Richard discusses B.O.B. the affectionately named 1974 VW Bug which he restored and converted. Taking the car to shows and answering peoples queries, Richard uses B.O.B. to spread the EV word.
Occupation & Age ?
Business Owner, 52
Shasta Lake, California
What got you interested in EVs Richard ?
Being a business owner, I’ve always been focused on efficiency, and electric vehicles are so much more efficient than internal combustion vehicles. (http://www.engravingdragon.com/EV4U)
Is this your first EV ?
This is the first one that I’ve owned personally.
What made you decide to go with the VW ?
We were looking for a marketing/promotional vehicle, and decided on the Bug because few cars have the nostalgic sex appeal that the Bug has. Plus I was very familiar with the Bug, after years of working on them back in the 70’s and early 80’s. This is actually the first Bug I’ve owned in 25 years.
What separates B.O.B from other EV Bugs ?
B.O.B. was engineered to be an electric vehicle. An overall design and testing that few others have done. Our weight distribution testing, braking, handling, etc. were all done in a very scientific way, to insure that the Bug would out perform its gasoline counterpart. Our design is simple and reliable, and the proof is that there have been no issues with the car since we turned the key the very first time.
How heavy is B.O.B. ?
The conversion, including suspension and conversion components added 920 pounds to our 1660 pound starting weight. B.O.B. now weighs 2580 pounds.
Tell us about your lead acid pack, roughly how far does that get B.O.B. ?
Due to space and weight limitations, we are using 12, twelve volt batteries. (At the time B.O.B. was being designed, Lithium Ion added over $12,000 to the cost of conversion.) We’re using Trojan 30XHS batteries (66 lbs. each) which are 130 Ah at the 20 hour rating, making the pack 18.7 kwh. The range is 30 to 50 miles.
Was any additional cooling needed on the controller ?
No additional cooling is necessary. The heat sink used is twice the size recommended by Curtis. Testing showed it running well within specs. However, we added two brushless DC fans to add an additional cooling factor that equates to greater longevity for the controller.
What kind of braking system did you use ?
We did extensive testing of the vehicle while it was gasoline powered. We used bags of concrete to simulate battery weight. It was determined that front disc brakes were necessary, but we also added rear discs for an added margin of safety.
Does the car have a steering assist ?
How many shows have you taken B.O.B. to ?
B.O.B. was been to shows both before and after restoration. B.O.B. has made appearances in Hayward, Cupertino, Santa Clara, Fresno, Sacramento, Anderson, Redding and Chico, California, as well as Bend and Portland, Oregon.
What awards has B.O.B. won ?
He has won awards for Best Engineering and for Custom and Prototype classes.
Is the 90mph top speed quoted tested or an estimte ?
All of quoted specs. are actual. B.O.B. has been to 90 MPH more than once and is routinely driven between 65 and 75 MPH.
Do you have a favorite story about building or driving your EV? I have lots of stories, but we can save those for another time.
What do you think the most critical part of the conversion process was ?
Research!!! It is important to do your homework, understand the big picture. This is a must in order to have a clean, safe, reliable conversion.
What events have you taken B.O.B. to specifically to promote EVs ?
B.O.B. is driven every day with the sole purpose to promote EV use. Every time the Bug leaves the garage it is promoting the fact that you can drive a clean efficient car without giving up anything. I have spent hours at the Post Office, Hardware Store, Auto Parts Store and others locations answering questions and promoting EVs. Most people have no idea how practical an EV is.
Which EV enthusiast sites do you visit ?
I find the EV Album interesting. I like seeing what others are doing. That’s what is nice about the EV Gearbox.
Where did you buy most of the parts ?
We purchased most of the EV components for B.O.B. from Electro Automotive.
Does any of your power come from renewables, either frompurchased offsets, directly, or home generation ?
Not at this time.
Do you have any friends with EVs ?
The EV community is a great group of folks, and I have made many new friends both that were already EVers and those that are now thinking
What was the approximate conversion cost of B.O.B. ?
$20,000 to convert to electric and another 10,000 + to restore.
Do you plan to build any more EVs ?
We are, we have a Porsche 914, a Chevy S-10 and another Bug waiting in the wings and we have been doing repairs and consulting too. We also have a 1946 Dodge Pickup and a 2002 Ford Think in our shop.
Who’s EVs would you like to see on EV Gearbox ?
You’ve already done my favorites, I’ll have to get back to you on that.
Thank you so much Richard for letting us interview you.