Car hacks / Mods dolphin1

Published on March 23rd, 2011 | by Christopher DeMorro

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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.

Source: EcoModder

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.




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About the Author

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or esle, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.



  • http://maxhedrm.montebellopark.com/blog/ MaxHedrm

    I hope he upgraded the brakes. All that extra weight is sure to make it a death trap otherwise. Hmmm … looking at his quote on the ecomodder article, it is a death trap either way:

    “front wheel bearings that rumble, back tires that are 10 years old and misshapen”

    • http://importantmedia.org/members/joborras/ Jo Borras

      The little Suzuki Swift / Geo Metros had pretty decent brakes if my ’93 was any indicator. 3200 lbs is a bit extreme, sure, but keep in mind he has “engine braking”, too.

  • http://Web Tim Cleland

    What a cool project! I love Geo/Chevy Metros (I’ve owned two 5-spd 3-cyl hatchbacks). I’m 6′ 5″ and I fit
    in those cars like they were made for me and my kids fit behind me (although I only rode with them once for fear of their safety). I wonder what mpg David’s car would get if it still had the 3-cyl engine.

  • http://bradhicks.livejournal.com/ J. Brad Hicks

    I miss my ’89 Geo Metro convertible more than any other car I’ve ever driven, and consider it far superior to any comparably priced car available on the market today. But this has “bad idea” written all over it.

    • http://importantmedia.org/members/joborras/ Jo Borras

      Only if you crash!

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