Topeka Tired of high gas prices, employees at Topeka Electric Motor Repair Inc. have converted a 2000 Chevrolet S-10 pickup to an all-electric vehicle.
Topeka Electric Motor designed the conversion with an eye toward regular production depending on market demand, said Stan Martindell, owner.
The truck, with its four-cylinder engine getting 20 mpg, normally would cost about 20 cents per mile to operate with $4 per gallon gasoline. But as an electric vehicle, it operates for 2 cents per mile.
Invented in the late 1800s, electric vehicles pre-date gas-powered vehicles.
"It is golf-cart technology with forklift components," said Clyde Schwanke, Topeka, owner of four electric vehicles.
Schwanke said his family drives and charges three electric vehicles daily. He said his monthly electric bill is about $75 - nearly the same as three years ago before his family had electric cars.
The vehicle runs about 40 miles on a single charge. One end of the cord plugs into the former gas cap, and the other end fits in a standard 110-volt outlet. A standard charge takes eight to 10 hours.
The converted electric pickup has three gauges that show voltage of the battery, amps being consumed by the vehicle and volts going into the motor. When coasting down a hill, the volts going into the motor drops to zero.
The pickup has a five-speed manual transmission and can drive up to 70 mph.
Martindell said he would consider adding staff and space to make vehicle conversions if there is sufficient demand.