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NPR Rides In An Electric Ford Pinto Dragster


Ford Pinto EV Dragster

Ford Pinto EV Dragster

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It goes zero to 60 in 3.5 seconds. It rips through the quarter mile in just over 12. Which cars come to mind? The Nissan GT-R? The Audi R8? The Corvette ZR1? The Ferrari 430 Scuderia? The '78 Ford Pinto?

Believe it or not, those dragstrip bragging rights belong to the last of the aforementioned vehicles. There's just one catch. The fire hazard of a gas tank that once made the Pinto the butt of jokes has been replaced with lead-acid batteries. This Ford Pinto is entirely electric, and its owner, Mike Willmon loves it.

Colin Fogarty of the Northwest News Network recently road in Willmon's Pinto in Portland on the way to another EV fanatic's house. Willmon's friend, John Wayland, built an electric Datsun dragster. The two cohorts are doing their part to change people's perceptions of EVs.

"I like to say that the electric car has been in the hands of the wrong people for too long — the environmentalists," said Wayland. "Now, I am an environmentalist. I love trees, but I don't hug them. I love animals. I like clean air. But I like to have fun. And I realized you have to make the electric car fun and exciting." (Is the Tesla Motors marketing department hiring?)

What better way to make EVs exciting than to drag race them? Fogarty accompanied the dynamic duo at Portland International Raceway to experience this firsthand. Although their cars were hampered by battery problems, they did have the satisfaction of watching a Tesla Roadster (equipped with more reliable lithium-ion batteries) smoke a turbocharged VW Beetle. If the auto industry continues to invest in EV technology, there may be more race nights like this to come.

Source (story and photo): NPR

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  1. I love it. The VW Beetle is now the standard by which even the electrics are measured.
     
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