Australian Adventure Startup Converts Old Gas-Guzzling Cars Into EVs

Jaunt, a Melbourne-based startup, recently raised enough money to rebuild a 1971 Land Rover Series 2A.

Australians who love vintage vehicles but also love the environment are in luck. Now, thanks to a new company, they can convert their classic cars into electric vehicles.

Jaunt, a Melbourne-based startup, recently raised enough money to rebuild a 1971 Land Rover Series 2A. The EV will be available this spring or summer, meaning fall or winter down under. So far, the company has just converted a Land Rover, which is known as Juniper, though they hope to rebuild more vehicles to rent for "jaunts" around Australia. Their Indiegogo campaign has raised over $10,000, though their goal is to amass $50,000 to refurbish more cars and offer more jaunts.

Juniper was originally used for many years by a fisherman in southern Queensland. After getting a fresh coat of paint, the vehicle spent the last eight years as a daily commuter and weekend explorer around Gladstone. In Australia, SUVs and 4WDs, which are built for adventure, account for a substantially number of cars sales, yet they are also the reason transport emissions down under are one of the worst in the world. Converting Juniper to an EV will not only help the environment but also ease the guilt of those who enjoy off-road adventures.

Car rentals will hopefully be available as of June in Byron Bay, the Blue Mountains, and coastal areas around Australia. A one-day rainforest road trip will cost $142 in Juniper, the newly converted Land Rover. Jaunt, which calls the car an "upcycled" vehicle, will convert Juniper by removing the engine, fuel tank, and exhaust system, and installing an electric motor, a 100-kilowatt NetGain Hyper9 AC, as well as five Tesla Model S battery packs, a charging system, and regenerative braking.

Several automakers are also planning on introducing electric versions of classic cars. In February, Porsche announced that its Macan SUV would get an electric makeover. Also, the Jaguar classic E-Type will return as an all-electric sports car as well.

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Jaunt's converted Land Rover is simply a prototype that allows adventurous drivers a new and environmentally-friendly way to travel around Australia. According to the company, "We're up-cycling iconic four-wheel-drives into electric vehicles that'll get you out into the bush using renewable energy." Hopefully, other companies will follow suit.

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