Last week, Paul Pearson went back to court. It was the fifth time he's been in front of a judge because of a police sting last December over the electric car conversions he was doing in his garage (details here). In short, the situation is wholly confusing, but also quite important for fans of electric vehicles.
Pearson called AutoblogGreen after his court appearance and gave us a recap on what happened. According to Pearson, the prosecutor asked that the charge against Pearson be amended to reflect only "agreement" that Pearson would convert a gas-only Ford Thunderbird to all-electric drive (again, see our original post here). Pearson and his lawyer had the prosecutor talk to Rodney Aoki at the Sacramento DMV, who said there is no law on the books saying converting cars to electric drive is illegal. Then, the prosecutor asked the judge to amend the charge to reflect that Pearson's website says he'll manufacture a car for you, but that Pearson doesn't have a license. Pearson told AutoblogGreen that his website doesn't say that, and that he hasn't altered the website in any way since the undercover sting. "You can look at it and judge for yourself," he said.
The story continues after the jump.
[Source: Paul Pearson]
Pearson said that, while this case is a hassle for him, there are larger issues at stake here that make him willing to keep fighting. The most important issue is figuring out who regulates the EV conversion business. Peason has no idea. "It's a totally unregulated area," he said. For a long, long time, it hasn't been more than a backyard thing. In the last few years, with the increase in interest, there is a lot of legal confusion and groping around. Pearson, who is connected to the LA and San Diego electric car communities, said this case is important to figuring out what the rules are for converting a car to electric drive for money.
The case against Pearson was originally brought by the DMV and is now being handled by the City of Santa Monica. Pearson said that, "The judge is pissed off at all of us for not coming to an agreement on something so simple" but that "the neverending stupidness of the prosecutor" is continuing the legal proceedings. For some reason, the prosecutor just won't let this go, Pearson said. "The one thing we can figure is that he's worried he'll get sued for mis-prosecution." The next court date has been set for the 8th of June
Pearson is also working on the Lola EV (pictured). More information on that car here. We have contacted other people involved in this case but have not heard back. If we do, we'll let you know.