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A Finnish open source EV community Electric Cars - Now! is starting to mass convert ICE cars in Finland. The first model to be converted is Toyota Corolla and the first shipments are targeted to run before the end of 2008.

The project is running a market research, where people are asked spesifics on what kind of electric car would they want to drive. The same questionnaire also works as a place where people willing to buy an electric car can register for the moment when binding agreements can take place.

There are now over 500 likely buyers of electric Corollas in a country of 5 million people. Adding to that, a Norwegian electric car seller Enviro Elbilsag has also ordered 300 vehicles. The electric Corolla prototype is now at the planning stage. Testing should take a few months and the production should start before christmas.

The community itself does not convert the cars or even move any money or components. Besides working out the prototype, the community designs an easy-to-use web interface for the ordinary car buyer to shop a Corolla, the EV components and select a carage that will do the handwork. The idea is to create a market place for conversion EV's by combining mass consumer force and distributed manufacturing with outsourcing everything but the list of buyers and the internet platform.

The car will have 150km range with the standard set and 300km range with the extended set. Top speed will be around 130 km/h. The target price for the electric Corolla made from a three year old ICE car is 25 000 euros, the same that new Corolla sells in Finland. Adding the range to 300km will raise the price to 32 500 euros.

The community is now runnign call for bids on various components. Brusa's engines and Fevt's (Finnish Electric Vehicle Technologies) Li-Ion batteries are strong candidates at this stage. The engine and the batteries for 150km range should weight closely the same as the ICE engine and take the same space as well. To shorten the conversion time most of the EV set will be in integrated module that will attach the original fixing points, giving the set roughly the same inertia as the original.

Since the production principle does not center in any particular location, but is distributed to various carages, the "selling" of the electric Corolla can easily cross national borders. However, since the project is not-for-profit, if you want an electric Corolla and are not living near Finland, you should start your own group in your country to put the word out and gather the likely buyers there. The root project in Finland says it will be happy to help anyone in starting such a sister project.

Electric Cars - Now! can be reached at:

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