Business green spark ev logo

Published on July 8th, 2011 | by Jeff McIntire-Strasburg

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New St. Louis Non-Profit Does Electric Car Conversion for Clunkers

green spark electric vehicles logo

If you use your car mainly for commuting or driving around town (which is most of us), an electric car may seem like a viable option… in most cases, “range anxiety” isn’t going to kick in for that kind of travel. But if you look at the prices on EVs, that viability may disappear: the Nissan LEAF, for instance, starts in the low $30s (before any tax incentives).

If you’re in an upper middle income bracket, you may be able to justify that price with some of the long-term offset of gas prices, or simply doing what you think is right for the environment, public health, and other worthy motivations. If you’re lower income, however, the idea the price differential between charging a vehicle and filling it up with gas is likely very appealing… but those sticker prices, even after rebates and incentives, probably put this option out of your budget. And it’s not like you can go out and buy a used EV1

There may be another used option for EVs: electric car conversion. That’s the idea, anyway, behind Green Spark Electric Vehicles, a new non-profit right here in St. Louis that sees this model as a way to provide affordable electric vehicles to those who could most use the economic benefit, as well as a way to create jobs and educational opportunities in this budding field.

When I say “new organization,” I mean it… the founders are at work on a proof-of-concept with a 1986 BMW 528e. They’re raising funds for this first conversion, which will cost about $11,000. Like other innovative non-profits, they’ve launched a crowdfunding campaign to support their work: they’d like to raise $10,000 through Indiegogo to get the 25-year-old BMW running on electricity.

Check out their site, blog, Facebook page, and Twitter feed, and see if you can pitch in. Great to see this kind of creativity at work right here in the Lou’!



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About the Author

Jeff McIntire-Strasburg is the founder and editor of sustainablog. You can keep up with all of his writing at Facebook, and at



  • http://greensparkevs.com Gerald Good

    Thanks for the press Jeff! You really captured what we’re trying to do with this post. Hope to see you when we roll out the first car!

    • http://sustainablog.org Jeff McIntire-Strasburg

      My pleasure, Gerald… and thanks for the kind words. Please keep me posted… really intrigued by what you guys are planning to do!

  • http://Web Sunni

    This sounds great! My husband has a 1974 MGB-GT he would love to be able to convert to electric. But we live in Spokane, WA. Maybe you can open up a franchise here someday!!

  • http://www.terracycle.net Jacob Ballard

    This is an interesting concept, but since old cars are being converted, how long will they last? Would it be more feasible to use a newer car in the 2000 range that no longer runs, purchase it for cheap and convert it? Also will people be willing to pay $11,000 for a car that is that old, even if it is newly converted? I like the concept, but it may need some fine tuning, I’m interested to see where it goes.

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