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Electric cars really aren't all that new

While electric vehicles may be new to the mainstream, they're old news for EV enthusiasts.
Nicole Tank and son Connor, 11, show off the 1912 Detroit Electric car at Victoria's 150th birthday celebrations in Centennial Square earlier this month.

While electric vehicles may be new to the mainstream, they're old news for EV enthusiasts.

In promoting its nine-month electronics technician program recently, North Island College cited the achievement of student David Davidovics, who successfully converted a car in his hometown of Campbell River.

"I wanted to see if I could do it," said Davidovics. "I was looking at the electric cars that were coming out of Detroit and I thought it might just be possible."

He designed and created the car's electrical system himself over three years, but decided to enrol in the electronics technician program to fill in gaps in his knowledge of electrical systems.

"Anyone can buy components and install them," he said. "I wanted to know what goes into them."

The college says Davidovics now plans to take a more advanced course to increase his electronics knowledge.

Members of the Vancouver Electric Vehicle Association are a similarly handy bunch - many have built their own electric vehicles over the years.

While some sourced the electrical items needed for a conversion, others used readily available conversion kits with easy-to-follow instructions. A universal kit from vendors such as Vancouver Island-based Canadian Electric Vehicles starts at $5,600.

Last week, Vancouver Island members of VEVA brought over the club's 100-year-old electric car for display at Victoria's 150th birthday celebrations and the Oak Bay Collector Car Festival.

Though the 1912 Detroit Electric is a century old, the base technology hasn't changed.

"The electric motor shares similar characteristics with a modern electric car," said Cam Rawlinson, co-founder of the Vancouver Island chapter.

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