Ashton Stark spent the past year (and only $4,000) converting a 1972 Volkswagen Beetle into a fully functional electric vehicle. Powered by nine golf cart batteries, this rejuvenated automobile can travel about 50 miles on a full charge at a top speed of 45 miles per hour. An EV built from scratch is already an extraordinary feat, considering the protracted wait for a commercial model, the end of which is only now on the horizon. But the crowning point of this story is Stark's age—the Ontario resident is 14 years old, still two years short of legally driving the car he constructed. As Patrick McDonough writes in The Argus Observer:
He said one of the main points of pride is the vehicle’s connection with the past. “It is my grandpa’s 72 Super Beetle,” he said. “I think he would love it and be incredibly proud of it.”
“You could drive every day to and from work for less than 10 cents a day, and that would be if the batteries were dead when you came home. It would probably be more like two to three cents a day.”
With just a year's time and a couple thousand dollars, Stark managed to beat auto companies to the punch. Of course, he didn't have to deal with legal safety standards and testing, or any of the red tape that comes along with producing a commercially sold car. But if a 14-year-old kid can turn a 1972 bug into an electric car with a 50-mile range that can travel 45 mph for $4,000, shouldn't the world's best automotive engineers be able to do something twice as good for about the same price?
Photo courtesy of Ashton Stark via The Argus Observer.