Home Retrofitters CARWATT, the circular economy pushed to the limit

CARWATT, the circular economy pushed to the limit

by Retrofit-Daily

CARWATT is dedicated to the electric retrofitting of industrial vehicles, by reusing batteries from car manufacturers, starting with the Renault Zoé. This is an alternative to buying new 100% circular economy batteries, already supported by Air France.

circular economy of machines
The circular economy practised on airport commercial vehicles.
Photos: Ken Yam and Jannes Glas – Unsplash


The transformation of thermal vehicles into 100% electric circular economy vehicles

With an engineer and former airline pilot at the controls, CARWATT could only see, not quite, doing what everyone else did. Its founder, Gérard Fledzer, is also co-president of the AIRe Association, which brings together the players in the retrofit industry in France. 

To make the conversion of combustion engine vehicles to electric vehicles even more virtuous, Carwatt decided to use second life batteries, from electric vehicles, from the Renault Group, notably with those of the ZOE or Kangoo Z.E.

The manufacturer’s batteries are renowned for their reliability and well-designed design. They have already proven their solidity when first used. When purchased after five or six years of use, their capacity is only slightly degraded… This means that they are still sufficiently efficient for everyday use.


circular economy of machines
circular economy of machines
The circular economy practiced on Air France’s commercial vehicles
Read also: EV Europe: from the T1 to the VW transporter, via the DS, or the electric utility vehicle


Industrial vehicles and sustainable energy

At CARWATT, the transformation from thermal to electric vehicles takes place on industrial vehicles. Starting with the machines used on the runways by Air France. 

Baggage trolleys are converted to electric and equipped with second-life batteries. Then come the runway trucks, stepladders, aircraft pushers… or the shuttles which take passengers to the runways.

More exotic, Carwatt also aims to transform photo safari vehicles in East Africa. As the speed of these vehicles remains modest, silence is essential so as not to frighten the animals. This makes the use of electric motors very appropriate. Without forgetting the possibility of recharging the batteries with photovoltaic panels installed on the lodges. 

The conversion of the vehicle to electricity coupled with the reuse of batteries powered by sustainable energy… The loop is closed.


car batteries
car batteries
Eric Planchais (left) Executive Director CARWATT, Yann Arthus-Bertrand, President of the GoodPlanet Foundation,
and Gérard Feldzer (right) President and Founder of CARWATT.


The transition to industrialization

The “industrial vehicles” activity also covers inland waterways with transport barges or tourist boats. Other “runways”, urban or road vehicles. There is no shortage of ideas. And to pass this essential stage of industrialisation, the company has moved to Coignières in the Yvelines. In what is known as the “Automotive Valley”.

 With 40 batteries reused in 2019, the partnership with Renault is growing stronger. CARWATT is giving itself two years to test all possible electric conversions. 

Watch the Air France and Carwatt video on Vimeo:

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