Electric Vehicles in the Mountains?

vailpassIn Colorado, we love to drive in the mountains. We love vehicles that have the power to race over the Divide, launch through the Eisenhower Tunnel and pass other lollygaggers while driving up steep grades. Maybe it’s just Americans in general but we are an independent lot.

So when people think of driving an electric vehicle (EV) in the mountains, they tend to think of tiny underpowered cars driving in the slow lane trying to make it over the Pass while the rest of the world races by. Possibly visions of running out of battery power stranded in the middle of nowhere.

In reality, the technology already exists to provide reliable, powerful, clean, electric power for vehicles. The technology is not new but due to many factors it has for many years been ignored.

current-home-adThere are several companies in Colorado advancing EV technology and providing practical real world solutions. Electric City Motors, located in Parker, Colorado, is the brainchild of S.T. Tripathi. A belief in creating an affordable, low emission, highway approved vehicle led S.T. to design and manufacture his own Electric Vehicle. What the Big 3 could not accomplish, S.T. not only accomplished but has built a thriving business around.

Electric City Motors produces a four door, highway rated, all electric vehicle dubbed the “The Current“. The Current features an all electric, zero emission motor capable of 70-75 mph on the highway with a range of  55-75 miles. Not lacking in power, S. T. claims that you will think there is a V8 under the hood.

Electric City Motors assembles the cars in Parker while the body and frame are molded in China. All of the remaining components are built in the U.S. with the drive trains also built in Parker. Not bad for under $30,000. Especially when you add in the $7,500 worth of tax credits.

Even more exciting is the all electric products_elec_pu_suvSUV and Pick-Up that the Electric City Motors website boasts as “coming soon”. Both feature 100-125 mile battery range and optional 4-wheel drive. And if all of this wasn’t enough, any vehicle can be upgraded to include a long range CNT-Battery that will take you up to 400 miles on a 5-10 minute charge!  Sign me up please!!

Another company in Colorado making valuable contributions to the world of electric vehicles is Boulder based Hybrids Plus. Founded by Carl Lawrence, a 20+ year EV veteran who has completed numerous gas to electric vehicle conversions, Prius Plus adds a conversion to the Toyota Prius and Ford Escape Hybrids. The conversion includes replacing the batteries with lithium ion batteries, adding the ability to plug in to an electrical outlet to recharge the batteries and “Charge Control” (V2G or Smart Charge) which monitors the vehicle when driving or plugged in.

plug-in-prius-610While not entirely electric, the Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) also features an internal combustion engine to charge the batteries when running low and add power for speeds over 35. The PHEV has many advantages in addition to boosting mileage to 90 mpg on the highway and 120 mpg in the city on the Prius.

The Prius Plus website explains that Charge Control “information is available over the Internet to the vehicle owner, for the purpose of tracking and optimizing the performance of the vehicle. With Smart Charge, power only flows from the grid to the car, while in V2G power can flow in either direction.

These Charge Control technologies will also allow an electric utility company to control a PHEV’s charging or discharging in real time, to postpone PHEV charging during time of peak demand, store energy during times of excess capacity or maximum wind and solar production, or to buy back energy from a PHEV’s battery as needed for load leveling or grid stabilization.” Pretty cool stuff!

If you are thinking of converting your existing internal combustion engine vehicle to electric, check out the Yellow Line Institute. The Yellow Line Institute is a non-yliprofit organization out of Golden working to promote the conversion of gasoline powered vehicles to electric.

Check out their website by clicking the image to the left and become a part of the EV discussion. Liz Brown, the executive director of the Yellow Line Institute, recently spoke at the Highland City Club in Boulder about electric vehicle conversion and the future of electric cars. Liz also presented Pete Hansen from Colorado’s Evolve It Motors who discussed ongoing electric vehicle conversion projects and their recent EV conversion of a Porsche 914.

If you are interested in Electric Motorcycles, Bicycles, Skateboards and Scooters, check out Colorado’s Mountain Utility Electric Vehicles. Owner and founder, John Eisler, can bring you up to date with all the latest products, innovations and technology when it comes to these fun and efficient Light Electric Vehicles.

Apparently there is no excuse to NOT be driving electric vehicles in the mountains.  Drive on!


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3 Responses to Electric Vehicles in the Mountains?

  1. If you need EV expertise; give me a call:::shopping; designing;buying parts or starting from scratch; been there, done that! If you have ever ridden the RTD free Mall Shuttle in Downtown Denver, you have seen some of my work!
    I’m Located in the Mountainous Valley Town of Silverthorne! At Your Service…
    Geoff Campbell //303.332.5597;TallGuy@mad.scientist.com:

  2. Someone in email asked about My Conversions… I would love to do the work but no longer have the facility; however I Would like someone to call me when we can start a new design on the drawing board: a new electric car, not just a car-made-electric! We ‘practiced’ on a 1994 Ford Ranger for the EV America contest back then and won some Honorable Mention; but the work was done at Unique Mobility (UQM) by a small group of guys at the shop and helped by a few of us outsiders; a large team effort that had fabricated a viable vehicle in about four months! Current conversion interests?: I can recommend the EvolveIt crew for old car rework and Hybrids Plus for Plug-In conversion of your factory Prius and Escape and similar. Also need to tell: recently worked on GH2 Diesel bus emission testing; I designed the Engine modifications as well as the fuel injection driver electronics and the data collection package installed on the vehicle; Ford 450 Bus chassis//fun stuff!

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