Garage gives old gas guzzlers an electric spark

September 25, 2012 (LEMONT, Ill.)

At Pioneer Conversions,, near Lemont, Ill., Rich Carroll, 67, John Emde, 72, and John Jeidel, 76, are converting gas guzzlers into electric cars.

"They have the gasoline engine taken out and we change to an electric drive system," Carroll, retired pharmacist, said. "Completely electric."

They work mostly on their customers' favorite older cars, cars that have been around for a while -- but still have an electric future. Seniors could be sitting at home taking naps, but instead they've revived that old spark.

"We're having fun. Otherwise it would be boring. We're going to have fun, help others and we help Mother Nature along a little bit by not burning up gasoline," Jeidel, retired engineer, said.

They say it takes anywhere from about a month to about three months to convert that tired old gas gobbler into a car with a jolt. It's sort of like a heart transplant.

"We put batteries, an electric motor, a controller and a few other items to make it pure electric vehicle that you can plug in anywhere," Emde, retired tool maker, said.

"Gasoline cars at their minimum cost about ten cents a mile to run. Electric cars are about two, two and a half cents to run," Carroll said.

They say they can convert almost any old car from gas to electric. What about your old Nash Rambler? What would that conversion cost?

"If you want it for a daily driver, usually in the area of $10,000 to $15,000," Emde said.

Cars can get up to 100 miles before needing to be plugged in again.

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