It’s not often you come across a piece of history up for sale. The first electric Corvette was actually made by none other than the hardware tech company Motorola. Up until now, very little has been reported on the project.
The story of the first electric Corvette made by Motorola
Although Chevrolet has yet to reveal its first electric Corvette, there’s already one on the market.
How can that be, you say? Well, the story goes back to the 1970s. According to The Drive, who was one of the first to discover the electric Corvette prototype, the story begins with an electrical engineer in Illinois named Sanjar Ghaem.
After becoming fed up with high gas prices and fuel shortages due to the ongoing oil and energy crisis, Ghaem came up with an idea… why not buy a smaller car and convert it to electric instead.
Ghaem teamed up with an engineering friend to replace the engine and fuel system in a Renault economy car with batteries and an airplane generator they purchased for $90. “It was a glorified golf cart with maybe 25 to 30 horsepower,” Ghaem told The Drive.
The electric Renault served its purpose for several years, but Ghaem wanted more of his EV including, longer range and better performance.
A few years later, Ghaem landed a job at Motorola, eventually becoming the director of technology of its automotive division. After observing the engine management tech Motorola was working on, he believed the company should start considering electric powertrains, claiming it would “future-proof the business.”
Ken Gerbetz, a colleague of Ghaem’s, agreed electric powertrains were the future, and by 1992, the two had the idea to create a demo model for Motorola to display.
After beating both Toyota and GM (in its iconic Impact concept car, eventually becoming known as the EV1) at the 1993 Arizona Public Service Solar and Electric 500 competition, in its EX-11, they team started win over Motorola’s upper mangement.
The win earned them credibility enabling them to propose a bigger project, a muscle car conversion. This is where the first electric Corvette comes in.
Own a piece of electric vehicle history
Motorola’s upper management gave Ghaem’s team $25,000 for the project, which became known as the EX-12, or the first electric Corvette.
On the outside, it looks like a standard cherry red 1987 Chevrolet Corvette C4 convertible, but under the hood are several “high voltage” batteries with Motorola markings all over it.
The electric Corvette ended up in Larry Brosten, proprietor of Auto Parts City, position after receiving it from a former Motorola engineer who worked at the company during the project, but didn’t work on the project itself.
Now, the car is up for sale on Ebay, with a price tag of $100,000. The one-of-one prototype includes tons (12 lbs) of documentation that detail its existence.
The car is located in Gurnee, Illinois, and is ready for a new owner after almost 30 years in storage. For $100,000, you can own a piece of electric vehicle history.