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New Kind Of Dealership
A new kind of auto dealership opened up this year just down the road from FARM SHOW so we wandered over to check it out. Carl Gulbronson's "Electric Vehicle Store" sells electric trucks, cars, motorcycles and scooters. No internal combustion engines allowed.
  "I've been aggressively signing up manufacturers to offer their products," he told us. "It can be difficult because there are probably 50 vehicles being promoted that don't exist and may never exist."
  The most promising vehicles he handles are from Zap, including the Zap Truck XL. It carries a 1,600-lb. payload in a dump box and has a roomy cab with room for two. Range is up to 35 miles with a top speed of 25 mph. It has rack and pinion steering with 4-wheel brakes, leaf spring suspension, and a 12-hour charging time. Retails for $14,950.
"Zap electric vehicles use gel acid batteries because they are zero maintenance, but they sacrifice some in range and speed," he notes. "There is a conversion kit available for Chevy S10 pickups that uses lead acid batteries, but that adds 2,000 lbs. to the weight of the truck. Lithium ion batteries have better speed and distance and weigh half as much, but are five times more expensive."
Gulbronson is a member of the Minnesota chapter of the Electric Automobile Association. Members have converted a Geo Metro, a Corvette and a Ford Ranger. One has a patent pending on a four wheel, electric bike. Others vehicles are in the planning stages.
"Since there are no full size, full speed electric cars on the market right now, people are building their own. That's when they find out what headaches are involved," he says.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, The Electric Vehicle Store, 4419 Excelsior Blvd., St. Louis Park, Minn. 55416 (ph 952 929-0313; cg@visi.com; www.theelectric vehiclestore.com).

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2009 - Volume #33, Issue #1