By on October 10, 2014

15 - Electric 1988 Ford Ranger Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee MartinI’ve just driven a couple of modern electric cars, the Mitsubishi i-MiEV and the Tesla Model S, and they’re real cars. Actually, the i-MiEV is a perfectly serviceable short-distance commuter and the Model S is the best street car I’ve ever driven, but I was ready to hate both of them a lot, because all my previous experience with EVs had involved growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area in the 1970s and hearing a lot of eat-yer-vegetables talk from earnest green types about how electric cars are good for you, when in fact those cars sucked stringwart-covered pangolin nodules. Then, of course, there are all the flake-O electric conversions from the 1980-2000 era that I’ve seen, a fair number of which appear in self-service wrecking yards as long-abandoned EV conversions are towed out of back yards and driveways. In this series, we’ve seen this EVolve Electrics 1995 Geo Metro and this 1988 Chevrolet Sprint Electric Sport, and there have been others too stripped to be worth photographing. Today we’re going to look at a California-based Ford Ranger that still has just about all its electric running gear.
14 - Electric 1988 Ford Ranger Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee MartinSome EVs like this were put together for driving around in warehouses, others were built by government agencies trying to showcase green technologies, and still more were built by backyard electric-car fanatics. Ford even built their own electric Rangers later on.
04 - Electric 1988 Ford Ranger Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee MartinSince the battery box (or what I am assuming is the battery box) is so small, my guess is that this truck was made for short-distance indoor use. Running parts inside hangars at nearby Oakland Airport?
Note: Crab Spirits did some research and found this truck on the North Bay Electric Automobile Association website for us. It turns out to be a veteran of the 2004 North Bay Eco-Fest, i.e., it was admired by a lot of earnest Marin County green types, all of whom probably abandoned their 20-mile-range EVs the moment they could buy a Leaf.
17 - Electric 1988 Ford Ranger Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee MartinI thought about buying these gauges for eBay reselling later, but it didn’t seem worth the hassle.
09 - Electric 1988 Ford Ranger Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee MartinThe motor was still there when I visited this yard about a month ago, but the value of the copper inside it means that this is one part that will not go to The Crusher.
06 - Electric 1988 Ford Ranger Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee MartinGreat big Bycan battery charger under the hood.
16 - Electric 1988 Ford Ranger Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee MartinI doubt that the sight of this truck had Chevron execs trembling.
19 - Electric 1988 Ford Ranger Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee MartinI didn’t check underneath to see if the original automatic transmission was still installed. The shifter might have been just used to control forward and reverse.

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21 Comments on “Junkyard Find: Electric-Powered 1988 Ford Ranger Custom...”


  • avatar
    Lie2me

    I hope I live long enough to see a Tesla in “Junkyard Find”

  • avatar
    Crabspirits

    Looks like Karen is a sad…
    http://www.nbeaa.org/norman-boudreau/karen_s_ev.html

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      Wow, in another life…

      • 0 avatar
        Crabspirits

        I assume it’s death spiral was as follows:
        -“Given very little initial instruction, so fried charger and waiting two months for repair.” Replaces charger to the tune of $800.
        -“6 batteries in toolbox behind the cabin in tiltbed
        (have to be removed to tilt bed and access those beneath)” turns out to be a MASSIVE hassle.
        -At some point, truck is rolled on it’s left side.
        -Batteries fail after 3 years of use, 26 T-145 batteries at $200/per= $5200 +/- individual batteries that have failed along the way, or ran out of water, or damaged in accident.
        -Craigslist ad “1988 Ranger EV $800 Needs work” appears.
        -Truck sits for about 2 years.
        -Scrapper pays $400 for it with promise of getting it running again, and doing a good deed for the earth.

      • 0 avatar
        Crabspirits

        My theory for it’s death spiral is as follows:
        -“Given very little initial instruction, so fried charger and waiting two months for repair.” Replaces charger to the tune of $800.
        -“6 batteries in toolbox behind the cabin in tiltbed
        (have to be removed to tilt bed and access those beneath)” turns out to be a MASSIVE hassle.
        -At some point, truck is rolled on it’s left side.
        -Batteries fail after 3 years of use, 26 T-145 batteries at $200/per= $5200 +/- individual batteries that have failed along the way, or ran out of water, or damaged in accident.
        -Craigslist ad “1988 Ranger EV $800 Needs work” appears.
        -Truck sits for about 2 years.
        -Scrapper pays $400 for it with promise of getting it running again, and doing a good deed for the earth.

    • 0 avatar
      Sutures

      Wow… good sleuthing. Somebody deserves a scooby-snack.

    • 0 avatar

      Good find! I’ll add a link in the article.

    • 0 avatar
      Roader

      Karen hearts the electricity fairy too:

      “LOVE not having to buy gas and feel like I am doing something good for our dependance on fossil fuels.”

    • 0 avatar
      dtremit

      Few interesting details at that link — “Original conversion – Pro-EV (for the city of Santa Rosa) with 120V battery pack.”

      It also appears there was a second, larger battery pack in the bed.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      Nice work. And from a web page that doesn’t appear to have had any traffic in nearly 10 years.

  • avatar
    Pebble

    Now that you can’t get a proper sized small truck–just Colorados and F-150 monsters–I weep when I see any Ranger in a junkyard, not just electric ones.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    This one is pretty well done for an aftermarket conversion: nice battery boxes, forced air cooling for the motor. Original transmission is most likely intact. It was pretty common to leave it in place for simplicity’s sake, and the rpm range of the typical brushed DC forklift motor is pretty close to most ICEs.

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    A sad waste of a perfectly good Ford Ranger.

    Though at least it’s not a 4×4.

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    Batteries not included.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    Apparently Scientology is into E-Meters. “The E-meter is never wrong. It sees all; it knows all. It tells everything.
    — L. Ron Hubbard”

    http://www.xenu.net/archive/books/tsos/sos-18.html

    I don’t think they would be driving a makeshift electric vehicle with Lord Xenu into the hear after.

  • avatar

    I bet the company that built this is the same one that built the subject of “Solo: Life with an Electric Car”

    http://www.amazon.com/Solo-Life-Electric-Noel-Perrin/dp/0393335194/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1413046932&sr=8-1&keywords=solo+life+with+an+electric

    The lettering matches, and both used Ford products as their base. I read this book probably 15-20 years ago. The author’s Escort had a couple solar panels on the roof, so his sticker says “Solar Electric Car”

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