ChargeCar Community Conversions: Practical, Electric Commuter Vehicles Now!
The technology for practical, short-range electric commuter vehicles (EVs) is here now! The ChargeCar project at Carnegie Mellon University aims to exploit today’s technology to make efﬁcient, clean, quiet, commuter electric vehicles available to the public, while providing a basis for local economic development and increasing public awareness of EVs. We have developed a “kit” of modular components that can be used to convert a conventional gasoline-powered car to 100% electric power in a matter of a few days, utilizing commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) components, along with existing manufacturing facilities and automotive garages. This kit has been installed and tested in two Honda Civics, and has performed well in over 3500 miles of driving. The prototype vehicles have a range of 40+ miles, top speed in excess of 70 mph, and charge overnight on any 120 VAC receptacle. Present efforts are toward commercializing the manufacturing and conversion process, while continuing related research in compound energy sytems—e.g. battery plus ultracapacitor—and pursuing educational efforts with the public and local schools.