Drivers Building Their Own Electric Cars

Posted: August 15, 2008

Tesla Roadster Pictures Tesla Roadster Pictures

Some of us can't afford the Tesla Roadster and don't want to wait for the Chevy Volt. 

CNN explains, "A growing number of Americans" have "rebelled against the status quo by ripping out their gas-guzzling engines and replacing them with zero-emission electric motors," and "they say just about anyone can do it."  Larry Horsley of Douglasville, Georgia, says he converted his Chevy S-10 pickup to electric power for "about $12,000, which parts dealers say is about standard."  His truck uses six 20-volt golf cart batteries, has a top speed of 60 mph and can travel 40 miles between charges.

Atlanta, Georgia's David Kennington estimates that "he has saved $700 since switching [his Honda Civic] to electric four months ago. He's quick to point out that that's just the savings on gas. He also doesn't have to pay for oil or filter changes, since there is no engine oil or fuel filters to change."

Chevy Volt Pictures Chevy Volt Pictures

Jalopnik comments, "While this might not be the most cost-effective way to lower the price of commuting, it's a fun project for those looking to go green and who aren't interesting in taking the easy way out" by waiting for mainstream manufacturers to offer electric cars.

For those who want gas savings but don't want the limited range of home-built electrics, there are also a number of companies developing kits to convert conventional cars into hybrids.  Poulsen Hybrid, for instance, builds a kit that attaches a pair of hub motors to the rear wheels of almost any car, recovering braking energy and converting it into a propulsion boost to increase gas mileage.

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