By Dean Larson

Photos: Seller, Craigslist

I received some flak a few weeks back when I slammed a Porsche 550 Spyder EV for being more of a “giant golf cart,” than a “giant killer.” People came to the article expecting to see a quick and exciting EV with classic looks. But with only a 48-volt electric motor and six 8-volt batteries on board, the little 550 just wasn’t equipped with the right hardware.

The last paragraph was the only paragraph of value. Let’s hear more about the kickgas cars that are demolishing their combustion counterparts, not a backyard build with batteries being held down with bungee cords. I’d like to hear more about EV West, Stealth EV, Electric GT, New Electric, and Traction EV to name a few. — J. Rosselli, Facebook comment.

In the end, J. Rosselli was right. It’s easy to pick on a poorly executed EV, and we should be focusing on finding the good ones. This Porsche 904 EV on Craigslist seems to be a decent one, and it has real technology hiding under the hatch. To top it all off, this EV has all the presence and character of an honest 904 Carrera GTS.

The crux of the 550 Spyder mentioned earlier was its power production, or the lack of you might say. With just six 8-volt batteries on board, the 48-volt DC motor could only muster a top speed of 30 mph. The motor was small, and the conventional batteries were large, taking up all the available space in the small 550. So how does this 904 do it better?

For the most part, it comes down to the batteries and the motor. This 904 utilizes 52 Sky Energy 3.6-volt, 180 AH, lithium ion phosphate batteries, which brings the total system voltage up to 187 volts. These batteries exhibit superior charging and discharging qualities over conventional lead-acid type batteries and less weight in most cases. Batteries of this type are usually much smaller than your average car battery and weigh about 12 pounds each, equaling about 600 pounds of batteries total. But a key benefit here is packaging, as these smaller batteries can be packaged more easily within the chassis, keeping weight distributed appropriately. The owner claims a 300,000-mile life span on these batteries.

The electric motor used in the project is a staple in the EV community, the Netgain WarP 11. The 11.45-inch diameter motor is a strong performer in larger EVs. It’s built sturdy, and rated to 192 volts by the manufacturer. With 187 volts on tap, the owner sites that the car accelerates to 60 mph in 10.5 seconds, and goes on to a top speed of 120-plus. With its Soliton-1 controller and Brusa NLG511-Xs charger, the 904 has a range of 130 miles on a charge.

So is a 10-second 0-60 time really worth talking about? Well, it’s a heck of a lot faster than a VW Beetle, and several seconds quicker than an original 356 Speedster. Add in the fact that the car has enough range for legitimate road trips, and this starts to look like a nice EV package. The owner also states that the batteries can be recharged in less than eight hours at a cost of just $2.20. Compare that to your standard flat-four fuel economy!

The icing on the cake for me is that all this solid EV tech is wrapped in a timeless design. It’s an unmolested Carrera GTS as recreated by Beck, with great looks and respected chassis engineering, and now with legit EV power to boot.

Check out the 904 EV here on Craigslist.