(PhysOrg.com) -- The price of gas continues to climb, but the price of an electric car is a little out of reach for anyone who is not in genuine need of a new car. It kind of puts you into a classic catch-22 situation. You are paying a lot of money if you do not go electric and you are paying a lot if you do go electric.
Or, you could convert your car.
If that notion gives you the willies, it is probably because you picture yourself sitting for hours in your garage, swearing at a kit that you bought off of the Internet. Have no fear. If you own a Honda, you do not have to do it yourself. Carnegie Mellon is running a conversion project for Honda car's that will make the gas-powered versions in to all-electric powered cars. No swearing required.
The project, which has been dubbed the ChargeCar Electric Vehicle Conversion Project, is actually being run by Carnegie Mellon's Robotics Institute. The projects first public conversion, a 2002 Civic EX four-door sedan that was converted with the help of local mechanics, will be unveiled at an open house near the university on March 25th.
Now let's go under the hood. The standard powertrain of the Civic is replaced by a 35-horsepower electric motor that will be powered by 33 lithium-iron-phosphate batteries. The batteries take about 10 hours to charge, and they will give drivers more than 40 miles of mixed condition driving, in city and on highways, with top speeds at more than 70 miles an hour. No specific number on the top speed.
The conversion costs vary, depending on the model of car you have and how much work is required for a full conversion, but some estimates are coming up at $17,000 or more. So, it may not be that much of a cost savings over buying a new electric vehicle after all.
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More information: chargecar.org/conversions