Thursday, March 24, 2011
This week Carnegie Mellon University Researchers will unveil a 2002 Honda Civic that has been converted from gas to all-electric. The Civic is the prototype for the university’s ChargeCar Electric Vehicle Conversion Project. The Civic's powertrain has been replaced with a 35-horsepower electric motor and 33 lithium-iron-phosphate batteries. It's estimated to be able to travel more than 40 miles at a peak speed of 70 miles per hour. Ben Brown, a Project Scientist with the Robotics Institute, says the car travels a sufficient distance for most drivers. "The Department of Transportation statistics suggest that somewhere around a 40 mile range is quite adequate." An open house showcasing the car takes place March 25 at 3p.m. in the Electric Garage located at 4621 Forbes Avenue in Oakland. At the unveiling, researchers will be taking names of those who want their car to be converted. Attendees will also have the opportunity to take a ride in an electric car. "One of the goals of this project is actually to get some vehicles out into the public and into the hands of the public in the Pittsburgh area to send a message that electric vehicles really are here and are practical," Brown says. Researchers are working with local mechanics and garages to expand use of the technology, and researchers will be available at the event for questions regarding issues and expenses involved with the conversion process.