Electric_Vehicle_Conf_100622-16, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from Antonio Villaraigosa’s photostream

ChargeCar is a project of Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute’s CREATE Lab. They’re hosting an open house today to unveil an all-electric 2002 Honda Civic. The car is a prototype for their ChargeCar Electric Vehicle Conversion Project. ChargeCar wants to change the way you drive by making electric cars both practical and affordable. Their goal is to revolutionize urban commuting. Best of all, they’ll start taking names today of people who would like to have their own converted vehicle. For now, they’ll only be converting Honda Civics, but plan to add other makes and models in the future. Attendees of the open house can ask questions of the ChargeCar team and representatives from local garages, take a test drive, and “kick the tires” so to speak. Councilman Bill Peduto is also scheduled to be on the program at the open house. There’s a $50 refundable deposit to get on the list and the expected cost of conversions will be discussed at the event.

According to CMU’s website, the cost of conversions won’t be negligible, but the advantages are worth it, says Illah Nourbakhsh, associate research professor of robotics and head of the CREATE Lab:

[C]onversion is a means of recycling and extending the life of older vehicles, while eliminating harmful emissions and supporting local mechanics and garages. Because each vehicle is customized, the size of the battery pack — the most expensive part of an electric car — can be determined based on the commuting needs of the vehicle owner/driver, he noted.

You can find out much more about ChargeCar at their website, including software that calculates the cost of commuting via electric car vs. a standard gasoline-powered vehicle.

ChargeCar Electric Vehicle Conversion Project Open House
Friday, March 25, 2011
3:00 to 6:00 p.m.
Electric Garage
4621 Forbes Ave (Oakland)
Pittsburgh PA 15213 (map)