Sparky the Electric Vehicle


Thanks for finding my website, and for your interest in electric vehicles (EVs). Here are the fast facts almost everyone asks about “Sparky”:

  1. -How far? The useful range is 80km on 80% of the capacity of the batteries (so about 130Ah used of the 160Ah, 48 cell, lithium battery pack). Range depends on weather, and driving style. This meets 95% of my driving needs. My daily commute is 10km roundtrip, so there is plenty left for local errands. If I need to travel farther, I either ensure that I can re-charge at my destination, drive to the local transit park n’ ride lot, or drive to the local car rental agency. Our family also has a second vehicle that we use for weekend travel.

  2. -How fast? The truck can drive on the highway at 100km/h, but this pushes a lot of air, wasting energy, so it gets better range at lower speeds (like all vehicles). It doesn’t have a lot of spare power, so it goes slower up long hills. This was a design choice to keep costs lower.

  3. -How much? Building an electric vehicle conversion is comparable to buying a new vehicle. It’s a significant investment, driven by ideals other than saving money. With the right skills, you can save considerably on the labour costs (about 200 hours), but you will need professional advise and need to learn from others to avoid costly mistakes. The Electric Vehicle Council of Ottawa is a great place to meet EV owners and people interested in EVs. Be sure to investigate the available EVs now offered by the major manufacturers, before deciding to do your own conversion, or look for a reasonable used EV to be upgraded to lithium batteries.

  4. -Did you do it yourself? This truck was converted professionally by Rick Lane of REV Consultants in 2001, and I bought it from the original owner in 2002, so that is a lot of years of “EV-Grins”!

  5. -What would you do differently if building an EV today? I would start with a lighter, more aerodynamic vehicle, and use LiFePO4 (Lithium Iron Phosphate) batteries from the start, instead of lead acid golf cart batteries. Since upgrading to lithium in 2012, I’m amazed by the improvement in range, speed, and elimination of regular lead acid battery maintenance and replacement.

If you are left with a thirst for more information, I hope you’ll enjoy the rest of the website!

Sparky is a Battery Electric Vehicle. No engine or tailpipe, so no local emissions. And all of the electricity used is sourced from Bullfrog Power which generates electricity from wind turbines and eco-certified low impact hydro in Ontario, so there are no remote emissions either.
Sparky charging up at home