Published on March 23rd, 2011 | by Christopher DeMorro
The 214 MPGe Geo Metro "Dolphin" Conversion
While most car guys are dedicated to looks or performance, there’s a dedicated group of electric car enthusiasts who do their own EV conversions. David Cloud is one such fellow, and his ’97 Geo Metro “Dolphin” gets the equivalent of 214 mpg.
I love the Geo Metro, because it is about as minimalist as cars get. It also set the high water mark for American fuel efficiency at 52 mpg highway via a detuned 3-cylinder, 49 horsepower engine and…basically nothing else except a transmission, body, and four wheels. Amazing to think that twenty years ago we had a 52 mpg car, and today the best we can manage with all our fancy computers and technology is 51 mpg highway. Sigh.
But David saw more potential for a ultra-aerodynamic electric car, based on the Metro but loaded with aero improvements of David’s own design. Even more impressive, the whole conversion cost a scant $3,000. David set this price limit himself, and as such the car isn’t as efficient as it could be.
However, David had a specific goal in mind; 200 miles on a single charge at highway speeds, and he managed to accomplish that goal. With a top speed of around 70 mph, this isn’t no neighborhood electric vehicle, but a real highway driver. It lacks a transmission though, and the small electric motors are a lot less effective at low speeds. And because the Dolphin packs 60 lead-acid batteries (at 33 pounds each) the once-lightweight Geo now weighs in at over 3,200 pounds (original curb weight: about 1,900 pounds.) But, using the conversion of 33.4 kWh/per gallon, David estimates that this car delivers the MPG-equivalent of 214 mpg. Ain’t it amazing what a little elbow grease and willpower can accomplish? Kudos to David and his Dolphin. Hopefully he will inspire a few others to tackle their own EV conversions.
Chris DeMorro is a writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs. You can read about his slow descent into madness at Sublime Burnout or follow his non-nonsensical ramblings on Twitter @harshcougar.