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With $24,000, Woman From New Zealand Builds Her Own Electric Car



“To show it can be done,” a New Zealand woman transformed a 29-year-old wreck into a Homemade electric car.

For the past three years, Rosemary Penwarden has been driving her adapted vehicle over South Island roads. It took her and a friend more than eight months of hard effort and tinkering to complete the project.

“You do have to be a little bit mad,” she said. “I want to thank the oil companies for the motivation.”

Penwarden purchased the body of a 1993 automobile from a wrecker and removed the combustion engine herself. She replaced it with an electric motor and gearbox, then stuffed batteries into the front and back of the car — 24 under the hood and 56 in the trunk.

Penwarden spent $24,000 (£12,300) on the project, including labour. The car has been officially signed off and is covered by a warranty. Her endeavor suddenly caught the attention of local reporters after several years on the road.

Hagen Bruggemann, a refrigeration engineer who assisted Penwarden in converting her automobile to electric power, has now converted roughly eight cars to electric power. “You can talk as much as you want about all this environmental crap, but you have to implement it,” he says.

He claims that converting a car is not a financially viable choice for most individuals without free labor, but that converting trucks and other vehicles, where the body is worth considerably more than the engine, is a compelling business argument. He claims that converting a diesel truck will pay for itself in five years. “Really, the polluters should be paying – I don’t see why they’re not,” he says.

While Penwarden believes the car will pay itself off – she had once spent up to $100 a week on petrol for commuting – she says it wasn’t a cost-saving exercise and called on the government to support conversions. “Just to be able to show that it can be done is a priceless thing,” she says. “The biggest thing is to help stop the biggest polluters as soon as possible – and nothing that we can do as individuals I think matters quite as much as that.” is an authoritative car blog in Nigeria. Its objective is to get Nigerians and a wider audience to be more informed about automobiles, the automotive sector and transport infrastructure. Over the years, we have been instrumental in creating immeasurable public awareness about automobiles and their maintenance, safety and traffic laws, amongst others. ...Your mobility, our priority. NK

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