Published on July 8th, 2011 | by Jeff McIntire-Strasburg4
New St. Louis Non-Profit Does Electric Car Conversion for Clunkers
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.