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Accelerating the transformation into a sustainable mobility model, this company converts any fossil fuel combustion motor into an electric system. This way, the vehicle that reaches the end of it cycle-life can be recovered and transformed to a sustainable one, with no GHG emissions and less waste generated. This model contributes to the SDG #12, as producing “more” and “better” with “less”. The model is supported by one of the biggest network of mechanical workshops dispersed along the country. Tens of technical experts within the region share their knowhow, develop solutions customized to the client´s necessities, supported by Public institutes, and divides their profits in a truly collaborative solution that impacts on a wide area of influence such as decent jobs (SDG #8), climate action (SDG #13) and alliance for prosperity (SDG #17).
The Electroauto firm offers the possibility of taking any fossil fuel engine and transforming it into a 100% electric vehicle.
Electroauto offers a service that transforms all the parts of the combustion engine into a conversion kit with an electric motor and lithium batteries.
Depending on the model and make of the vehicle, the work team carries out an exclusive engineering design, adapting the proposal to each client's need. The end product is a clean engine that does not contain oil. The autonomy of the vehicle and its speed can be regulated according to the amount of batteries that can be placed; And charging can be done at home by installing smart chargers, which allow prioritizing the home's electricity consumption.
This proposal mainly contributes to SDG 12: "Guarantee sustainable consumption and production modalities" where producing more and better with less is what moves the Electroauto team. Betting on green economies where economic growth is decoupled from environmental degradation and promoting sustainable lifestyles, including preventing the generation of out-of-use cars (Goal 12.5) and increasing the efficiency of energy resources (Goal 12.2).
Also contributing to SDG 13: "Climate Action" and SDG 11 "Sustainable Cities and Communities", this development is aligned with the new technologies of the world's energy systems, which use renewable energies to contribute to the challenge of climate change by ensuring access to energy as an essential part of economic development and social progress (Goal 13.3, Goal 11.6).
The idea was born in 2018 when the team of entrepreneurs Diego Barrios and Ricardo Rivero, together with their work team from the mechanical workshop in the province of Misiones, in the extreme northeast of Argentina, faced the challenge of rebuilding a Ford F-100 truck out of use. They did not imagine that the problem of reviving that broken down vehicle would become the opportunity of a new business with multiple impacts and great growth projection due to its innovative proposal. Thus, the F-100 would become the first of the 70 cars, trucks and motorcycles that today travel with an electric motor in Argentina.
Diego Barrios is a businessman with more than 30 years of experience in the Argentinian city of Posadas, located in the northeast of the country. Diego was always passionate about technology, for example he was the first to connect to the internet and to bring the first cell phones to his city. He saw that the country was lagging far behind with everything related to electric mobility and began to investigate. Looking for experts in mechanics and new technologies, he found Ricardo Rivero, with a long history in the car industry and together they thought about how energy mobility can be increased without emissions or pollutants.
Using their own garage, they began to test cars that were no longer useful. They decided to remove the entire engine from a F-100 truck and do the test of inserting an electric motor and it was successful.
Diego and Ricardo are very passionate about this project; in the country there is everything to develop. Some phrases that synthesize the inspiration stand out:
"The lack of a national policy on sustainable mobility is today our main barrier to growth. The rules of the game are not clear, but there is also everything to be done and we like the challenge ”. Diego Barrios
"We want to accelerate the transformation towards a sustainable and clean mobility"
"We want to decarbonize transportation in Argentina, this is what drives us", Ricardo Rivero told us.
Taking into account the slow adoption in Argentina and Latin America of electric mobility compared to countries in Europe, Asia and North America, the stimulus is to shorten the development times of electric mobility since a new electric vehicle has a value which is not affordable for most people. With the participation of Electroauto we have the possibility to take advantage of units that are already in use and many of them with the engine not working, and give them a "second chance", a more useful life and, of course, a much more sustainable solution.
The short term effects of the innovation were the impulse of local legislation related to the electric vehicle industry. ElectroAuto designed the mechanical and technical control requirements for electric vehicles in Argentina, and made it available to the government. They are currently benefiting from this proposal since it had not been developed before.
