WARNING - Unsolicited Request for Postal Drop Address in UK

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WARNING - Unsolicited Request for Postal Drop Address in UK

Postby martinwinlow » Fri Sep 18, 2009 3:46 pm

Dear BVS,

I received an email today from a Mr Bernard Borremans of Belgium asking me to agree to him using my address as a UK-based address to which he can have sent documentation relating to an EV conversion. It sounded a bit odd and so I replied in the negative. I thought that if it was a sort of phishing scam that he might try other EV'ers, hence this post. I suspect he got my email off my EVAlbum entry.

His original email and my (edited) reply are reproduced below. Maybe I'm just too cynical in my old age.

Regards, MW.

From: Bernard Borremans <bernard>
To: m.winlow@btopenworld.com
Sent: Thursday, 17 September, 2009 5:52:21 AM
Subject: electric car


My name is Bernard and I am from Belgium.

I would like to convert a little Renault F4 van into an electric car.
The main reason for this mail is that I need some "strategic" help.
Other reasons could be "technical help" because your conversion looks really interesting, but that chapter could be opened later, if you want.

Please let me explain, as short as possible, my problem.

On the continent ( at least in Belgium and France ) the first thing you have to do if you want to convert a vehicle is : get the agreement of the car builder.
Without his permission the car can not be used on the road.

I did so in july this year, and RENAULT simply refused.
( the reason mentioned is that that type of car never officially was agreed with an electric engine )
The result is dramatic !

I am often in France ( I have an atelier there in the area of Maubeuge ) and I tried there also ... with the same results ...

That's the first time in my life I would prefere to live on an island ...
and that idea ...
gave me another idea :

If I drive a "regular" british car on the continent everything is ok ...

so all I need is to make my car "British" !

How can I do this ?

step 1 : Create some "non profit" association in the UK that has as main goal "promote conversion and use of electric cars".
step 2 : Make that the association "owns" the car.
step 3 : Registrate the car in England.
step 4 : Make the conversion.
step 5 : Drive it , and keep it in conformity with UK regulation ( insurance, MOT, what else ? )

The "stategic" help I need is :

- an english address for the association that would be created;
- a kind of "post-box" help consisting in the "transfer" of the post.
( once the car is "registred" only a very few papers a year need to be transferred, such as the bill for the insurance and the )

I know that what I am asking needs good reflexion, but in facts it's only a game.
A game on paper, but with important ecological implications.
I could perfectly understand that you don't want to be involved in this type of initiative, but your own project make me think that, at least, you could feel some sympathy for my purpose. So even if you don't want to involve yourself, maybe you know any person or organisation that should be disposable to it.

So please take your time before you answer and feel free to ask me any question or information you want.

Most important of all maybe : I will finance the complete story, so nobody else than me has to put one penny in it.

Looking forward and thanking for your reaction,

Bernard Borremans


Dear Bernard,

I hope you will not be offended by this but I must confess that my first reaction to your message was that you were trying to commit some sort of fraud with me as the victim - or at least unwitting accomplice. As you must be aware, there is an awful lot of this sort of thing going on. I.... so I am probably a bit cynical and untrusting.

Assuming that is not the case and that you are just in a bit of a hole with you EV plans, I can offer you some hope by saying that, as far as I am aware (bearing in mind I deal with real-life vehicle registration issues on a daily basis at work) there is no reason why as an EU member (or anywhere else for that matter) you cannot own and have registered to you at a foreign address, a UK registered vehicle.

I also can not see why the vehicle cannot be insured in Belgium - the only issue will be the MOT (any UK registered vehicle over 3 years old requires an annual mechanical integrity and emissions test called an 'MOT'). I strongly suggest you contact the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority based in Swansea, Wales) and ask their advice. I hope you have the patience of a Saint though, as I have just obtained my 'Electric' certification from them after a 4 month long battle with bureaucrats whose right hand does not know what their left hand is doing, who do not use email and will not give out a direct phone number and so route all their millions of calls via Wales! I would suggest visiting their web site (www.DVLA.gov.uk) but in the context of EV conversion it is useless.

The only way around the MOT issue is to convert a van as it usually won't require an MOT.

Assuming this IS an attempt at some sort of fraud, I must advise you that I will be posting your details on to the Battery Vehicle Society web site to warn other UK based EV'ers of your activities.

Regards (and assuming you are not a villain) good luck,

Martin Winlow.

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Postby timpootle » Fri Sep 18, 2009 5:45 pm

A well-balanced reply, Martin.

The original letter sounds genuine to me. I think someone on here has made a similar request, or at least been put in the same position by the Belgian authorities.(or was it Dutch?)

I am not at all surprised that Renault replied in the negative - they wouldn't condone an aftermarket radio or different tyres to the ones they certified the car with.

Maybe Mr Borremans will pop up here to see what you have posted about him, and get help and advice from the several continental EVers we have.
Tim Crumpton

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Postby ChrisB » Fri Sep 18, 2009 8:40 pm

Sounds fairly plausable, although if it was me I'd grab a Berlingo or Partner or any of the PSA vehicles and get out and start driving it 8)

It all sounds very hard work just to drive a conversion about, and how you'd convince a UK insurance company to insure such a vehicle that doesnt actually live in the UK would be interesting as well :?

I reject reality and substitute my own !!!!!!

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Postby martinwinlow » Sat Oct 03, 2009 4:45 pm

I have excahnged a few more emails with Bernard and it appears he is on the level, should anyone be in a poition to help him. MW

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