Solectria Owner Profile:

Charles Convis
& Bettina McLeod
Redlands, California

Pollution-Free Miles:


Charles writes:

I've only just started with my 1997 Force, my first EV and the first EV in my town. I spent a year researching EV cars and going to meetings and talking to EV fans before I figured out that the Solectrias were one of the few designs that seemed to make sense for a car that you could actually use, rather than keep in your shop and spend money on. Now that I own one I am more impressed than ever at the economy and efficiency of the design. I used to fix cars for a living before "graduating" to fixing computers (all in a former life) so you can bet I went over my car with a fine-tooth comb when I got it and I am still learning tons about it daily.

Since my other "vehicles" are my feet and my bike, I could only afford a really cheap Solectria, so of course I bought a broken one that looks like it had been abandoned for many years. I spent a few weeks rebuilding connectors, cables, troubleshooting voltage surges and other odd bits, and putting in a new gel-pack and so far it seems to run very happily. I have to thank Earl Killian for allowing me to test-drive his 2000 Force while I was still working on mine, it helped give me the inspiration I needed to finish my restoration! I'm also very grateful to Kevin Daugherty at Solectria who I have deluged with questions almost daily and he's always been patient and informative.

As I'm a cheapskate, I put in a yard-sale stereo from an Isuzu that works great and I charge it from a yard-sale contractors heavy-gauge cord I adapted to plug into my 220v dryer outlet, and next I'll explore building a cheap battery monitoring and equalizing system and adding a "time of use" meter that will let me charge it for 1/3d the normal price.

We use it mainly as the "kids to school" car so it puts in 24 miles a day but broken into three 8-mile segments with enough time between to recharge. From what I can tell of the East Penn specs, this amounts to a regular 15% discharge cycle and they claim I can expect 4,500 cycles at that level, or about 4 years or 35,000 miles. That seems incredible if true, so I'm bugging East Penn for more detailed test data and keeping my own detailed records so I can see what's true.

I now run a grants program to help conservation non-profits so I'm happy to finally be able to "walk my talk" and to be able to do it with a machine as superior as the Solectria. I don't exactly have a personal web site yet but my conservation grants program can be found at (My contact data is under "help".)

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This page last updated 09/22/03