The United States House of Representatives approved increases in federal vehicle fuel efficiency requirements last Thursday, in an energy bill (PDF) that also gets rid of billions of dollars in tax breaks for oil companies and encourages the use of renewable fuels. But the average American has been able to decrease their energy usage, by converting their car to electric, for the past 20 years. One Californian company, Electro Automotive, has been selling electric car conversion kits since 1979. Any car, from a Toyota pickup truck to a Honda Civic, can be retrofitted for around $7,000 and plugged into a power socket.
Electric car conversion kits are not for the faint-hearted. Companies that sell kits may help with design and parts identification, but they might not do the conversion for you. Websites like The Electric Vehicle Association of Greater Washington DC provide advice for the aspiring electric car mechanic. Jerry Halstead has chronicled his adventures converting his Ford Probe to electric; Australian, Andrew Arbon converted his Datsun, with the added complication of solar panels; while a Japanese initiative offers solar-electric Mazda Roadster conversions for $21,000. Note: The author is not affiliated with Electro Automotive. Further Reading: