What Electric Cars Mean to Me – A Team Member’s Perspective

I remember I started building my first electric car when I was about 11 years old. The chassis was made of two by fours that I had my dad cut for me. I had had my eye on this electric motor that had been lying in the garage for quite some time. It was a replacement motor for my dad’s table saw and my plan was to mount it on the rear of the structure and have a rubber belt connected directly to one of the rear wheels. This whole project was based off of my desire for a Powerwheels toy that everyone except me seemed to have. Since I couldnt convince my parents to buy me one (unfortunately it was a question of money) I decided to build my own. So with the wooden frame made and a seat installed, the motor was ready for mounting. Then came the big road block; this motor needed to be plugged in to operate. My first instinct was to get a hold of a long extension cord and cut the end of it and connect it to the two terminals on the electric motor…sort of like a MONKEY would do. Keep in mind my parents had no idea of the fact that I was planning on adding a high voltage electric motor to this vehicle. I decided against this and instead went the route of a regular car battery. Unfortunately the size and weight of the battery wasnt going to work so I decided to make this vehicle one that would be pulled by my younger brothers acting as mules. I find it quite entertaining that the same problem of battery size and weight is still a primary concern in today’s electric cars. Since that original project so many years ago, I have always had a special place in my mechanical mind for electric vehicles. When I got the chance to join a team that was making an electric car near my home town of New Orleans, I jumped at the chance and was fortunate enough to be taken onto the team. Now, we are on the verge of producing an electric car that addresses the problem of battery size and weight through a combination of cutting edge battery technology and proprietary use of Ultra Capacitors. How cool is it that after all of these years, I will finally be able to complete that project I started as a child! And this time my brothers wont have to pull the vehicle around…

-Aleksandr Bernhard


3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Junk Yard Builder on February 21, 2010 at 3:55 pm

    Wow, that is cool because I did the simiar thing. Although I had one of those, I think it was Sears kits that came with a seat, four wheels and a rope, and I went straight for having my brother pull it. We had a pony to use but my grandfather reminded me about what happens after they have been fed and are pulling something. I settled for my brother.


  2. Posted by WI_Pedaler on February 23, 2010 at 6:55 pm

    It is amazing how early life experiences can and do shape the young mind. Whether the challenges come from the nature of your family’s work, summer jobs, an older sibling’s hobby – even if you’re just building a coaster-cart because everyone else had one – these can become key anchors for your interests, passions, and dreams. Keep up the great work!


  3. A real project of popular urban city car,Enfin !! We want some small cars for everydays…I launch the electric cycle with some pioneer with their electric bicycles in New Orleans.My conclusion ? it s hard to feel alone sometimes but it s a real pleasure to ride an electric scooter.And so exciting to use a small quantity of energy when you see everybody to cry against the crisis with 1 truck monster and a SUV in the garage….So happy to see a real project in Louisiana with 1,2,3,4 electric cars…
    Geaux Pulse, Go Detroit to win!
    Technology first and now we need to see nice car to let thepeople to dream as we dreamed on the first cars…it will be the global-e car.

    See you soon.


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