An EV is reborn

Today is going to be a low post day on . It’s because I have spent most of today on the road, traveling the 300 mile round trip between my home in Bristol and the south of London. The purpose? To help a good friend to pick up his first ever EV: A 1985 CityStromer EV.

Made in 1985, this particular vehicle rolled off the production line in Germany as a fully fledged 1.6 litre, regular specification VW Golf. Very shortly after rolling off the production line, while it was still at the factory, it was taken aside and stripped of all of the original petrol-engine components. It was then expertly converted by VW engineers to run as a fully-electric vehicle.

With a 96V electrical system this car had a 33KW peak shunt DC motor. It used 160 Amp-hour lead acid batteries. It also had a custom grille, with electrical cable storage for a charging lead.

Most CityStromers (if not all except this one) were built from left-hand drive vehicles as they were destined for the mainland European market. However, this particular vehicle is a right-hand version and appears to be the only one in existence. Of course, it shares all of the components that the left-hand drive version has. It just has the steering wheel on the other side.

I’ve not had a chance to pick my friend’s brains on all the documentation he got with his new car – but it did have a German owner’s manual, which details maximum range, speed and charging times. That will have to come in a new post.

When the CityStromer came to the UK it was resprayed from the original white to a silvery grey, to fit in with the livery colours of southern electric – a UK electricity company. It stayed with the electricity company for several years as a test vehicle (and probably as a token ‘green’ vehicle for publicity photographs). In reality, it spent most of it’s time being used as a form of transport for the head office security team, who apparently used it to do rounds of the grounds and pick up the mail. Not exactly a hard life.

City Stromer

It then passed into private hands and suffered failures to it’s original controller mechanism. Passed from owner to owner it aqquired a new, off-the shelf controller and charger. It’s also just got some new brushes and a new clutch. But this Stromer hasn’t been on the road for a few years.

From behind

My friend has some work to do before he’s ready to take it to the MOT test station. It’s a hope though that the vehicle, which is incredible mechanical and structural condition for a twenty-three year old car, will just need all the bits reconnecting (and motor and batteries refitted) in order to pass it’s first MOT in several years.

And if you know anything about these little cars then please contact me and I’ll pass it to my friend. In the meantime, another EV gets to be reborn and comes to a new home in Bristol.