Updated On: 24 June 2021 Dheeraj Nair
Have you ever seen a vintage EV that has a manual transmission in India? Did you know that you could convert a vintage car to an EV in India? Here is a mesmerizing story of a young engineer who converts vintage cars to electric vehicles.
As the clock ticked and time gradually passed by, cars took a variety of turns to become unique and a significant part of our lives as seen in the current time period. In the journey of evolution, automobiles simply started their life as a solution to the mobility issues that prevailed, however, today it has become a significant statement of art that has value.
Today, we call them "vintage cars"; cars that have a royal appearance and a majestic touch to it simply because it has carried on valuable stories of people to a timeline where everything is justified by their utility and user-friendly behaviours.
To some, it may seem to be a thing of outdated presence but for many of us, car nuts, find it more than just the feeling of historic symbolism. It is nostalgia that brings back numerous memories of events like birthdays, family picnics and gatherings. It is a symbolic existence of an era that is longed for even in today's time.
However, the bitter truth is that we could only recreate a past scenario with things and feelings that have long gone out of their way for newer memories and objects to take their place. But whatsoever, the nostalgic feeling has its own sense of charisma that binds people and memories.
Today, we have a story of a young man who has recreated many memories for many people longing for a time that has already passed by. Mohammad Jawaad Khan, a 23-year-old engineer from Jammu's Chenab Valley decides to bring vintage cars back to life with a modern twist to them. As a responsible citizen, Khan has always wanted to contribute something to society that is beneficial at both ends. Hence, with this desire, he converts old and forgotten vintage cars to electric vehicles that look classic but performs like any other modern-day electric vehicle.
Interestingly, Jawaad had begun this venture with an accidental finding.
The first car Jawaad worked on was a Tata Nano, a project car for his sixth semester which almost took him eight to nine months to complete. Jawaad, currently the founder of Tadpole Projects, said that he was able to retrofit the vehicle without pulling out the transmission or fixing a differential for good. After his successful project, he was invited to IIT Delhi in the year 2019 where he met Arun Duggal, who had helped set up the Centre of Excellence for Research on Clean Air (CERCA). Duggal immediately wanted to transform his 1948 Volkswagen Beetle at the IIT after seeing Jawaad's work.
To start with this project, Jawaad took a course on electric vehicles but unfortunately, the Covid-19 pandemic crisis spread like wildfire and so the project was placed on hold. Fast-forwarding to the year 2021, Jawaad completed the project without any hindrances and showcased the completed 1948 beetle on February 6, 2021, however, he was unaware of what was coming to him next.
"I was planning to prepare for the GATE exam but things took a turn when people from the vintage auto industry started connecting with me, seeking a similar kind of electric vehicle," he mentioned.
Jawaad without any hesitation took the job and started converting a vintage car that would change his life forever. He was unaware of the fact that he was the first person in the country to retrofit a vintage car with an electric vehicle powertrain.
Chaitanya Shashwat, now a consultant and business head of Tadpole Projects had initially approached Jawaad to convert his 1936 Austin 10 like any other customer, however, his passion for vintage cars and the interest in Jawaad's works forced him to stick with Tadpole projects.
Chaitanya says that the EV conversion has made his life easier. There was a time when he had to call a mechanic all the way from Jaipur to Delhi which cost him around Rs.15,000 for service. He believes that it should actually cost him only Rs.2000 if he were to find a mechanic in Delhi. Now that his vintage car has been converted, the maintenance cost has reduced drastically and it has become hassle-free.
Tadpole Project is looking forward to entering the commercial sector which has huge potential. "We are getting into the business of converting, cars like EECO, Tata Ace and other Light Commercial Vehicles (LCV). This will bring down the pollution levels without adding more cars on the road," he added.
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