PHOTO CAPTION: 2011 Honda Civic concept car.

Using Robotics to Create Affordable Electric Car Conversions

Carnegie Mellon University professor Illah Nourbakhsh envisions $14,000 Honda Civic EV conversions.

Published: 21-Feb-2011

A Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) professor envisions Pittsburghers converting their vehicles to run on electricity. Illah Nourbakhsh, a robotics professor at CMU, has developed a method of inexpensively converting a gasoline powered automobile to electric power. Currently, according to Nourbakhsh, a Honda Civic can be converted for approximately $14,000, compared to the Nissan leaf that retails at $33,000.

The owner of Baum Boulevard Automotive in Greensburg, Chuck Wichrowski has partnered with the CMU professors to do the initial conversions. Each conversion would take approximately two days.

With the political climate moving towards green energy, Nourbakhsh seems to be on the cutting edge of the newly emerging technology. Car manufacturers are already coming out with their versions of green vehicles. The new Chevrolet Volt, and Nissan’s Leaf are among the new green vehicles currently on the market. Ford will introduce their All-Electric Focus sometime before the end of 2011. Each of these vehicles get approximately 100 miles per charge and can take up to 10 hours to replenish.


TREV two-place electric car

Student-built vehicle can do 0-60 in 10 seconds with top speed of 75 mph. Photo courtesy of University of South Australia.

Arcimotor plans to sell the vehicle for under $20,000.

The all-electric prototype took two years and $100,000 to build and has range of 50 miles.

Front view of Arcimoto Pulse being developed outside Portland, Oregon.

Professional planner Larry Weymouth thinks our urban transportation system can be adapted to the realities of the new century.


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