Wanted: electric OLD cars, not new ones

“Just buy a NEW electric car”? Duh.

Last year, when I heard about the Royal Wedding way more than I wanted to know, one thing did attract my attention:

Wanted: electric OLD cars, not new ones /img/jaguar-e-type-harry-meghan.jpg

The “one-of-a kind electric Jaguar Harry and Meghan drove to their after-party”: a 1968 Jaguar E-Type, restored and retrofitted with an electric 220kW engine and battery packs. Now, I just love the silohuette of that car since when I first saw in Diabolik’s comics, decades ago:

Wanted: electric OLD cars, not new ones /img/diabolik-and-the-jaguar-e-type.jpg
<a href="https://petrolicious.com/articles/the-perfect-anti-hero-diabolik-and-the-jaguar-e-type" target="_blank">What? You did not know that Diabolik drives a Jaguar E???</a>


Its declared purpose, however, is something I couldn’t care less, honestly:

“to give classic Jaguars a sustainable future in changing environmental and economic conditions."

When I saw that electric Jaguar, instead, I immediately thought: why there is not something similar for poor, normal people?**

Ask And It Will Be Given To You

Yesterday I finally found that a French startup called Transition One has developed technology to do the right thing: retrofit in the same way old, ordinary FCA, PSA, Wolkswagen and Renault cars, for as “little” as 5.6K Euros!

The market is obvious: “people who can’t afford a brand new 20,000-euro electric car” but must drive a lot anyway. Even when Diesel fuel prices will increase, Yellow Vests be damned. Sure, whatever their cost, electric cars remain a privilege of those “rich” enough to own a backyard or garage where they can surely recharge them every night. But that includes a lot of “working poors”. This is why I think this plan is great.

The obstacles: regulations, ignorance of poverty and… car addiction, of course

Wanted: electric OLD cars, not new ones /img/living-paycheck-to-paycheck.jpg

More specifically, the plan of this French startup’s plan is great because it includes lobbying for “a regulatory framework rather than case-by-case permits to broadly offer the technology”. Regulations are surely the biggest obstacle here.

I also beg to disagree with the expert that said: “the question is, does [this conversion] make sense and how big is the effort? My advice would be to drive the combustion car as long as it can take, and just buy a new electric car after, because it makes much more sense financially.”

Financial sense my foot. Safety, yes: that certainly is a much more valid reason to “just buy a new car”. If one can afford it. But people who live paycheck to paycheck, depend on driving to get any salary and must sell a kidney even to borrow “just” 5.6K euros or be approved for monthly payments… buying a new car? Gee, all those Yellow Vests in France must be real dumb if they never figured this out, no?

For certain people, the only solution that “makes financial sense” is the only one that they can, or are actually allowed, to pay for: to stick an electric engine inside their ten-year old clunker, and keep driving it until it falls apart. I wish the best to this French initiative… with the most obvious qualification: this project must be one of the intermediate, temporary steps towards the only real, long term solution, that is: as little cars as possible. Whoever drives them. But until we get to the point where mass transit or car sharing is viable for the majority of people, in the majority of cases, the less pollution and waste we create by asking for new cars, the better.