This project started about a month ago when I became co-chair of the Oregon Electric Vehicles Association. I wanted a project that the group could share their collective brain power and rally around. With rising gasoline prices, I believe the demand for freeway capable electric vehicles is going to increase over the next few years.
While people can purchase neighborhood electric vehicles today for about $10K, they only have a top speed of 35 miles an hour or so, essentially glorified golf-carts. All the commercially available freeway-capable (70 mph) EVs are priced way out of reach for the average consumer. Today, there are high-end cars like the Tesla Roadster ($80,000) and the Fetish ($120,000) with future possibilities from LionEV, AC Propulsion and LionEV coming up for probably close to $30K.
What about the person who tinkers in their garage who drives like the typical person (<30 miles a day) and can only afford $10K-$12K for their car at most?
With that in mind, I sorted through the electric conversions over at EVAlbum and found several cars that you could purchase for under $2,000 on the local Craigslist classified listings. In short, I came up with four options for a practical, economical EV conversion:
- Ford Escort
- 5th Gen Honda Civic ('92-'95)
- Geo Metro
- Saturn SL2
Fortunately, Bob Bath down in Grants Pass has already compiled a huge amount of information on converting a 5th generation Civic at his CivicWithACord site. I ordered the CivicWithACord DVD and talked with him on the phone for a long time about all the little details. I really appreciate Bob's willingness to share his wealth of information. I hope this project furthers his vision of emission-free electric vehicles for people.
There are already commercially available kits with excellent, detailed instructions for how to convert a vehicle. Unfortunately, these kits are for much older vehicles like the Porsche 914 and the VW Rabbit. There's a kit for the Chevy S-10 pickup, but many people just want a practical car to zip around in. My goal is to create a Civic EV conversion kit with open-source tools and open-source designs/documentation so that the most people can benefit from it.
This blog is the story of my path towards that goal.
Damn the torpedoes. Here we go.