Published on June 28th, 2011 | by Christopher DeMorro
Video: Electric Corvette Cruises California Streets
There is only one Chevy Corvette, and it’s a fire-breathing V8 beast horsepower to spare. All that power comes at the cost of lots of expensive crude oil. But not Wayne Bickley’s Corvette, which now runs on an all-electric drivetrain.
According to a series of YouTube videos and Wayne’s profile on EVAlbum, the electric drive train consists of 18 16-volt batteries for 288 volts of power. That’s enough for an estimated 85 mph top speed, and 20 miles of “spirited driving.” It’s not exactly the fastest car on the road. An 11-second all-electric Camaro this ain’t, but it is still pretty cool if you ask me. And I’m glad my editor Paul did.
Paul over at LSxTV, another website that I write for, sent me this video knowing that I am into stuff like this. He knows me well, and I knew I had to share it with you guys as well, so for the nitty gritty head over there for a peek at the other side of Chris DeMorro.
The conversion took Wayne just 3 months to do after work, and the engine he replaced was a supercharged 396…that’s lots of horsepower replaced by something with a lot less. However, I was able to contact Wayne via YouTube, and he told me that this is just the beginning. While his initial plans called for two electric motors, he instead is planning on upgrading to a 250 horsepower, 11″ DC electric motor that will provide a lot more oomph for this former performance icon.
So why convert a Corvette to electric power? Wayne says he was tired of trying to get a performance car to pass California’s smog emissions and he decided to take the plunge and go electric. And if you ask me, he has done pretty damn good for a guy working out of a garage, and he certainly is getting a lot of attention for it.
I think that what this project all the cooler though is that there are bound to be plenty of haters…but the guys who really appreciate cars, and appreciate doing something different, will appreciate Wayne’s project. Amazingly enough, many of the guys over at the Corvette Forums are very big supporters of this project, which just goes to show that you don’t have to be a hippie to appreciate going green.
I’m not sure how I’d feel about a lot of Corvette owners doing this, as there are other alternatives that don’t require sacrificing horsepower and driving range (ethanol or propane, for example) while retaining the proper rumble of a Corvette. But this is one EV conversion that will grab attention wherever it goes…which is basically a 20 mile radius around San Bernadino, California.
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.