East Texan's Electric Car Creation - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

7/20/08- Athens

East Texan's Electric Car Creation

One East Texan is free from the pain at the pump.  That's because he's built himself an electric car.  Al Kelley of Athens took an old Volkswagen Beetle and rebuilt it with golf cart batteries. With a simple charge each night, the battery-powered bug is ready to go.

Al Kelley has had a burning desire to build an electric car for nearly 30 years, and now with his "bug truck" as he calls it, that dream is a reality.  A skilled auto-electrician, Kelley built the battery-powered bug with his bare hands.

"As you can tell that's not a conventional Volkswagen engine," said Kelley.  "I've been wanting to do this for a long time, and it's a pleasure for me just to drive it and know something's been created here that doesn't cost an arm and leg."  The 72-volt system contains 12 golf cart batteries; enough power to take him 16-miles to work everyday.  And forget filling-up at the pump.  Kelley simply recharges the batteries at night.  He says it's more environmentally-friendly than hybrids, which rely on electric energy plus gas.

"They're really not as efficient as some people think they are because you're still running on gasoline."  There is one downside to Kelley's creation, and that's no air conditioning, but he expects the electric car to eventually meet our modern-day comforts.

"They'll make it this time, the electric car will."  Just one more way, he says, to fight soaring gas prices and the demand on foreign oil.

"Solar energy and wind energy, that's going to be a big thing," said Kelley.  "It would be a good thing if the whole public got behind this ordeal of using alternate energies."  Kelley says his electric beetle runs about 25-miles between charges, but they can be built to go 150-miles before re-charging.  He says electric cars can only be made out of standard cars, or trucks.  Kelley is more than happy to talk to anyone who's interested in building one.

Courtney Lane, Reporting.  clane@kltv.com  

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