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here is a way to travel from place to place in an automobile without paying for gasoline and 84-year-old Rosario Accardi has been doing it for the past two years.

Just hours after purchasing a fuel-efficient Smart car in 2008, he sent the car to Moorseville, N.C., to get it retrofitted and now it runs on pure electricity.


So for the past two years, when motorists around him were stopping at gas stations and spending well over $40 to fill up their tanks, Accardi drove past them all with a smile on his face because he was able to keep that extra money in his pocket.


While taking a test run with Accardi, he said driving past the gas stations has been one of the best things about owning his electric automobile.
It looks like a car, it feels like a car, and it rides like a car but Accardi is getting an extra benefit because his is electric.

"It is just like a regular car. It’s got a pick-up like a regular car, plenty of room in the inside like a regular car, and it has air conditioning, heat and radio," he said.


The Smart car cost Accardi just over $17,000 and he had to spend another $17,000 to convert it.


He said it was expensive but he did it because he has always been fascinated with electric cars.


"Pollution-wise it’s good for the environment, and you don’t have to depend on gasoline," he said. "I still have a pickup truck and another car because sometimes I need a regular car when I want to go down to the shore or something. I can’t go with this. This is strictly for around town."
His car can only go 100 miles on a full charge.


"I can only go 50 miles (one way) because I’ve got to get back. But I never let it get pass halfway," he said.


The car was retrofitted by a company that was called EV Innovations. Since this time the company has changed its name to Li-ion Motors.
Li-ion Motors Plant Manager Tom Zogoda said the mileage on their retrofits has improved. Now thesecars can go up to 200 miles on a single charge.


When Accardi got his car the company was offering a two-year warranty and now this is up to three because the cars are even better, said Zogoda.
"We know the cars last longer and we are more experienced with them," said Zogoda.


Since 2006 the company has retrofitted 30 cars and it has plans to begin producing its own passenger and sport cars, said Zogoda.


Li-ion can convert just about any type of car. Zogoda said they do stay away from older rusted cars because, "they don’t have good electric systems in them and we don’t know if the infrastructure is still holding up. There are a few cars we can’t because there just isn’t room to do it."
Li-ion has converted PT Cruisers, Mini Coopers, Toyota Yarises, Pontiac Vibes, trucks, and motorcycles. The company’s customer base extends to other countries including Canada, the Netherlands, and the United Arab Emirates.


Accardi said he doesn’t drive his car too far and it takes six hours to fully charge the engine.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Because of this and since electric cars are relatively new, they cannot be readily accommodated for long trips but changes are happening.


Dave West, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection bureau chief for mobile resources, said there are 10 to 15 charging stations scattered throughout the state.


"Nissan dealers have chargers, because they have the Nissan Leaf. There are some in Metro Park (in Woodbridge), a couple Marriott Hotels have them in their parking lot, and there are some in the Trenton Transit Center parking lot," said West.

In 2012 Accardi’s formerly fuel-burning car has an emissions inspection due. He said he doesn’t know what will happen then because his car has no emissions.

Zogoda said that Li-ion has worked with its customers because their retrofitted cars actually failed the emission test.

"I got them all to pass. We had to get some changes made into their rules because what the EPA (US Environmental Protection Agency) hands out is a range of emissions the cars can make. Well with our cars, we have no emissions, which is a good but the problem with the EPA is you’ve got to have emissions or you are cheating the test. But we are not cheating the test. So we had to prove it was a pure electric car," said Zogoda.


West said the state is working on this issue.

"If the car is converted to pure electric and it has no gasoline engine and produces no exhaust or emissions, then it would be exempt from inspections unless it was a commercial vehicle, which would need a safety inspection."

West said the state is also working on a way to identify retrofitted cars because they would not need an inspection sticker in the window.


"A police officer could see that car, not knowing it’s electric, and seeing it doesn’t have a sticker he may question that. So we will be working with the police and law enforcement to come up with a good way to do that, so we don’t inconvenience people driving electric cars," said West.
 

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if you figure out how much the conversion cost, plus new batteries when they are due, you'll see it's utter nonsense. He didn't save a plug nickle! EV's are still a pipe dream (practically speaking). NO one wants to talk about how much more they cost initially, nor the costs to maintain. They make good print, but really aren't for those with math skills. 2X LOL They can convert my smart over my dead body! but they'll have to pry that AK-47 out of my hand first! Just say no to EVs!
 

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He can buy used 2008 ones now, for less. His ED conversions will be a 4-5 thousand $$ cheaper, then the new one he bought in 08. You got to start someplace with ED's. Saw couple of ED conversion old style beetle's, last year, in Colorado.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
For those that want an electric car, I think it's practical. Now these cars get 200 miles per charge, which is better than the current smart EVs and if you spend $17k on the conversion with a three year warranty and spend $10k on a used smart, that's only $27k for an electric smart that costs about 1/3 less than the EV and gets more than twice the range with an extra year warranty.
 

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WOW, the logic is stunning. So, I can buy an EV for $17 grand more than a used Smart. Let's see, $17K/$4/gal = 4250 gallons of gas *35 miles/gal is 148,000 miles assuming you are stealing the electricity, and that's cheaper than buying the Smart EV... wait... 4 X LOL. Seriously, you don't have to start with EVs until a righteous battery shows up (don't hold your breath, BTW, they've said it's just around the corner for the last 20 years!). Currently its just a money-waster, but I guess if someone is a DINK pulling in high 6 figures, it's a piece o cake! LOL you guys are funny. I vote for option 2 for the same money... 2 ICE-powered Smarts for the same price with virtually unlimited range. I'd say see you in the fast lane, but that won't happen either!
 

