in Journalism. Olivia was the former Managing Editor at Earth.Org.

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