Thursday, August 21, 2014

A Tale of Two Electric Cars - Is the day of commercially available EV here?

 (First and foremost, John Santini, you and your creation rock! I am impressed with what you created and with the accomplishment of actually making it happen. Your car is infinitely cooler than the MiEV.)

For many years now, if you wanted a decent electric car with some real-world performance, you most likely would build it yourself. A few viable options have been available here and there, but very few. If you want to see lots of examples of these homebuilts and the ingenuity involved, follow the links at the bottom of this page. I visit one of those pages almost daily. In the last few days, John Santini's "the project" has caught my eye.

John's car can be found on

If you have any interest in EVs or in fabricating your own car, you owe it to yourself to check out the photos and the text. This thing is impressive! He used great components and built a very capable machine.

Now, let's look at some down and dirty stats:

Money invested (so far): $23,000
Seating capacity: 2
Top speed: 75 mph
Range: 90 miles (at 50mph on flattish ground)
Time to build (so far): 3 years

Just for the sake of comparison, let's do a quick websearch for a Mitsubishi MiEV for sale. The first site that popped up for me was (I picked the MiEV because I am interested in owning one, and I am cheap, and I have made no progress in finishing my own EV project. A Nissan Leaf might have been a better comparison.)

You can quickly determine that a lightly used 2012 Mitsubishi MiEV will bring somewhere around $12,000.
(Depending on where you live and what incentives are available, your cost for a new 2014 model should be somewhere between $12,000 and $17,000.)

Money invested: $12,000
Seating capacity: 4
Top speed: 81 mph
Range: 62 miles (most drivers report numbers closer to 72)
Time to build: not applicable - just jump through a few hoops and buy one.

Can the average Joe take three years and $23,000 to build an electric car?

Can the average Joe get a loan for $13,500 (taxes, delivery, etc.) to buy a late-model car?

Will the average Joe laugh as he cruises past the gas station and the oil-change place?

We keep rolling closer.

May you laugh as you cruise past stuff!

To see more cool homebuilts: