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In the spring of 2007 there was only one way to have your own full speed electric car and that was to build it yourself. The last major automakers to build modern electric cars shut down their meager production lines in the months leading up to a critical vote of the Board of Directors of the California Air Resources Board in 2003. In that vote, they struck down a clause that was inserted in the Low Emissions Vehicle legislation of 1990. The Zero Emissions Vehicle Mandate was put in place specifically to provide a market for new technology – zero emission technology – and thus enable commercial development and production of cars that would put an end to the massive air pollution problems that continue in Southern California and urban centres around the globe to this day.

Any conversion project undertaking is a huge commitment to see completion. Re-powering a vehicle -- and doing it right -- respecting the engineering of the original manufacturer, and ensuring an appropriate level of integrity for convenience, safety, and protection of systems takes great effort and dedication. Engineering such a project draws on a vast array of knowledge and if you don't have it all at your fingertips, it's impossible to get it right the first time. Now that I've had the chance to fully test drive my conversion (for the past year) there are some decisions that I wouldn't repeat. But that is how product development regularly unfolds. The alpha prototype can always be improved upon. Despite a one off production expectation, choosing the correct car to convert has many aspects to it. I wanted to end up with a vehicle that would be a suitable promotional vehicle, for my business, for my own sense of pride, and for the EV movement in general. Yes, there were kits available for popular conversion cars to enable a 2-3 weekend conversion process, but at the time they were still basic DC series-wound motors with lead acid batteries. I.e. very basic. Lithium was just becoming readily available to the one-off conversion enthusiast. I had cut my teeth in electric technology through a Toyota Prius, which had full regenerative braking technology, and this was a must have. So the project car had to have the correct alchemy to be a success. The car needed to be relatively light, good aerodynamics, enough space for placement of parts, and had to answer this most important question: After all this dedicated effort, cost and time, would you feel good driving it in the end? The answer for me and my project was, and is: Yes!


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