Low operating costs, simple operation (instant torque, no gear shifting) and silence: the advantages of electric vehicles appeal to many drivers. At least those for whom recharging is not a problem.
Unfortunately, prices remain high, including in mini-city. Even including the €6,000 bonus, a Renault Twingo E-Tech claims a minimum of €18,000. And on the Primavera Dacia side, we are far from the initial €12,000: surfing on its commercial success, the Romanian-Chinese has taken the big head, the entrance ticket already reaches almost €14,500, government aid deducted. By opting for a car loan at just over 5%, you would then have to pay around €350/month for four years… Difficult to swallow for a very rustic car, let’s face it!
But since the retrofit was legalized in early 2020, companies offering conversions to electricity at reasonable prices abound, as we saw at Mondial de l’Automobile last October.
The company R-FIT, for example, offers the conversion of the Citroën 2 CV for €8,900 (including all state nudges). In turn, Retrofuture sells restored and modified vintage Fiat 500s or Minis for €16,000. Very old? Still too expensive? The company Lormauto hopes to offer, from 2023, the first generation of the Renault Twingos (from 2003 at least) for €200/month, without entry.
The solution to making such an attractive proposition: buying, dismantling and transforming second-hand models to offer them “refurbished” for long-term rental. Knowing that the contract must provide for unlimited mileage as well as maintenance, including wearing parts (tires, braking system, etc.), there will be a lot to try.
As an indication, monthly payments for a 37-month LLD without a first rent increase for a current Renault Twingo amount to a minimum of €444. Sure, the first generation Twingo is less modern and less rewarding, but Lormauto is considering a refurbishment according to the rules of the art, not to say a restoration…
The cabin of the demonstration vehicle testifies to the seriousness of the company, which does not want to be satisfied with installing an electric machine in an old vehicle that has just been cleaned. Lormauto announces that it has chosen to completely disassemble each car to inspect its structure, landing gear, replace defective parts and install new upholstery and repainted plastics.
In addition, the bodywork must be impeccable, therefore fully repainted if necessary. Better, we will find behind the steering wheel an instrumentation block informing the battery level and the autonomy that results from it.
Unfortunately, there are no figures on this matter, as the WLTP certification cycles have not yet been passed. But the batteries, with a total capacity of 16 kWh, must guarantee 100 kilometers in the city and on the road after a maximum recharge of 5h30 in a conventional socket (3,000 W).
Note that the radiant panels on the doors and seats should provide heating without much of an impact on range. In addition, the batteries are placed in place of the gas tank, inside the service tunnel and in the engine compartment in particular, to preserve the interior space and the sliding seat. Finally, the four-cylinder gasoline gives way, of course, to an electric counterpart, with an output of 52 hp.
An interesting project, to say the least. Awaiting approval, which still needs to pass some safety tests for lithium-iron-phosphate batteries (Chinese cells, but packaging made in France), the brand hopes to register its first orders in the first quarter of 2023, and carry out about 100 transformations. until next July.