My Bradley GT II Electric Vehicle

I moved to California with my wife so I could drive an electric powered car. I have always wanted to do this before but I lived in the rough hot desert of Arizona and it was just too hot to be practical for me.

California created a requirement for automakers to sell 10% of cars in the state by the year 2003 with zero emissions. Ford purchased an existing electric car manufacturing company and began turning out NEV's (Low speed Neighborhood electric vehicles) and planning for a freeway capable car, the City. Chrysler did the same with their purchase of GEM (Global Electric Motorcars). I moved to California specifically so I could drive an Electric car. I signed up to purchase the Th!nk City car which was to be released soon from Ford company, and I was first on the waiting list. See My day with the GM EV1.

California however caved in to pressure and lawsuits from automakers, and the ZEV mandate was gutted, to be filled instead with vehicles based again on 100% gasoline based energy (hybrids). In response, all major automakers dumped their EV programs, including the Th!nk City EV that I was on the waiting list for. 

The car was certainly not cancelled due to lack of demand, as every trial vehicle they had leased was snapped up.

Not faced with a lot of options, I picked up a DaimlerChrysler GEM car:

This was an excellent vehicle and took me quite a lot of places with no problems. There were a number of faster roads I could not get on , so I kept looking for a freeway capable EV, and my wife requested "doors" on our next car, so I sold it recently for a good price and found someone on the Internet selling this EV which he had been working on:

I was excited to find this car, because unlike most boxy EV's which had been built from Geo or VW Rabbit model cars, here was a unique, sporty EV with a decent 40+ mile range which could go 70mph on the freeways, more than enough to handle my needs around town. I can tell you it is a lot of fun to drive, although I have never driven a stick shift before, I'm having fun learning!

The Bradley GT II Electric car was built by Bradley Automotive company, based in Minneapolis Minnesota. They were creating kit cars which would bolt on to the top of existing Volkswagen Beetle cars. This car was one of only 50 made in 1980 which were built specifically as electric battery powered cars.

I'm told that this particular car was not a kit, but was manufactured in the Bradley factory in 1980 specifically as an EV, based on a 1970 Volkswagen Beetle frame.

A little bit lower ride than a VW Beetle offers!

Cool dual rear view mirrors, and a sweeping sports-car style that is timeless.

5mph bumpers and seat belts as were standard safety features in 1980. The car had been sitting unused in a warehouse for 20 years.

I had the car shipped down to San Diego from Seattle, then had the drum brakes replaced with disc brakes for extra stopping power, took off the 23 year old cracked tires (which still held air!) and put on some brand new tires. I also had some weather damaged pin-striping removed.

Gull wing doors are very unusual and attract attention to the car! My wife says it is a spy car, like the Man from U.N.C.L.E. The doors swing straight up and not out, so they don't hit any cars next to you. The only drawback is that getting in and out takes a little more work than most cars.

Ready for flight!

Drivers compartment, all the normal gauges except that the state of charge meter replaces the gas tank gauge. Leather covered steering wheel and dash. Wood paneling - no extra charge! I have to get out of the habit of calling it a gas pedal, since it is really a power pedal on this car - or a GO Pedal!

Ready to be driven! Room for just two. Fully carpeted.

Seats are very low to the ground - seems like you are going very fast when you are actually driving about 30mph!

The new onboard charger on the back deck, just added. Plug it in to a normal outlet when I get home and it's ready to go when I need it.

The engine compartment in the back has the electric motor (round cylinder at the bottom) hooked to a standard VW manual transmission with rear wheel drive. The Curtis speed controller is shown on top of a large heat sink with several fans to cool it off.

4 golf-cart 6 volt deep cycle batteries on each side of the motor provide half of the juice that makes this thing go. It is whisper quiet running at all speeds.

More batteries sit in the front. On the bottom is the new blue DC/DC converter, which uses the large battery pack to charge the two 6 volt accessory batteries on top, which run the radio and lights.

Each year I have this car it will improve, because new battery technologies will become available making it more powerful and lighter as time goes on.

And yes it does come out at night! Under the pop-up headlight bays are 2 standard issue VW Beetle headlights.

It drives like any typical gasoline powered car, except that it is very quiet, takes off very fast from a standing start, and never needs to stop at a gas station. Just plug it in and go! I'd rather fuel my car at home with inexpensive and cleaner electricity. 

Light aluminum wheels and new tires pumped up to maximum to provide low rolling resistance. The car is quite heavy and grips the road like crazy.

This is how you will see me on the way home, bye! Thanks for checking out my page!

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Brad Waddell

Copyright 2008 All rights reserved.