But the green under the hood is what really makes the car special.
“People come in and say, ‘Wow, is that electric?'” Knider told Global News as he reviewed the car at his East Vancouver store. “
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Kneider is president and CEO of Riise EV, a Vancouver-based company that specializes in electric conversion, and Porsche—his daily ride—is one of the company’s products.
The eye-catching and virtually quiet sports car recently got people talking at the Vancouver Sun Run, where it led the way as the 10km car.
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“This has more appeal, I’ve done something right, I’ve kept an old classic on the road, I’m cleaner, greener, no emissions, and that just makes sense,” he told Global News.
The conversion involved removing the car’s old 87-horsepower engine and replacing it with a 130-horsepower electric motor that Kneider jokingly called “a 60-pound turkey.”
Add the batteries and the car will be about 100kg heavier but deliver 50 percent more power.
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In its current phase, the Riise EV specializes in converting sports cars and classic cars, usually at a cost of $50,000 to $100,000.
“The cars are great and we will always do them to keep the classics on the road. And people are willing to pay the price to get them, and have them all-electric,” Knider said.
“A lady called me with a faulty Volkswagen 76, a guy came in with an old Rolls Royce, and I had guys come here with tractors and SUVs.”
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But this is just the beginning. The company is also announcing the conversion of its commercial and bus fleet, a route Kneider hopes to expand into a staple in the business.
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At the right scale, he said, converting a school bus to electric would cost about half the price of a new car’s $400,000 — which makes economic and environmental sense.
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“Buses are a huge opportunity for us,” he said.
“We are trying to create a platform with buses where we can provide a massive amount of buses for half the price, so we can return $100,000 to schools for sports equipment and $100,000 for musical equipment and still have an electric bus.”
As part of its offering to fleet vehicle operators, the company says it is operating within the guidelines of government-funded Green Support Programs, ensuring that owners qualify for credits and refunds for transfers.
Electric conversions are, in Kenneder’s mind, an untapped niche market and a major step for Canada as the country attempts to switch from gas-powered engines to zero-emissions vehicles by 2030.
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He said converting conventional vehicles to electricity would help the country achieve its climate change goals sooner, while avoiding the waste associated with retiring the millions of cars already on the road.
The conversion task can also be done quickly, more on the football field for months than the current long waiting list for new electric vehicles.
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To that end, along with the company’s bus and fleet goals, Kneider hopes to develop an affordable conversion kit that makes operation accessible to anyone with a pickup truck.
“There are a lot of things that make more sense in the next 10 to 15 years to convert than to do anything else,” he said.
“Not everyone can buy a Tesla, and not everyone can buy an electric car, but someone can afford $30,000 and convert their current car if we hit that kind of scale.”
Those business goals haven’t been met yet, and Kneider said there are still Transport Canada regulations standing in the way of getting the bus business where the company wants it.
He acknowledged that it will take a few years to get to where he wants the company to go, but said the Riise EV team of six and its investors have the vision and passion to get there.
“Persevere is one,” he said.
“Plus I am driven by my children to be successful in something that changes the world.”
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