Battery-powered 1994 minivan cost $6,000, runs 20-25 miles

Taking an older vehicle, gutting the powertrain and converting it to operate solely on electrons is certainly not a new phenomenon. It's been done many times and many ways with varying results. Fairleigh Dickinson University graduate engineering student, Sai Sankar, is a relatively new to the art of EV conversions. Sankar started with a 1994 Chrysler minivan for his project. According to Edmunds, you can get one in running order for about $1,500. Of course, for a project of this type a non-running example would suffice and should cost considerably less. Sankar built the electric van for a sustainable entrepreneurship symposium at the school called Growing the Next Generation of Green Ventures. He evidently used about $6,000 worth of off-the-shelf components to create his emissions-free family hauler.

The whole lashup has a top speed of 55 mph, can carry 800 lbs of people and/or stuff, and has a range of 20-25 miles. A full charge of the battery takes 4 to 6 hours and costs an estimated $1.50 in New Jersey. Assuming a Voyager or Caravan of that vintage gets around 20 mpg, this would be considerably less expensive to operate with gas prices around $4 per gallon. Of course, the gasoline-powered variant can hold significantly more than 1 gallon of fuel and can be replenished in minutes rather than hours. But for someone who just needed to hustle the kids to school and go get some groceries something like this could be viable.


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