1983 Porsche 911 SC Targa

Saturday, July 13, 2013

EV Celebration Day - Electric Car Show

The car has been washed, vacuumed, and charged. I’m taking the car to Portland’s Pioneer Courthouse Square to be displayed at EV Celebration Day. I hope to show that there are solutions for reducing our dependence on oil, and that it can be fun at the same time.

Here is my frequently asked questions list that I’ve compiled from showing off the car during the brief time since car has been on the road:


1. Why did you convert a car to electric drive?

I drove an electric truck 15 years ago. It was owned by my college, and I got to drive it for a summer job I held on the campus grounds crew. When I found out that I could acquire the parts needed to build my own, I knew I would someday convert a car. The simplicity, silence, and power of an electric motor is appealing. With the advances made in lithium ion battery technology, electric vehicles are feasibly alternatives to internal combustion vehicles. When the price of batteries come down, EVs sales will take off.

2. What about the production EVs that are available?
There are a lot of nice production EVs that have recently become available, and they are very nice cars. There are a lot of electric cars currently in product development, and we should continue to see a steady increase in the types of electric cars that are commercially available This project was about picking a car I really liked, and seeing what I could do in my garage.

3. Are EVs better for the environment?

That’s a difficult question and there are a lot of opinions. If your electricity is sourced from coal, the environmental impact may be about the same as a gasoline car. But if your electricity comes from renewable sources, an EV is a much cleaner mode of transportation. With an electric vehicle, I have the option to produce my own, domestic, renewable power with a photovoltaic system. This is not possible with gasoline.

4. How far can you drive on a charge, and how long does it take to recharge, and what is the lifetime on the batteries?

The car has a range of 100 miles per charge. It takes about 10 seconds to recharge (I plug the car in and when I come back the battery is charged). The batteries are capable of recharging in about 20 minutes, if you have a powerful enough charger and electrical service. My car recharges in about 6 hours after my 25 mile daily commute. The lithium batteries have a rated lifetime of 3,000 charge cycles – about 300,000 miles.

5. How much does it cost to charge and what is the payback for conversion?
I pay the equivalent of $0.83 per gallon to fuel my car. My car would look very different if payback was a primary goal of the project. If I reach 250,000 miles, and gas process stay around $4 per gallon, I will cover the cost of the conversion.

6. How much does did it cost?

A common price for a conversion is $18,000to $22,000. I spent a little more than that getting a larger battery pack (over 40% of my total budget) and more powerful controller. I wanted to beat the stock acceleration performance of the car.

7. What’s the biggest difference now that the car is electric?

The power band of the motor is available anytime I press the accelerator petal. The acceleration at any speed immediately pushes you back into the seat. With the gas engine, peak power occurs at high engine revs. It never gets old pulling up to a stop, and hearing silence from the car. Not buying gas is nice, too.


  1. Your build turned out great and it is good to see your are having fun with it now by taking it to shows and getting to show it off to the general public.



  2. I'm curious that after you have had your event, if you have any Q&A to add to this list? Wg: One question that I get asked a lot is "You are going to so WHAT to this classic??".

    1. A few people have expressed their opinion that I have ruined the car. "I don't care what they did to those other cars, but what you did to this car is over the line." There is a strong emotional connection people have with cars, and some see what I've done as an affront to their ideals. One or two change their mind when I tell them that the performance is better than stock.

      A lot of people asked what kind of lead batteries I was using as they pointed to my cells, and when I say the magic words "they're lithium," the perception of the entire project changes. You can see the change on their face.

      Range was on a lot of people's mind, as well as cost.

      I overheard one person say, "I can't believe they made it look just like a real Porsche."

  3. Very inspiring. Thank you.