Floridians Fashion Own Electric Cars, One At a Time

RebirthAuto sells $7,000 kit to convert original VW Beetles to electric drive.

Published: 16-Dec-2008

Cornelius Cronin bought a US$900 Chevy S-10 pickup and spent several weeks removing things he didn't like - mainly its dirty, gas-guzzling engine.

Jeff Jenkins and Sebastien Bourgeois converted a VW Beetle into an electric car. They also sell kits so others can do the same.
He fitted an electric motor and batteries under the hood, and now purrs around Oldsmar, Fla. in a red truck that uses no gas and emits no air pollution.

A documentary film asked: Who killed the electric car? Maybe a better question is: Who built the electric car? At a time when the federal government is investing in hydrogen fuel cell research, and big automakers are working on more sophisticated hybrids, a growing number of creative tinkerers and small businesses around the Tampa Bay area are taking a different tack.


Ray Lane, managing partner of venture-capital firm Kleiner Perkins, Caufield and Byers, which has invested in Think, believes Think could eventually sell as many as 30,000 to 50,000 City cars a year.

The production electric vehicle to be introduced in 2010 will have a unique bodystyle and is not based on any existing Nissan model, unlike the technology 'mule' pictured above.

The 100-mile range electric car has been operating with Japanese power companies for the last two years.


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