Dubai: Now, turn your classic car into electric vehicle for as little as Dh40,000

Converting vintage cars help owners save on expensive maintenance costs

by

Nasreen Abdulla

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Published: Wed 18 Jan 2023, 6:17 PM

Last updated: Wed 18 Jan 2023, 6:44 PM

If you imagine new, modern and swanky cars when you think of electric vehicles, then it's time to think again. Now, a Dubai-based garage, Fuse EV, converts classic cars into electric vehicles (EV).

The brainchild of Dubai entrepreneur Salman Hussain and Mihai Stumbea, Fuse was founded in late 2022.

“It has been an interesting first few months,” said Salman.

“While we were sure we could find some customers, we weren’t anticipating the interest to be so high. We have already completed several projects and are working to expand our offerings.”

One of the first cars the company worked on was the Peel P50, a three-wheeled micro-car that was listed in the 2010 Guinness World Records as the smallest production car ever made.

Mihai tests the working of the car in the duo’s garage in Al Quoz

“We totally revamped the car,” said Mihai.

“We changed the interior and fabric cloth; we did an exterior paint job and then also did some mechanical and electrical work to convert it into an EV.”

The car, in its brand-new spanking form, was put on display at the Abu Dhabi Finance Week in November

How it works

The team first assesses the car, removes the engine and then installs the drivetrain systems to convert it into the EV. However, Salman says, it is not as easy as it sounds. “It is a custom project and requires a lot of work,” he said.

“Each car is different so there is a lot of customisation, but I would say it is worth it. Even after installing the new system, we take time to assess the vehicle to see if it needs upgrades, like weight distribution, handling and cornering.”

The cost of the project depends on how extensive the modifications are. “In the UK and US, such projects cost between 40,000 to 50,000 pounds or dollars,” informed Salman.

“Here we have tried to keep the costs low. A small car with not a lot of range will cost about Dh40,000 to 50,000 to convert. However, if the owner wants to install more power it will cost more. A project we are working on now, with 400 horsepower with cost roughly Dh200,000 to 300,000.”

This Beetle that the company worked on uses a Netgain hyper 9 motor for 120hp with a Tesla 25kwh pack.

Why classic cars

“The reason we started with classic cars was because it was easier to register in the UAE after they were converted,” said Salman.

“The UAE EV industry is still young, so we are working with a certification body to get the cars registered here.”

According to him, converting a classic car into EV gives it a new lease of life. “A lot of classic car enthusiasts find it very difficult to maintain it. The engine stalls and it is hard to find spare parts. The owner spends a lot of time looking for the required parts and by the time it is shipped, and he gets it, the driving season is over. Converting these cars to EV makes the lives of the owners so much easier. Also, when we work in the garage with the classic cars, we are choking in just 10 minutes. The fumes are really bad for the environment. We are making a huge impact by converting them to EVs.”

The team also worked on Triumph Heritage while keeping the interiors intact

The team now plans to move into commercial businesses and private cars. “However, it is going to take some time,” admitted Mihai.

“Right now, if we convert a regular car into EV, the owner won’t be able to register the vehicle in the UAE. So, we are still working with some agencies to see what we can do. We also see a lot of potential in commercial vehicles because they ply all across the country every day. Imagine how much carbon footprint can be reduced by converting these into EVs.”

Working for a cleaner environment

Ever since coming across the first electric car in 2010, when he was studying in the UK, Salman was interested in the technology and wanted to do something with it. It was after being a founded partner of the EV labs- the first omni-channel, multi-brand electric vehicle platform in the UAE that Salman decided to focus on building his own venture.

That is when his path crossed with that of electrical engineer Mihai who was working in the IT field at the time. “I was feeling very burnt out and I wanted to do something that would impact the world around me,” he said.

“I was always an environmentalist and when Salman offered this opportunity, it felt too good to pass.”

With the COP28 coming, the team are hoping to find investors who will finance their dreams to expand to other countries. “The conversation about environment is on the centerstage right now,” said Mihai.

“We are certain that EV is the way forward.”

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