The Exotic Electric Conversions Competing for 2016 WAVE Trophy

By · March 14, 2016

In June, hundreds of electric vehicles and their owners will assemble in Bremerhaven, Germany for the start of the WAVE Trophy EV rally. Last year’s parade set a world record with 577 electric cars on hand. This year, organizers expect to set a new mark. But the WAVE rally is more than a parade and social gathering for EV lovers: it’s a 1,000-mile expedition stopping in 60 cities in three countries over the span of a week. The WAVE acronym stands for “world advanced vehicle expedition.”

Founded six years ago by Louis Palmer—recipient of the 2011 United Nations Earth Award and the first person to drive a solar-powered vehicle around the world—WAVE was created to build visibility and confidence for electric transport. It’s not a conventional race, but the WAVE Trophy does give out first prizes for prototype vehicles, commercially sold light and heavy vehicles and e-bikes. There are also awards for a number of categories, including best decoration, fastest backward slalom, and best blogging. There’s even a scavenger hunt for children.

In addition to the green activism and family oriented activities, WAVE also acts as a showcase for home and shop-built EVs. Here are a few of this year’s entries.

1979 Volkswagen Type 2 Transporter EV

1979 Volkswagen Type 2 Transporter EV

Hervest Treff is a German company that teaches young people in need of skills and employment how to modify and restore old vehicles. They started building EVs in 2014. This electric-adapted VW bus was built and designed by students over the span of a year. On the inside, the Transporter has modern seats and gear, such as a navigation system. It has a top speed of more about 85 miles per hour and an impressive range of nearly 250 miles.

1953 Buick Roadmaster EV

1953 Buick Roadmaster EV

The 1953 Buick Roadmaster was an iconic post-war sedan known for its mighty chrome fenders and snarling grille, as well as four prominent “VentiPort” engine air intakes placed in front of the doors on each side. Julius Wachter says he was inspired by his father’s dream of driving an EV to invest about $11,000—and more than a year of his life—designing and building the Roadmaster EV. The converted classic sedan has a range of more than 185 miles and a top speed of 93 mph.

Porsche Speedster EV

Porsche Speedster EV

The Speedster, considered the first real Porsche car created by Ferdinand Porsche, was produced from 1948 to 1965. The two-seat open roadster was very popular in racing circles throughout its production lifespan, helping to establish Porsche’s reputation for superior performance engines. Built by Christian von Hösslin, who completed his first conversion of a Smart car in 2010, the electric Speedster bests the performance of the original model, boasting a top speed of 124 miles and 0-62 acceleration in just 8 seconds.

LUKA Sport Prototype

LUKA Sport Prototype

LUKA is an open source platform designed for local builders to innovate. Its founder, Maurice Ward, says he decided to create a simplified open source platform because he found existing mass-produced “too expensive or too boring.” Designed and constructed in about a year, this prototype has a top speed of 92 mph provided by four individual wheel motors, each outputting 12.5 kilowatts of power. It has a range of 155 miles and can fully charge in about two hours.

Arrow EV

Arrow EV

The Arrow EV was designed by Hansi Kobes and produced by Norman Busch and Gero Kleinertz. It has dual three-phase asynchronous motors, each with a power output of 45 kW, giving the Arrow a beefy top speed of 125 mph. Range is limited to 125 miles, provided by a 40 kilowatt-hour lithium-polymer battery pack.

New to EVs? Start here

  1. Seven Things To Know About Buying a Plug-In Car
    A few simple tips before you visit the dealership.
  2. Incentives for Plug-in Hybrids and Electric Cars
    Take advantage of credits and rebates to reduce EV costs.
  3. Buying Your First Home EV Charger
    You'll want a home charger. Here's how to buy the right one.