Regarding the environmental effects, 70 vehicles that have reached the end of their life cycle, have avoided being converted into scrap metal. In terms of GHG emissions, 300 tones of CO2e have been avoided (based on a EEA study in which 143 g/km are emitted by a fossil fuel vehicle)
Regarding the long term effects, as there is no legal requirements that regulate the market in terms of prices, conditions, availability, etc. ElectroAuto has also formally encouraged the government to accelerate the normative publication. This is the main disadvantage for the business’s growth, but as it is a non-developed market in Argentina and based on the huge growth prospective this business has, the long term effects of environmental benefits, job positions increasing and the technology development is very promising.
The business has evolved from a single mechanical workshop, located in Misiones State to a network of specialized mechanics all around Argentina, making the service more accessible to all potential clients. This strategic model increased the profits of ElectroAuto and the mechanical workshops as well, as the benefits are distributed among all those involved. This collaborative model boosted the industry growth as new job positions were created and more and more clients had the possibility to access this technology.
Because the business built more than 70 sustainable vehicles between 2018 and 2021, the benefits have been not only perceived by the entrepreneurs, in financial terms, but also by each client. The use of a retrofitted vehicle implies only 10% of the operating cost of traditional fuel operated one. Another positive fact is that the electrical system has a useful life cycle of thirty years and the investment pays for itself in 2.5 years. The batteries last ten years and have no maintenance costs. After this period, they can be recycled. Another benefit of the business is related to the purchasing of an electrical vehicle in Argentina. Considering our economical context, the investment of a new sustainable vehicle is around 3.5 million Argentine pesos. But in the case of retrofitting a vehicle with an engine that is reaching the end of its cycle and transforming it into an electric one, the investment is 30% less than buying a new one.
Considering that the transportation sector is responsible for approximately 15% of the total GHG emission in Argentina (MAyDS, 2017), the potential for environmental value that this project delivers is remarkable. Electric vehicles are, with no doubt, more sustainable. However, it does not mean that their emissions are zero. In the operating phase, that is, in the electricity production to supply lithium batteries, GHGs are generated if it is not charged through renewable sources. As electricity from renewable sources increases in the future, electric cars will be less damaging to the environment. The emissions corresponding to the manufacture of the vehicle are negligible in the inventory of a converted vehicle, since these are recovered or end-of-life vehicles. Increasing the useful life of the vehicle is an environmental value itself by avoiding the generation of this waste that would quickly be considered scrap. According to data from the European Environment Agency (EEA, 2018), a medium-size gasoline car emits an average of 143 grams of CO2 per kilometer, and an electric car with similar characteristics (which is used to recharge current available energy sources ) between 60 and 76 grams of CO2, that is, between 47% and 58% less. Likewise, the generation of waste from the maintenance of electric vehicles is negligible given that their good performance does not depend on changing oil filters, air filters, carburetor and spark plug adjustments, etc. These cars do not use fuel or oil because they do not have an engine: their engine is replaced by a lithium battery cell.
Electroauto is committed to social development and is aware of the positive impact its proposal directly or indirectly generates. Considering that in the area there are not many innovation and impact projects linked to technological updating, Electroauto gives talks to schools, universities, companies and garages, being great disseminators of electric mobility as an engine of innovation. The Company believes in the collective asset of knowledge and promotes projects of local developers that promote sustainable mobility. That is why it also maintains an "open door" policy, making its workshops and expertise available to the community for those who find motivation and interest in the path of electromobility. “The more that is known about this practice, the more accelerated the development of the sector will be. We all win ”- Diego and Ricardo said. This effort to expand the electric mobility industry in Argentina is remarkable since it is committed to the future generation of jobs in a sector that has everything to develop. Indirect benefits that the proposal generates in society have to do with improving the quality of life of the communities in which traffic and the smog and noise pollution it generates is a problem. In addition to CO2, combustion vehicles emit other gases that are harmful to health such as Nitrogen Oxides and Carbon Monoxide, which cause respiratory diseases. Regarding this issue, converted vehicles bring great relief, as they reduce these impacts and improve air quality in cities.
Ricardo Rivero, Co-founder
Diego Emilio Barrios, Founder
This company converts any fossil fuel combustion motor into an electric system, accelerating the migration to sustainable mobility.
They work with vehicles at the end of their cycle-life, and recover them.
The business works with a network of mechanical workshops dispersed along the country.