What do you do if you want an electric car but don’t want to pay the more than $26,000 for a Prius? Oh, and you want a car that looks cool too? If you’re Michael Shoop, you enlist a few buddies, buy a 1987 Corvette and build your own. A year after envisioning a 100% electric-powered car, the VoltVette was born.
According to Shoop, the 1987 Corvette is the perfect platform for the do-it yourself project. Its fiberglass body is lightweight, and the clamshell hood which opens forward which makes it easier to work on. Shoop removed the 240-hp engine and replaced with a specially designed electric car motor. The Corvette is now powered by 13 lead 12-volt batteries which produce 156 volts of power that translates to 200 horsepower. The batteries weigh 70 pounds each are a stored in both the engine compartment and cargo area for balance.
Performance unfortunately is lacking. The 1987 Corvette was designed with a top speed of 149 mph. The VoltVette reached 30 mph on its maiden drive. Shoop could reprogram the Volt Vette to boost the horsepower up to 800, but there’s a catch – he’d need an additional 40 batteries.
And then thereâ€™s the torque factor. Like all electric powered cars, the VoltVette generates a massive amount of torque. While trying to increase the power to hit 70 mph he cracked the driveshaft. With a new driveshaft installed as well as some down-home ingenuity that now gives the ’87 Corvette power steering, the VoltVette can reach a top speed of 40 mph.
Shoop estimates the VoltVette costs around 3-cents per mile to operate. Not bad considering the Toyota Prius costs around 7-cents per mile based on $3.50/gallon gas. Electric motors are more reliable as well according to Shoop, “The car industry makes money on parts, repairs and maintenance, and that’s why it hates the electric car.”
The VoltVette was built for under $26,000 which included the cost of the car. “I figured I would get it done, and have the pleasure of cruising by a gas station and maybe waving.”
Read more about the VoltVette on Shoop’s blog hosted by the Minnesota Electric Auto Association.