Retiree Converts Saturn Coupe to Battery Power

Sam Abuelsamid from AutoBlog Green recently talked to Bob Gurk, a retired autoworker, about how and why he chose to convert a Saturn SC into an electric vehicle. "He decided to build it about a year ago after seeing 'Who Killed the Electric Car?'" Sam explained in his story. Read an excerpt of his conversation with Bob below. Click through to read the entire article and view photos of Bob's electrified Saturn.

Bob retired after putting in thirty years at Ford and kicked off the project after doing some research by borrowing $6,000 and buying the Saturn for about $500. He chose the Saturn based on his belief that if someone is going to drive an electric car it should still be a nice looking and desirable car. He purchased the bulk of the parts started by pulling the original powertrain out. The conversion took about two months after being interrupted by surgery on his hand. He had help from his step-father and technical assistance Bob Batson at EV of America. Most of the original parts were procured from eBay, including a 9.1 inch DC electric motor. The motor is rated at 76hp peak and 24hp continuous. Bob kept a 5 speed manual transmission without the clutch so combined with the electric motor torque, the performance is adequate. Electrons are stored in a dozen Trojan deep cycle 12V lead acid wet batteries mounted in the trunk and under the hood. The batteries require maintenance about once a week and Bob has to add a gallon of distilled water. Other components were purchased from suppliers like KTA in California. Inside, Bob has added gauges to monitor the state of the system including individual level meters for each battery. The complete car weighs about 3,400lbs.

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1994 Saturn Indepth Overview

Model year 1994 marked what Saturn called "Balanced Excellence" in terms of offering customers exceptional value for their money in the small car market. Attaining "balanced excellence" required Saturn to pay critical attention to a host of buyer expectations. Among them were a high level of performance without sacrificing fuel economy or emissions; affordability while maintaining reliability and durability; and an overall commitment to quality without compromise. Accompanied by numerous continuous refinements, the family of 1994 Saturn sedans, wagons and coupes were proof that "balanced excellence" could be achieved through subtle refinements and continuous improvement.