His trailer with Tesla batteries is powering buildings in Ukraine

Mark Areni from Perpignan, who fell in love with Romania during a volunteer mission, settled there a few years ago while developing solutions for thermal car upgrades and energy storage. This trailer, which he brought to Odessa to provide electricity to his workshop, office and residence, perfectly reflects his background and beliefs.

They know him

Many pioneers of electric mobility in France have already met or heard of Marc Areni. Before tackling Dacias, he modified a 1985 Porsche 944 he bought second-hand for €2,500 in 2013. Repair specialists in France know it: ” For example, we gave elements to the e-Néo for the Buggy realization, and we gave elements to Retrofuture for the Peugeot 504 coupe conversion, and it looks good to me for the Triumph Spitfire too. We also work with Lormauto, Design Solutions, LR Performance and more. we are in contact with “.

Exchange rate in Romania: “ After dozens of individual projects and without going to the series, we put aside the conversion of classic cars and dedicated ourselves to Motorsport. I’m a little tired of fighting for approvals. I have no such concerns for vehicles converted for racing “.

Porsche converted by Marc Areny

Now wanting to devote himself to easier and more comfortable projects, he retrofitted Land Rover Defenders and Porsches (911 and 964) for a partner: “ We did most of the work there, our partner did the finishing works himself. “.

photovoltaic harness

In 2017 I was asked to build an electric buggy to test at the Aïcha des Gazelles rally. The way was especially opened by Jazmin Grace Grimaldi, the daughter of the Princess of Monaco, and Kiera Chaplin, the granddaughter of the legendary actor. At that time I thought about power supply with solar panels “Marc Areny recalls.

We didn’t continue with the rally, but I stayed with my idea of ​​a photovoltaic trailer sized to power 5 electric cars under the conditions of this event. Served at Bucharest stage for EcoGP. We participated in slalom “he continues.

I knew Sergey Velchev, the founding director of EcoFactor in Odessa, Ukraine. He was the one who repaired Rafael de Mestre’s Tesla Model S after his accident. I called Sergey to talk about our trailer. He was in Britain but flew to join me the next day. Together we brought him to Odessa “, he explains.


Where I am, in Pitesti, northwest of Bucharest, we are far removed from the Russian-Ukrainian conflict. The country is 300 km as the crow flies or 500 km by road. We simply see French soldiers passing by with equipment. On the other hand, the closer you get to the border, the more affected Romanians are, the more worried they are, because they have friends or family in Ukraine. “says Marc Areny.

L. to R. Sergey Velchev and Mark Areni

L. to R. Sergey Velchev and Mark Areni

It is this anxiety that drives people away from solidarity. And this word solidarity “, has been in our interviewer’s vocabulary for a long time. He mobilized a valuable photovoltaic array to provide electricity to homes and businesses in Odessa, a city of nearly one million people: “ Sergey warned me that it is not without risk. A bomb may fall on it, I know and I suppose. It is a demonstrator of a solution that we intend to rent and sell. I leave it available all the time. After all, it is thus experienced in a very concrete way. “.

Undoubtedly, Mark Areni will always remember his arrival there: “There was no light. At night we could hear generators everywhere. “The price of fuel has been reset to facilitate its use.”

use it

The mobile unit is installed in a large workshop, near a charging station for electric vehicles, and attached to a housing bar: ” No solar panels are used. The trailer is mainly used as a buffer and to stabilize the current. It is charged when the grid is available and the demand for electricity is not too high. For example, early in the morning “.

In the event of a cut? ” When the grid is no longer available, it is the harness that supplies the electricity. When the batteries are discharged, an external heat generator powers them up. Before Christmas, the national electricity grid was only available a third of the time “.

From a distance, Marc Areny is able to tell us about the real-time usage of his solution: ” I have a Starlink connection to the system. Alarm graphs show me network losses. There, on this Thursday, January 12, 2023, at 11:10 a.m., the load level is 54% and the trailer is providing 20 kW of power. Not only for lighting, but also workshop tools. For heat, Ukrainians try to manage differently. In the workshop, for example, a wood stove with ventilation is installed. “.

Technical characteristics

The energy capacity of the photovoltaic trailer is 200 kWh: ” To do this, we removed a pack and a half of lithium-ion from a damaged Tesla Model S. We have reconfigured the mount for 48V. It can provide 50 kW of three-phase power. For this we have a 10 kVA Victron inverter for each of the 3 phases of the battery and a 25 kVA Fronius for the additional panels. “.

Additional photovoltaic panels? So basically these are the 9 we see in the trailer: 3 in the center and 3 more mounted on sliding side drawers on each side? ” Yes. For example, it is possible to add 60 additional 400W panels to be placed around to power an event. So we have a real micro power plant. We regularly receive unexpected requests “.

To bring a touch of ecology to the event? ” Exactly, no, not necessarily. This is mostly due to practical reasons or imperatives. Thus, for shooting feature films with significant restrictions on external noise. Also, bringing fuel tankers for large generators can be a problem in some places. The same is true for concerts in the Danube Delta and by the sea. “.

Soon in France

We have a demand for similar projects in France. That’s why we are based in Lyon-Villeurbanne, in the Bel Air Industrie area, where there are already several startups. Under the Kitoffgrif brand, we will develop energy storage solutions. I’ll also do some Motorsport, but no classic upgrades », Marc Areny teaches us.

Robert Morandeira, another Perpignan pioneer of electromobility, is preparing a new event for the Pentecost weekend in his city at the end of next May. together with the Automobile Club du Roussillon, Free wheel will tell the story of mobility for the second year in a row. Bob66 will take care of the part in the car of the future, especially mentioning hydrogen, autonomous vehicles and improvement.

An opportunity to demonstrate a photovoltaic trailer? ” I don’t think so, because he will probably still be very useful in Odessa. On the other hand, I’m planning an as-yet-unbuilt prototype circuit or our converted Volkswagen Golf 6 for hill climbing. This Golf 6 should help the 15-year-old make his way in the competition. He excelled in Formula 4 at the Paul Ricard circuit and created a buzz at the Winfield driving school. “.

Other projects

Among other projects, we will support the manufacturer in upgrading 2 cars. The first will be a classic model, and the second will be an enhanced machine. For the car, W-Autosport should be there too. This workshop is known for making a 1000hp Fiat Multipla for YouTubers from the Vilebrequin channel. Turbo magazine from the M6 ​​should devote a report to it next September “, reveals Marc Areny.

We plan to release a prototype in the style of the Beltoise BT01 this summer. We want to demonstrate that with recycling we can achieve high performance with relatively little resources. In particular, we will reuse Tesla parts. As soon as the car is ready, we will bring it back to France “, he concludes

Automobile Propre and I would like to thank Marc Areni very much for his availability.

Read also
What electric cars can tow?

Author’s opinion

When we started imagining Mark Areny’s interview, we didn’t think of this Ukrainian angle. He forced himself during the discussion. First as a Frenchman’s idea of ​​accepting a conflict with Russia in Romania. Sometimes during a phone or live interview, all the richness of the topic is visible. Here it was.

This momentum received by Marc Areny is remarkable. This shows that it is possible to develop new solutions that can also be implemented through solidarity in real situations.

Regardless, this conflict in Ukraine is very painful. At the very least, it is the climate emergency that should mobilize every nation in the world. And the health and life of citizens. Peace should be clear today. There is no time for war. Many leading minds need improvement. And it’s not about electric motorization here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *