Sweet Pea - rearSweet Pea - Rear compartmentSweet Pea - InteriorSweet Pea and my 1967 OldsMomRob & RayRon DAlberoSweet Pea
OwnerRon DAlbero
LocationStaten Island, New York United States map
Web/EmailWebPage email image
Vehicle1967 Volkswagen Fastback
Car purchased for $325.
Made sure it was lightweight,
had a manual transmission and reliable.
Looking cute was a plus!
Motorunknown Series Wound DC
10 HP aircraft starter motor
purchased from a surplus supply house
and delivered by 18-wheeler to my
residential neighborhood.
Kind of exciting.
DrivetrainMotor coupled directly to manual
transmission.... no clutch. Just one
forward speed (1st) and reverse.
Speed switched via ordinary Ford
starter motor solenoids which tapped
batteries for 3 voltage levels
resulting in 3 speeds.
Accelerator pedal actuated simple
pushbutton. Speed changed by selector
switch on dash.
Batteries6 Willard Golf Cart, 6.00 Volt, Lead-Acid, Flooded
Golf cart batteries for traction
Original 12V battery for accessories
System Voltage36 Volts
ChargerBlack & Decker
7 ordinary automotive battery chargers
plugged into a power strip. 6 used for
the traction batteries and 1 for the
accessory battery.
HeaterHeavy overcoat
DC/DC Converter None
Original 12V battery used
for accessories.
InstrumentationAmmeter, Voltmeter
Top Speed50 MPH (80 KPH)
Top speed attained on level ground
with a good wind behind me!
AccelerationEspecially good from a standstill.
Range12 Miles (19 Kilometers)
EV Miles
Start:52,050 Miles (83,748 Kilometers)
Current:52,352 Miles (84,234 Kilometers)
Total:302 Miles (485 Kilometers)
Seating Capacity2 adults; full front trunk
Curb Weight2,250 Pounds (1,022 Kilograms)
I removed the usual suspect ICE
related parts to reduce weight.
This task was definitely part of
the EV thrill.
TiresOriginal (over inflated)
Conversion Time6 months
Conversion Cost$1000 (1976 USD)
Additional FeaturesOriginal color was a disgusting dark blue. I painted
the green color seen using enamel paint from a can
and applied with a brush. Connection between battery
terminals accomplished by flattening copper plumbing
pipe and drilling holes for terminals. Click photo #3 in
right column. Two indicator lights on dash:

1) Green for "ready" indicating car will move if
accelerator is depressed. It illuminates when "ignition"
key is turned on.

2) Red indicated car was in "charge" state and
connected to 120VAC house current.
This was a very simple conversion just to
experience the thrill of an EV. Back seat removed
and batteries placed in back seating and floor area.
Part of the fun was removing as many parts as
possible to reduce weight. My Uncle Joe
welded a coupler together to mate the electric
motor with the transmission shaft. Thanks to
friend Dave A., twin brothers Ray and Rob, &
Mom who named her "Sweet Pea". This project
occurred thirty eight years ago and a feature article
about it was written up in our local newspaper,
the Staten Island Advance, in the Winter of 1977.
My high school friend Rich interviewed me in a short
film he created about "Sweet Pea".

I was so excited to visit several Tesla Motor showrooms
from NY to Los Angeles and to test drive a Roadster. Even
more excited about their Model S & the Nissan Leaf. What do
they have in common with Sweet Pea? That unmistakable
Jetson-like electric motor whir!

code by jerry