This Company Converts Old Corollas into Electric Pickups

A company based in Stratford, P.E.I. is converting old Toyota Corolla into an electric pickup. Upcycle Green Technology takes 10th gen Toyota Corolla models and transforms them into pickup trucks.

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Body is altered from sedan to a pickup while the engine is removed, and is replaced by electric batteries. The company says it has completed the first two prototype pickups this summer, after two years of refinements and is now taking orders for its first round of production of small electric pickup trucks.

Natal Antonini, a mechanical engineer who moved to P.E.I. through the provincial nominee program in 2019 says:

“It’s amazing for us, because it’s hard to explain to people, what is a small pickup truck here. We have a lot of these small pickup trucks in Brazil, but here in North America, it’s hard to find one. So we think there is a good niche market for this kind of vehicle.”

The target market for the new pickup is managers of companies with fleets who are looking for a smaller, more economical vehicle to travel short distances. According to Antonini, the average light pickup truck on P.E.I. would use 15 liters of gas every 100 kilometers, or about $30 worth. However in comparison, the electric pickup will use only $2.50 worth of electricity per 100 kilometers.

Antonini goes on to add that “It makes sense, if you have a fleet, to have small pickup trucks to mix with the other pickup trucks, and just save money,” whereas he also thinks professionals like plumbers and carpenters will be interested.

The company says they are giving a brand-new life to cars that otherwise may go to a scrapyard and believes it’s going to almost double the lifespan of these vehicles. Company partner and manager Magali Freiberger said they hope to create more jobs when the assembly line is up and running. She said Upcycle started taking pre-orders two weeks ago, and already has a deposit on more than 20 trucks.

These electric pickups will sell for $35,000, with a range of 150 km before they need recharging, and there will also be a more expensive version that can travel farther. The initial production will be 100 vehicles per year, scaling up to 200 in a few years.

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