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AC Propulsion President Tom Gage with EV World's Bill Moore
AC Propulsion President Tom Gage speaks with EV World's Bill Moore during the Santa Monica AltCar Expo in early December 2006. The converted Toyota Scion xB behind them is powered entirely by lithium ion batteries and has a 'realistic' range of between 120-150 miles with 7 seconds 0-to-60 acceleration. Price of the conversion alone is currently $55,000.

ACP's Magic eBox

Video interview with AC Propulsion President Tom Gage at the AltCar Expo, Santa Monica, California.

By EV World

It's finally here after years of anticipation, AC Propulsion's electric Scion xB conversion.

The company that has helped keep the dream of quiet, clean, yet powerful and fun electric drive vehicles alive, has given the little 103 hp, petroleum-swigging, 4-banger the old heave ho, along with its exhaust system and gasoline tank, In its place they've installed a 120kW version of their ACP150 electric drive, powering it with 5000 off-the-shelf, lithium ion cells that are hand-assembled into a battery pack. According to company President, Tom Gage, it has the feel and performance of a V8 gasoline engine, but without a whiff of tailpipe pollution.

EV World's Bill Moore interviewed Gage during the recent AltCar Expo in Santa Monica, California to learn more about this groundbreaking vehicle that not only is all-electric, but incorporates one of the first "Vehicle-to-Grid" (V2G) charging capabilities, which will become an increasingly important economic asset as experts pointed out during hearings last September in Sacramento.

As Gage explains in this exclusive EV World video, ACP has converted three of the boxy, but light and roomy Toyota Scions to electric drive, and have five more conversions for customers in the shop, the first to be delivered sometime this month.

He points out that because the lithium ion batteries are so much lighter than other battery options, they "de-tuned" the electric drive to ensure a longer life span for the battery. But even at 120kW, the car can still do zero-to-60 in about 7 seconds, which is two-and-half seconds faster than the five-speed gasoline model.

"Realistic" range is 120-150 miles, Gage estimates, adding that "if you really know how to drive an electric car, you can probably go 180 (miles on charge).

The Scion eBox program began in 2004, but was delayed due to other projects, until 2005 when the company received enough funding to work on it full-time. Gage said that he hopes to build 20-30 vehicles in 2007, which currently are selling for $55,000 with the customer supplying the vehicle, bringing the total cost closer to $70,000.

AC Propulsion, with the help of its new investors, hopes to eventually get the price of the complete vehicle first down to around $40,000 and then eventually to the $30,000 range, but that vehicle is likely to not be the Scion xB, since Toyota has redesigned their new model, making is larger and heavier. Gage didn't reveal what their next platform will be, but one might expect it to be built in Asia, possibly China given his investor's contacts in that part of the world.

Gage concluded by saying the company has a very aggressive business plan, which he wasn't at liberty to reveal. Given GM's announcement of the Volt this week, it's likely that plan may need to be revamped. But it wouldn't come as a surprise to us that given the fact that GM's electric drive can trace its heritage back to the precursor of the the ACP 150 and the fact that AC Propulsion is now gaining experience outsourcing their manufacturing -- presumably like Tesla to Asia -- that GM representatives might come calling.

That would be great for ACP, GM and the planet.

Be sure to read the accompany Open Access article, "Next Glimpse Inside the eBox" by Forbes Bagetelle-Black.



Times Article Viewed: 16577
Published: 12-Jan-2007

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