Future is electric in LLB
Is it feasible to turn an old junker truck into a battery powered, fuel-free vehicle? Local resident Ken Yackimec believes it is.
He is aiming to complete a self-sufficient electric vehicle, taking an old battered 1939 Willy’s pickup and remodeling the entire vehicle to be completely powered by electricity. Yackimec has always been fond of restoring old cars, but this new project is something completely different and requires much more “futuristic” looking work under the hood.
“I’ve always had an interest in tinkering with cars, I guess you could call it my passion,” Yackimec said. “But I’ve never done anything like this before.”
The project began out of a chance meeting with a car enthusiast from B.C. who pointed Yackimec in the right direction as to how this kind of project could work. The 1939 Willy’s pickup truck will be outfitted with a special electric engine run completely by batteries that can last up to 80 kilometres on a single eight-hour charge, combining a strange assortment of old and new technology that is not only practical, but helps out the planet.
“After working for most of my life in forestry, I want to be more conscious of the environment, and I think this will be a great little vehicle to bomb around town in, do my little errands,” Yackimec said.
The Willy is a good fit because it was made to be a very light car with a short wheelbase, making it easier to withstand longer distances on a single charge.
As of right now, the vehicle is little more than a bare shell with the retrofitted electric motor. Yackimec is still deciding on exactly how he wants to charge this truck, keeping in mind that although the start-up cost will be high, once the car is up and running it will cost virtually nothing to maintain it.
“I’d love to run it off of solar power, that is something I’m looking into, but I’m not quite there yet with the technology,” Yackimec said. “As of now, I’m debating between the lighter and more expensive lithium ion batteries or the heavier and cheaper acid alkali batteries, it’s essentially 24 golf cart batteries that will run this thing.”
Yackimec hopes to continue working on the truck throughout the year, and anticipates that it will be fully complete and operational by next summer.
“I’ve always been one to think that the greenest vehicle is one that already exists, so why not convert an old forgotten truck into something worthwhile,” Yackimec said.
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