EVLN: $18k 16yrold's 2000 Porsche Boxster EV conversion in St.Helena-CA

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EVLN: $18k 16yrold's 2000 Porsche Boxster EV conversion in St.Helena-CA

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St. Helena teen converts Porsche Boxster to electric vehicle
Jun 25, 2019  Jesse Duarte

Isaac Kelly with electric Boxster  Isaac Kelly with the 2000 Porsche Boxster
he converted into an electric vehicle
 / Jesse Duarte, Star

Sixteen-year-old Isaac Kelly isn’t your typical teen with a sports car, and
his Porsche Boxster isn’t your typical sports car.

For one thing, there’s no throaty roar when Kelly stomps down on the
accelerator. And — wait a minute, where’s the tailpipe?

Kelly, an engineering whiz kid who’s built radio-controlled planes and an
electric bike, spent the last few months converting the 2000 Boxster to an
electric vehicle (EV).

“I had to do a lot of welding, a lot of math, and I got to write tons of
code,” said Kelly, a St. Helenan, who attends Trinity Prep in Napa.

The conversion cost $17,000-$18,000 — $4,000 to buy the car secondhand and
more than $13,000 in parts. It took about six months of welding, coding and
troubleshooting, not counting the time Kelly spent waiting for parts to

His father John, who financed the project, chose a Boxster because it’s
safe, light, streamlined and stylish. The 2000 models are relatively
affordable because they share an engine flaw — not that the Kellys would
have to worry about that.

They removed the engine, clutch and exhaust system and installed 92 Nissan
Leaf batteries in the rear engine bay, housed in custom-made plastic boxes
and held in place by a custom-made steel frame connected to the engine

The car uses four Arduino microcomputers, three of them programmed by Kelly
himself, to transmit data from the throttle to the motor controller,
regulate charging, and monitor the 92 batteries to ensure that none of them
are dying or overheating.

With a range of about 60 miles, the car can be recharged at EV charging
stations. It goes from 0 to 60 in about 6 seconds — good enough to leave a
Prius in the dust, but not nearly as quick as a Tesla. Adding more power is
at the top of Kelly’s to-do list. He also wants to fix the tachometer (“I
destroyed it, unfortunately.”)

“It isn’t a very useful car in a lot of ways,” Kelly said. “You can’t go
very far and you can’t carry very much. But it’s a fun car, which is mostly
the point.”

If Kelly shows you the maze of hardware that controls the car, points at one
gadget that looks a lot like all the others and says, “Don’t touch that,”
you’d best take him seriously. The 400-volt battery system can pack quite a

“I learned that myself a few times,” he said casually.

Porsche isn’t expected to release an electric Boxster for at least a few
years, and don’t expect to see Kelly’s on the market either. He readily
admits that the process wasn’t cost-effective, and the Boxster is so
jerry-rigged that he’s the only one who would know how to safely start and
drive it, let alone work on it.

He wasn’t especially motivated by saving the environment either, although he
said the zero emissions are a nice byproduct. So why go to all the trouble?

“It was just fun,” he said. “And of course I learned a lot of stuff and was
able to apply that knowledge. But mostly it’s fun.”
[© napavalleyregister.com]

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