Ecotuned has developed a system that can convert a gasoline van into a 100% electric vehicle – thus tripling its life span. Discover the successful bet of a young Montreal company.
From Spark to Ecotuned
Andy Ta, president of Ecotuned, remembers always having wanted to be one of those who change the world. In October 2010, while working as a technician in automotive electronics, he accidentally watched a Youtube video that changed his life: an electric car moving from 0 to 100 km/h in 1.8 seconds on a racetrack. "The owner invested $50,000 to build his electric car and got the acceleration of a car worth a few million dollars!" enthuses Ta. He then started to read on the subject and found it to be absolutely fascinating. "I had always believed that electric vehicles were slow cars like golf cars.”
The beginning of Ecotuned’s journey
Mr. Ta spent several years thinking about a business plan while studying at the École de technologie supérieure (ÉTS). He submitted his first project to the Center for Technological Entrepreneurship (Centech) in 2011, with the intention of converting sports cars from the 80s into electric cars.
Years passed, his research progressed and meetings multiplied. His project took a turn following discussions with the Ministry of Transport, who suggested that he should look into light trucks rather than sports cars. Then, he realized that "the business plan had more depth". By leaving the narrow market of sports cars, he would ensure a long-term future for his company. Ecotuned officially launched in May 2011.
In 2016, the company presented its technology for the first time to the public. The concept was very favourably received and noticed.
For the very first time this summer Ecotuned will be presenting a series of convertible demonstration vans. Several renowned clients will be unveiled on this occasion. And now? "We are preparing for the commercialization and industrialization phase that will take place in 2018," Mr. Ta says.
Innovative and cost-effective technology
1. The Ecotuned electric propulsion system includes a complete kit, namely a motor, battery, charger, converter, which can be easily installed by any garage.
2. The particularity of this propulsion system is that it is reusable. Indeed, the Ecotuned engine has a lifespan of 1 million kilometers - three times higher than a normal vehicle. When the time comes, the system can also be transferred to another vehicle.
3. Ecotuned is a universal system as it can be used on all light truck models. "The mechanical structure of light trucks, regardless of their year of manufacture, is still the same," says Mr. Ta. So our system can be installed easily."
4. Conversion costs between $25,000 and $30,000 and allows purchasers to make big savings. Electric conversion makes the purchase of prematurely used vehicles economical, saves the purchase of new vehicles, reduces maintenance costs by half and eliminates fuel costs. "As we know, gasoline versus electricity is equivalent to 1 in 10. For example, $100 spent on gasoline represents $10 in electricity. "
Established in the Quartier de l'Innovation, Ecotuned's offices bring together about 15 employees. The company is preparing to produce its system in series and aims to sell its innovation to the rest of Canada and the United States. Andy Ta is happy and close to realizing his dream of contributing to clean transports in the city of tomorrow.
His 3 tips for future entrepreneurs?
1. "Take time to think about your idea: entrepreneurship is an investment and you have to be able to move in a winning direction."
2. "A lot of courage: be advised, surrounded, but keep your instinct. "
3. "Work and get up early. "