[Oeva-list] Advice for new EV maker? 1986 VW Cabriolet

Lincoln Thomas linc.thomas at comcast.net
Mon Jul 7 20:40:53 PDT 2008

Hi all,

My 1st post here. I came to the EV Awareness Day, thanks GregG and TimK 
and others for talking with my wife Deb and I. You got us motivated!

We are interested in converting a car to an EV. Here's what we're 
thinking, any advice from the Oregon EVers out there?

My wife & I own a 1986 yellow VW Cabriolet in great condition in 
Colorado. We just moved here to Portland, leaving it there for now. 
We're planning to fly back for a CO visit, where we could sell it at the 
VW Bug-In in Denver in August, where classic VW fans would want it.

We think it would make a great chassis to convert to an EV, good paint, 
no rust (Colorado plains weather), mechanically fine if you remove the 
non-EV parts. But I'm not mechanically experienced enough in vehicles to 
be confident converting it myself. I also thought as a convertible it 
might be too heavy, but I just counted a dozen Cabby's on evalbum.com 
<http://evalbum.com> !

I'm also thinking convertibles (which leak in heavy rain) may not be 
that popular in wet Portland, but I could be wrong?

I know Electro Automotive (www.electroauto.com) sells a kit for the VW 
Rabbit/Cabriolet. Does that make it a lot easier to install than, say, a 
"universal" kit where you just buy a set of parts known to work together?

We really like the VW Golf too (we had one, sold it), and we think it 
would make a great EV car, and there are many aging Golfs on the market 
with crummy engines (we'd dump it anyway to make an EV) and still a good 
body/suspension. In fact there's the VW/HEC "CityStormer" EV sold only 
in Europe 1995-98 which are converted Golfs ( 
http://www.evalbum.com/160.html ). But I haven't found any kits out 
there to convert a ICE Golf to an EV, from Electro Auto or anywhere 
else. The few Golfs on evalbum.com other than CityStormers are 
do-it-yourself projects. So it might be easier to convert the Cabby, 
with a kit. Unless you know of a VW Golf kit, or similar?

So, we're wondering what to do. Sell the Cabriolet as-is in Colorado and 
buy a Golf here in the Portland area? Convert the Cabriolet in CO? There 
are no EV conversion shops I know of there. I know Portland is a big 
conversion hotspot, and we'd love to keep the Cabby as an EV, or sell it 
here as an EV if there was a demand, but I'm not sure it could be driven 
here with its current aging engine. It would last indefinitely as an 
around-town car, but over the Rockies we may have to ship it for ~$1000. 
Worth it?

We'll see you at this Thursday's OEVA meeting downtown.
Lincoln Thomas
Deborah Pike-Thomas

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