As researchers race to develop the next generation of electric car, a North Texas company wants to convert gas-guzzling automobiles into battery-powered ones.
"Ford and GM have spent billions developing great vehicles," said Mike Sheriff, founder of ArcAngel Technologies in Allen. "Everything is done."
His idea is to remove the internal combustion engine, the transmission and the gas tank -- and install a battery and electric motor.
The price to convert a vehicle would be about $6,700, but owners could make that money back in gas savings and tax breaks in about a year, Sheriff estimated.
A converted car would cost a little more than one cent per mile to operate, he said. No more oil changes, either, and fewer parts to replace.
"Where the gas tank used to reside is where we'll stick the battery pack," Sheriff said.
Developing more efficient batteries has been one of the major challenges in designing electric cars.
"The real technology is in the batteries," Sheriff said. "Almost on a week by week basis, someone is coming out with a new advancement."
Researchers at the University of Texas-Arlington are working with Sheriff's company to better harness battery power so that converted cars can go 150 miles or more between charges.
"Our focus primarily is on development of efficient charging... and health monitoring of the battery so we can extend their lifetime," said Associate Professor Babak Fahimi, director of UTA's Renewable Energy and Vehicular Technology Laboratory.
Sheriff's plan is still in the development phase, but he hopes to begin the conversions sometime next year.