Longview Man Converts Truck To Electricity

In a time when gas prices are putting a major dent in most people's budget, one Longview man has come up with his own answer to fuel costs.  Gordon Cooper, 39, is like most of us.  He gets up every morning, says goodbye to the wife, unplugs his electric truck and goes to work.  Over the last two years he's used spare parts, cables and a lot of know-how to convert his 1990 Ford Ranger pick-up to electricity.

"It was a challenge, could it be done, could I actually make a production vehicle go down that road with close to the same performance it had when it was running on gasoline?  The truck has good acceleration.  I can travel 55 to 60 miles per hour," said Cooper.

His wife was less enthusiastic.  " I said to him why are you doing this I mean what's your reasoning behind this," said Melissa Cooper.

There's no emissions, no noise, and no combustion engine. Powered by 24 6-volt batteries, for the last two weeks, he's been driving the 30 miles back and forth to work from  Longview to Kilgore, on nothing but electric power, and said it's worth it.

"It costs me between $1 and $ a day to charge this vehicle.  Twenty-four 6-volt batteries, that gives you 144-volt system. I still have people saying I'm a nut already even after they've seen the truck," Cooper said.

He also attends Letourneau University studying electrical engineering, and has chipped away at the project any chance he got.

"Going to school, being a dad, working it's hard to find alot of time to spend on a project like the," he said.

His innovation has him wondering whether one day people will be driving "the Cooper" electric car.  "I guess it could happen, anything's possible in this country," said Cooper.

Cooper is still modifying the electric system to be more efficient, trying to offset the weight of the batteries, which is around 1,100 lbs.  His next project could be trying to invent lighter weight batteries.

Bob Hallmark reporting, bhallmark@kltv.com