Frenchman Turns Diesel Cars Into Electric Ones


Frenchman Turns Diesel Cars Into Electric Ones

Marc Areny and his own electric car – Foto: Alin Ionescu, Auto Bild

We’re now going through a period in which the planet is changing. Due to our extensive use of fossil fuels we were able to reach a new point of development never before achieved by humankind. But in little over a century of using them, we are now inflicting serious change on the delicate balance of the planet that could have dire repercussions on all life as we know it. And because of these fossil fuels’ awesome power potential, we’re now struggling to find alternatives. Nevertheless, serious steps are being taken int this direction, with solar power outperforming oil and gas.

In any case, the transportation sector still relies heavily on fossil fuels. Elon Musk’s Teslas are an alternative to the problem, but their cost is still too high for many people’s means. This is why Marc Areny, a French engineer, decided to take matters into his own hands and make an electric car for just $13,000. In 2011 he sold his property in France and moved to Pitesti, Romania to do just that; to make an electric car affordable to pretty much anyone.

The battery will work perfectly for 300,000 kilometres, after which it will have an 80% efficiency. Photo: Alin Ionescu, Auto Bild

He bought a local brand of car, the Dacia, made by Renault, then took all the oil associated parts out of it, and exchanged them for batteries and an electric motor. Though not as sophisticated as the Tesla, the Dacia is equally as fast as its diesel version and can easily take you from A to B. Areny drove his for more than 20,000 kilometres without needing any sort of repairs. With a 6-hour-long charge from any 220-volt outlet, his car runs for 160 kilometres (100 miles) at a cost of just $1.80. It can also go for 300 kilometres under the right conditions.

The reason he came to Romania in the first place is a matter of circumstance. Areny was environmentally conscious for some time. Back in 2008, he modified the car he had then, a Renault Clio 1.9 Diesel, to run on used cooking oil he acquired from local restaurants. He then took it a step further and wanted to go electric. In 2010, he modified a Porsche 944 to be fully electric.

However, the French authorities aren’t too lenient with these sort of things, and after countless telephones and sent e-mails, they told Areny to perform two accredited crash tests, one from the front and one from the side, in order to prove the car’s accident performance. In short, he had to destroy two cars in order to have the third one.

Areny travelling at 120 kilometres per hour on the highway. Photo: Alin Ionescu, Auto Bild

He didn’t have to do any of that in Romania, so he moved there. Pretty much any kind of car can be made electric, no matter how many kilometres it was driven up until that point. The batteries cost somewhere around $7,000 and the electric motor and other additional parts, an extra $4,000.

Besides the environmental benefits a car like this brings, it also needs little to no maintenance like a normal diesel variant would. No oil or air filter change, nothing. Even the breaking system lasts longer thanks to the deceleration provided by the electric motor itself.

“I’m an ordinary guy and I’m looking for solutions for ordinary people,” said Areny “I’m not looking to get rich out of it, but I really want to do it. I think it will help a lot of people.”