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Daox 01-02-2013 09:06 AM

1980 ElectraVan - StPaul MN
1 Attachment(s)
Not mine. It was posted on EM's sister site EcoRenovator originally and thought some here might have some interest. I never even knew these were made...
1980 ElectraVan


For Sale: 1980 ElectraVan by Jet Industries $5000 (St Paul)
This is a 100% Electric Vehicle! This is a rare piece of EV history with many original documents to complete the story.
I have been driving this van to work and home during the summer months since I bought it, 4 years ago. I have replaced the original motor controller with an updated Curtis 1221C controller. I have replaced all of the heavy gauge battery wiring and rebuilt the battery box. The van has a newer Zivan battery charger and plugs into a standard 110V outlet. Charges in 4-6 hrs. The current battery pack is an assortment of (8)12V savaged batteries in good to fair condition giving the van a range of 15-20 miles.

mechman600 01-02-2013 09:36 AM

Wow....super cool...and rare. I believe they were a converted Subaru 600 Kei van by Jet Industries.

I dug this up from the EVDL list:

Yeah, I can throw a few history bits at you. About 3
decades ago I went to Austin, TX to visit Jet
Industries. A young fellow met me at the airport and
gave me a ride to the shop, which was an old bus
factory or garage about 10 miles away. He was driving
an ElectraVan 600. Jet's first product (I think). It
was a converted Subaru microvan. Very nice. Had the
4 speed manual w clutch. He drove it just like
normal. Even a few freeway miles at speed just like
the traffic flow. (It was 55 mph national speed limit
back then, but it was TX, so I think we were over 60)

This guy's dad owned Jet, Bill Bates. The two sons
ran the operation. Fairly meager. Maybe had a few
dozen of these vans in various stages of conversion.
There was a pile of engines in the corner. Pretty
straight forward conversion. 16 GC batteries for 96
volts. Prestolite MTC-4001. PMC mosfet controller
(pre-Curtis days). Really not much more. Simple and
sweet. I was impressed. How often do you hear me say

That is about the end of my dealings with Jet. They
did come out with a few more models with the same
basic system. I think they got a little bigger in
sales. GE came in with a motor/control package IIRC.

Always looked to me as if they ran on private money.
I am speculating that when gas prices came down and
the oil embargo memory faded, people stopped buying
electrics. And Jet stopped making them.

I think that ElectraVan was the best EV one could buy
at that time. Other choices were CitiCar or

Hope that helps the history lesson.

Jeff M

Jyden 01-02-2013 10:13 AM


Cobb 01-02-2013 11:48 AM

I use to work for Baker Equipment who made the ev postal vans in y2k under the Clinton admisistration. The economy budget cuts kill it. I think like 2000 vans were made/converted at the peak. :eek:

Ryland 01-02-2013 11:59 AM

I've sat in that van that is for sale, it's pretty nice, it's starting to show some signs of it's age, little rips here and there but is over all a really nice little van!
I'm 6' tall and I like to sit very upright while driving, this van does have a roof rib that the top of my head hits, if you were shorter or were used to sitting more reclined while driving it might not be an issue for you, but for me it would be annoying.

If I was looking for another electric car I'd buy it, $5,000 is a decent price for something that is ready to drive home.

hondaguy72 01-02-2013 08:08 PM

This deserves a bump. Very interesting indeed.

cRiPpLe_rOoStEr 01-02-2013 09:20 PM

I always liked these small Japanese forward-control minivans. A few years ago I was even considering to make a replica of the 1st version of the Subaru minivan, and still have the willing to do so...

mechman600 01-02-2013 09:55 PM

The only problem with them is that if you ever crash it, you are DEAD. Immediately.

cRiPpLe_rOoStEr 01-02-2013 10:04 PM


Originally Posted by mechman600 (Post 348442)
The only problem with them is that if you ever crash it, you are DEAD. Immediately.

A forward-control van's bumper is the driver's knees, as we say in Brazil (more specifically about the Volkswagen Station Wagon) :D

War_Wagon 01-05-2013 06:05 PM

I still regret getting outbid on an Electravan at a towing yard auction in Oregon last year. Drove across the auction block, sold for $1500. I was so broke I couldn't afford to pay attention at the time, but I ran it up to $1450 anyway. Oh well, at least I tried lol :snail:

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