Imagine not feeling stressed when the Department of Energy announces a fuel-price hike, thanks to the type of car you drive.
Entrepreneur Antony English, co-owner and one of the brains behind Freedom Won, a Krugersdorp-based company that is converting various vehicles into electric drive is happy to announce that they have converted their third vehicle dubbed Freedom 3 for a Botswana-based client.
The client, Chobe Game Lodge on the banks of the Chobe River and the Caprivi floodplains read an article about the successful conversion of the Jeep Grand Cherokee now known as Freedom 1 and was so impressed that they wanted to see and test the vehicle themselves.
“We were so thrilled that we towed it all the way to the National Park, which is about 1 200km from where our business is, to share with them our vision and dreams,” says co-owner Lizette Kriel, the brand and strategy brain behind Freedom Won.
“The Lodge dreamt of having their game-drive vehicles as well as their electric boats electrified,” she says.
English says he hasn’t considered converting boat engines before but he is excited to take on this challenge also for Chobe Game Lodge.
“The boat engine to be converted is in the workshop.”
With his skills and the help of two interns Miguel Rodrigues and Daniel Kriel they have completed Chobe’s first converted electric Land Rover, which will be unveiled at a media launch on 20 August.
“We are very proud of what we managed to achieve,” he says.
English, who is a full-time project manager, is excited to see how the idea of electrifying vehicles of ten years ago are bearing fruit.
“It is such an amazing experience and very rewarding. Seeing how our hard work finally is paying off feels like an accomplishment.”
English a qualified engineer says as new-comers they are happy to be part of a whole new market .
“We have a passion for the market and want to live our electric dreams,” says English.
Although conversions are set to be about R290 000 per vehicle, which seems expensive, English says one actually will be saving a lot more.
“You will not have to worry about fuel price increases, failing engines and paying for car services as there is no running engine. The only components of the car that will need replacement after a decade or longer are the batteries.”
Their own electric vehicle Freedom 1, which can reach a speed of about 135km/h has done over 45 000km.
“We have saved over R100 000 already and the batteries are still going strong.”
Another concern people have is running out of battery power.
“At this stage these cars would not be ideal for longer distances, but for shorter distances such as driving to work and back, or for a stay-at-home mom who needs to get around during the day as this vehicle can do 150km easily without having to charge the batteries.”
Their future plans are to convert ten vehicles a month, remain on the West Rand and they are looking forward to the day when the world would not depend on oil anymore.