Matthew Quitter - the man who puts electric engines in classic cars
At Raft we believe in doing the right thing. And doing it yourself if necessary. We look out for people with the same ethic and, when we get a few moments, we ask them to share a few thoughts with us.
Meet Matthew Quitter of London Electric Cars. He takes old classic cars and turns them into mean green electric machines...[caption id="attachment_2298" align="alignnone" width="640"] Image: London Electric Cars[/caption]
Matthew Quitter is a bit of a car mechanic punk. He does his own thing in his own way, however difficult it is and however long it takes.
And what he does it pretty amazing. Matthew buys up old, polluting, fume-spewing but beautiful cars, strips out the engines and turns them into clean, green, electric vehicles.
It’s a brilliantly simple idea. We all want to go green - but what about all the millions of petrol and diesel cars already on the roads? If we just buy new electric cars and send the rest to the scrapheap the waste of metal would be mind-boggling. Matthew’s solution is London Electric Cars - a start-up company that’s got both the petrolheads and the eco warriors excited (and it’s not often that happens).
But like many brilliantly simple ideas, actually putting it into practice takes a lot of skill and hard work. Matthew has to employ a mix of cutting-edge digital tech and traditional manual engineering knowhow. The process starts with 3-D computer modelling and ends with Matthew tinkering away for hours in the garage, his head stuck deep under the bonnet, trying to fit recycled laptop batteries into a 1950s chassis.
‘The perfect city car’
Matthew’s prototype was a classic 1953 Morris Minor Series 2. The reviews from the motoring press were beyond glowing. The Telegraph called it ‘the perfect city car’ and suggested it might be the vehicle that ‘changes the world’.[caption id="attachment_2300" align="alignnone" width="640"] Image: London Electric Cars[/caption]
It’s beautiful and very cool, with a cheesegrater grille, spacious interior and an original minimalist-design dashboard. A hidden bluetooth speaker fills the silence of the electric engine, which can be charged from 13A household socket.
There’s no road tax, no congestion charge and it costs just £1 a week to run around London.[caption id="attachment_2301" align="alignnone" width="640"] Image: London Electric Cars[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2302" align="alignnone" width="640"] Image: London Electric Cars[/caption]
The electric game-changer
Having nailed the Morris, Matthew is now working on other favourite cars, including a Land Rover and a classic Mini. But more importantly, he’s also working on a project that could be a real game-changer: home electric conversion kits. The goal is to enable people to convert their own cars to electric vehicles without any need for welding or cutting.
If that takes off, Matthew Quitter could be the car mechanic punk who changes the world. ‘Funnily enough,’ says Matthew, ‘My friends literally do call me a punk. It’s how we greet each other. Yo punk! I thought it was fairly common?’
Right now there’s nothing much common about a classic car with an electric engine on the streets of London. But one day, who knows?