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Didn't work in 1800, won't work now.

Batteries are too heavy, too big , and are very poor electricity storage devices.

Despite all the hype, EVs will not be accepted as a replacement for the ICE until a whole new power storage device is developed.

When we see an ad for an EV with a range of a 100 miles, cut that figure in half to take in account "Range Anxiety". Also under real world conditions range is cut further by cold weather.

Even if recharge time was reduced to ten minutes, few would want to venture far from home. Just too much hassle. A2Jack
 

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touche, the real problem is storage density. not much energy for the weight. Also, once you include climate control (AC and or heat) the mileage really takes a dive (from bad to worse). Don't get me wrong, if someone unlocks that mystery more power to them and I'd be all over it; plus, they'd make a real $$ killing. Still, billions has already been spent indicating it's not an easy problem to solve. Sorry if I came off as a Negative Nancy, but us engineer-types can only take so much hype before we schnap.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Kenny, I completely agree with you. As it stands, all-electric vehicles are very expensive and very impractical. I was just making the argument for those that really don't care about the price but demand an EV smart, it might be better doing the conversion versus buying the EV smart.
 

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No one who drives a two seater, 71 hp car with a limited target demographic and limited sales potential should be criticizing someone who voluntarily converted his car to electric because he felt it was the right thing to do. What's your point? No one is forcing you to buy electric. As someone else said, all new technologies have to start somewhere; they don't just magically spew forth from some factory fully mature and at the same cost as technologies that have been around for 100 years. And for that smart EV owner, it was all about the individual decision -- he didn't do it because he had to, but because he could, he wanted to, and he felt it was right.
 

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Kenny, I completely agree with you. As it stands, all-electric vehicles are very expensive and very impractical. I was just making the argument for those that really don't care about the price but demand an EV smart, it might be better doing the conversion versus buying the EV smart.
Thanks for the article, I for one found it very interesting that some random company can do what took automotive engineers many years to accomplish, and for less?? Even if it still isn't practical to do.
 

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I've been reading and following EV's for years, and what I liked best about them is their zero pollution. Unfortunately, what the U.S. uses at the power plants to create electricity is about 80% coal (from what I last read - I have no documentation at hand); and that I have a BIG problem with.

So, until we make a cleaner way of producing electricity, an EV may be actually ADDING more pollution to the environment than an automobile engine (especially the Smart's), even if you include the pollution created ship the crude to the refinery, the pollution to crack the oil to gas and the truck's diesel pollution to deliver it to the gas station.

IF however, IF electricity were to be cleanly made, I would have absolutely no problem having an EV as a second car. I hardly ever go more than 50 miles in a day, so a 200 mile range would be fine.

An EV is a much simpler, more efficient, concept of transportation. A light, well insulated car would work well as an EV - get away from heavy iron cars and towards lighter metals and composite materials - remember a gas engine is only 20 to 40% efficient, so it's essentially a 60 to 80% HEAT engine - no wonder why it keeps us so warm in the winter! And with little or no insulation! And yet the fuel engine is abbreviated as ICE - a misnomer if I ever heard one.
 

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Many sides to this discussion. As efficient people movers, cars are way down on the list behind buses, trains, trolleys, etc. Every smart sold in the U.S. gets here on a big ship, burning fuel oil and throwing out exhaust gases like crazy. How much energy is consumed making the steel used in cars? The list goes on.

What can be said is that in the beginning cars, airplanes and computers were expensive and inefficient. The Luddites would have stopped them there but enough folks with vision and determination pressed on in spite of the criticism. Does that mean electric cars (as we know them now) will ever be as plentiful as the gas powered variety? Who knows, but at least there are still people (and companies) out there willing to continue exploring the possibilities. Just my .02. :)
 

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Many sides to this discussion. As efficient people movers, cars are way down on the list behind buses, trains, trolleys, etc. Every smart sold in the U.S. gets here on a big ship, burning fuel oil and throwing out exhaust gases like crazy. How much energy is consumed making the steel used in cars? The list goes on.

What can be said is that in the beginning cars, airplanes and computers were expensive and inefficient. The Luddites would have stopped them there but enough folks with vision and determination pressed on in spite of the criticism. Does that mean electric cars (as we know them now) will ever be as plentiful as the gas powered variety? Who knows, but at least there are still people (and companies) out there willing to continue exploring the possibilities. Just my .02. :)
VERY well said, jwight. Even though I mentioned thinking they're not practical at the moment - I couldn't agree more that it's a wonderful thing that companies are finally taking the EV concept seriously and working on it at all. Almost every new (even if this one isn't really new) technology gets cheaper and improves over time, and who knows, maybe they'll perfect solar power one of these days!
 

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That's exactly what this discussion is all about... Exploring the possibility's.

The guys talking the Flux Capacitor, may not be far off the mark. A new carbon sheet material has just been invented. It's discoverers were awarded the Nobel Prize a couple of months ago.

This new material looks like it could make a great Dielectric base for that BIG capacitor, as soon as we learn to "Dope" it. A2Jack
 

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For those that want an electric car, I think it's practical. Now these cars get /00 miles per charge, which is better than the current smart EVs and if you spend $17k on the conversion with a three year warranty and spend $10k on a used smart, that's only $27k for an electric smart that costs about 1/3 less than the EV and gets more than twice the range with an extra year warranty.
Sounds like a way to go once the $7000 engine blows !!! :)

Larry, where are you ????

 
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