Electric car showcased to Automotive Department students

Photos by: Jose Romero

A West Hills resident showcased his 1974, $30,000,  home-converted,  battery operated, electric Volkswagen (VW) Super Beetle to the alternative fuels class Oct. 25.

Gene Stopp, a 52-year-old electrical engineer, has achieved speeds reaching 85 miles per hour in his electric VW, which took two years to convert.

“It costs about the same as a brand new car and it basically is,” said Stopp. “But now it’s entirely electric.”

Students of the alternative fuels class, taught by  Michael VanDyke, professor of automotive technology, gathered around the vehicle to see its 56 Lithium Ion batteries which power the car and generate 1,000 amps and 200 direct current volts.

Not only does the car produce zero CO2 emissions, but being powered solely by batteries, costs nothing to fill up.

“The hardest part of the whole thing is trying not to build another one,” he said.

The class had already converted their own VW bug, bringing the Automotive Technology Department’s total number of alternative fuel vehicles to six including a brand new VW Jetta bio-diesel car purchased with money from a Stem grant, according to Tom Rosdahl, professor of automotive service technology.

They also have two Honda Civic vehicles, a hybrid and a natural gas-powered vehicle in addition to a 1977 VW Beetle they converted to electric power.


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