I gave up cute or sexy or classy, and settled. Then I waited for average and imperfect to arrive.
It was Thanksgiving Day, but this blind date had been set into motion back in mid-June, when I was surfing the Internet looking for love. Rumblings of a disquiet in Burbank, made me more determined during the spring. By fall, I was committed.
Finally, the guy arrived with my 1995 Solectria Force from Vermont.
Okay, maybe it wasn’t exactly love, but I did notice a slight tingle after seeing the image of a bolt of electricity ending in a plug where the gas tank is normally located.
It wasn't the sexy AC Propulsion T-Zero. Nor was it the classic 1950s Henney Killowatt. It didn't have the sporty, lovable lines of a VW bug conversion.
My Solectria was a solid, four-door former Geo Metro that had been professionally converted to electric.
I began researching EV conversions at the millennium. The VW Bug seemed ideal — people loved them, conversion kits were available, and parts were easy to find.
I cruised OldBug.com and The-Samba.com, looking for a body to convert. On an EV Web site, I found a classy 1968 conversion by Don Bastin and started corresponding with him. His conversion used a kit provided by the Santa Rosa-based EV supply company, ElectroAuto.com.
Yet members of the Los Angeles Electric Vehicle Club, which meets at Caltech the first Saturday of every month, convinced me that a used EV was a better, cheaper option. I found a 1950s-era purple and black Bug at ZapWorld.com, but the dealership wouldn't email me any photos of the interior, so that deal was off. I then found an EV VW Bug converted into a truck, but the owner insisted that I fly to meet him. I didn’t, so that deal also fell through.
I then considered buying a funky CitiCar and finally found one with low mileage that was almost perfect for me. But again, I couldn't get the owner to send more photos and that deal also never materialized.
Now here I was with my Force, which, for all its faults, was something of a childhood dream come true. When I was a kid, my dad liked giving us wild rides in his Jeep and tinkering with motors in the garage. He also loved cartoons. I remember one of an oversized magnifying glass attached to the top of a car that directed beams of sunlight to the engine — the solar-powered car of the future.