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Alexandra Paul with Tom Gage discussing AC Propulsion's eCube
AC Propulsion president Tom Gage, wearing an 'I am not dead yet' t-shirt, discusses the eBox electric car conversion of a Scion xB with actress and activist Alexandra Paul. Ms Paul has owned an EV1 and currently drives a Toyota RAV4 EV.

First Peek Inside the eBox

AC Propulsion gives EV World correspondent first glimpse of battery electric Scion xB conversion

By Forbes Bagatelle-Black

When we were not test driving the eBox, I had a chance to talk to Tom Gage. He explained that the eBox borrows most of its drivetrain technology from the tzero. The motor, controller and regenerative brakes are all evolutions of the equipment developed for the tzero over the last several years. It also uses the same traction control system.

The maximum speed is electronically limited to 90 mph. The eBox will go from zero to sixty mph in under seven seconds. The battery charger is located on-board, so all that is required to charge is a connection to utility power terminated in a mating connector. The eBox can be charged on various different utility voltages, 110V, 208V, 240V, etc. It can charge on either 50 or 60Hz, so the car is ready for overseas markets. As an added bonus, the controller is set up to interface the battery pack with utility power as a "vehicle to grid," (V2G) system.

When I asked Gage about future production plans, he said, "We will be building one eBox per month until early next year. At that point we will either start building a lot of them, or we will move onto a new vehicle. It all depends on how they sell."

A couple of people asked if AC Propulsion is taking orders. Gage explained that for $55,000, AC Propulsion will convert a customer's xB to an eBox. Drivetrain parts and installation labor are included in this price. Nobody grabbed for a checkbook immediately, but Earl Cox asked Gage what it took to get on the list. "$10,000 and an xB gets you in the queue," Gage replied.

Later, Gage told me that he was confident that AC Propulsion could bring materials costs down dramatically if a major auto manufacturer committed to installing the eBox drivetrain in on or more of its vehicles. "At 50,000 to 100,000 units manufactured per year, we could bring materials costs down to a retail price equivalent of $10,000 per drivetrain."

Personally, I do not think I will be able to wait for one the big companies to license this technology from AC Propulsion. I want my eBox right now.

AC Propulsion eBox electric car

AC Propulsion eBox Specifications:

Range: 140-180 miles

Acceleration: 0 to 60mph in less than 7 seconds

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