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French Startup Transition-One Plans a $5,600 Electric Makeover For Your Old Diesel Car

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: About 5,000 euros ($5,600) are set to buy your 10-year-old combustion clunker an electric makeover — and offer a cut-price way to avoid driving bans across European cities. French startup Transition-One has developed retrofitting technology that adds an electric engine, batteries and a connected dashboard into older models of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, Volkswagen AG, Renault SA and PSA Group for about 8,500 euros, or 5,000 euros after government subsidies in France.

In the prototype Twingo, three battery packs are fitted in front and two in what used to be the gas tank. The whole pack, bought from a Tesla Inc. parts reseller, weighs 120 kilograms (265 pounds). To compare, Renault’s electric Zoe has a 290 kilogram battery for a 210 kilometer driving range. Prices start at around 23,000 euros excluding battery rental battery. The transition takes less than a day, leaving the original stick shift and gear box and installing the plug behind the hatch that drivers usually pop open to refill the tank. Founder Aymeric Libeau, whose previous experiences include co-founding software company Pentalog Group, has worked on retrofitting for two years, and tested the method with a French business school. He is looking to raise 6 million euros to build a factory he says would be capable of churning out as many as 4,000 vehicles next year.

Libeau expects French and European regulator approval by the end of the year and will start pre-orders in September to test demand.


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