Beat The Chevy Volt To Market!

Build Your Own Electric Vehicle

Crack open the pages of the second edition of BUILD YOUR OWN ELECRTIC VEHICLE. The book was released in October, and in it you may find just what you’re looking for to create your own electric car empire. And yes, the title is in all caps; presumably the books authors are very excited about what’s between the covers.

This edition—augmented with numerous additions and updates from its 1993 first run—is published by McGraw Hill. Seth Leitman and Bob Brant authored the 329-page paperback. Leitman’s background is in electricity; he once worked for the New York State Power Authority and New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. He now owns the ETS Energy Store, a company that sells organic, natural, and sustainable products. Co-author Bob Brant wrote the first-edition himself, drawing on his involvement with NASA on several major projects including the electrically-powered Lunar Rover.

One cannot doubt the sincerity of the authors or question their desire to help move drivers toward (what the authors believe to be) a superior species of transportation. The book’s pages are filled with presumably well-researched and accurate charts, diagrams, and equations. Need to know the torque requirements for a 1987 Ford Ranger at different speeds an inclines? Well, you do if you’re going to convert one to electric power … and it’s on page 123. A diagram on page 218 simplifies the entire wiring diagram for an EV. Sources for power controllers, battery systems, instrumentation, and the dozens of other components you’ll need to convert a carbon-swilling gas guzzler to a Blue Bird friendly electric vehicle fill the book’s final pages. (Somebody hand me some wire cutters ’cause I’m ready to get started.)

The reality of BUILD YOUR OWN ELECTRIC VEHICLE is that for readers with engineering degrees and good fabrication skills, this book provides pages of beneficial information that could lead to a project vehicle. For less skilled individuals, the premise of the book is utterly ridiculous. Most people can’t swap out the light fixture in their bathroom. But perhaps worse than encouraging novices to play with electricity, the book promulgates the myth that practical and safe electric cars are simple and affordable. They’re not. Just ask GM, Toyota, Ford, Mercedes-Benz, and Tesla.