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Cincinnati startup will convert Saturn Sky to electric

10951 Views 11 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  DaV8or

from the Cincinnati Enquirer 5/23/08
BLUE ASH - Just in time for motorists upset with $4-a-gallon gasoline, Advanced Mechanical Products Inc., the local startup formed to convert gas-powered cars to all-electric, is now taking orders on a first-come, first-serve basis.

The initial production run will be 300 Saturn Sky coupe conversions. The conversions, expected to begin later this year, come after a year of work and a $1 million investment by six local investors in the company's prototype. Deliveries will begin early next year.

"We want to make Cincinnati the greenest city in America," said Jack Kuntz, AMP's CEO.

Total cost of the conversion is about $50,000 including the approximately $25,000 cost of the Sky. AMP has worked out preferred pricing from Saturn of Kings Auto Mall, but it will accept any 2007 or newer Sky for the conversion which involves removing the existing gasoline engine, drivetrain and differential and replacing them with two electric motors driving the rear wheels and lithium-iron-phosphate batteries and proprietary control software.

The replacement electric equipment is about equal to the 800 pounds of weight removed from the gasoline-powered car, so the car's handling and performance aren't affected, he said.

"This is no golf cart," said Kuntz, who said the car can accelerate from 0 to 60 miles per hour in less than six seconds and provide a top speed of 90 mph. The batteries need recharging about every 150 miles, depending on driving patterns, through a recommended 220-volt electric outlet.

Kuntz said AMP wants to make the all-electric car a mainstream vehicle.

"This is for people who want to say, 'I care about the environment,' " he said.

Based on the current $4-a-gallon gas, Kuntz estimate the Sky will cost about 3 cents a mile to operate on electricity vs. about 20 cents on gasoline.

The company is limiting the initial production run to individuals in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky because the company will collect wireless data on the vehicles' performance to enhance future production.

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Once again, I have to be skeptical. They say they have a working prototype and yet there is not one picture of it or it's components on their site. All the pictures there are factory Saturn photos. However there is a link to sign up for one (no doubt costing you up front money.) If this deal is real, well, bring it on and show the world. Also I own a Pontiac Solstice that is the same car as the Sky but with different sheet metal, and I got to say, there isn't a lot of room in the engine bay, tranny tunnel and trunk and rear end area for all the batteries, motors and controllers. It might work, but like I said show us the goods first and then take orders.
Can you really justify $19K for a used Sky plus another $25K for the conversion? We'd be nearing $50K for a used converted vehicle with a start-up that may not be around in a year...

By the time AMP delivers cars, there will probably be options with these price ranges. Perhaps not a roadster, but with these specs.
I guess if you can justify $109,000 for a Tesla then this seems pretty sweet. If you already have a Sky or Pontiac Solstice, then it's only $25,000 for a poor man's Tesla. I'm intrigued a little bit because I happen to own a Pontiac Solstice, but I don't live in Cincinnati and I would have to see lots more on the road, test drive and inspect the installation before I would sacrifice my car.
Are you sure Solstice is eiligible? I keep seeing Sky-this and that.
I know, they seem to only want to do Skys, but the two cars are absolutely identical under the sheet metal. I am very familiar with Kappa cars as I closely watched their development from concept to production and ended up being an early adopter when I bought car number 51. So they might only want to do Skys for some reason, but there is no reason what so ever that their conversion wouldn't fit right on a Solstice.
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