Rising fuel prices inspire a DIY project to end reliance on gas and oil.

Chevy S-10Electric Vehicle Conversion

Chris (left) and Phil (right) Young. Local son and father duo Chris and Phil Young with their custom-built, electric Chevy S-10. See this vehicle as well as other eco-friendly vehicles at Aurora Greenfest Green Car Show on June 14. Photo by Betsy Carnahan

by Betsy M. Carnahan

Aurora’s Green Car Show highlights the latest trends in environmentally-friendly vehicles, including the project of local father and son duo—Phil and Chris Young—who recently converted their Chevy S-10 pickup truck to an all-electric, zero-emissions vehicle.

“When gas got to $4 a gallon, that’s when we pulled the trigger on building an electric vehicle,” said Phil Young. An electric vehicle boasts no exhaust emissions or waste oil, non-reliance on gas and oil, and reduced maintenance costs. Phil and Chris did early project research by attending Fox Valley Electric Auto Association (fveaa.org) meetings.

The pair then bought a used Chevy S-10 in excellent condition for $8,000; the truck had enough weight capacity—as well as enough room between the frame rails—to fit and support the 24 6-volt batteries that would be installed. Father and son spent an additional $14,000 on parts and supplies for the project.

Phil and Chris spent the next three years working on the custom conversion. The following was their (simplified) process.

Electric Conversion 101:

  • Remove internal combustion engine and transmission

  • Mate electric motor with transmission and re-install

  • Modify frame and build battery cages

  • Install batteries and electronic controls

  • Cab modifications: charger, instrumentation and electric heater

Thirty-six months and many evenings and weekends of hard work later, the Chevy S-10 was ready for her maiden voyage. “Our first drive went off without a hitch,” said Chris Young. “That was definitely the most satisfying part of the project. That, and the fact that never again would I have to swipe my credit card as the gas pump.”

The truck’s batteries power 50 miles of driving, and the S-10 has an on-board charging system that can be plugged into any 110- or 220-volt outlet. It takes about 4-5 hours to fully charge the truck. “The electric vehicle is an ideal, efficient commuter vehicle,” said Phil. He continued, “Electric vehicles are the future, but we need a paradigm shift and a lot of education to understand and embrace big changes like this.”

Find more clean transportation solutions at Aurora’s Green Car & Truck Show:

  • Boulder Electric Truck

  • Chevy Volt

  • Biofuel Truck – Compressed Natural Gas & Propane

  • Electric Pyramid Car – “The DreamCar”

  • Nissan Leaf

  • Scion iQ EV

  • Tesla Model S

  • Toyota Prius

  • Solar Powered Car Charging Station

 

For more green education, and to meet Phil and Chris Young and see their custom, electric Chevy S-10, join us at your Greenfest on June 14 in Aurora, Ill. Let’s work together to build our local, green economy!

ABOUT THE ORGANIZERS

Aurora GreenLights, in affiliation with The Conservation Foundation, partners with 100+ grassroots volunteers, exhibitors and local business leaders to host Aurora GreenFest, providing environmental education and community networking events.

We support regional sources for food, renewable sources for clean energy, natural resource conservation, locally made fair-trade goods and professional services.