Tesla has done what the never could: make electric cars sexy. But Tesla's sexiness comes at a price, literally. The cheapest available Tesla currently, the Model S, starts at $70,000. (Tesla will begins selling a more affordable Model 3 for a base price of $35,000 in late 2017 or 2018.) Inspired by Tesla but put off by the price, entrepreneurs have sensed an opening: they'll convert your car to electric for a fraction of the cost.
Motherboard found such one tinkerer, . Arney owns EV Romania, a company which offers cheap conversions of gas cars to electric. He's proven to be a hit in his adopted country (he's originally from France), gaining by converting the most popular car in Romania, the locally built Dacia Logan, and driving 100 kilometers on it for a single Euro.
Arney has local Romanian site Bitpress that unless processes like his take place, "the future will be like the Americans: people fat and sick, big cars and big consumption." He tried working within Western systems before in France but was stifled by overregulation. He owned a Porsche 944 but was unable to get approval from the government to drive it on the road, as the state required multiple crash tests for safety purposes. Unwilling to crash three cars just to drive one he moved to Romania, where he found an environment more suited towards getting things done. You can see him driving the Porsche in Romania in the GIF above.
Once settled, he found he was able to secure the entirety of his project—car, 20kwh lithium-ion batteries, electric motor, power regulator, a mechanic to work with—for under $20,000. Of course, the payment comes on the back end, as Arney says he's paid thirty euros for 3,000 kilometers of driving.
Of course, Arney is not the first person to want to change their gas engine into something cleaner. You can find instructions on how to place an electric engine in a gas car . But Arney not only wants to professionalize the experience, he wants to make it as cheap as possible. "My goal," he tells Bitpress, "is that anyone with minimal knowledge of mechanics" would be able to buy a kit from him and put it in their own car. If people online want to take his ideas and run with them, so much the better. "Now, who wants my plan, no problem, I give. No matter that it's my patent or yours. I think this is the revolution, that everything can be free to be open-source."
The store section EV Romania's website is sadly still under construction, but with any luck that should change soon.