Though electric car conversion kits are available for between $10,000 and $15,000, Darovic was determined
to build it from scratch.
He found a 1994 Saturn and spent more than a year on the project. He sketched designs and then removed
the vehicle’s engine, fuel tank, exhaust system and radiator. They were replaced with an electric motor, 12
batteries and a device that controls the motor speed.
The project cost between $9,000 and $10,000, not including labor.
“I’ve been doing it super duper cheap,” Darovic said.
Darovic has christened his converted car creation the Voltessa. It currently covers about 25 miles per charge
with a top speed of 60 mph. But Darovic expects to reach 40 miles per charge after he finishes fine-tuning the
Darovic said the Voltessa would be the perfect match for someone like his wife, Rita, who commutes from
Sartell to St. Cloud for work each day.
Darovic estimates his Voltessa will cost about $1 per charge or a little more than 2 cents per mile. Electric City
Motors Current is reported to cost only 1 cent per mile.
Electric cars are also low maintenance. Tires, brakes, shock absorbers, lights, horn, radio, seats, glass and
body work remain the same as those of a gasoline-fueled engine.
But there is no more need for oil changes, antifreeze, belts, exhaust systems or tune-ups. Electric motors are
essentially zero maintenance and last the life of the vehicle.
Darovic also likes the fact that his new car is not dependent on oil imports from foreign countries.
“This car, all electric cars, uses domestic energy. All the jobs they generate are in the U.S.,” Darovic said.
“When we use oil from overseas, the money we spend on oil is going overseas to people who really don’t even
like us very much.”
And then there are the environmental benefits. Electric cars do not generate harmful emissions.
While Darovic had experience working with cars, he said the conversion process is simple enough for those
with less experience.
“Just about anybody could do it. It’s not rocket science,” Darovic said.
To keep up with innovations, Darovic attends Minnesota Electric Auto Association meetings. The group also
allows him to connect with other electric car enthusiasts.
As demand increases and costs decrease, electric cars are likely to become more affordable. For those that
don’t want to wait, converting an existing vehicle to electric power offers a cost-effective solution for today.
“It’s a practical thing. I would drive this thing every day,” Darovic said. (Back to Links Page)