Founded by a couple of Brazilian immigrants, Natal de Avila Antonini and Magali Freiberger dos Santos, Upcycle Green Technology is first and foremost a mechanical workshop that follows “a strict protocol and clean technologies to do the dirty work as cleanly as possible, with the goal of ensuring the satisfaction of our customers and protecting the environment for future generations in Summerside and Prince Edward Island,” reads the company’s website.
The founders were inspired by the Saveiro van that the Volkswagen manufacturer manufactures in its factories in Brazil to offer a vehicle based on the platform of a Toyota Corolla sedan. “To make a compact van, we needed a small vehicle,” answers Magali Freiberger dos Santos when asked the question by the Canadian publication Le Soleil. “This car [the Corolla] is one of the best-selling cars in North America, so it's easy to find and buy it. It is very strong and has reliable mechanics and structure. Another key point was corrosion resistance, which is very important in Canada, due to the de-icing salt spread on our roads in winter.
Since the start of 2021, Upcycle has produced two prototypes of Toyota Corolla converted pickup truck with a 100 kilowatt (equivalent to 134 horsepower) electric motor that produces 235 newton meters (173 pound-feet) of torque. This engine is powered by a 26.2 kilowatt-hour battery, thus providing a range of 150 kilometers.
They plan to offer a Toyota Corolla EV version with more autonomy, "around 250 km, well before the start of production in the fall of next year,” specifies the co-founder. “But our vehicles will be produced for a niche market. They will be mainly dedicated to urban vehicle fleets and for people who want to create a circular economy and develop their local economy.”
For the rest of the technical specifications, the ECRV of Upcycle shares the same as those of the Toyota Corolla (speaking of Corolla, Toyota has revamped the 2023 Corolla hatchback). Curb weight and load distribution have not been changed, according to the Summerside firm. The vehicle has a payload of 1,100 pounds (500 kilograms) and a towing capacity of 1,500 lb (681 kg).
Ms. Freiberger dos Santos maintains that her company has received requests to deliver ECRVs to Quebec. “But 2023-2024 production of our first 100 units will be sold to our target customer base in Prince Edward Island. In our second year of production, we will expand our operations to other Canadian provinces,” she says. “Our franchise model is part of our long-term business plan. It will allow small communities, which have never thought of having an automobile manufacturing plant, to have their own small assembly plant. This will create skilled local jobs and use local resources to create regional prosperity.”
Upcycle is, however, accepting pre-orders from customers in other provinces. These will be added to the waiting list for delivery between 2024 and 2025. All you have to do is contact the firm by email, who will get in touch with their correspondent.
It remains to be seen how the Société de l'assurance automobile du Québec will receive the vehicle. This organization is known to be strict when it comes to vehicle conversion to electric.
Ms. Freiberger dos Santos says the authorities in Prince Edward Island are just as strict. “The rules must be followed to the letter and the designated provincial chief automotive engineer inspects the vehicle. For more than three years, Upcycle has worked and invested resources in this conversion project, using only one vehicle model,” she adds.
Finally, the ECRV will be offered at a cost of $35,000, before taxes and rebates. “In addition to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the vehicle will save $4,500 per vehicle annually,” concludes Ms. Freiberger dos Santos. The only thing I didn't understand when reporting this story is what range will those converted Toyota Corolla electric vehicles will have.
Would you welcome an electric Toyota Corolla? Please, let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.
Armen Hareyan is the founder and the Editor in Chief of Torque News. He founded TorqueNews.com in 2010, which since then has been publishing expert news and analysis about the automotive industry. He can be reached at Torque News Twitter, Facebok, Linkedin and Youtube.
Image Source: Upcycle.