By Paul Pancella
Seven years ago, I converted my 16-year-old gas burner to a new electric car. I call it my Hondatron.
Let me introduce myself. I’m a physics professor with a longstanding appreciation of energy efficiency. Since the days of GM’s EV1, I wanted to buy a pure electric car for myself. I didn’t really want to move to California, however. Then they stopped making the EV1 (and a few other compliance cars), but I thought there surely would be more to come. Even after the great crushing of all those cars, there were regular reports of another commercial EV coming in “the next few years”, but it never seemed to happen.
Although we don’t have kids, I still live in a 2-car family with my wife. In early 2007 the Leaf was still 3-4 years away, and I was running out of patience. Our Prius hybrid hinted at the pleasures of driving electric. At a local screening of “Who Killed the Electric Car?” I discovered the existence of a significant conversion sub-culture. More internet research revealed that a car I already owned, the 1992 Civic hatchback, was considered an excellent candidate for conversion, due to good aerodynamics and low weight. When her engine went down to 3 working cylinders, I realized that its value as a potential EV was probably greater than what I would get for it as a trade-in, so I started getting serious.Read more