Calgary man converts classic cars into electric-powered rides

Jim Steil says when his old Volvo is complete, it will cost him less that $3 to drive from Calgary to Edmonton.

Ferraris, old pickup trucks and even boats — Jim Steil says he’ll do them all

Jim Steil says once he's done converting his 1966 Volvo, he's going to start calling it an 'E-Volvo.' (Paul Karchut/CBC)

When Jim Steil lost his job a few months ago, he took it as a sign to pursue his passion.

"As soon as they told me I was laid off I said, 'Well, that's fine, I know what I'm going to do, I'm going to build electric cars.'"

But he's doing much more than that.

Steil is retrofitting old, inefficient, classic vehicles to become electric powered roadsters.

"My 1966 Volvo is soon going to be called the E-Volvo because I'm converting it into an electric car," said Steil.

And when it's done, he says it will cost him less than $3 to drive from Edmonton to Calgary.  

Since launching his company a few months ago, the 55-year-old has already interest from the owner of a Ferrari and someone with a 1930s pickup truck.

He's also working on convincing his neighbour across the street to convert his Model T Ford.

Even as a trained electrical engineer, Steil says he's got a lot to learn.

"I initially thought it would pretty easy. I now know that I'm going to have to read some pretty thick manuals."

Jim Steil poses in his shop with a Tesla battery. (Paul Karchut/CBC)

He's using Tesla batteries and says he's willing to convert anything that runs on a motor.

Even a boat.

"No noise on the lake, no fumes, no gas in the water."

Steil figures it'll cost you around $25,000 for a full, long-range conversion.

With files from Paul Karchut

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