Classic Volvo 142 Gets the DIY Electric Treatment

Kjell Ekelund is an interesting guy. A retired foreman with fifteen years of Volvo experience and plenty of time on his hands, Ekelund is an expert tinker- and an idealistic one, at that! That’s why he decided to build the car you see here: an all-electric Volvo 142.

“I thought it was interesting to put an electric motor, for my grandchildren’s sake,” says Ekelund, who seems to want to inspire his grandchildren to build better, cleaner cars. “With ‘My grandfather’s electric car’,” he continues, “they can see what is possible.”

Inspired or not, it’s unlikely Ekelund’s grandkids will get many speeding tickets in their electric 142. That’s because its top speed is just shy of 50 MPH. Even so, that’s plenty to get around town, where Ekelund claims his car will give back about an hour’s worth of driving (about 35-40 miles, by my math) for every six it spends plugged into the wall. Each charge, by the way, costs him a little under a dollar.

Beyond the car’s frugal operation, it’s a fairly unique design. Unlike most modern electric cars that have a direct drive or single-speed transmission, the little red EV shown here keeps the 142’s original 4 speed manual transmission and clutch operation. Peak torque is still available from 0 RPM, making the gear selection less about coming off the line smoothly and more about how quickly you want to get to the car’s top speed. It’s unorthodox, but it’s exactly the experience that Ekelund was after. “I wanted to test if it could be run in this way with so little power output that I have, and it works better than expected!”

You can out the photo gallery, above, and the electric Volvo 142’s specs, below, then let me know what you think of “grandfather’s electric car” in the comments section at the bottom of the page.

 

1972 VOLVO 142 EV CONVERSION
WEIGHT 1720 KG
TRANSMISSION 4 SPD. MANUAL
MOTOR 7.5 kW 230/400V 50HZ
MAX SPEED 50 MPH
RANGE / DRIVE TIME 35 MILES / 45 MINUTES
CHARGING TIME APPROX. 6 HOURS

Source | Photos: Volvo Adventures.

 

Jo Borrás

I've been in the auto industry 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the IM network. You can also find me on Twitter, at my Volvo fansite, or chasing my kids around Oak Park, IL.